Friday, July 10, 2020

Hoka One One Bondi 7 Review: A Day Spa for Feet!

Article by Jeff Beck and Jeff Valliere

Hoka Bondi 7 ($150)


Approx Weight:: 11.4 oz men's / (US9)  /  8.9 oz / 252g  women’s (US8)

  Samples:11.9 ounces / 336 gram US 10.5D, 11.25 oz./321 grams US 10D

Stack Height: M: 33/29, 4mm drop, W 31/27, 4mm drop

Available September 2020.  $150. Available in wide and x-wide.


Jeff B: The Hoka One One Bondi 7 is not only the highest stacked Hoka road shoe, it's one of the biggest shoes from any brand in 2020. Toeing the line between hulking behemoth and VERY well cushioned trainer, the Bondi has always been a shoe that can serve as a big mileage daily trainer for some runners or purely a recovery day pillow for the soles. The 7th iteration seems to be very similar to the popular Bondi 6, with a reworked upper matched to an identical midsole and outsole. 


Jeff B: Like a day spa for your feet

Jeff B: Plenty of rubber in crucial failure points

Jeff B: Upper isn't breezy, but it is a little breathable

Jeff B: Considering the size, not as heavy as anticipated

Jeff B: If you ever wondered what the world would look like if you were 1.5" taller, now you can find out

Jeff V:  Excellent fit, comfort and cushioning


Jeff B: Very stiff, it's hard to get much flex out of a sole that thick

Jeff B: Toe box is adequate for a Hoka, but tight enough to keep me from wanting to run double digit mileage at a time

Jeff V:  Sluggish performance

Tester Profiles

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39. In December he raced his first 50 mile trail ultra. 

Jeff V.  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

First Impression and Fit

Jeff B: My first impression of the Bondi 7 was a very Keanu-esque "Whoa." This shoe is big. Very, very big. And not just in the vertical stack, the Bondi 7 platform is wider than virtually any road shoe on the market today. But for all of that bulk, they only tip the scales a little more than most of the other brands' big daily trainers. Length wise, they are spot on true-to-size. My usual 10.5 gives just under a thumb's width from the end of  my big toe to the end of the shoe, and the upper is dialed in very well. It's a big shoe, but it isn't a sloppy one, and that's nice. The toebox isn't incredible though. For years the joke was Hoka didn't know what a foot looked like and made their toeboxes oddly tapered, and luckily we've gotten away from that - but the Bondi does lean a little bit toward the Hoka of old. As well cushioned as the shoe is, by the time I hit 7-8 miles in the shoe I start getting the beginnings of pinch blisters on the underside of both small toes. Not a deal breaker, but a little frustrating since this shoe could otherwise go the distance. I likely would have been better off in the available wide version of the Bondi.

Jeff V:  I am well acquainted with the Bondi, having run in almost every version since the first one and have regarded it as an excellent max cushion road trainer for the days I am stuck running on cement and recovery is a priority over speed.  Early on I even used them on the trail for my bigger runs, racing them in the Pikes Peak Marathon and the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim (fewer max cush trail options back then, the Bondi was a bit lighter and speedier than the Mafate and Stinson).  The Bondi 7 is in line with previous versions, offering maximal cushioning, great fit and comfort for my lower volume foot.  I find fit to be true to size and while the toe box is not particularly roomy, it is plenty sufficient for my low volume foot.


Jeff B: The Bondi 7 uses a multi-level engineered mesh upper with a number of minor laminated overlays. The most prominent overlays are a pattern of thin vertical lines that trace the perimeter from the midfoot forward to the toebox and then end at the midfoot on the other side. The outer layer of mesh is a looser knit, with a tighter knit underneath - but the two layers don't create too much heat. They aren't as breathable as some other recent releases with similar constructions (the Saucony Ride 13 comes to mind), but even in a Phoenix summer the upper isn't suffocating. The tongue isn't reinforced with a gusset of any kind, but I didn't have any issues with the tongue moving off center during a run. 

The tongue is also thick enough to prevent any type of lace bite. The heel collar is very standard/common, which is actually nice. We've seen more and more manufacturers reinvent the wheel in that regard, and that doesn't really make a shoe better. The foot hold from the midfoot back to the heel is rock solid, and there are the extra set of eyelets in case you have heel slip issues, but I wouldn't expect most runners to need them. Laces are flat and unremarkable, which is a positive in my mind. Lastly, there is a horizontal pull tab on the shoe, similar to the recent Nike Pegasus Trail 2, but unlike the Nike this pull tab gives just enough slack to use.

Jeff V:  Jeff B gives a great description above.  I find the upper to be very secure with the 3D TPU overlays to improve midfoot support and the memory foam heel collar gives a nice snug and secure feel that conforms quite nicely.  The open multi layer engineered mesh upper is high quality and comfortable, though I do find it to be a bit warm on hot summer days, amplified a bit by the black color for my test sample.


Jeff B: This is the reason to run in the Bondi. If you ever thought "Why don't they just add more cushioning?" to a shoe, then this is your jam. And in this case, it works. The midsole is made up of EVA foam, which isn't the flashiest or coolest material out there, but it does the trick. The incredibly thick stack doesn't allow for much in the way of flex, and considering just how much shoe is underneath the foot, it isn't all that soft and squishy. I wouldn't use the word firm, but the shoe doesn't let you bottom out before rebounding through your stride. The meta-rocker works well, and keeps your feet moving faster than you'd think in Frankenstein's Monster's boots.

Jeff V:  The midsole here is very maximal and you are aware of it the moment you slide your feet into the shoes and the Meta Rocker aids greatly in forward propulsion.  The EVA in the Bondi 7 strikes a good balance between offering the most cushion you could imagine without feeling too mushy, though they are definitely not firm and those seeking speed or a higher level of performance will judge the Bondi 7 as a bit too cushy.


Jeff B: The Bondi 7 outsole is primarily high abrasion rubber in major contact points with lots of exposed EVA foam from the midsole everywhere else. After 35+ miles, I'm seeing the wear on the exposed EVA, but because it is either in the middle of the shoe or the middle of a ring of rubber, that wear is purely aesthetic. I was a little surprised to see as much road wear as I am in the low spots between the raised rubber pods - perhaps runners that weigh less than 200 pounds won't have the same wear patterns. Not a concern, just an observation. I didn't get the opportunity to test the Bondi 7 in any wet conditions, but the siping in the rubber portions make me think they will have ample wet traction. 

Road trail hybrid runners could consider the Bondi for dirt as well, as long as it is pretty tame stuff. The wide platform helps give the extra high stack some stability, but there is a laundry list a mile long of shoes I'd take into technical trails before this beast. Lastly, I don't think the outsole plays too much into the running dynamics of the shoe. The midsole stack is just so thick, I'm not sure a different rubber style or pattern could influence its toe off or how it transitions through your foot strike. It may sound dismissive to sum up the outsole with "it's there!" but every part of the shoe can't be the star - and in this case, it is all about the midsole.

Jeff V:  Jeff sums up the outsole well and I will confirm that the Bondi 7 does do reasonably well on mild to moderate trails in regard to traction and grips very well on intended road/cement surfaces.  I have found wear to be very minimal, but do see normal scuffing of the exposed EVA as one might with any shoe exposing EVA, but is mostly aesthetic and not at all a concern for me.  Previous Bondi outsoles have held up very well for me and I expect the same here (is essentially the same outsole as the Bondi 6).


Jeff B: It's like a Cadillac for your feet. And no, not one of the ridiculously powered 640 horsepower CTS-V Cadillacs that's a sports car in disguise, just the normal version that has ample get up and go and a mountain of comfort. The meta-rocker geometry is the unsung hero of the Bondi 7, and I think without it this shoe would be sluggish. As a midfoot striker I feel like I'm missing out on the best parts of the Bondi, and I find I like them more during a walking warm up or cool down, where I am landing on my heels, but there's still so much cushion in the mid-to-forefoot I'm not complaining. But all of you heel strikers are in for a treat, and you get to show up to group runs even taller than normal.

Jeff V:  Cadillac?  Maybe a Buick, but definitely a car with plush suspension and good for comfortable cruising.  The ride is definitely forgiving and not particularly inspiring, but is a great option for easy recovery day cruises or putting in high miles with minimal impact.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff B: The Hoka One One Bondi 7 is the answer to the rhetorical question "What if you gave it more cushioning?" and the result is solid. A great day-in-day-out trainer for slower runners, or a great shoe to throw on after yesterday's extra hard or long run, the Bondi looks like Duplo blocks but runs much smoother than you might think. There's no mistaking it for a lightweight faster model, but given everything it brings to the table, it runs lighter than it looks in person or on the stat sheet. If you want one shoe to run everything in, and you do any kind of speedwork or uptempo running at all, this isn't your shoe. But if you want a cruiser for easy miles, and you want to avoid as much ground feel as possible, the Bondi 7 could be exactly what you are looking for.

Jeff B's Score 8.0 out of 10

Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 8 (30%)  Value: 8 (15%) Style: 7 (5%)

Jeff V:  I could not have said it better, a max cush trainer for slower recovery runs, longer distances and for those who just want the most they can justify under foot for hard cement paths when the legs just need a break.  A great addition to the quiver when speed is not in the cards.

Jeff V’s score: 8.3 out of 10

Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 9 (30%)  Value: 8 (15%) Style: 7 (5%)


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Hoka Stinson ATR 6 (Stinson ATR 6 Review soon)

Jeff B: Both fit true-to-size. Possibly the only shoe on the planet that makes the Bondi look light and sporty, the Stinson is ever higher and wider in every direction. Part of Hoka's hybrid road/trail ATR series, the Stinson is at home on the road as well as trail. but it doesn't have as smooth a toe-off as the Bondi. If you are thinking of hitting the roads and trails, I'd lean Stinson, but if you are 100% on road, stick with the slightly more svelte Bondi.

Jeff V: , comparable max cushioned feel for the trail, the Stinson is even taller and wider, with improved tread for rougher trails.  Both intended for slower, longer distances and recovery.

Hoka Bondi 6 (RTR Review)

Jeff V: Hard to tell them apart side by side, comparable in weight and feel.  I like the upper of the 7 better, as it is slightly more forgiving, yet equally secure and the memory foam heel is a nice touch, though the 7 upper might be a bit less breathable.

ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)

Jeff B: Both fit true-to-size. ASICS earth shattering release last year that proved they can still innovate, the Glideride has a 29/35 stack compared to the Bondis 33/37 - but it has a much more energetic/athletic feel and ride. While the Bondi has a pronounced meta-rocker to help aid quick turnover, the Glideride has a much more pronounced rocker and much faster turnover. The Glideride isn't as wide (and consequently isn't as stable), it still has plenty of inherent stability for some light trail use. One of the few times you can write this sentence without irony, take the far more innovative ASICS.

ASICS Novablast (RTR Review)

Jeff B: Novablast runs a little large, narrow footed runners should likely size down a half size. The Novablast has a little lower stack (27/37) but a similar construction with lots of foam and a rocker profile under foot. The Novablast has some odd sizing issues, with some runners needing to go down a full size (and still having lockdown problems) but I haven't experienced any pronounced slippage. If you are looking for a road/trail shoe, the Bondi shines in the dirt compared to the Novablast, but purely road, make mine ASICS.

Saucony Triumph 17 (RTR Review)

Jeff B: Both fit true-to-size. The Triumph 17 was my shoe of the year last year, and while it gives up 9mm/5mm to the Bondi, it is Saucony's highest stacked neutral shoe, and they are similar in weight. Neither shoe would be my pick when it comes to any kind of uptempo running, but the Triumph works at a greater variety of paces, and the Bondi is the king of going slow. If you want a one shoe quiver, get the T17 and call it a day, but if you want a dedicated slow recovery shoe, the Bondi is your best bet.

Bondi 7 releases Sept. 2020
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Stan said...

Great review, I have the Bondi 6 in a 2E width and find it still a bit narrow, I am wondering how the 7 compares?
I know there is a 2E version but I also hear rumor that the Bondi 7 will be available in 4E for the first time, this could be huge if true.
Also wondering if you can comment on width comparison with the upcoming Clifton 7.

Sam Winebaum said...

I will let the guys comment but as indicated in the review there will be X Wide 4E sizing for men available 8-13, 14.
Sam, Editor
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Anonymous said...

Couple things, how about a comparison to the Saucony Endorphin Shit? That seems like a no brainer to me and aimed right at the Bondi.

So I have the Bondi 5 and Bondi 6. I’m 170lbs so pretty average in weight. I hate running on the road but it was my choice for slogging winter miles. I also am on my feet 10 hours a day, 20,000 steps on concrete and my retired Bondi 5 has been a godsend in that regard. Now Hoka changed the heel area landing pad material and shape from the Bondi 5 to the 6 and current 7. Whatever they did has been a real downgrade in durability. Significant wear early on with the 6 and now through to the white EVA? at the edges of both shoes. The 5 Bondi still looks fine and it’s a shoe I just can’t seem to kill. I use it for everything from work to yard work and everything in between and that heel area still looks great. Other reports of early significant wear from user reviews and it’s something I think your readers should be aware of if considering this shoe. I know you guys don’t generally log tons of miles in a test shoe so you might not see that.

Hope that is helpful

Jeff in MA

Anonymous said...

Endorphin 'Shift'.


Jeff Valliere said...

Stan, fit of the normal D width 6 and 7, fit/width is comparable, so can only assume that would be consistent with the equivalent wider size options.

Jeff J, yeah, with a steady stream on new shoes, I rarely am able to truly rack up high enough mileage to detect what you describe above (the occasional favorite trail shoe I might). Between the 5, 6 and 7, the 5 is for sure my favorite.

Alvaro said...

Hi, Thanks for the blog, a lot of quality reading.
I have not clear between bondi 7 and new balance fresh foam more v2
90kilos 1,9m and six minutes per minute. I try 10 km every two Days.

Best to buy?

Thanks in advance

Doug said...

Wondering if it's worth going to the 2E in the Bondi 7 to accommodate orthotics. Have had success with the Bondi 6 (regular width, size 10), but the New Balance 1080 seemed wider in the toe box. In the 2E of the Bondi, is the extra width mostly in the forefoot or throughout? I have a narrow heel and am wary of slippage.

Also: When is the Bondi 7 due on the market? I have heard early August.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Doug,
Will let others answer about sizing as I did not test but last we heard Bondi 7 is due Sept. With all the things going on that may have changed again but no word
Sam, Editor

Larry N said...

I have probably about 15 pairs ( No kidding) of the Bondi 5 and 6 that I have bought over the last 3 years, since they first released. I have a wide foot, but the 2E in the Bondi 5 and 6 always fits perfect for me, not too snug, and just a little space in the toe box - which is what I like. I can't imagine if the 4E in the Bondi 7 will be much bigger?

Anonymous said...

Still UGLY. Nike designers are more creative and advance.

Miki said...

Are you sure the stack height is 33/29? This is 4 mm lower than all previous models.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Miki,
That is what official Hoka catalog has and there is no change in stack height. If you have seen 4mm more it likely is a stat ( for example Running Warehouse) that includes the insole which catalog sometimes do not
Sam, Editor