An Honest Hoka Bondi 8 Review Before You Buy

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Known for their unrivaled (and yes, maybe a bit ~dramatic~) supportive midsoles and rocker shape, Hoka is *the* shoe brand you want if you’re a serious walker or long-distance runner. Ultralight, breathable and highly cushioned, Hoka running shoes are designed for best-in-class comfort and response to give you the bounce you need. especially if you are looking for recovery footwear.

The slickest of all the Hoka styles is the Bondi, a bestseller trusted by runners and walkers alike (and celebrities like Britney Spears and Cameron Diaz) for its dreamy fit and performance. It’s so good it’s earned the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance. So it’s no surprise that the brand is on its eighth iteration: The Bondi 8 ($165).

What’s new

The Bondi 8, which hit shelves on July 17, offers some exciting new enhancements, including an extended heel for added stability, foam that’s even lighter than the Bondi 7 (but firmer, which the corridors) and a pillow-y, not-move the tongue.

My experience using the Bondi 8

For the past five months, my favorite walking shoe has been the Bondi 7 ($160). I don’t really run outside of my OrangeTheory classes (and even that’s a new development), so I can’t speak to running performance. However, I do a batch of walking: about three miles every day with my dogs, mostly on sidewalks, but sometimes through grassy parks and dirt trails (never on hikes though, and I’ll explain that in a bit). The v7 has changed lives. I have never worn a shoe that is so elastic, that absorbs shocks and, at the same time, stabilizes. When you have two powerful 90-pound breeds that just want to GO, you need a shoe that will honestly keep you safe.

@ginavaynshteyn♬ Island in the sun – Weezer

At first glance, I was surprised at how cartoonishly thick the foam is, it’s even more intense than the Bondi 7. But a minute into my power/hot chick/dog ride, and I was good to go. I completed my standard 3 mile tour of the neighborhood and loved how comfortable they were. The memory foam collar alone is a big selling point – a lot of sneakers leave my Achilles tendon sore from excessive friction – but the material is so soft and cushiony I felt like I was wearing marshmallows.

The cushioned EVA midsoles and outsoles are obviously the stars of the show, giving me incredible support, rebound, and protection. Energy return is definitely on the higher side, which is ideal for my needs (a comfortable shoe that allows me to walk at least three miles without stopping, sometimes on volatile surfaces). The Bondi 8 has the tallest stacked height, which might not be ideal for sprinting (and definitely not for strength training or hiking—you’re likely to lose your balance big time). Like I said before, I’ll ride on grass and dirt, but never on a steep incline.

hoka bondi 8

The shoe also fits expertly. The memory foam collar hugs my ankles and the tongue doesn’t slide to one side or the other (maybe it’s just me, but tongues that can’t stay still are really distracting). The mesh upper is really airy, so when I get home after about 45 minutes in 80-degree heat, my feet aren’t gross or boggy. These required no break-in time, and my feet really feel less pain after using them.

If you have wide feet…

You’ll probably want to go for the wide or extra wide fit – the Bondi 8 is a bit narrower than its predecessor. That’s a note I’ve seen come up constantly while researching the shoe. “As a woman with wide, troubled feet, it’s not easy to find a men’s 84E from any brand. Hoka delivered the perfect shoe for my foot shape in the Bondi v7. When I first saw the v8, I thought they had done again. But it’s a trick of the eye. The knit upper (bad for sneaker talk) is actually (or farels like) slightly narrower in the forefoot. The base/fabric is narrower in the midsole. It’s a slightly straighter cut, even though the foam underneath seems to provide a wider base and the same width on top,” one customer writes.

For what it’s worth, I’d say I have “average” feet (not too narrow, not too wide), and the regular fit was perfect for me.

hoka bondi 8

What activities are the Bondi 8 best for?

The Hoka website recommends the Bondi 8 for “everyday running, walking and comfort.” While I’ve only tried them while walking, I’ve read countless reviews stating that they are truly a dream for recovery walks and post-workout runs, especially if you’re in pain.

final thoughts

I’m going to have a hard time switching to another shoe brand for all my walking attempts, let alone deciding between v7s and v8s. But the more difficult those decisions become, the more likely it is that you’ve created a really solid shoe line. Happy ride!

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These products are independently selected by our editors. Making a purchase through our links may generate a commission for Well+Good.

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