The Bondi is Hoka’s flagship shoe and has garnered quite a fan base! It was one of Hoka’s original shoes quickly became their most popular shoe.
We’re now on the 8th version of the shoe, and it remains as loved as ever. The Bondi is a max-cushioned shoe with a stable platform that’s comfy for mile after mile and protects the feet from jarring.
Read on to see our full Hoka Bondi 8 running shoe review… From upper to outsole, and everything in between!
Pros and Cons
- Softer-than-before cushioning
- Plush, snug upper that feels luxurious
- Stable platform for such a stack height
- More coverage on the outsole than before
- Not great for speed
- A little on the heavy side
- A touch pricey compared to other shoes
Who Should Run in This Shoe?
The Hoka Bondi 8 is a shoe for neutral runners and mild overpronators. It doesn’t have any built-in support but the wide platform and rocker midsole provide a touch of stability.
Heavy overpronators are likely to have trouble with this shoe, even with an insole, due to the lack of robust support.
It’s an excellent choice for runners who want a max-cushioned shoe that feels luxurious but still has some firmness. The Bondi 8 is also a great option for runners who love a plush shoe that hugs their feet!
Best suited to those who run long distances at a time, the Bondi 8 can also be used as a dedicated recovery/easy run shoe for those who need a touch more speed in their normal runs.
Who Should Not Run in This Shoe?
Runners who prefer lightweight shoes will struggle with the Bondi 8’s weight. It’s not for those who want speed because it’s designed for completely the opposite.
And if you prefer a responsive shoe with some ground feel… well, you won’t get that here. At all.
It’s also not designed for trail runners. The Bondi 8 is a road shoe, through and through!
Now, let’s get into the details of this funky, chunky shoe.
Hoka has redesigned the upper. It’s still their classic engineered mesh, but it’s lacking the overlays we saw on the Bondi 7, and the mesh is slightly thicker. It’s still pretty durable, though.
It feels quite plush, from heel to tongue. Interestingly, the tongue is attached to the upper on one side, which helps to keep it from sliding around while you run.
The toe box has plenty of height, but it is somewhat narrow in the forefoot. They do come in wide and extra-wide, thankfully. Also, the internal heel counter does an excellent job of holding your feet in position, and it’s nicely cushioned by the plush padding.
The midsole in the Bondi 8 is slightly softer than the previous version, which was fairly firm. It performs well for easy runs, giving a great, comfortable feeling for long distances.
It’s important to know that the midsole remains the same EVA foam tha Hoka has always used—no fancy tech or features.
The Bondi 8 is max-cushioned with a stack height of 39 mm in the heel and 35 mm in the forefoot, giving it a drop of 4 mm. Thankfully, this stack height is paired with a stable base to prevent potential issues with stability.
Another notable feature of the midsole is the rocker. Hoka is known for its rocker soles, and this feature can help to smooth over a quick, easy heel-to-toe transition.
Note that the midsole is designed for a neutral foot. The arch support is decent, but overpronators won’t find it suitable for their gait.
Interestingly, the Hoka Bondi 8 has a more substantial outsole than many other Hoka shoes. It consists of carbon rubber strategically placed across the exposed bottom of the EVA midsole.
Only three exposed foam sections could be worn down, which is a welcome change. You’ll find the standard heel crash pad, designed to absorb shock on the landing—because with a stack height like this, you’re bound to be even more of a heel striker than you were before!
The grip is reported to be excellent, even in wet weather. Flex grooves in the sole add a touch of flexibility of movement that adds extra comfort to the shoe.
The Hoka Bondi 8 fits true to size. But be aware that the width is slightly on the tight side. The good news is that the shoe comes in wide sizes, so it’s easy to find the perfect fit.
The ample padding in the Hoka Bondi 8 creates a pleasant and comfortable fit. Some people find that the close-fitting midfoot can cause a hotspot on the medial side, but this can be avoided by simply going up a width.
A plush tongue and heel collar also contribute to an easy and tight lacing system, which doesn’t seem to cause lace bite or need lace locking to maintain its tension.
Surprisingly, considering its big midsole and thick upper, the 8 is a bit lighter than the Bondi 7 was. It’s still on the heavier side compared to other similar shoes, though, coming in at 10.8 ounces for a men’s size 9 and 8.9 ounces for a women’s size 8.
The Bondi 8 maintains the same kind of durability as its previous versions. The well-covered outsole provides impressive durability on normal road surfaces, the midsole doesn’t flatten easily, and the upper is thick and durable.
You can expect 400 to 500 miles from a pair of Hoka Bondi 8 running shoes. Of course, it depends on multiple factors, but we can say that it’s likely to last at least the average length of time for a shoe of its construction.
The Bondi 8 retails for $165 on Hoka’s website at the time of writing this review. In comparison to other shoes of similar type, this is a pricey ask for a shoe but you are paying for the plushness and durability.
Real World Testing
I’ve been running in the Bondi 7 for some time. I need a soft, cushioned shoe and it doesn’t get much softer than the Bondi.
In fact, I’ve been running in the Bondi 7 while also testing out the Bondi 8, so I’ve been able to log many miles between the two.
For anyone else who’s been running in the Bondi, you’ll be happy to know there are no noticeable differences when running in version 8. You still get soft, plush cushioning. The meta rocker hasn’t changed. And the upper feels great.
Hoka touts some small changes to this version of the Bondi, namely its flared heel, new midsole foam, and thicker tongue.
I wasn’t aware of any of these when I was running in the Bondi 8s. I still felt the cushioning and smooth ride I’ve come to expect from this shoe.
The slip-on feel was nice. Not sure if this was due to the newly-designed tongue – or just the fact that it was a new pair. But it did feel nice.
I noticed the heel and midsole foam – but only when walking around. There seemed to be a more exaggerated roll and it felt softer in the heel. But once I started running, it wasn’t obvious those changes were there.
I love the Bondi. It’s been my preferred shoe for a while (well, ever since my knees decided to give me some trouble!).
My speedy days are over, so I’m not too concerned about the weight or clunkiness of the shoe. It’s great for long distances and short, easy runs.
If I were looking for speed, I’d still keep the Bondi in my closet for recovery runs, but use a more traditional lightweight shoe for tempo runs and races.
The rocker design is unique and feels good when I’m walking around. But when I run, I try to land more on my midfoot than heel. Despite the rocker design, I’ve had no problems running this way, mostly because of the modest 4mm drop.
One question that often came up when I sold these at my running store was: won’t I twist an ankle if I trip or roll it with the high stack height?
The answer – at least for me – is no. The base is so stable, you’re unlikely to roll off it unless you happen to step on a very steep surface, like a curb or large rock. Running regularly on roads, you won’t have any problem.
Another concern from past experiences with other versions of the Bondi has been the durability of the outsole. There isn’t a ton of material on the bottom of the shoe. Older Bondi’s did wear out quickly for some runners, depending on their gait.
I haven’t experienced that with the Bondi 7 and so far with the 8. Whatever wear problems older Bondi’s were having, seems to be solved by Hoka.
Final Thoughts: Hoka Bondi 8 Running Shoe Review
The Hoka Bondi 8 is a great shoe if you want plush cushioning. Hoka has gained a massive fan base over time, and its patrons love the chunky, max-cushioned design and find that it suits their running style.
If you loved the Hoka Bondi 7, you’ll most likely appreciate this shoe’s slightly softer midsole and classic Bondi traits.
It’s great for long runs, and short to medium runs if you aren’t doing speed workouts. We also love it for recovery runs. Yes, it’s expensive, but we think the price is worth it for all the cushioning.