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HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 Review

This is a dependable shoe that will keep you stable and kicking for miles.
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Flashy, superior responsiveness, steady performance, tough
Cons:  Can feel clunky, heavier than other HOKA models, limited padding
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Ryan Baham ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 30, 2019
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72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 17
  • Responsiveness - 25% 8
  • Landing comfort - 25% 7
  • Weight - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6
  • Upper comfort - 10% 7
  • Breathability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

HOKA ONE ONE has a lot of offerings that suit a lot of different needs, but the Bondi 6 is among the best for the average runner looking for a pair of stable running shoes for any type of running. Their midsole is billed as plush, but we were delighted to find that they were a bit more firm than plush, keeping them fast and responsive without sacrificing comfort. Overall, they had super reliable performance across all of our measures. Read on to dig into the details.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Flashy, superior responsiveness, steady performance, toughFlashy, fast, extra comfortable upper and landingStable, super comfortable upper, breathable, stylishAffordable racing flats, more comfortable updated design, lightResponsive, supportive fit, roomy toebox, flashy, lightweight, springy
Cons Can feel clunky, heavier than other HOKA models, limited paddingOn the heavier side, can feel too stiff, premium priceClunky, may wear down quickly, priceyLimited durability, less attractive, less responsiveOutsole picks up rocks and gravel, toebox can be too flexible, tongue can rub
Bottom Line This is a dependable shoe that will keep you stable and kicking for miles.It doesn’t get much better than these plush speedsters.Best choice for a comfortable, stable distance shoe.Fast racing flats that will get you across the line in comfort.A fast, high performance shoe best suited to mid-distance.
Rating Categories HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14 Brooks Glycerin 17 Brooks PureFlow 7 On Cloud X
Responsiveness (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
Landing Comfort (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Weight (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
Durability (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
Upper Comfort (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Breathability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 Nike Air Zoom... Brooks Glycerin 17 Brooks PureFlow 7 On Cloud X
Weight (oz per pair for size 11) 24.3 oz 22.3 oz 23.2 oz 20.8 oz 17.8 oz
Toe to Heel Drop 4 mm 10 mm 10 mm 4 mm 6 mm
Width Options Regular, Wide Regular, Wide, Extra Wide Regular, Wide Regular Regular
Style (Traditional, Minimalist, etc.) Maximalist Traditional Neutral Neutral Neutral
Sizes Available 7 - 15 6 - 15 7 - 15 7 - 14 7-13
Upper Material Mesh Mesh Synethetic Stretch weave Synthetic
Midsole Material EVA Nike React DNA Loft BioMoGo DNA EVA
Sole Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber Blown carbon Rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

It should come as no surprise that the Bondi 6s rank near the top of our analysis. HOKA ONE ONE generally does a great job of creating fast, stable shoes - they're meant for ultra-marathoners. The Bondi 6s use fine craft to subtly steady the gait with its overall supportive design, aided by features like the well-engineered heel counter and HOKA's Meta-Rocker geometry. But it's not all just about stability. We go into detail about the rest of its great qualities in our findings throughout the rest of the review.

Performance Comparison


We set the Bondi 6s up alongside some of the best running shoes available today to see how they stacked up. Read on to see how they did!

Responsiveness


The maximalist Bondi 6 uses a full-length compression-molded EVA midsole to get the same material pop as top-scoring stability models, but it uses a few other simple design features to lock it down into one of the most responsive models in our review. Those features include the refined early stage Meta-Rocker, a forgiving internal heel counter, and HOKA's beveled heel, among others. The result is a product that sticks to the foot and kicks back what you put into it. If you're a marathoner or just need the extra cushion under foot, these might be a good bet, though they feel firm enough for a sprint, so don't be afraid of them on shorter runs.

It should go without saying that the Bondi 6s were among the most responsive running shoes around.
It should go without saying that the Bondi 6s were among the most responsive running shoes around.

Landing Comfort


These are practical shoes that land just fine: Want a running shoe with will cushion your feet for a four-hour run without sapping away energy? How about 35mm of firm compression-molded EVA across the entire sole, give or take 2mm on either side? That's the Bondi 6 and there's just enough give and just enough return to make it comfortable for any running pursuit. Their low drop of 4mm also means that they don't force any sort of landing, plus there's enough cushioning to pad you no matter how you land.

33mm at the toe and 37mm at the heel...these are great landers.
33mm at the toe and 37mm at the heel...these are great landers.

Weight


These aren't the lightest HOKA offering, but at 24.3oz in a pair of men's 11, they're lighter than some of the stability and heavy underfoot cushion models. The maximalist design means that the nearly uniform stack height is about 37mm at the heel and 33mm at the toe, so each step is maximally padded. To put that in context, the Top Pick for Stability, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19, has a heel sitting at about 30mm and a toe at 18mm, yet it still weighs half an ounce more. So all things considered, the Bondi 6 isn't crazy heavy.

24.3 ounces in a pair of men's 11 puts these on the heavier side  but your tradeoff is all the cushion and landing comfort.
24.3 ounces in a pair of men's 11 puts these on the heavier side, but your tradeoff is all the cushion and landing comfort.

Durability


HOKA tends to use a good combination of coarse mesh to keep the upper in working condition for a few seasons, and a ton of midsole, which ends up reducing the wear not just on your joints, but also on the rest of the shoe - the marshmallow of a midsole eats the excess energy and percussion. The one detractor here is that the outsole's design has a few raised impact areas that will end up taking more abuse than the surrounding areas, so you can expect those to wear down faster than the rest of the midsole and erode the overall shoe performance.

Hoka could stand to add a little reinforcement to the outsole of the Bondi 6s.
Hoka could stand to add a little reinforcement to the outsole of the Bondi 6s.

Upper Comfort


Again with the utilitarian design. They have pretty basic padding, a roomy toebox, and a pretty decent sockliner. The one caveat here is that the lasting and insole work together to give the shoe a sculpted feel, which can be distracting or uncomfortable if your foot doesn't match that shape (as was the case with our reviewer). Still, it's the right amount of stripped-down for doing lots of miles out in the heat.

Thin padding with a nice sockliner is the way to go for a practical upper.
Thin padding with a nice sockliner is the way to go for a practical upper.

Breathability


Most of the midfoot, forefoot, and toe is covered by light mesh that helps pull out heat and moisture. There's only a small part of the midfoot that has 3D print, which limits heat and moisture exchange and the modest padding in the tongue also captures a little heat and moisture. But the mesh has wide holes, and the sockliner is thin enough that the heat retention isn't very serious. Overall, it's a pretty breathable running shoe.

Value


In the world of high-performance running shoes, these run right around the upper limit of reasonable. The Bondis are just high-performance enough to justify the price. But don't be shy about trying to find a deal on them before you open your wallet.

Conclusion


The HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 6 really can be just about everything for just about everyone. They hold respectably high marks across all of our performance measures, hitting the highest in the responsiveness category. It's no mystery that the broad, thick compression-molded EVA is a natural stabilizer, but it's the midsole's poppy, but forgiving firmness and unique design features like the early stage Meta-Rocker that put these up over the competition. They also came close to the performance of a racing flat, even when we took them out for track sprints, which are downright unpleasant in traditional stability shoes. And of course, they're long-distance running shoes designed for those crazy ultra-marathoners, but they comfortably accommodate pretty much any road pursuit you'd like.

As common as HOKAs are  their maximalist design still looks pretty radical  but they feel great.
As common as HOKAs are, their maximalist design still looks pretty radical, but they feel great.


Ryan Baham