The Hoka Bondi 7 runners are high-performance, comfortable shoes that are so beautifully designed, they earned the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Approval. This doesn’t mean it’ll work for every runner under the sun, though. Read this Hoka One One Bondi 7 review to decide if this is the shoe for you.
Hoka One One Bondi 7 Shoe Review: First Impressions
First thing’s first: As you’ve probably heard a million times now, the Bondi 7 is HOKA’s most cushioned road shoe thus far. It features a full-length compression-molded EVA midsole, designated as “plush,” instead of either “balanced” or “responsive.”
(Of course, these terms can be relative to your experience in the shoe, but this is according to Hoka’s official scale.)
The max-cushioning is ideal for those venturing on longer runs like marathons, keeping you comfortable throughout every mile. The comforts don’t stop there, though.
This shoe also offers a plush memory foam collar for a soft yet secure fit around the Achilles.
You’ll also notice the internal heel counter that locks your foot into the midsole, ensuring you get the full scope of the EVA foam’s benefits. HOKA also integrated their Meta-Rocker design, which further supports a smooth ride.
The beveled heel ensures a smooth landing with every step while also reducing the shock upon heel strike. This feature also improves the shoe’s durability, again due to the shock absorption function.
To add to that durability, Hoka designed the Bondi 7 with a rubber outsole. Fortunately, it doesn’t add too much weight to the overall shoe. So, neither the shoe for a woman (8.90 oz) or a man (10.70 oz) should feel heavy. No matter which you get, the shoe has a low 4 mm drop, making it an excellent choice for overpronators.
Hoka One One Bondi 7: Fit and Performance
The Bondi 7 is a max-cushioned shoe that offers optimal support with a generous serving of EVA foam in the midsole and a Meta-Rocker design for as smooth a ride as possible.
Here’s a feature-by-feature Hoka Bondi 7 review to show how these perks will maximize your performance, especially if you have a low arch or prefer to maintain a neutral gait with a low drop.
Many popular cushioned shoes feature moderate to high drops. This is because most people have neutral or high arches, which do great with a large offset. Typically, anything above 6 mm is recommended for midfoot or heel strikers, which is another reason why you might want to look into those drop ranges.
Now, enter Hoka One One Bondi 7. They swooped in with this 4 mm drop, like one of the previous versions, the Bondi 6, and showed a lot of people just what they’ve been missing. I’m still a proponent of larger drops, but this fit is conducive to a more natural gait and better for flat-footed runners.
Smooth Heel-to-Toe Transition
The Meta-Rocker design is a unique feature in the Bondi 7 that promotes a fluid movement throughout the gait cycle. This is another aspect that further supports the natural pattern of movement and decreases the offset between the heel and toe.
Past studies showed that rocker bottom shoes decrease the amount of plantarflexion (pointing toes away from the leg) occurring in the ankle overall and a lower demand on the hip flexor and knee extensor.
This could help relieve muscle stress; however, this is not absolute and scientists exercise caution for those with “neuromuscular insufficiency” (motor system impairments).
The beveled heel contributes to the smooth transition and may significantly reduce both impact and loading on your foot (excellent for people with plantar fasciitis).
The mesh upper is where things get a little lackluster for the Bondi 7. On the bright side, it provides amazing support for runners looking for a bit of added stability in the midfoot, thanks to the TPU overlay.
However, the drawback is that HOKA seems to have focused more on the cushioning and thickness here instead of balancing it with ventilation. That said, your foot is likely to overheat in these shoes, unfortunately.
Who is the Hoka One One Bondi 7 Best For?
You may have already made your decision on whether this running shoe is ideal for your running style and foot shape based on this Hoka One One Bondi 7 review. Still, it helps to confirm it from another perspective, so here’s my take on who should and should not buy this model.
Who Should Buy the Bondi 7?
As mentioned above, those who would benefit the most from the Bondi 7 are runners who tend to overpronate when they run. (Looking at you, people with low arches!) This is because of the low drop, which measures only 4 mm like the previous version.
However, according to the experts, this offset shouldn’t be reserved for runners with low arches but is ideal for everyone. This is because this design allows the foot to naturally support loading throughout the gait cycle without relying on artificial means (AKA, the elevation created by the heel and forefoot’s stack height).
They’re not quite “oversized” or “maximalist” shoes as some would call it, but they do tread (pun intended) pretty close to the line, which is about 30 mm.
Additionally, anyone looking for added stability in their running shoes might gravitate toward the Bondi 7 because of the TPU overlays, as it supplies a bit more structure for the midfoot.
Who Should NOT Buy the Bondi 7?
Straight away, I need to point out that the Hoka Bondi 7 might not be for you if you have high arches. People with high arches or who tend to heel strike would be better off with a bigger drop.
While this 4 mm drop does promote a more “natural” gait, it can be uncomfortable after a while for this group and may lead to pain if you’re forced to alter your striking pattern.
Additionally, if you’re looking for super cushy softness in the midsole, this might not be the shoe for you. Don’t get me wrong, this shoe is certainly maximally cushioned and will support your foot very well. However – surprisingly – it’s not as soft as other models like the Clifton.
Lots of runners say that the softness is “marshmallowy” and sends you “running on clouds.” That may be true for some, but it’s not consistent enough to be a definitive trait across the board.