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Hoka Bondi 8 Review: The Classic Max Cushioned Shoe
By Senior Contributor David Salas and Chief Editor/Founder Matthew Klein

The HOKA Bondi series has been a long time favorite for those that like high stack rockered shoes. The Bondi 8 comes in with a few updates that make the shoe a little more stable on foot without sacrificing the DNA of the model. The major update to the geometry is the usage of sole flaring through the forefoot and the introduction of a new foam. The shoe still rides like the lineage it has created with a couple of tweaks. 

Price: $164.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.8 oz, g (men's size 9), 8,9 oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 39mm / 35 mm
Drop: 4 mm 
Classification: Daily Trainer


Matt: The Hoka Bondi 8 is a maximal stack height daily training/recovery shoe with a solid rocker. The original max stack height shoe returns with a lighter weight and slightly softer ride. Combined with a new crash pad design and better sole articulation, the weight drops and the ride transitions extremely well during easy, long and recovery runs. A snug and secure upper sits up top, providing a secure ride over longer miles. Best for easy pace running and walking, the Hoka Bondi 8 provides a ton of cushioning while keeping a balanced ride.

David: The HOKA Bondi 8 is a neutral training shoe that provides a maximum cushion ride with a well-balanced rocker throughout. The foam itself is on the firmer side but there is plenty of it providing cushioning for miles to come. The shoe uses sole flaring really well in combination with the rocker giving you a more stable ride on foot. 

- For more, find our full podcast on the Hoka Bondi 8 here.


Matt: The HOKA Bondi 8 fits me true to size in my normal men's size 10. The fit throughout the length of the shoe is on the snug side, especially in the forefoot. Initially, my toes felt slightly smashed, but over a few miles the upper broke in to provide more of a snug fit. The heel and midfoot fit normal to slightly snug with a slightly lower volume throughout. This contributes to the solid lockdown as I did not have to lack lock this shoe. There is a moderately stiff heel counter in the rearfoot that is covered by a moderate amount of heel collar cushioning. The counter did not bother me, although those sensitive to them should approach with some caution. The tongue is fairly thick and wide. Although it is not gusseted, it is secure well by the laces and I did not experience any slippage. The upper itself is fairly average in thickness and breathability. Overall, the upper provides a standard Hoka fit (slightly snug with more narrowness in the toebox).

David: The HOKA Bondi 8 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The volume and fit throughout is a tiny bit snug, but I wouldn't call it narrow per se. The heel is normal width, midfoot normal to slightly narrow, and normal in the forefoot with a decently quick taper. The volume is a tiny bit low but feels pretty good with the lockdown of the tongue. The mesh material itself is pretty comfortable and leans toward the softer end of materials. There isn't too much stretch and the security on foot is pretty good even when turning. There is a padded heel counter that provided no irritation. Overall the upper is done pretty well but those needing some volume or width may need to opt for the wide option. I will say the midfoot is more forgiving than previous HOKA models for me though. 


Matt: The Hoka Bondi 8 is a maximally cushioned daily training shoe. As required for a shoe of this stack height, there is a large heel bevel and forefoot rocker that make for smooth landings and transitions. Additional and new deep flex grooves in the midsole add some mild flexibility and help facilitate a forward transition. The deeper flex grooves greatly improved traction and made it an option for some mild trails. The midsole initially is on the firmer end but does break in with time. The EVA foam provides cushioning that is not mushy, but well-balanced for protection without being unstable. It compresses and rebounds more with higher speeds, which was unexpected for a shoe of this weight and size. The Hoka Bondi 8 is the lightest Bondi thus far, finally coming in at under 11 ounces for a men's size 9. This makes it far more runnable and easier on the hip flexors. This combined with a more resilient foam combination underfoot actually provides some rebound when picking up the pace. However, faster speeds are not what this shoe is meant for. The tall stack height, large amount of cushioning and easy rocker make this shoe best for long runs, recovery runs, and daily mileage where you are not worried about pace. The rocker makes for a transition that is better at slower paces and does offset the lower 4mm drop somewhat. 

A hard heel strike does change the drop, but the rocker was effective at easing the transition and not making it feel like a zero-drop shoe during landings. Like most Hokas, the durability has been slightly above average. I have 35 miles on my pair and have my normal abrasions on my left posterior lateral heel. The large amount of stack and high rocker will likely make this shoe last longer than other trainers, especially for those who don't tear up shoes as much as I do. 

David: The HOKA Bondi 8 is a daily training shoe that leans in the maximum cushioning category. With that said the rocker on the shoe does give it a quicker rolling sensation and lighter toe off feel when running. The midsole still leans on the firmer end, though there is a lot of it. The shoe has plenty of cushioning under foot without having too much give to the material. The rocker is balanced pretty well with having more emphasis in the heel bevel region, though follows through the forefoot well. There are some forefoot flex grooves  that help with smoothening the toe-off transition when running as well. The sole flaring also gives a little more confidence and stability underfoot when running. The traction on the Bondi 8 is also good enough to take into some runnable trail conditions as well. The shoe is still on the heavier end, but a good option for when you are not looking at the watch.


Matt: The Hoka Bondi 8 is a neutral maximalist shoe, but has many features normal to this category that actually make it a stable neutral shoe. The platform is wide with a large amount of sole flare throughout the length of the shoe. The midfoot does not narrow much because of the wider base (that is required of most high stack height shoe). There are large sidewalls most prominent in the heel that transition into the midfoot. These do a great job of centering the foot and providing a high level of guidance. They are a bit intrusive at first, most notably pressing into my midfoot during the first few miles. I quickly got used to this and never had any blister issues. With the new flex grooves and the highly rockered geometry, there is a large amount of guidance to this shoe without being a stability model or using any traditional stability methods. These are most significant in the rearfoot and midfoot, with a wider base and strong forefoot rocker balancing out the front. Overall, the Hoka Bondi 8 is a stable neutral shoe with a solid level of guidance without traditional methods for those needing it in the rearfoot and midfoot.

David: The HOKA Bondi 8 is a neutral shoe in the maximalist category. With that said the stability is actually really well done. The shoe has a lot of inherent stability through the platform. The combination of a slightly firmer foam and nearly full contact outsole give a good sense of being grounded. The midsole also has well-integrated sidewalls that extend from the medial and lateral aspect of the rearfoot through the midfoot. The rocker geometry is balanced enough that you do not feel like you are falling in any specific direction. The upper security is also done well. For being a shoe that is a maximalist neutral shoe, the stability is about as good as it gets. 


The Go-To Recreational Shoe
By David Salas

Outside of the running world, the HOKA Bondi 8 has also been a go-to shoe for many in the recreational walking scene. The Bondi does a few things well providing a well-balanced rocker, sole flaring through the forefoot, and a firmer foam. Firmer foams have been found to have fewer negative impacts on balance and proprioception than softer foams in elderly individuals (Menant et al. 2008). Sole flaring may also seem to have some impact on providing additional stability through widening the contact surface and base of support (Menz, 1999). Many of these findings have been looked at through the lens of recreational and lifestyle/dress wear shoes, though some basic transfer can be inferred into the running scene as well. More research needs to be done for the combination of these many shoe characteristics, but we at least have some basic foundations to move from.

For more on the science of walking and other recommendations, check out our Guide to the Best Running Shoes for Walking.


Menant, J.C., Steele, J.R., Menz, H., Munro, B.J., & Lord, S.R. (2008). Effects of Footwear Features on Balance and Stepping in Older People. Gerontology, 54, 18-23.

Menz, H.B., Lord, S.R. (1999). Footwear and postural stability in older people. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 89 (7). DOI: 10.7547/8707315-89-7-346.


Matt: The weight drop in the Bondi 8 makes a large difference in the on-foot experience while maintaining the more premium feel this shoe has been known for. These updates are fantastic, but I would really encourage Hoka to rethink how they design their toebox. The snug fit throughout the length of the shoe works well for security, but the toes end up getting crunched a bit. This is not optimal, especially for those with bunions or that need their toes to splay for optimal foot function. I am not suggesting they make a super wide toe box like other companies, but making this area less tapered and a little more foot-shaped will help especially on longer efforts that may cause foot swelling. 

David: The Bondi has always been a heavier shoe. This version lost some weight but still can run a little on the heavier end. I think there may be some space in the heel region where they can reduce some weight. The heel counter can be half length and a little less thick while still maintaining some padding. The tongue is also really thick and could be thinned a tad, though I like that it still helps with cinching down the laces.


Matt: The Hoka Bondi 8 is for those wanting a stable, maximal, rockered daily training shoe for easy and long mileage. The platform is stable and easily transitions you forward. The upper fits snug, so those with narrow to normal width feet will do best. While the weight is lower, it is still a shoe best for long runs and recovery runs when pace doesn't matter. The transition has improved thanks to improved flex grooves, which combined with the rocker make for an efficient and comfortable ride. The Hoka Bondi 8 is the lightest and smoothest version so far. It's an excellent update for those using it for anything from walking or running. 

David: The HOKA Bondi 8 is a neutral daily trainer for those that want a maximum cushioned ride with a sense of stability. The platform provides a lot of good measures to help keep you feel secure on foot. There is a lot of foam and it did seem like it needed a little more break in time than some other shoes, but this is a nice option for the maximalist easy day category. The rocker is done well and the toe-off transition feels nice and rolling when on the run. 


Fit: B+ (Secure and comfortable, snug fitting upper. Toe box tapered and takes some time to break in.)
B+/A- (A solid shoe for long miles at easy paces thanks to the high cushion and rocker)
Stability: A [Stable Neutral] (A well-done, highly stable neutral shoe. Exactly what a maximal shoe should feature in regards to stability. Great integration of side walls, geometry, sole flare and upper security)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Excellent drop in weight without sacrificing cushioning. Will continue to be a popular shoe for walkers and runners wanting tons of cushion. Toe box does need to be less tapered and more anatomic especially for the populations interested in this shoe. )
Personal: B+/A- (I enjoyed this shoe way more than I expected. A little heavier than I typically like but a great shoe for me to pound miles in)
Overall: B+/A- (A great update for the original maximalist shoe making for the lightest Bondi yet)

Fit: B+/A- (Good dimensions throughout but might be a tiny bit too snug for some, midfoot still has some rubbing but nothing problematic)
Performance: B+/A- 
(A nice smooth ride that is predictable. The shoe still carries some weight and lacks some responsiveness making this more of a recovery day shoe niche.)
Stability: A (Good platform with solid integration of geometry, sole flaring, and upper)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Good job taking a shoe high off the ground and creating a nice sense of stability underfoot without feeling like you are off of the ground)
Personal: B+ (I enjoy the Bondi 8, though for me it is an exclusive easy day shoe. It is a tad heavier than I normally run in as well)
Overall: B+/A- (A solid update to a popular line. The Bondi 8 is a stable riding shoe for the maximalist category)


Price: $164.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Hoka for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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