Hoka Bondi X Review Analysis (2021)
Last update : December, 2021
The Hoka Bondi X is a maximal cushioning shoe for daily running with a carbon-fiber plate.
Should you get it? We’ve analyzed many reviews from expert and amateur athletes to help you decide.
The Hoka Bondi X is a great classic of the brand. Among running shoes already highly cushioned, the Bondi has one of the biggest stacks in the Hoka range (33 mm heel height)! This eighth version marks a significant evolution with the addition of a carbon plate in the midsole.
The testers enjoyed the outcome overall. They note a smooth and comfortable ride with just the right amount of bounce under the forefoot. The stiff plate helps compensate for the softness of the midsole. However, some runners doubt the new, much wider heel design, which can be disconcerting or impair stability. Furthermore, the shoe remains relatively heavy, with 300 g/10.6 oz for men and 257 g/9.1 oz for women.
Finally, the upper and outsole are no-frills, and that’s good: they are effective and tick all the boxes meet in terms of comfort, foot lockdown, grip, and durability.
In short, the Hoka Bondi X keeps its original DNA, but with a carbon plate! Fans of the collection will be delighted for their long runs. At $200 (base price), it will be more challenging to convince others!
Please read our full review of the Hoka Bondi X for more information.
- Soft and very comfortable cushioning
- Great comfort for long runs
- More responsive and smoother ride than before thanks to the plate
- Effective and comfortable foot lockdown overall
- A wide shoe that will suit wide feet
- The large, wide, and soft heel is not for everyone
- Heavy shoe
- Steep price increase from version 7
Hoka Bondi X Complete Review Analysis
Storm warning for Bondi! Marked under the sign of the X for its eighth edition (2021), we suspected that Hoka One One—recently rebranded to simply Hoka as many runners had already done unofficially before—was preparing something special. After a Bondi 7 almost identical to the Bondi 6, it was time for a significant change.
Drum roll: the Hoka Bondi X now boasts a carbon plate! There, we said it! So right off the bat, our reaction is to think that it’s in the trend. After conquering the world of trail running (see The North Face Flight Vectiv), brands are now exploring the use of carbon plates for daily trainers.
So the real question is: what’s the impact on the Hoka Bondi X? We have analyzed the reviews available to date to answer this question.
Hoka said the Bondi X had the softest foam the brand has ever created. In practice, the CMEVA is a traditional foam that does the job but gets a bit old even if it has evolved.
Thus, the testers confirm its incredible softness under the foot but do not find it particularly bouncy. 2021 is the year of the so-called “supercritical” foams like Nike’s ZoomX, and we’re still waiting for Hoka’s reply with new cutting-edge technology.
In terms of stack height, the sole reaches 33 mm under the heel and 28 mm under the metatarsals (5 mm drop). So the cushioning is maximal for comfortable shock absorption. Combined with the soft underfoot feel, it makes the Hoka Bondi X the ideal recovery shoe, even if it obviously intends to accomplish much more than that.
The breaking news on this model is the carbon plate to boost responsiveness. This type of technology usually equips competition shoes. Still, in the case of the Bondi X, it seems that Hoka One One made this decision to compensate for the very soft cushioning of the midsole by giving it a better structure.
We’ll see the result in more detail in the section on the ride, but overall, testers liked this addition. Indeed, they found that the carbon plate allowed a much snappier toe-off.
However, some runners found that the heel was just too soft and wide for optimal cushioning. Heel-strikers may be reassured by the wide (Swallow Tail), and well-padded (Crash Pad) platform, but others may find it awkward.
To be seen.
Foot lockdown (upper)
The upper of the Hoka One One Bondi X is undoubtedly one of its great strengths. It features a classic design with a well-made engineered mesh with hot mel yarn that provides excellent support for the foot. The semi-rigid, padded internal heel counter helps to lock in the foot.
The shoe looks massive, and the in-shoe feel matches this impression: there’s space! According to testers, the toe box is one of the most spacious ever seen on a Hoka shoe. It will reassure those with wide feet.
The downside is that runners who, on the other hand, have thinner feet might have some difficulty to properly adjust the pressure of the laces and prevent the foot from moving while running. We’ve seen several comments on the subject, so this is something to watch out for if you’re in that situation.
The weight of the shoe is still a bit high even if there’s an improvement: the Hoka One One Bondi X weighs now 300 g/10.6 oz (men’s model) against 323 g/11.4 oz for the Bondi 7, making it closer to the Bondi 6 (306 g/10.8 oz).
Finally, the breathability is adequate: the foot is well-ventilated in the shoe, according to the testers, despite the dense construction of the mesh and its few overlays. Bonus: the tongue is fully reflective.
Hoka crafted a neat upper for the Bondi X, although you’ll have to try the shoes first if you have narrow feet.
Grip and durability
The outsole of the Hoka Bondi X has a good amount of rubber to provide protection and traction. Even if some foam areas are in direct contact with the asphalt, testers did not note any particular durability issues.
So the setup is practical and classic. The platform is not very flexible, but this is mainly due to the carbon plate. It’s the price to pay for a better energy return!
As you can see, the big news on the Hoka Bondi X is the carbon plate.
Simply put, this new model is still clearly a Bondi at heart, but the plate allows, according to testers, to get a more responsive ride especially under the forefoot. So it’s an improvement, and die-hard fans will no doubt appreciate the evolution of their favorite model.
However, testers remain doubtful about the shoe’s purpose: is it a trainer, or should it be seen as a comfort option for competition? Playing a little bit of both sides, runners criticize the Bondi X for not excelling in any area. We may have a case of Jack of All Trades… on our feet.
Also, as noted above, some runners felt the heel was too soft and wide, which would create a slight imbalance.
Overall, the Bondi X appears like a high-end “cruiser” for long distances at intermediate paces. For example, a long run in preparation for a half or marathon seems ideal, provided you like soft cushioning, of course.
The new Hoka Bondi X succeeds in taking the series a level higher with an audacious move to the carbon side of the run. The plate adds a good bounce to the cushioning, lacking in the previous versions.
Also, the signature soft cushioning of the flagship model of Hoka is still there.
However, the main weakness of the shoe remains its weight. It’s heavy, and we don’t see why it has to be like this.
Finally, the bill stings a little at $220, especially for a trainer which is a bit clunky for speed sessions.
|Heel stack height||33 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||28 mm|
|Weight (men)||300 g/10.6 oz|
|Weight (women)||257 g/9.1 oz|
|Softness (1-5)||1 – Very soft|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Outsole||Rubber, Full Ground Contact|
|Midsole||CMEVA, Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry, Carbon plate|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon|
|Workout||Daily runs, recovery|
Comparisons – Hoka Bondi X vs.:
Hoka Bondi 7
Testers unanimously noted a clear improvement from one model to the next. The Bondi X is lighter, more responsive, and (icing on the cake) offers even softer cushioning than the Bondi 7.
There’s one significant difference: the price, which rises from $220 to $150. We’ll be honest; we don’t think it’s worth it.
Hoka Clifton 8
See the side-by-side comparison with our comments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Bondi X fits true to size so that you can choose your usual size for Hokas. However, the upper is roomy, especially the toe box, so it’s best to try it on if possible if you have narrow feet.
It’s a universal shoe for all runners. The stability is good, but the massive heel may bother some people. So try it if you overpronate.
The Bondi X is a good option for the marathon with its comfortable cushioning, effective lockdown, and carbon plate. However, it’s not a competition shoe, so it may not be the best choice for experienced athletes chasing a new record.
Official site: Hoka.com
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.