If you’re already sold on the idea of bouncy, maximalist running shoes, you’ll love the added stack height, extended heel geometry plus additional space of these bold shoes for long runs
Comfortable and spacious
Recycled and vegan content
Ortholite Hybrid (recycled) sockliner
Lighter foam sole than previous models
Grippy in wet weather
Fun and vibrant design
A little heavier than your average road shoe
May be too bouncy for the trails
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Hoka Bondi 8 running shoe: first impressions
With the new generation of its big, bouncy Bondis, Hoka has gone, well, bigger and bouncier than ever before. These maximalist running shoes come in a fabulously bright and vivid package and will add an inch and a half to your height with a whopping 39mm stack. Thick, cushioned soles are made using a lighter and softer foam than previous models and an extended heel geometry means a really smooth ride, even on long runs. Despite the chunky sole, your foot sits nicely in the high walls and the drop is a mere 4mm so the effect is a nice, stable run even with the added height.
• List price: $165/ £145
• Unisex: Men’s and women’s specific fit available
• Weight: 252g / 8.8 oz per shoe
• Materials: Engineered mesh upper, Recycled content lining mesh, Ortholite® Hybrid (recycled) sockliner, Durabrasion rubber outsole
• Drop: 4mm
• Stack: 39mm
• Sizes: Men’s 7 -16 US, 6.5 - 13.5 UK, Women’s: 5 - 12 US, 3.5 - 9.5 UK
• Compatibility: Road running
With so much foam underfoot, these shoes are best for road running where you’ll appreciate the added comfort and beefy shock absorption on long runs. The use of recycled and vegan materials means your tread on the earth is lighter, even if these shoes are heavier than your average running shoes, and when the ground is wet underfoot you can expect excellent grip from the Durabrasion rubber outsoles.
This model has a little more space than the Bondi 7s, so if your feet are wide it’s definitely worth trying a pair on. If you like an understated trail running shoe with lots of foot sensitivity, these shoes probably aren’t for you, but if you like to make a statement and bounce along without absorbing all the impact in your knees, you’ll love these once you get used to the height.
Hoka Bondi 8 running shoe: on the road
I’m going to start by saying that I’m reviewing these shoes in the context of maximalist running shoes – if you’re really in the market for a pair of minimalist trail running shoes, you’re probably not going to be interested in these shoes. If you’re curious about the merits of big, bouncy shoes best for the road, read on.
This is my second pair of Hoka’s after discovering them on a recommendation from a friend two years ago. At that time, I’d recently increased my running frequency and distance and was having some pretty significant hip pain. I’d booked myself in for an appointment with a physical therapist but before I made it, I switched to a pair of Hoka Clifton 7’s and my hip pain disappeared almost overnight. They were my first experience of maximalist shoes and I was sold. I even wore them on the trails and though I’ve heard other runners claim they find the stack height makes them feel imbalanced, that wasn’t my experience at all.
Anyway, moving on to these shoes. If I thought the Clifton 7s were big and bouncy, I was in for a big surprise when it came to the Bondi 8s! These shoes sport some seriously chunky soles and the first time I wore them out, I was taller than my mum in them for the first time ever. They’re a bit like wearing rainbow-colored platforms. However, despite that massive stack, they’re really soft and surprisingly stable when I’m bouncing down the road. I’ve decided to reserve these for road running and wear my Merrell MTL Long Sky 2s on the softer stuff, so I haven’t tested them out on uneven ground, but for the tarmac they provide a really smooth ride and are unbelievably comfortable.
There’s also a little more room inside these compared to my old Cliftons. I don’t have wide feet at all but I often had a bit of rubbing along my instep in my old shoes. These ones have a bit more space which means no rubbing and better breathability in warm weather.
Again, if you’re looking for minimalist running shoes, you won’t like these, but if you want a pair of maximalist shoes, I can’t see why you won’t love these unless you’re allergic to the Rainbow Bright aesthetic. They’re definitely on the heavy side for road shoes, but for me personally, the comfort outweighs the additional ounces. My only complaint really is that they’re so pretty I feel a bit sad when they get muddy.
Here’s how they performed:
Sizing and fit
These are true to size with a little extra width compared to previous models.
On Hoka’s Cushion Scale, these are rated plush and I honestly can’t think of a better word. The soft, thick sole absorbs impact and stays comfortable even for long road runs.
Like any good road running shoe, the mesh uppers and slightly more roomy design makes these great for hot days.
It might be a little too soon to tell how these will hold up, but so far so good. My last pair of Hoka’s saw the upper come away from the sole, but only after two years of regular use. Hoka claims these are more durable than previous models.
Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.