Hoka One One Bondi Speed running shoe review

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Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I get to try out a lot of different shoes. Lately that’s meant a number of minimalist shoes. It’s rare that I find something “completely different” on the running shoe market. But the search is always fun!

However, when I was given the chance to try out the Bondi Speed made by Hoka One One I discovered an entirely new running experience.

When I opened the shoe box I was stunned. This shoe….looks….weird. Sorry, but I can’t find another way to describe the appearance of Hoka One One operating under the paradigm of opening shoe boxes to find tiny minimalist shoes of late. These Hoka One One’s were BIG. Really big. Like, moon boot big.

Don’t get me wrong. The colors are nice and it’s a cool looking shoe… but they’re BIG.

My first thought: “How am I going to run in these things? I bet they weigh a ton.”

Hoka One One says:

The word Hoka One One is derived from the ancient Maori language and roughly translates to “now it is time to fly”. That’s just how it feels to run in a pair of Hoka One One shoes. With each and every step your foot takes flight.

I was skeptical.

Surprise #2 (#1 was the appearance): The Bondi Speeds are light! Their appearance is deceptive. The shoe weighs in at an efficient 9.5 oz. Considering the size of the shoe I’m still not sure how its so light – but it is. Hope renewed. Maybe I COULD run in these after all.

Here’s a little about the shoe from Hokaoneone-na.com:

COMFORT AND CUSHIONING: The midsole foam is 30% softer than the material used in traditional running shoes, and there is 2.5 times more volume than in most running shoes. The extra cushioning dissipates up to 80% of the shock associated with heel striking when running and allows for as much as 20mm of compression in the heel, plus extra protection allowing you to soar over asphalt surfaces.

ROCKERED MIDSOLE GEOMETRY & LOW HEEL-TOE DIFFERENTIAL: A 4.5mm heel to toe drop and rockered profile creates a unique rolling motion that encourages proper form by allowing a runner to easily strike the ground near the midfoot.

CONTROL: The unique, patented bucket seat is recessed up to 20mm within the midsole unit so as to best position your foot for optimum precision. This high degree of control also ensures you maintain responsive contact with the ground at all times.

STABILITY: The 25% wider outsole platform is designed to counterbalance the excess height of the oversized midsole. This large surface area ensures that you will maintain a stable footing, no matter how hard you run.

SUPERIOR TRACTION: The outsole is specially designed for use on the road, the high surface volume of the lug pattern as well as the shallow treads ensure good grip on even wet surfaces and high levels of abrasion resistance even when you push your shoes to the limit.

FEATHERLIGHT WEIGHT: Relative to its size, lighter than most road running shoes at less than 10 ounces, they make running uphill as much fun as they make running downhill and with less body fatigue.

BENEFITS: Engineered for maximum cushioning, comfort, protection and energy return, while still offering lightweight, nimble performance and uninhibited movement. Run more efficiently with less injury and quicker recovery.

Surprise #3: I was even more surprised by the shoes comfort than by it’s speed. When I put these on and walked around the house I started to get excited about going for a run. The extra cushioning felt great and the modest gradient from heel to toe felt very similar to some of the zero drop I’ve been wearing.

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No more surprises: The Bondi Speed felt great on the road. I’ve run in them a number of times now and am pleased with their performance. They are  noticeably different, but in a good way. The extra size adds some stability and the cushioning is a nice change from recent trend towards less cushioning. I found that my paces remained the same in this BIG shoe. The major difference maker for the Bondi Speed is the cushioning. It’s as close to running on air as you’re likely to come.

The Bondi speed is Hoka One One’s “Tri” shoe so it comes equipped with a quick lacing system. A nice touch. They also have an Ortholite sock liner and minimal tongue, both of which make sockless running more comfortable. Perhaps in future editions they will also add drainage holes in the bottom of the shoe.

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Overall impression: I like it. It’s a nice edition to my running shoe arsenal that I’ll likely use for longer runs and for when I’m nursing tweaks and nagging injuries. It could just as easily be a race shoe though.

I love you,

– Daddy

* I was given this shoe for purposes of this review: however, I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review and my opinions are my own.