A daily running shoe that’s perfect for those seeking a highly cushioned ride.
Pass if you are wanting a maximal shoe that a can perform at faster paces.
The original max stack height shoe returns with a new look for the 8th version.
The neutral max cushioned trainer keeps a well balanced rocker throughout and sheds a bit of weight and boasts a slightly softer ride.
The sole incorporates a new flaring profile that helps to create a more stable ride that is best for easy paced running or walking.
To start things off I have never been much of a maximal shoe fan and when I first saw the chunky massive soles of HOKA’s I thought I would never be caught dead wearing a shoe like the Bondi. Fast forward 8 years and here I am about to eat a big bowl of crow.
When the shoes first arrived and I took one glance at them I was sure I was going to hate them before even setting foot in them.
Once I put the shoes on I was really caught off guard how light they felt on my feet despite their size and actual weight of them.
The Bondi 8 rolls down the road incredibly smoothly and my feet didn’t seem to struggle to load through the midsole.
The Bondi is cushioned but they lacked responsiveness and I found that my happy place in the shoe was at a slower consistent pace.
While the base of the Bondi 8 is wider it seems that this has not translated into the upper as the width and volume of the upper are reduced.
I found the fit throughout much of the upper on the snug side especially in the forefoot which initially had my toes feeling mashed.
However, after putting some miles on the shoe the upper seemed to loosen a bit and the forefoot felt less constricting but still very snug. The heel and midfoot are both snug which provides great lockdown.
The mesh used for the 8 is thicker which has helped to eliminate the use of overlays but makes the shoe not that breathable.
The tongue and heel are plushly lined which was very comfortable with no irritation.
The 8 features a new half-sleeve tongue that stays in place making lace pressure non-existent. Luckily Hoka has some width options and unless you have narrow feet I would recommend the wider width to most runners.
The sole of the Bondi 8 uses the exact same stack of compression-molded EVA that was used in the 7.
Having never ran in previous versions I have no basis of comparison but I suspect that the ride quality is much the same leaning on the firmer end and lacks the soft, bouncy cushioning that I was expecting from such a max cushioned shoe.
The cushioning provides a great deal of protection but is flat with only the very slightest hint of responsiveness while running, but feels much softer at walking speeds. That said the Bondi 8 is definitely a shoe for slower long-distance runs.
This version comes in a bit lighter than ever before just under 11 ounces but let’s not fool ourselves it’s still a heavy shoe. However, The weight distribution of the Bondi 8 is very uniform and it didn’t feel heavy once I got out on the roads.
The biggest change Hoka has made is the geometry of the 8. The platform is wider than before with a large amount of sole flare throughout the length of the shoe. Hoka has also extended and beveled the heel.
When you combine these changes with Bondi’s classic rockered geometry it makes the transition of this shoe incredibly smooth regardless of a runner’s foot strike.
The platform also kept my foot centered in the shoe and provided high-level guidance and stability as I transitioned through he gait cycle.
Traction has never been an issue with the Bondi 8 and I have even been able to take it on some mild trails with success.
My biggest take away from running in the Bondi for the first time is you should never judge a book by its cover.
The Bondi 8 is a good shoe and delivers great protection with an amazingly smooth roll. Granted I had some issues with the upper but I honestly believe that having the wider version would eliminate many of them.
I found the Bondi 8 a perfect recovery day shoe and one that I reach for when I just want to head out for a long slow run to clear my head.
There are certainly a lot more choices than before when it comes to super-stacked shoes, but Hoka continues to be doing things right and the Bondi 8 seems to be the shoe to compare others to.