If a minimalist, barefoot running shoe is what you’re after, turn away now. If, on the other hand, a cushioned marshmallowy shoe, designed for any distance sounds like something that could pique your interest, then you’re in the right place.
Cushioning, comfort and stability collide in the responsive HOKA One One Bondi 7 running shoe. These super-stacked kicks are a versatile option for both the beginner and the seasoned athlete.
After putting the Bondi 7 through our in-house wear test, we’re ready to unpack the good, the bad, and the extra-foamy. Keep reading to discover why the Bondi 7 is a bestseller, and if this Hoka running shoe will be the next pair of trainers you reach for. Let’s dive in.
HOKA BONDI 7: The Details
Supreme cushioning makes the Bondi 7 ideal for road runs. It has a number of plush details; including a padded collar, ultra-soft memory foam, full EVA midsole and early stage Meta-Rocker technology for a smooth ride.
It is truly a maximalist shoe: a dream for those seeking a plush feel, it is the antithesis of a barefoot runner. Unlike the Clifton 8 (the other mileage MVP in the HOKA fleet!), the outsole of the Bondi 7 does not feature as much durable rubber on the exterior, meaning its ultra-cushioned ride comes at the expense of durability.
It is specifically made for long runs and recovery runs, making it less of a training day shoe and more of a comfort running shoe. Let’s take a closer look.
- Engineered mesh upper
- Lighter EVA foam midsole
- Loop pull tab
- 4mm drop
- Weight: 252g
- Price: £129
- Best for: recovery runs, long runs, road-running
- Not for: speedwork, gym training
HOKA BONDI 7: The Fit and Size Guide
As is the case across much of the HOKA fleet of footwear, the Bondi 7 runs true to size; stick with your usual. Typical of the brand, the Bondi will suit a wider foot well, and the toe box is nice and spacious – and that’s important as the foot swells during exercise.
The Bondi 7 is a neutral shoe that should also be considered a valid option for runners seeking many of the benefits of a stability shoe: the Bondi features a generously wide platform at the midsole that becomes moderately wider toward the heel.
For this reason, it’s a shoe that will help counteract any heel-striking or pronation. Working together with the wide platform, the 4mm drop and signature HOKA meta-rocker encourage a forefoot landing with each step.
The shoe brings support for runners with high arches, but its neutral ride properties mean it won’t uncomfortably push on lower arches. Every fit aspect of the Bondi 7 is really more like a gentle friend for your foot, not an aggressive training partner.
HOKA BONDI 7: The Upper
The latest iteration of the Bondi features its more ventilated design yet. Engineered vented mesh throughout the upper keeps the foot cool as your rack up the miles. This is welcomed news for Bondi fans as the previous generation of the shoe was notorious toasty on the toes.
The cushion of the midsole is matched on the upper of the Bondi 7. With a padded tongue and memory foam around the heel collar, every detail in this shoe is put in place to bring comfort. You might know memory foam makes for a plush mattress, but wait until you feel it on your feet. The collar also sports a loop for easily slipping into the super soft Bondi.
The laces lockdown securely with enforced eyelets made to go the distance. The toe box features stripes of enforced gel to combat wear and potential tear over the lifespan of the shoe.
Overall, the upper is a great generational improvement from its predecessor. Hoka has intentionally and meticulously included some new features that are sure to keep a runner comfortable over any distance.
HOKA BONDI 7: The Midsole and Outsole
Midsole: There’s no denying Bondi 7 is one chunky shoe. The stack height is a staggering 37mm at the heel and 33mm at the forefoot, accounting for a 4mm drop and a bevelled heel.
That bevelled heel design and signature Hoka early stage meta rocker go a long way in preventing heel drag or heel-striking as you run, but all that EVA foam in the midsole means you pay a speed penalty.
Not only is it difficult to really push pace on a shoe that’s so soft (imagine trying to push off of a springy sponge), the mega stacked shoe also brings some associated weight into the picture.
With the Bondi 7 weighing 252g, relative to the popular Clifton’s at 215g or the even lighter Mach style at 192g, it’s clear that while the Bondi may be as soft as a cloud it isn’t all that light. That said, there are many redeeming qualities to the shoe that make carrying those grams worthwhile for many runners.
Afterall, this is a shoe that runners have come to trust over the miles of many a Sunday long run, and a trusted caretaker of tired feet on a recovery run. It is precisely the immense cushion in the stack that makes the miles fly by. Road running is the stage on which the Bondi 7 truly shines.
The meta rocker leads to pretty consistent and reliable midfoot contact on the pavement with each stride, which makes this shoe a great option for anyone struggling with pronation. Further, the midsole features TPU enforcements to keep your footfall neutral and supported, an appeal to those with high arches.
Outsole: While innovations to the upper and midsole have seen a step-change in experience with the Bondi, it maintains the same outsole as its predecessor.
That’s not to say we should immediately mark that as a negative – the rubber pads along the outsole of the Bondi are intentionally placed where the shoe will experience the most traction.
Bondi is crafted as a ‘long slow run’ hero, so this makes sense. However, without innovation in the outsole, we found it didn’t have the same durability or longevity one might expect from the. Hopefully this is an area Hoka will invest in for future iterations of the Bondi.
The Bondi 7 is as cushioned as a running shoe gets. The push feel of the shoe is incorporated throughout the design, from the midsole, to the tongue, evening including memory foam in the heel collar. It’s a true treat for your feet.
But with all that softness, runners pay a pace penalty, the thick stack of EVA foam makes the Bondi heavier than some other models in the Hoka range, and it’s difficult to make all that foam move fast.
It’s a solid shoe through and through, and if you’re looking for a running shoe with comfort as the priority this one will carry you over miles of long runs that have never felt so soft.