The Hoka One One Bondi X is designed to bring carbon tech to long-run comfort. We take the Bondi X for a first-impressions run.
Combining the luxurious cushioning the brand is famed for along with the snap and efficiency of a carbon blade, the Hoka Bondi X sets out its stall as the ultimate running shoe for long-course triathletes. We’ve just got our feet into a pair of Hoka’s latest big launch – so how do they feel on that all-important first run?
Right out the box, the Bondi X looks the part. With a thick midsole, flared heel and lightweight upper, the shoe bears all the hallmarks of other recent super shoes. The midsole is made of the lightest EVA foam Hoka has ever used – and that’s a good thing as there’s a lot of it employed here. The heel has become a common feature on Hokas shoes, helping heel strikers – and fatigued triathletes deep into a race – get through the gait cycle with minimal braking forces.
They also feel light in the hand despite the chunky looks and high stack. Our size 10 (UK) pair tipped the scales at 319g, which is heavier than Nike’s super-shoe efforts yet more cushioned, designed to last longer and considerably cheaper.
Slipping into the Bondi X, the step-in comfort is obvious at once as the feet sink sumptuously into the soft insole. Meanwhile the padded, sculpted tongue and large bumper of padding around the inside of the heel hug the foot reassuringly as you cinch the laces down.
It’s also worth noting that although the Bondi X comes in a regular D width, it seems a bit roomier than the likes of the Clifton for the same size – somewhere between the slimmer fit of that shoe and its wide option equivalent.
So, how did the Bondi X fare on the road for the first time? Put simply, they immediately felt great. They are indeed highly cushioned as the Bondi name and silhouette suggest but definitely don’t feel soggy and lifeless. In some ways they’re a little bit like a Hoka greatest hits shoe, giving the cushion of the Bondi, the quick turnover of the Clifton, the propulsion of the Carbon X and surprising stability like the Arahi.
The springiness of the carbon plate is instantly noticeable and means the Bondi X is much more responsive than the regular Bondi. There’s a tangible sense of propulsive momentum combined with an easy efficiency that puts a smile on your face. Perhaps its this that also makes them feel so light despite not being a stripped-down racer.
We’ll have a more extensive review of the Hoka Bondi X in the coming weeks, but initial impressions point to the shoe being a winner for long-course triathletes and runners wanting the benefits of carbon plate tech that goes further than race day only.