This is the first pair of HOKAs I’ve ever tried – and it was an interesting experience!
The HOKA Bondi 3 has a 35mm heel and a 30mm forefoot – a 5mm drop.
The size 10 registered at 12.6 oz on my scale. This is a bit more than the 10.8 oz that HOKA advertises and the 11.1 oz that Running Warehouse lists (although RW claims the 11.1 oz is for a size 9). I’m not suggesting that HOKA is being less than honest, I am simply mentioning it because it will affect you if you are looking for a lightweight trainer/racer.
My first thought, even before I put them on, was that these shoes were well-made. They are better quality than the average running shoe. I like the material that the upper is made out of because it feels quite durable. Also, I love the lacing system (it’s similar to the Salomon system – but maybe even better because it’s easier to “store” the laces). The fit was still a little snug for me in the forefoot – I probably could make them work, but I’m guessing it would take a little adjusting.
Now, let’s talk about the sole since that is what makes HOKAs unique. It’s definitely different than anything else I’ve ever worn. HOKA claims that their soles provide “great shock attenuation, a sense of weightlessness and an inherently stable ride, which is designed to reduce the fatigue in your feet, legs and core.” To be completely honest, I’m not convinced. Maybe it’s because I didn’t run far enough or fast enough, but I didn’t get that feeling of weightlessness or running on clouds that I’ve heard so much about. It really just felt like a running shoe with a much thicker sole. I’m not saying this as a negative – but I’m not saying it as a positive either.
This shoe is designed for the roads. Like I mentioned above, they feel well-made and I suspect they would hold up to a significant number of miles. I probably wouldn’t use them for racing – especially not at 12.6 oz – but HOKA does have other models available on their site at http://www.hokaoneone.com/
– a well-made shoe
– an up and coming brand that now sponsors elites such as Sage Canaday, Karl Meltzer, Darcy Africa, Jen Benna, Dave Mackey and Jon Olsen (the guy who ran 100 miles in under 12 hours – on an indoor track)
– a brand that has believers – just because I wasn’t convinced doesn’t mean these aren’t the next big thing!
– the price! – these retail for $150
– the weight – like I pointed out above, there is some conflict about how much they weigh – this isn’t a big deal if you plan to use them for training but it may be an issue if you plan to race in them
– the design is new and still relatively untested
– the company was founded by ultra runners but is now owned by Deckers Corporation (which also owns Ugg, Teva, etc.). It is no longer a niche company, but instead, it is one part of a multinational corporation. This isn’t a dealbreaker, just something to keep in mind when you’re dropping $150.
These shoes are currently backordered on HOKA’s website but they are available for purchase at Running Warehouse: http://www.runningwarehouse.com/HOKA_Bondi_3/descpageMRS-HOB2M1.html