I have been hearing a lot of positive reports on the neutral running shoe Bondi 6 from the French brand Hoka One One – some comments are even so positive that it seems too good to be true. I, therefore, naturally had to test this! Here you will get my review of the comfort-king, the Hoka One One Bondi 6.
The Bondi 6 is part of the Hoka GLIDE collection, which is a selection of running shoes with maximal midsole and a light weight. Besides comprising the Hoka One One Bondi 6, it also has the Hoka One One Arahi 4, which my colleague, Julie, has written a review on here.
At first eyesight, the Bondi 6 might seem a bit extreme and clumsy, which is because of the mass-padded sole. And this is even despite the fact that chunky shoes have been a fashionable trend for the past couple of seasons now. I was a bit sceptical, as surely this great amount of foam would take away any feeling with the underlying surface, right? I will get back to an answer on this later in the review!
The Hoka One One Bondi 6 is made of an EVA MARSHMALLOW midsole in the full-length of the shoe to give maximal shock absorption and fantastic comfort. Hoka has really managed to pull this one off! When you first try on the shoes, you really feel – as the name suggests – the super soft marshmallow effect. Every stride feels comfortable and responsive.
The Bondi 6 has a relatively low heel drop of 4mm, which is common for tempo and race day shoes with a more minimalistic sole. The amount of foam in the Bondi 6 is, however, so great that you do not get constrained to only using the midfoot and forefoot, as you otherwise would with a normal low heel drop running shoe. This also means that the Hoka One One Bondi 6 is gentler to the calf muscles and does not require any getting used to in the same way as a race day shoe, for example. When that is said, it is always a good idea to gradually phase in a new model in your daily training, to let your tendons and muscles adapt to the changed comfort.
The upper on the Hoka One One Bondi 6 is made of a thin mesh with tiny air holes spread over the instep and the forefoot. This draws away any sweat and provides a good breathability for the feet. The otherwise delicate mesh is strengthened by a rubber-reinforcement, which goes all the way around the edge and gives a locked-in feeling. I like the flat laces as I often lace my shoes quite tightly and I sometimes find that the round laces ‘drill’ into my skin, which feels uncomfortable and leave marks.
The construction of the Bondi 6 feels durable, which you definitely should not underestimate when picking your next running shoe. Because then you can use the shoe for longer and enjoy the greater value for money.
The heel cap has an internal heel counter, which hugs around the heel and the Achilles tendon. Overall, I am satisfied with the shoe’s fit, but I have to admit that it is hard to concentrate on the fit when there is so much exciting going on in the sole!
SUPER GENTLE RUNNING BUDDY
As mentioned, I was a bit sceptical when hearing things like ‘the Bondi 6 feels like running on skies’ and ‘with the Bondi 6, I never get tired on the run’ because it sounds too good to be true. I have throughout my time owned a lot of running shoes, and even though I prefer maximum shock absorption, I have always avoided running shoes with a soft sole like the Hoka One One Bondi 6, as I feared they would not give me enough support and traction with the surface. But I am over the moon! The Bondi 6 delivers the most luxurious responsive ride, I have ever experienced.
If you are dealing with sore knees during and after the run, then Hoka One One Bondi 6 will become your new best friend. The sole delivers maximum comfort at every landing and absorbs the shock that goes through your body at landing. I found the shoe very bouncy and comfortable to run in. My knees do not feel quite as sore after the run, and I believe this is due to 1) the thick sole, which takes a lot of the strain on the body at landing and 2) the fact that I do not use as much energy at every launch as I would with other running shoes. For these reasons, I will agree that the Bondi 6 feels like running on skies, as you receive an incredible return of energy on your run. Especially uphill, I feel an effortlessness due to the great amount of spring in the cushioned sole.
I have tested the Hoka One One Bondi 6 on asphalted roads, gravel roads, and flat forest terrain. It is almost self-explanatory that the Bondi 6 is best on the hard asphalt due to the springy sole that provides a good responsiveness. In addition, asphalt is flat, which makes it easier to run on when you are dealing with such a compact sole.
I feel like I lose a bit of control when I run on soft surfaces at a high speed, as the thick sole does not offer the same feeling with the surface as the minimalist running shoe I recently tested does – feel free to compare here. If you are dealing with weak ankles, then you need to be careful when running on an uneven and soft surface, and when you are making a turn in the Bondi 6.
With its soft and incredibly springy comfort, the Hoka One One Bondi 6 is ideal for longer runs in a nice and calm tempo – primarily on asphalted roads. This is not to say that you cannot run shorter runs in a moderate tempo, but the comfort in the Bondi 6 simply makes it a joy to embark on the longer runs because it is gentle and provides a great return of energy at every stride.
If you prefer a rigid to hard sole with quick responsiveness, then the Hoka One One Bondi 6 will probably not be for you. With the thick, soft MARSHMALLOW sole, the Bondi 6 is super bouncy and gentle for the joints and an ideal running shoe for longer runs in a calm tempo. It is, in particular, on asphalted roads that the Bondi 6 proves its worth as one of the, categorically, most comfortable training shoes mile after mile! This running shoe offers a breath of fresh air for the run and is a fun alternative to the moderately-padded running shoes, since this shoe is so different and extremely springy.
Have I piqued your interest in Hoka One One? Then check out our overview of the best Hoka One One models right here!
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