Hoka Bondi Updated Shoe Review

Posted on 03 January 2014

Happy New Year!   Wishing you all an epic 2014!

You may be in the market for new running shoes and have been hearing the buzz around maximum cushioned shoes.   We saw the trends change within the industry from minimalist to zero gravity to max cushioning and in 2014 there will be several new improved max cushion models from many manufacturers arriving on the scene including Hoka, Altra, Brooks, Vasque. At this point if you are an ultra runner or marathoner you have seen the funny rather large looking shoes many runners are using when toeing the line.    As a follow up to the Hoka Review May 2012, I wanted to provide some feedback after many questions from athletes with respect to sizing and durability. The two shoes compared were the Bondi 2 Road and Bondi 2 Speed. Characteristics based on my foot and may be helpful if you’re considering the shoes and have similarity:

  1. Very High Arches
  2. Wide Foot (D+)
  3. Midfoot strike
  4. Experience Fatigue/pain in midfoot on long runs/races (roads and trails)
  5. Experience numbness in midfoot after very long runs (multi day events)
  6. Purchase shoes a bit larger for foot swelling in long events
  7. Price factor compared to how many miles of use
  8. Sock bunching common with narrow foot box shoes
  9. Blisters from shoes
  10. Running socks were wool fabrics

The Bondi 2 Road shoe was used in a long race that consisted of half soft grass, level and half concrete.   It was a loop course thus 4 turns and foot shifting inside the shoe.   Some rain and mud occurred throughout the running so they were wet several days in a row until drying out.   After naturally foot swelling occurred several days into the race (shoes were purchased ½ larger) the outside and insides of the (see video) broke down and actually the seams broke which resulted in small holes.    This was a personal first in a race, but the length of the race might have had some affect.     Positively, I experienced no blisters of any significance and midcourt pain was manageable.    The shoes were used throughout the race. Bondi 2 Speed – used in the same race and conditions.   The seams inside the shoe (toe box) area) rubbed several toes to the point of the start of blisters.   The material used clearly looked the same as the Bondi B but is harder and less flexible.  Also, the other difference was that this shoe had elastic shoestrings with a plastic clip lock.   The fit was fine but clearly the shoe had a different feel on the foot and to fix the problem, used duct tape on the inside of the seams to reduce the rubbing.  This shoe clearly – same size as the Bondi B Road was bigger on my foot and more room in the toe box area, which caused foot slippage and movement. The benefits of the max cushioning will be felt in long running races, especially on the road however they are a different feel to the road.    It takes some time to get used to not “feeling” the road.    As we all know there is not a one-model/best shoe approach to running shoes.   The max cushioning offer benefits for the ultra runner especially if you have some of the characteristics listed above; however they must be evaluated with all the styles to get the best fit for your specific foot.  All of the manufacturers have been promoting making the shoes lighter and lighter to be comparable to a normal running shoe from years ago with a 11 oz. target weight but they heavier than a lightweight racing/training shoe (not a racing flat) and determinations need to be made based on comfort and speed.    Time will tell to see if the 2014 shoe trends continue to evolve to more cushioning. Please let me know your feedback with respect to max cushioned shoes:  Which Model are you using?  Which style?   Helpful for you or not?




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