The Hoka One One Bondi X is a carbon-bladed running shoe that’s as much about comfort as performance. Here’s how it fared in our full review.

Through the Bondi X, Hoka One One is seeking to infuse its widely lauded and ultra-comfortable Bondi shoe with the carbon plate technology that has seen records fall by the dozens in both running and triathlon worlds.

With comfort and efficiency top of the agenda, the Bondi X is a tempting proposition for Ironman and 70.3 athletes who want leg-saving impact reduction without sacrificing springy responsiveness.

In short, after over 150km in the shoe, that’s exactly what the Hoka Bondi X delivers.

Hoka One One Bondi X

Pros:

Long-distance comfort

Snappy responsiveness

Comfy, breathable upper

Cons:

White upper hard to keep clean

Some heel slip while walking

Price: £180

Hoka Bondi X Build and Fit

The upper of the Bondi X uses a mesh material for airiness with some reinforcing hot-melt strips to add a little structure. The tongue shows off Hoka’s attention detail, featuring lightweight, vented padding and a sculpted shape that curves comfortably around the front of the ankle with no rubbing while running. 

It’s also gusseted with thin elasticated panels anchored to the inside to keep the tongue centrally aligned and there’s even a reflective finish for those low-light runs. Combined with the flat laces and long eyelets the shoe locks down really well without causing any hotspots or irritation over the top of the foot.

The inside of the heel is padded to help comfortably to cosset the Achilles in protective luxury. Everyone’s foot shape is slightly different, but we experienced some heel slip while walking – however this became less noticeable when out running. From a triathlon-specificity point of view, the Bondi X also retains a heel loop, unlike many Hoka shoes, making it quick to get into in T2.

While this is a standard size D width, it actually feels a little wider than the likes of the Clifton in the same size, giving a little more room for toes to spread and adding to the overall comfort.

The Bondi X midsole uses Hoka’s lightest-ever EVA foam and sandwiched in the middle – just visible from the underside of the shoe – is the brand’s own carbon plate tech. The outsole uses strategically placed blown rubber on the hardest-working areas around the heel and forefoot.

Hoka Bondi X Running Performance

It was hard to know what to expect from the Bondi X given its mix of softness and PB-crushing carbon technology. Right from the first run, however, it was clear that the Bondi X is pulling off the unlikely trick of bringing these apparently disparate characteristics together to offer an outstanding combination of sumptuous comfort and snappy responsiveness.

There’s a springy efficiency that helps maintain a high turnover even at moderate speeds and the shoe as a whole urges you on to go that little bit further. It’s not all about distance though. The Bondi X is also great for speedwork – the peppiness of the carbon plate becoming more pronounced as you ask more of it.

Hoka One One Bondi X - Running
The Bondi X just makes you want to keep running. (Photo: Triathlon Vibe)

Thanks to Nike, the flared heel is an almost essential design cue of any carbon-enhanced running shoe. Here it’s employed as part of Hoka’s longstanding meta-rocker tech, which is designed to help the foot quickly rock from heel strike to toe-off with minimal resistance.

That’s not to say Hoka’s shoes are just for heel strikers, however. The running experience is just as intuitive for midfoot runners, promoting an efficient cadence without a clunky, flat heel getting in the way. The elongated heel design is also great when it comes to downhill running, enabling more controlled braking on descents.

Hoka One One Bondi X Heel
The flared heel doesn’t get in the way and also helps downhill running. (Photo: Triathlon Vibe)

At 319g for our UK10 shoes, the Bondi X is far from being a stripped-down racer. But the shoe wears its weight well, the springiness making it feel far lighter. In fact, there wasn’t a run where we wished for something more featherweight – and certainly not at the cost of the comfortable, efficient ride provided here.

As with the majority of the brand’s catalogue, the stack height is massive but any potential instability is countered by the shape which flares out from the upper to the ground, maximising surface area. This gives a really stable feel out on the road with a planted sensation on eat footstep.

Hoka One One Bondi X Running 1
The Bondi X gives a stable and responsive ride with plenty of impact protection. (Photo: Triathlon Vibe)

After over 150km, our Bondi X pair is faring well. The crosshatched grip patterning of the blown rubber pods is still visible over the vast majority of the outsole. There is some scuffing along the middle of the sole, where the EVA is textured but isn’t covered by rubber. 

Overall, though, the minimal signs of wear allay the fears that the Bondi X might’ve suffered from the ‘race-day only’ longevity issues that some carbon shoes have become known for. It’s also worth noting that the Bondi X is considerably cheaper than much of the carbon-plated competition, which only adds to the value here.

Run after run, the Bondi X has become our go-to choice. It’s utterly comfortable, breathable and gives a responsive and efficient ride that makes it the ideal partner for training and racing.

Overall Verdict

The Hoka One One Bondi X offers an almost alchemical blend of softness and responsiveness and is the ideal race shoe for triathletes who are as concerned with long-distance comfort as a speedy time.

This product was sent to Triathlon Vibe for testing and review.

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Triathlon Vibe is the home of triathlon training advice for beginner to expert triathletes. From sprint to Ironman, we share how to swim, bike and run stronger and faster.

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