Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoes
HOKA ONE ONE is a French brand founded in 2009 by two outdoor enthusiasts, especially in the mountains. A brand that despite its youth, has been gradually making its way among running enthusiasts.
Jean-Luc and Nico, the two founders, launched the brand to – and I quote – “try to solve a simple problem”. The problem they wanted to find an answer to was to design a shoe that would allow them to descend quickly to improve their times in endurance races in the mountains. But they didn’t know they would achieve much more than that. They would achieve a radical change in the manufacture of running shoes. Minimalist designs, with little cushioning and high drop would give way to this shoe concept. Maximalist, with a low drop and a high midsole. This is how we can summarise the main features of the Hoka One One Bondi 7.
To finish with the presentation we must say that, according to the brand itself, the Hoka One One Bondi 7 are the road shoes with the most cushioning in the whole range of HOKA. We’ll see how they are… So, with that said, we can start with the analysis.
The upper of these Hoka One One Bondi 7 is a simple engineered mesh without many frills or details. It’s not something that Hoka has really been working on, because they’re all about creating pleasant sensations when we run, not when we see them. This mesh has several layers of fabric to ensure a great hold and adaptability to our foot. The design allows the foot to breathe regardless of the outside temperature. The front area is not the widest, but so far we have not noticed any limitation in the toe area.
This upper has hardly any overlapping, heat-sealed, glued nor stitched elements. If we look at the toecap, it is the mesh and only covers the toe area a little extra protection that prevents tearing them easily. The inner side, has thin strips of a kind of rubber that provides greater rigidity and that does not peel or break the mesh easily because of continuous impacts against the ground and its consequent deformation. On the outside, the presence of the word HOKA predominates next to the name of the model in small letters on the back.
In the heel area we find a buttress that increases the rigidity and support of the foot. This part is not very protected in the inner liner, so you can feel a thin layer without foam but we didn’t notice it when we put them on.
This is what the midsole looks like
The main sign of identity of Hoka One One. And, as you can see in the photos, this part of the shoe is the most eye-catching. This is due to the objective that from the French brand had to solve. But it also goes further because it is the trend that brands are following for new models and it is also a great tool to facilitate more people to go running, because with this high midsole we get a great cushioning.
It may seem that with the high height of the Hoka One One Bondi 7 they are soft shoes -they have more than 30mm of thickness-. But it’s not quite like that. And less at the beginning and the first kilometres of use. And it has a somewhat hard touch, something that will be very useful to face medium-long distance tests.
These Hoka One One Bondi 7 are made for those who don’t have a very refined running technique and who like to go downhill -the brand’s goal, as we have already mentioned-. And we say refined technique because they allow you to enter heel to toe without any problem. The reason for this is the curvature of the midsole in the heel area. With this we will obtain a much more comfortable and fluid transition.
It also incorporates the chassis that Hoka One One calls the Meta Rocker in the midsole which, besides increasing the durability of this part of the shoe, it also manages to obtain some extra stiffness.
The Hoka sole
The outsole of the Hoka One One Bondi 7 is not provided by a sole manufacturer, but is home-grown. But the French company doesn’t have a specific technology for this part of the shoes. It is simply a grippier rubber than EVA that provides enough grip and traction to keep you from slipping.
And that is the main purpose of all soles. So, the sole of this Bondi 7 also does the job.
As for the pattern, it has a fairly smooth pattern -like most road shoes- with a large contact surface that prevents sliding and, as a second objective, protects the EVA foam of the midsole from wear and tear. The pattern of stripes varies on the four sides of the sole but all of them have rectangular or longitudinal stripes.
Putting in the miles
The Hoka One One Bondi 7 are running shoes that not only feature a high level of cushioning. In addition to this, the comfort and fit to the foot when you wear them is extremely pleasant whether you have a wider or narrower foot. The rear collar that surrounds the ankle, the tongue and, in short, all the parts together, make you feel like you are floating. As if you were running above the clouds. It may also be due to the fact that the arch and shape of the foot surrounds you completely, generating the sensation of a lot of support to be very comfortable.
Although the initial weight and the maximalist look, with the high midsole, is something that can lead you to buy or not these shoes, we can say that they are not the reasons you should take into account when buying them. The arguments that do play in its favour are safety, stability thanks to its wide sole and the cushioning of the midsole.
Firstly, we find the security that gives us to be able to run kilometres on end without feeling them excessively in our legs. This is due to the midsole, its pleasant feel and fit to the foot and, if you respect the paces for which they are made, the ease of riding with them.
We also get great stability due to its wide base. As you may have noticed, it is very large. During the first kilometres that we have used them we have not been able to avoid some chafing in the calves because of making sudden changes of direction and not having controlled the width of the sole. It’s not the shoes’ fault at all. But what is remarkable is the great support.
Finally, the cushioning. It may feel a little stiff at first. A slightly firmer feel than what we are used to but over a few kilometres, days and, ultimately, to have them moulded, the foam becomes somewhat softer and more pleasant.
After a few medium distance runs, at gentle paces without any kind of hurry, and having been dragging muscle discomfort for a few weeks, we have loved the Bondi 7. One of the reasons for this is the excellent stability they offer you and that they help your foot to hit the ground in the best conditions. Another one is the cushioning, which, although it is a bit hard for our taste, it is reactive enough to be able to move it with ease at the right pace. We also love the softness, comfort and fit of the upper. It adapts to the foot in an unimaginable way, so much so that if it weren’t for the weight, it would look like a sock.
Let’s not finish without talking about the sole. An outsole that generally performs well in dry conditions as well as in wet or damp conditions and allows you to run smoothly on a wide range of terrain. We say in multiple terrains because you can even use them, without overdoing it, on easy trails. But of course, don’t ask the Hoka One One Bondi 7 to do anything crazy in this field. You can simply run through it. The only thing that is not so acceptable is the wear that can occur in the area that does not have rubber, in the bridge of the foot. Although it won’t bother you if a small stone gets stuck, it does show some early morning wear and tear.
The Hoka One One Bondi 7 are shoes for runners who, given the characteristics of the midsole, have a rather high weight (+80kgs), for light training and long runs or regular runners who are looking for comfort, high joint protection and excellent fit. These shoes are also very suitable for long distance races and at not very low paces (>5’15/km) with which you will obtain a great durability to accumulate hundreds of kilometres.
Fit to the foot
Wide sole and midsole
Weight of the whole shoe
Brand: Hoka One One
Model Bondi 7
Fit system: Lace-up
Upper: – Engineered Mesh
– Midsole: EVA
– Sole: Rubber
Available sizes: 36EU to 52 and 2/3 EU
Weight: 323g in size 9.5 US
Colours available Dark blue and white; Blue and yellow; Blue and white (Women; Dark blue and white (Women)
More information here