“The Bondi 5 improves massively over prior releases!”
Design Aesthetic — 5/5
Design Tech — 5/5
Fit and Comfort — 4.5/5
The Price — 4.5/5
Should You Buy? — Yes!
My History with the Hoka Bondi Series
Just a little over a year and a half ago, a podiatrist friend of mine suggested that I have a look at the Hoka One One series. As a supinator, I required a stable but max cushion shoe, a difficult combination to find.
After running for years with Asics Nimbus, I started to doubt that I would ever find the right footwear. My hips hurt, by ankles were taking a pounding – I was at a total loss, and ready to throw in the towel on running all together.
I did an extensive search and found a pair of the Bondi 4s, Hoka’s flagship max cushion design. I will never forget my first run in them. The ride was pillow soft. The extra height was a bit awkward initially, but something I got use to quickly. I was hooked! However, the Bondi 4s had their own set of problems.
Then and Now
Hoka constructed narrow toe boxes in most early editions of their shoes. Blisters and banged up toenails was a sacrifice I was willing to make for the deep plush ride. Several reviews suggested sizing up, advice I never took. Last year I tried the wide version, a decent solution at first, but resulted in too much foot room. Maybe I am just difficult to please?
The Bondi 5s came out in January, 2017. I ordered a pair from The Right Shoe, this time in a size 12.5 (a half inch up). After 50k, I have lots to say about this fabulous update!
Bondi 5 Aesthetic
The Hoka One One Bondi 5s come in eight (8) colours. I ordered the “Black Formula One.” I wanted the “Tile Blue Peacoat,” however, available stock in Canada was very limited.
Prior releases had very few colour options (grey, blue, and black – BORING). Hoka has clearly embraced an exuberant joie de vivre, evidenced by the nifty colour combinations by their creatives this year!
Hoka rates the Bondi 5 as, “moderately stable with plush cushion.” This is accomplished with the following tech:
- Full Midsole EVA
- Moderate Heel Bevel
- Open Engineered Mesh Construction
- 3D Puff Print Frame
- Molded Ortholite Sockliner
- Early-Stage Meta-Rocker
- Zonal Rubber Placement
- Flat-Waisted Geometry
Honestly, a few of the above tech phrases fly right over my head, nor does the Hoka website fully explain what each actually means. But that’s okay!
Changes to previous editions include, improved mesh in the toe box and the molded sockliner. The classic meta-rocker is carried into this year’s shoe, a feature I have not seen in any other brand.
Fit and Comfort
The Bondi 5 is a snug fit, especially noticeable in the heel. That translates into amazing ankle support. In previous models, I was worried about rolling my ankle, especially on trails, probably because the shoe makes you feel higher off the ground with the extensive EVA in the midsole. I have not had that sensation in this shoe.
On hot wether long run days, my feet feel overheated after about 20k. This problem is much improved this year, with the updated forefoot materials, but remains one noticeable design challenge. Breathability is sacrificed with the extensive support materials taking you through each stride.
The most important improvement is the wider toe box. I also went up a half inch in size to prevent my toes hitting the front of the shoe, a challenge resulting the death of a couple toenails. This year’s update both fits like a glove, but allows my forefoot to splay, preventing rubbing and blisters.
The 2017 Bondi 5 Hoka One One shoes are ideal for long distance road running. I excel at long slow distances – There is no other shoe that will get you through 3+ hour excursions.
The entire Hoka line is also adequate on trails. I suggest the Speedgoat series that also saw an update this year. The Speedboat is designed specifically for technical trail running. I suggest giving them a try if you are an avid back country runner.
I coughed up a pleasant $205.00 Loonies after tax. I’m Canadian and use to it, but no doubt, these puppies will set you back. On the other hand, you get a serious bang for your Loonie and will not regret the purchase. Do not bother purchasing last years model looking for a discount. The improvements for 2017 makes this an entirely different shoe experience!
Should I Buy?
The verdict is clear. This is the shoe to buy if you are a runner looking for max cushion. Furthermore, if you are a bigger runner, like myself, and/or you were gifted at birth with supination, there is no other shoe for you to consider.