Tis' the season for new Hoka releases, as this Hoka Bondi 8 review exemplifies; the ink on my Hoka Mach 5 review hasn't even dried yet! There is no time to rest, though, as Hoka is back with another completely overhauled shoe, the Bondi 8, the brand's ultra-cushioned daily trainer – and it's a doozy!
Although I don't think the Hoka Bondi 8 are the best running shoes to get right now, they aren't totally without merits: the new Glide+ foam is softer and more responsive than the Bondi 7's Glide; the extended heel geometry helps you land smoother; the shoes also feature more recycled content than before.
Should you get a pair? Read on to find out!
Hoka Bondi 8 review: Price and availability
The Hoka Bondi 8 was launched on 15 July 2022 in the US and 1 August in the UK/AU and is available to buy directly from Hoka US (opens in new tab) and Hoka UK (opens in new tab) for a recommended retail price of $165/£145. Hoka sells its shoes via The Athlete's Foot in Australia; the Bondi 8 has an RRP of AU$269.99. If you're viewing this review from Down Under, check the price widget at the top and bottom of this review for the latest prices.
Third-party retailers such as Sportsshoes.com (opens in new tab) (retailer link) also carry the shoes and often sell them for less; Case in point, the predecessor of the Bondi 8, the not-too-shabby Bondi 7, is currently under offer and sells for £90.99.
Also consider the Bondi X, a shoe that I reviewed (opens in new tab) for our sister site Techradar, that uses a similar geometry to the Bondi 7 but has a carbon plate for better propulsion. The Bondi X originally sold for $200 / £180 / AU$349.95, but you can get it for much less nowadays.
Hoka Bondi 8 review: What's new?
The Hoka Bondi 8 introduces some big changes in design compared to its predecessor.
Probably the biggest change is the introduction of the new Glide+ foam that's said to be softer, lighter and more resilient than the one used for the Bondi 7. It's still CMEVA, Hoka's proprietary foam, but it feels softer due to the bellowed midsole and extended heel landing zone.
This extended heel geometry is also new: Hoka describes it as a "rear crash pad that affords an incredibly soft and balanced ride from heel strike to forefoot transition." The Bondi features a fluffy, pillowed tongue, and the shoes Include recycled content in the engineered mesh, eyestay lining, Ortholite Hybrid sockliner, and tongue.
The Bondi 8 is slightly heavier than the Bondi 7 – I assume due to the sole that's getting bigger at each iteration – and weighs 12 oz/339 g (men’s US 10.5/UK 10). The Bondi has a 4 mm drop (33mm heel, 29mm forefoot) which is the same as the Bondi 7.
Hoka Bondi 8 review: Fit
Based on how the Hoka Bondi 8 looks, you'd think it'll provide similarly plush comfort as the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v12 or the Asics Gel-Nimbus 24. Well, you're wrong! The shoes have a low profile and tight upper that sits very close to the skin and runs way below the ankles.
It's a bit strange if you ask me as I'd imagine people want to use these shoes for training, not racing, so the tight upper feels unnecessary. The toe box is more tapered than the Mach 5 – it definitely looks narrower, thanks to the wide midsole. The tongue is super puffy and thick – certainly a departure from other Hoka shoes and an effort from Hoka to provide a plush running experience.
Hoka claims the Bondi 8 has a more precise internal collar foam for "enhanced comfort". The heel collar runs really low around the heels and is well-padded – excellent if you don't like any obstructions around your ankle bones. There is a heel pull tab to help you grab that heel, and the heel counter itself is firm but comfortable.
The midsole is somewhat flexible under the forefoot but not under the midsection/heel, as there is just so much foam under those areas.
Hoka Bondi 8 review: Running performance
One of the key differences between the Bondi 7 and Bondi 8 is the all-new lighter, more resilient Glide+ foam, as mentioned above. It's said to be more resilient than the Glide foam used in the Bondi 7 and has an improved geometry; just look at that extended heel with the 'billowed grooves' – it really does look like a rear crash pad, as Hoka likes to call this area.
The Hoka Bondi 8 provides a slower running experience than the Mach 5, which is not all that surprising, considering the Mach 5 is for racing/tempo training. That said, the Bondi 8 is springier than its predecessor, and the billowed foam feels stable underfoot. Thanks to the extra width, the shoes allow you to focus less on your stride and how you land – a bit like having the training wheels on.
Despite the tight upper, running in the shoes is comfortable, mainly because of all the foam. Heel-to-toe transition is smooth, but there is less propulsion due to the lack of carbon plate. I had a couple of longish runs in the shoes, and the grip felt okay; slightly better than the Mach 5, actually, as the Durabrasion outsole has loads of rubber in the right areas.
Hoka Bondi 8 review: Verdict
It's both easy and hard to recommend the Hoka Bondi 8.
The shoes are soft, well-cushioned and a joy to run in; as long as you don't mind the tight upper, which will only be the issue if you have wide feet. The new foam and the extended heel geometry of the Bondi 8 make heel-to-toe transitions even smoother than before; good news for runners the shoes are designed for (i.e. people who train long distances).
On the other hand, there are other, non-Hoka trainers that provide a plusher ride (New Balance 1080v12) or have more comfortable uppers (Gel-Nimbus 24), which makes it harder to justify the asking price of the Bondi 8.
However, if you need shoes that have an eye-catching design, the Bondi 8 should be on top of your list: whenever I wore them to the office, people commented on them and how unique they looked. If you want to stand out from the Nike/Adidas trainer crowd and need shoes for slower, longer runs, get the Bondi 8. Simple as that.
Hoka Bondi 8 review: Also consider
The On Cloudmonster has the best rebound of all the On running shoes thanks to the added CloudTec midsole and the springy Speedboard. The Cloudmonster might look like a tank, but it's actually the softest On running shoe to date. It's similarly tight and foamy as the Bondi 8, too.
The Adidas Solarglide 5 is an excellent max cushioned daily trainer for style-conscious runners – just like the Bondi 8! The Bubble Boost midsole provides a good bounce, while the L.E.P. system ensures beginner runners won't stray too far off the optimal course. The Solarglide 5 is the new unisex Ultraboost without the premium price tag.