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hoka one one Reviews

HOKA BONDI 7: A TRUE ROMANCE

The HOKA Bondi 7 is in for the long haul. Endurance athlete, Lori Pacheco has taken every version of the HOKA Bondi with her over the course of her Ironman career. She shares her unique perspective on how the HOKA Bondi has evolved and what the 7th edition has to offer.

Hoka Bondi 7 - Chasing down the competition

HOKA BONDI

by Lori Pacheco

I am an early adopter of HOKA ONE ONE shoes; I remember purchasing the very first Bondi available. At the time it was a unisex model (I know, right?!) In that era of minimalist, zero-drop shoes, my body was feeling old(er) and battered, so was really interested in a shoe that would provide extreme cushioning but with zero or close-to-zero drop.

The Bondi fit the bill.

My first impression back then was, “Man, these shoes are ugly and make my feet look huge, but it’s like running on marshmallows!”  Remember this was an era when minimal was in and HOKA stormed in with these – in comparison – enormous looking shoes!

Fast forward to 2020, I’m now on my 7th pair of Bondi’s. You could say, in the world of running shoes, we’re into a long term relationship.

I have mixed a few other shoes in the past couple of years, including HOKA Clifton 5, Saucony Ride ISO and New Balance trail shoes. But I remain a faithful Bondi user for the vast majority of training and long course triathlon miles.

I’ve worn a Bondi model for my last 7 Ironman races and a few half-marathons and 70.3 races.

WHAT’S NEW FOR THE BONDI 7

The HOKA Bondi 7 pairs the maximum cushioning you expect with a 4 mm drop. The sole on this model is still the nice cushioned ride, but the responsiveness feels like a BIG upgrade.

The sole is a little more structured, a little stiffer, and feels a little quicker off the pavement than previous models. There is less of the sense of energy loss that comes with the running on marshmallow feeling that came from those first editions. A great improvement!

The early stage meta-rocker delivers a very smooth and comfortable stride. It feels as though it makes my stride a little more efficient, and reduces my tendency to heel strike, which may also help it be easier on the hips and knees.

The rubber areas of the sole provides additional structure and firmness. For those with longer toes like me, the inflection point is behind the first metatarsal which is critical for avoiding turf toe.

This is by far the best and most supportive mid-sole design for my long toes of any shoe I’ve worn in the past decade.

The upper is very breathable. There was no sensation of overly hot feet, even running in 95 degrees days; my only option for wear-testing!

HOKA’s information states that these have a wide toe box. It may be wider than the Bondi 6. For me, the shape of the upper does appear to be a little narrower than models 5 and earlier, particularly at the ball of the foot.

Since I have a long, fairly narrow foot, it’s an almost perfect fit for me. There’s no need to tie the laces extra tight to keep the foot stable. The shape of the shoe holds the forefoot firmly and comfortably in place. 

HOKA Bondi 7 review

WHO’S IT BEST FOR?

Don’t let my ‘experienced’ endurance athlete age bracket fool you, the Bondi is not just for a mature athlete. Runners of any age can benefit from the cushioning and meta-rocker technology, especially at the longer training distances.

I would particularly recommend this shoe for those stepping up in distance, from a 10K to a half, or a half to a 26.2. 

Given there are very few races currently, now would be the perfect time to add this shoe to the rotation for long base miles and runs in zones two and three.

It would also be a great shoe for anybody generally increasing mileage for Covid stress relief. I would even recommend it for walkers as well as the heel stability is good. For those who spend a lot of time on their feet at work, the shoe’s combination of cushion and support would be excellent. 

EVOLUTION OF THE BONDI

Any discussion of the Bondi has to acknowledge that over the course of 7 model years, the fit has bounced around a bit.

The earliest models were very roomy in the toe box and I had to tie them so that the lace holes were almost touching to keep my foot from moving around.

The Bondi 6 ran quite long and I ended up not loving it and made a temporary switch to the Clifton 5, although to be fair I also ended up with a full size smaller than normal in that shoe as well. I’m normally a 10 but ran in a 9 that season!

That being said, the Bondi 7 does seem to be back to a more traditionally sized last. For this demo, I have been running in a 10. They do feel a teeny-tiny bit longer than I normally like, but it’s not detrimental and could just be because I’m a bit of a freak about how my shoes fit. 

DURABILITY

So far, these Bondi’s seem very durable. I have about 100 total miles in wear testing and there is minimal to no sole compression.

The bottom of the soles are not yet showing any of the smoothing of my normal wear patterns yet, and the uppers are still in great shape with no holes or noticeable stretching.  

FINAL THOUGHTS

In the past I would have recommended the Bondi only to people looking for a maximally cushioned shoe, and willing to live with the sensation of the softer sole.

The new, more responsive sole makes this new Bondi 7 a good option for a much broader slice of the running world. This model, the Bondi 7 is by far the best and most potentially crowd-pleasing Bondi yet. 

SHOP HOKA BONDI 7

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hoka one one Reviews

HOKA BONDI 7 REVIEW

HOKA Bondi 7 Shoe Review

Brian Metzler reviews the HOKA Bondi 7, the top-selling max-cushioned shoe known for being the best friend of high-mileage runners.

The Buzz

The Bondi is HOKA’S top-tier maximally cushioned, neutral-oriented road running shoe, and it serves up a luxuriously soft ride for high-mileage training and cushy recovery running.

The Bondi is one of the highest shoes available in 2020, but it’s also relatively light for its size.

The HOKA Bondi has always been a comfy cruiser and this edition excels at that more than previous models. You’ll find there is a lot of shoe under your feet when you lace them up, but that means there’s a lot more to love.

Women's Bondi 7

WHAT’S NEW?

Aside from a smartly redesigned upper, not too much has changed from the previous edition of the Bondi.

The new engineered mesh upper enhances the fit, adds some support around the ankle and also improves the shoe’s breathability in hot weather.

The new upper configuration has slightly more structure around the ankle than the previous version, but it is considerably more vented than last year’s model. Soft TPU overlays add a little bit of structure and support along the sides of the foot to round up the fit.

To keep the Bondi lightweight, HOKA developed a segmented outsole with sections of durable rubber in high-wear areas interspersed with exposed foam.

The rubber provides exceptional grip on wet and dry surfaces, and the foam is durable enough that it won’t wear down significantly after months of high-mileage running.

The men’s version of the Bondi 7 has slightly higher loft specs, about 2mm higher off the ground than it was last year.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The HOKA Bondi 7 fits true to size with a medium-volume interior, but with a slightly wider toe box. The step-in feel is unique and almost astonishing, given that it’s so soft, semi-stiff and very high off the ground. (You’ll be almost 2 inches taller standing in these sneakers!) Any sense of awkwardness quickly disappears when you start running.

Like all Hoka shoes, the Bondi 7 features a Meta-Rocker design geometry and a slightly beveled heel. These create a rolling effect as the foot transitions from touch-down to toe-off instead of the distinctive flexing movement common to most shoes.

The Bondi 7 features a rigid internal heel counter and soft memory foam collar. These keep heel and ankle from moving around in the shoe as it rolls forward through the gait cycle.

The midsole is soft but firm, not marshmallowly soft. It won’t compress as much as other thickly cushioned HOKA shoes like the Clifton or Rincon models.

Once you get used to that, you’ll find the Bondi 7 satisfyingly smooth. 

Bondi 7

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

Runners who enjoy soft, thickly cushioned shoes will love the Bondi 7, especially for longer runs.

The HOKA Bondi 7 is best at running slow to moderately paced long runs and recovery runs. However, it could be a good choice for mid-pack or first-time marathoners or runners venturing into ultra-distance races.

However, it’s not a shoe that will inspire speed or quick-cadence running for faster workouts.

Hoka Bondi 7: Pros

PROS: HOKA BONDI 7

This shoe isn’t light, but it certainly runs light for its size, thanks to an airy, compression-molded EVA midsole foam that helps the shoe maintain a high cushion-to-weight ratio. One of our wear-testers described it as “a day spa for your feet,” which is good inspiration to lace them up every day. 

The soft midsole chassis and durable rubber outsole are unchanged from the previous edition, but that’s great but they’re the key to the Bondi’s soft, smooth-riding demeanor. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum from the juiced-up racing shoes, but that’s OK too. They feel good, look good and run great.

Hoka Bondi 7 Cons

CONS: HOKA BONDI 7

This might seem obvious, but the Bondi 7 is a high-off-the-ground shoe and not especially nimble.

If you’re a runner who likes feel-for-the-ground proprioception or likes a shoe with agility, this isn’t going to be your jam.

 

 

TECH SPECS

Hoka Bondi 7 - Tech Specs

SHOP HOKA BONDI 7

 

Mens HOKA Bondi 7
MEN’S BONDI 7
Women's Bondi 7
WOMEN’S BONDI 7