Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shoe Review: Hoka Bondi 3

After a lot of procrastination and 196 miles, I thought it was about time to review the Hoka Bondi 3s. When I first read about the new uppers on the 3s and the fact that it made the shoe a bit lighter, I was excited to give them a go. I went with the coral version.

Hoka decided to go with their new lacing system on these, but they did throw in a pair of regular laces for those who aren't fans. I changed out the laces just after taking these pictures. The other big change was the uppers. The sole felt just like the original Bondi Bs (read my review) to me.

Women's Size 7.5 (no insoles) = 8.5 ounces
Hoka Bondi B Size 8 Women's (without insole) = 7.4 ounces
Hoka Kailua Tarmac Size 7.5 Women's (without insole) = 7.5 ounces
Well, hmmmm, those new Bondi 3s appear to be a full ounce heavier the my old Bondi Bs. I'm not exactly sure where I read they would be lighter, but this was disappointing.

Bondi B vs. Bondi 3 vs. Hoka Kailua Tarmac

The new upper was supposed to make the shoe more durable, and from what I can tell with almost 200 miles on them, it has done just that. I can wash the shoe, and it looks basically brand new. The other thing the new upper did was make the shoe feel a bit larger because it just isn't as thick as the old Bondi upper. Unfortunately there was another side effect of this new upper. After putting 20 training miles on the shoes, I took them for a spin at the Georgia Marathon and wound up with a slight bruise on the top of my foot near my ankle due to the stiffness of the material. It must have softened a bit with miles as I had no bruises after the Delaware Marathon, but I still was not loving them.

I noticed the uppers on the Hoka Conquest felt stiff as well after a test run at a local running store in March. That is one of the reasons I went with the Bondi 3 over the Conquest. While the material has softened enough so that it does not cause any more bruising, it still feels a lot less comfy than those old Bondis on my feet. If I could go back and buy a pair of the originals, I would.

What to do, what to do. It appears that Hoka is starting to use this material on most of the new shoes being released. Since these shoes are Hokas, I shouldn't have to purchase a new pair for quite a few more miles. I'm just not excited about buying another pair with this new, stiff upper material. Part of the reason I was dragging my feet on writing this review was because I really wanted to like these shoes as much as the old ones. Truth is, I don't. I'm scoping out the new Altra Paradigms for my next purchase, but the colors in the women's model are ... well ... ick. I just can't do it. Hopefully by the time these wear out, Altra will release some new colors or maybe Hoka will make an adjustment on the upper material. Believe me, this was not the review I was hoping to write.


  1. You're the 2nd person I've read that haven liked older versions of the shoe more than the 3. I've never worn the Bondi, but a buddy of mine was extremely disappointed by this shoe and went out and found a pair of the 2's on discount. Bummer!

  2. I've tried to find the 2s on discount, but I think I'm too late to the party. The sole of the Bondi 3 is still a great design. I just wish the uppers were more giving. Good to know I'm not the only one who thinks the 3s just aren't quite there in comfort.