The Bondi is Hoka One One’s flagship maximum cushioning road shoe. Now in its 6th version, the shoe has seen many changes over the years. Last year’s update was polarizing, many runners either loved it or hated it.
Loyalists to the Bondi line were disappointed with the change in cushioning and felt the shoe had become too firm and wasn’t what it used to be. I personally ran in the shoe and found it plenty soft and comfortable to run in.
This year’s update comes with updated cushioning to provide a softer ride, and a redesigned upper using a combination of engineered mesh and lycra.
There have also been slight modifications to the early stage meta rocker design to enhance the ride. The shoe has also gained weight going from 10 to 10.9oz.
The first thing I notice when wearing the shoe for the first time is that the upper feels comfortable. I am impressed with the plush feeling of lycra used in the heel of the shoe.
The fit feels similar to the Clifton 5 but is slightly wider in the toe area. The cushion feels soft and overall the shoe feels very comfortable.
Hoka One One Bondi 6 Sole Unit
The Bondi 6 features a full EVA midsole and early stage meta rocker geometry. This is Hoka One One’s most cushioned shoe.
The outsole has seen a slight rearrangement with more hi abrasion rubber being placed along the entire length of the lateral side of the shoe where impact typically occurs.
The EVA foam was modified this year to provide a softer ride. A similar modification was made this year in the new Clifton and it once again has taken me a long time to decide if the cushion is actually softer than the Bondi 5.
I ended up having to where the old model on one foot and the new on the other to try to find an answer. I am not surprised that I came to the same conclusion.
The cushion is slightly softer but don’t expect a wildly different ride and feel.
The Bondi 6 has a smooth ride that feels pillowy soft. The rockered geometry works really well, making up for the soft and less bouncy cushioning.
The shoe feels very stable thanks to a wide base and the position in which your foot sits in the cushioning. My feet were happy running in this shoe for hours on end. It is a great shoe for long slow distance and recovery runs.
The outsole and midsole have proven durable so far. The shoes pictured have almost 200 miles on them. The rubber is still in decent shape and the cushioning feels as good as day one.
Hoka One One Bondi 6 Upper Info
The redesign this year brings a few new features. The first is a new engineered mesh material that is designed for both breathability and durability, the second is a redesigned heel area constructed of lycra.
The mesh is soft and has strategically placed cutouts to enhance breathability. While it does the job, in all honesty the mesh used in the upper feels slightly lower quality than what was used in last years Bondi 5.
That mesh was thinner and had a silkier feel to it allowing the shoe to breath really well. The new mesh feels slightly less breathable and is more absorbent.
When you’re running in hot and humid weather the shoe can begin to feel water logged and seems to lack the ability to wick away sweat.
The addition of a redesigned heel area of the upper with the utilization of Lycra is top notch. This is probably one of the best additions to a Hoka One One upper that I have seen.
It absolutely enhances comfort and gives the shoe a premium feel. It reminds me of something like the Brooks Glycerin which is a shoe that often sets the bar for quality year after year.
The shoes fit is similar to last years version of the Bondi with enhanced comfort in the heel. It cups the heel nicely and loosely but effectively grips the midfoot and opens up slightly in the toe box area.
The Bondi 6 feels more true to size than other Hoka models but is still sized slightly smaller than many other brands. This will depend on the brand of shoe you currently run in.
As always I will suggest purchasing from a retailer with a good return policy if you decide to try the shoe.
As you can see I have conflicting feelings about this upper. I think last years mesh was better but this year’s gets the job done. I also think the redesigned heel area is the best addition to a Hoka One One Upper that I have seen.
It truly enhances comfort. In past years the uppers in the Bondi haven’t really stood out.
They have been comfortable and gotten me through hundreds of miles without rubbing or blisters, but If someone said to me what shoe has the most comfortable upper?
The Bondi probably wouldn’t have been in the conversation. It is not there yet but it feel like it’s starting to make its way into that conversation (at least for non knit uppers).
Despite the less breathable and more absorbent mesh I think as a whole the redesigned upper is an improvement.
Hoka One One Bondi 6 Conclusions
Overall I think the Bondi 6 is a nice upgrade to the Bondi line. Despite my conflicting opinions about the upper, as a whole it is definitely more comfortable.
I would just prefer a more breathable and less absorbent mesh material. The Bondi 6 like all of the Bondi shoes is a workhorse. It carries more weight but gives you lasting softness in return.
This makes it a really good option for daily low intensity training, long slow distance runs and recovery runs. I ran in this shoe for many hours at a time and was never able to reach a point where it became uncomfortable.
While the outsole has held up well to the mileage I’ve put on the shoe, I have noticed some durability concerns where the upper meets the midsole.
Over time it seems that the glue between the upper in the midsole is starting to fail. If I pull the upper away from the midolse I can see that it is starting to separate.
It’s not impeding my ability to run in the shoe but it does make me wonder about the long term durability of the shoe. I have never experienced a problem like this with a Hoka One One shoe before.
It could just be that I received a defective pair, but I have no way of knowing that for sure. This shoe gets an 8 out of 10 based on ride and comfort. Factoring in durability concerns I’ll have to lower that to a 7 out of 10.
I’ve lowered only 1 point for durability because my concern has not yet altered my ability to run in the shoe, and I have to look for it to even know it is there.
We purchased a pair of Hoka One One Bondi 6 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.