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Hoka Bondi 8 Performance Review

Hoka Bondi 8

The Hoka Bondi 8 features a super thick midsole that’s on-trend with today’s most popular hyped sneaker silhouettes. Yes, you heard that right. Hoka, the brand that wasn’t cool when it emerged during the minimalist shoe craze, is now fashionable. If this is weird for you, welcome to the shoe industry, where villains become heroes and vice versa on a regular basis.

Now…let’s see how this chunky boy performs.


Tyler: After enjoying the last few models of the Bondi, Hoka’s most cushioned neutral offering, I was thrilled to see the brand amp up everything for its 8th iteration. If you’re looking for a summer runner that will provide plush cushioning in a relatively light package (considering its chunky silhouette), you might just find it in the Hoka Bondi 8.

Drew: I pulled the Hoka Bondi 8 out of the box and immediately fell in love with that midsole. And so did my Instagram followers. My Bondi 8 glamour shots are easily my most liked and engaged Hoka posts. It may not matter how these suckers perform in terms of running as their looks have clearly struck the right chord.

Hoka Bondi 8

Release Date: TBD

Price: $165

Weight: M 10.8oz, W 8.9oz

Drop: 4mm (29mm forefoot, 33mm heel)

Sizing: True to Size

Buy Men’s at Running Warehouse Buy Women’s at Running Warehouse
  • Rundown: Plush and comfy all-around if a little narrow and heavy. Possibly the best-looking Hoka shoe ever.

Pros

  • Cushion
  • Looks
  • Outsole

Cons

  • Narrow Fit
  • Weight
Hoka Bondi 8 Outsole

Pros

Cushion

Tyler: I said it above. It’s Hoka’s most cushioned road shoe and just slipping into it provides your feet the feeling of – and this is not hyperbole – walking on clouds. Underfoot, around the heel, and across the upper, the comfort that the Bondi provides is nearly unmatched by any other shoe in its category. If you plan to be on your feet all day – running or not – this should be in your consideration set.

Drew: The heel of the Hoka Bondi 8 measures 33mm but feels a lot taller. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the visuals of the sole endlessly sloping down and away from the foot. Regardless, ground feel is not a thing in the Bondi 8. It’s the ultimate “my legs feel torn up from yesterday’s workout, I need max protection” shoe.

And even though you feel like you’re way up high, the stability is solid thanks to the flaring midsole. The Bondi 8 is a very stable shoe with max cushioning that’s the perfect recipe for running when tired or standing all day at a theme park.

Looks

Tyler: Gone are the days of the Bondi looking like an orthopedic shoe. We got a little tease of the direction that Hoka was heading in with the Bondi X, but the Bondi 8 really brings forward a much more current design execution that’s simple and straightforward. The two-tone midsole and single-color mesh upper strive to keep it looking sleek.

Drew: If you removed the logo and told me the Hoka Bondi 8 was designed by Kanye, Drake, or a high-end fashion house, I’d believe you. I really hope Hoka makes a version with leather and suede for casual wear. I think it would sell like crazy and really inject Hoka into mainstream sneaker culture.

Outsole

Tyler: Unlike other Hoka models that sport little-to-no rubber outsoles, the Hoka Bondi 8 has excellent coverage across the entire outsole to extend its life and ensure good traction underfoot. But all that rubber adds weight, and while a max cushioned shoe isn’t going to be a speed demon, I didn’t find the weight of this one to be a problem. It’s meant to be a slow and steady shoe, so let’s remember that.

Drew: I appreciate a shoe built to last and the Bondi 8 gets to that territory with a solid amount of outsole rubber. Since it’s summer, I didn’t get to test the Bondi 8 in wintry conditions but it handled wet conditions well. The traction was secure whenever I needed it.

Hoka Bondi 8 Upper

Cons

Narrow Fit

Tyler: I’m not sure if Hoka tinkered with the fit on the Bondi 8, but my first run was a mid-tempo (and extremely humid) 10K with Drew and it wasn’t until I got home that I noticed two giant blisters on the inside of each big toe. Upon putting the shoes back on for my following runs, it became evident how narrow the upper really is. I think they somewhat opened up after a few runs, but I would recommend checking out both a standard and wide fit (if possible) before committing to them.

Drew: While the Hoka Bondi 8’s toebox does narrow and curve inward a little too sharply for my eye’s liking, I didn’t end up having any problems with those areas like Tyler did. My problem came in the arches. The semi-gusseted tongue is only attached on the medial side and the attachment aligns perfectly with the arch area. There’s A LOT of stitching there and it chafed both my arches eventually resulting in a fat blister on my right foot. This won’t happen for everyone but it’s something to note if you have high arches or your arch area is sensitive.

Weight

Tyler: As I said above, the weight is not a big con, but this is not a super light shoe, although aesthetically, it may look like it. It’s big, chunky, and wide and although it excels for what it does – slow, recovery runs, if you’re slogging through a long run, you might notice the heft of these in those later miles.

Drew: I’m 6’6″ and almost 200 pounds. I rarely notice when a shoe is deemed heavy by other, tinier running reviewers. But I felt the heft of the Hoka Bondi 8. Towards the end of several six miles runs, I found myself constantly thinking about how heavy they felt. I think the weight disqualifies the Bondi 8 as a long run shoe but it can handle one to six-mile runs without the weight factoring in very much.

Hoka Bondi 8 Rear

Hoka Bondi 8 Summary

Tyler: The Hoka Bondi 8 is a great progression from the Bondi 7, save for some of the narrowness in the upper. I’d also call out that as a huge fan of the Nike ZoomX Invincible Run Flyknit, the Bondi 8 provides a very similar experience, but with a much better ride, thanks to a more stable midsole. If you’re a fan of the Bondi, this will be a welcome shoe in your rotation.

Drew: While the Hoka Bondi 8 is so very plush and extremely good-looking, I’m not sure I’d choose it over the Hoka Clifton 8 (currently our favorite Hoka running shoe). But if you’re looking for a high cushion running shoe that looks less like a Dad shoe and can easily pass the theme park test, order yourself a pair and embrace the softness.

7/10
Total Score

Pros

  • Cushion
  • Looks
  • Outsole

Cons

  • Narrow Fit
  • Weight

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