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HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 - Women's Review

This is, hands down, the best maximalist shoe on the market
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Super padded, comfortable, very responsive for a maximalist shoe
Cons:  Heavy, a bit pricey
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Ally Meller ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2020
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Responsiveness - 25% 6
  • Landing Comfort - 25% 9
  • Weight - 20% 4
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Upper Comfort - 10% 8
  • Breathability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

HOKA knows how to make impressively plush runners, and the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 holds up to that reputation. The Bondi was the obvious choice for our Top Pick for Distance Award — they are padded to the nines and make it feel like you could keep running until there are simply no more miles left. Anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet will love the way the Bondi cushions each step. This pair of runners is the antithesis of a minimalist shoe and provides the right pep that sore legs need in their step. Nothing protects feet quite like these, so if you're looking for an ultra-comfy long-distance sidekick, check this one out.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

Whether you want a little bit of extra padding on your recovery days, impact reduction from everyday aches and pains, or a pair of shoes that will support you through everyday activities, this shoe is the choice for you! Don't let its clown-like countenance fool you — the Bondi 6 offers a stable and snug midfoot fit with ample toebox real estate. The EVA foam base is super-stacked, measuring 31 mm tall on the heel — oh so plush! The technology behind and cushioning beneath these kicks make the extra few ounces of weight worth it.

Performance Comparison


Does double the cushion equal double the fun? Our knees enthusiastically say yes. The Bondi plus a sandy surface feels like running on clouds.
Does double the cushion equal double the fun? Our knees enthusiastically say yes. The Bondi plus a sandy surface feels like running on clouds.

Responsiveness


As is expected, the Bondi isn't the most responsive shoe in our review. HOKA is making some big moves in this department, though. In the past, we've seen comfort at the expense of responsiveness, but times are changing with this pair of comfy, cozy slips. We are delighted with how responsive these shoes feel while also being ultra-padded and protective. Each step rolls into the next in a surprisingly responsive way.


The beefy base will feel weighty at first to runners who are accustomed to a more minimalist feel. But we promise that once you get the feel for these kicks, you'll never look back. They aren't our first choice for speed workouts and track days, but they are our go-to for recovery and long, slow distance days.

Not the most responsive but you'll get where you need to go.
Not the most responsive but you'll get where you need to go.

Landing Comfort


HOKA practically invented landing comfort, so the Bondi predictably earn a near-perfect score in this metric. Not only does the cotton candy filled base absorb all impact, but the internal structure is smooth and wonderfully comfortable. The Bondi is a 4mm drop shoe that provides runners with the ultimate luxury ride. While the intensity of the underfoot cushion and stack height takes some getting used to, once you adjust we think you'll be a fan — we certainly were.


These kicks are awesome for anyone with a history of overuse injuries, shin splints, joint pain, etc. We docked one point in this metric because the actual inner textile is rugged and inflexibly supportive, not soft or silky. The Bondi hold up, though, with plush landing comfort that will keep you floating over the road mile after mile.

Somewhat clunky but highly responsive  the Bondi feel like running on clouds; we may never take them off.
Somewhat clunky but highly responsive, the Bondi feel like running on clouds; we may never take them off.

Weight


Unsurprisingly, these shoes are HEAVY! This new iteration fits nearly identically to the previous model while weighing in just slightly higher. In this instance, we don't mind the weight. Outweighed by only a few pairs in this technologically advanced day and age, the Bondi 6 weighs in at nearly 9 ounces per shoe for a women's size 7.


We don't think these are great sprinting shoes, obviously, but they aren't meant for that either. The ultra-plush footbed adds weight, but on long-distance runs, we loved the cushion. The lack of joint impact we felt on our long runs negated the heavier weight and didn't make us feel weighed down. If you love cushion, this is a shoe to consider.

Luscious comfort and unending support helps make up for the heavy weight.
Luscious comfort and unending support helps make up for the heavy weight.

Durability


The durability of the Bondi help make them a smart purchase. The marshmallow-y foot base doesn't get pounded out, and the engineered mesh upper holds up even through rigorous training. Even the laces are amazingly durable which we really appreciate.


We tend to view durability as a major determinate of value. The longer the shoe lasts, the easier it is to justify a high price tag. The Bondi satisfies our desire for an ultra long-lasting shoe and then some.

Post-run stretch session with the best view. The Bondi 6 really holds up to the HOKA hype.
Post-run stretch session with the best view. The Bondi 6 really holds up to the HOKA hype.

Upper Comfort


Again, HOKA knocked it out of the park on this metric. The engineered mesh upper is snug yet spacious; we didn't feel any rubbing or hot spots as we adjusted to the novel fit of this maximal shoe. Other makes and models are softer and smoother, but the comfort here is on point. Even after long runs, we weren't dying to get these off our feet, a true indicator of well-designed comfort.


HOKA knows how to make shoes that are comfortable on both the bottom and the top. Long runs turned into après adventure beers with friends, and we never once thought about our feet. The lace and tongue combo — something we are picky about — is well made, and the laces don't cut in through the soft and squishy tongue. They stayed tied without needing adjustment, mile after mile.

360 degrees of comfy  cozy squish in the  albeit heavy  Bondi 6.
360 degrees of comfy, cozy squish in the, albeit heavy, Bondi 6.

Breathability


The Bondi offers a great balance of breathability and protection. Once you get used to the extra real estate, you will love running light trails in these crossover kicks. Their breathability makes them ideal for spring runs.


Our feet didn't overheat in these, but mud and moisture still stayed out. We tested more breathable pairs, but the upper mesh of the Bondi offers more protection from the elements than the others, making them a good balance.

Protective and breathable? Yes please!
Protective and breathable? Yes please!

Value


HOKA makes some durable shoes, and we salute them for it! Even though the price is on the higher side, we think shelling out the cash is worth it here. They hold up over the long term, and they can be used in a multitude of situations. Those qualities alone make them a great bang for your buck. The Bondi is yet another instance in which we feel the price is justified because it promotes a happy, healthy body. We truly cannot put a price tag on joints that don't ache after long runs, so, in that sense, these shoes pay for themselves in spades.

The Bondi is excellent for protecting the joints which helps make them worth their higher price tag.
The Bondi is excellent for protecting the joints which helps make them worth their higher price tag.

Conclusion


The HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 scored well in our tests and could very well be your go-to distance shoe. It took us a run or two to adjust to the unique architecture, but ultimately, these easily earned a place in our closet. They excel on days when your body is asking for a little bit more compassion. Never once did we feel like our joints were asking for a softer landing even though we tested these shoes almost exclusively on sidewalks. Long-distance queens are going to love the plush base and space provided by the Bondi. The fluffy undercarriage keeps lower back, knee, and foot pain to a minimum, so it's no wonder that these are also popular amongst people who work on their feet all day. From our perspective, we will never go on a recovery run again without these under our feet. Great for runners, walkers, and hard workers alike, anyone who spends a lot of time on their feel will be satisfied with their choice to purchase this Top Pick for Distance Award Winner.

The Bondis will forever be our favorite recovery day shoe. No one shoe even comes close to offering the cushion.
The Bondis will forever be our favorite recovery day shoe. No one shoe even comes close to offering the cushion.

Ally Meller