Beloved by runners and walkers alike, the popularity of the Bondi over the years has shifted the market, influencing competitor brands to follow its max cushioning trend. At our shop it’s become so highly recommended by the medical community that it’s become a ‘one hit wonder’ — you only need to try on one pair.
So when you hear that this ubiquitous shoe, trusted by runners and walkers alike, is getting an overhaul you start to wonder if the Bondi 8 will continue its stellar legacy or set off in a new direction for the line. I got an early test run in the new Bondi’s and was able squeeze a few miles in before they hit our shelves. Buckle up, here’s my take on the new Hoka One One Bondi 8.
Straight out of the box, the Bondi 8 silhouette looks sleeker, with deep horizontal grooves in the midsole that do well masking its overall size and gives the Bondi a more modern look. It’s definitely a departure from the brand’s boxy ‘dad-esque’ shoes of the past and, from my standpoint, a nice update aesthetically.
The first, and most noticeable difference to the new Bondi is the midsole geometry. Hoka adds an extended heel and bellowed midsole in the forefoot that refines the once ‘boxy’ looking model into a more modern contoured ride. Beneath the hood, Hoka introduces a new and lighter Glide+ foam midsole that, coupled with the wider footprint, gives the shoe a soft and stable feel; something I think heel strikers and those searching for a balanced ride will appreciate. The 4mm drop remains the same but with the wider midsole and extended heel the new version does feel slightly heavier compared to its predecessor.
The step-in comfort is still off the charts and a testament to why this shoe does so well. Your foot is immediately welcomed with an ultra-soft Ortholite sock liner. It still has a memory foam heel collar but Hoka adds more padding throughout the tongue for increased comfort when the laces are cinched.
Due to the more contoured look of the line I found it fit more streamlined on my foot and didn’t have nearly as much volume through the forefoot as it did in the past. I have a narrower foot and found it fit quite well; perhaps a warning to those who have relied on this shoe for its spaciousness in the past to keep an open mind towards a wider width with the new version.
The environmental impact is something often overlooked in the footwear industry and Hoka is taking a step in the right direction with the latest Bondi. The Bondi 8 features more recycled content than ever before, including the engineered mesh, eyestay lining, Ortholite Hybrid sockliner, and tongue. Eco-friendly models are hopefully a trend we see more companies take on down the road.
By all accounts, the Bondi 8 is still the ultra-cushioned game changer that many have grown to know and love. When a shoe’s literally stamped with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance for products benefiting foot health — what more do you really need? It’s stable, rigid and packs a ton of cushioning to protect you and your feet from all your daily impact.
Coming from someone who’s always found the Bondi to be way too clunky and mushy for my liking, the new version has me reconsidering my motives. The new shape and introduction of Glide+ foam has given it a more agile, springier and responsive ride compared to its predecessors. I think Hoka’s struck a nice balance between giving the Bondi 8 some new life, but still playing true to its strengths that made it so popular in the first place.
Where does it 'stack' up?
The Bondi 8 is still your hard working everyday mileage, running or walking shoe, that provides an unparalleled amount of comfort and stability. Perfect for an easy run, logging big miles or clocking a 12 hr work day on your feet. In an era where running shoes are getting thicker midsoles with every iteration the Bondi 8 might not stand out above the rest like it did in the past. However, I think the updates to the latest iteration might open the door to a new audience that might have scoffed at older generations of the Bondi’s while still catering to the needs of those who adored it in the past. The combination of their meta rocker, loads of cushioning and support still makes this shoe an exceptional choice for comfort and all day performance.
All in all, the Bondi 8 is here and I can’t wait to hear the public’s response to the new version. I think it’s a great update that amplifies the models core performance features all the while giving it some more pop and new life. Swing by the store and try it on, or snag your pair online at racketsandrunners.ca