Hoka One One Bondi S Speed Review

This year, 2012, Hoka came out with a new version of the Bondi B. It is called the Bondi S. The S stands for Speed. So it is also known as the Bondi Speed. The speed factor refers to the speed lacing system and the addition of a pull strap on the heel to supposedly speed up the process of putting the shoes on. This shoe is targeted for triathletes that have to get their shoes on quickly during the transition. The speed lacing system is convenient and is quicker than tying conventional laces.

Since I have been a happy user of the original Bondi B as a training and therapy shoe, I thought I would give the Bondi S a whirl. I was happy with the conventional lacing system on the Bondi B so the speed laces were not a huge sale point for me. But some of the other claims for the Bondi S such as being lighter and more breathable than the Bondi B were of interest to me.

So when it came time to replace a worn out pair of the Bondi B, I took it as an opportunity to try the Bondi S.

Weight

The claims of the Bondi S being significantly (1.5 ounce) lighter than the Bondi B are unfortunately false. The people that make these claims must not actually ever weigh the shoes and just parrot what they heard.

I was disappointed that the Bondi S was nearly the same weight as the Bondi B being only an insignificant 0.2 ounces lighter. 11.5 ounces compared to 11.7 ounces. To be fair, I compared a 2011 version of the Bondi B in a size 10.5 to a 2012 version of the Bondi S in a size 10.

Hoka One One Bondi S men's size 10 weighs 11.5 ounces

Hoka One One Bondi S men’s size 10 weighs 11.5 ounces

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Hoka One One Bondi B men's size 10.5 (2012 size 10 equivalent) Weighs 11.7 ounces

Hoka One One Bondi B men’s size 10.5 (2012 size 10 equivalent) Weighs 11.7 ounces

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To those unfamiliar with the sizing mystery of the original Bondi B (prior to 2012) their size was labeled in error by a half size. A 2011 size 10.5 is equivalent in size to a 2012 size 10. So it is fair to compare the weight of a 2011 size 10.5 to a 2012 size 10.

The Bondi B Sizing Mystery

The original Bondi B ran small by a half size. In my opinion, they were just labeled wrong. If you pull out the insoles and look at the bottom, you can see the true size. The first pair of Bondi Bs I got in a size 10 according to the box and tongue label. In reality they were actually a size 9.5 and that is the size indicated on the insoles. They were slightly too small and gave me black and blue toe nails. The second pair I got in a size 10.5 (box and tongue label) and they were actually a size 10 (insole size) and fit like most other brands of shoes in a size 10.

This picture shows the bottom of the insole of a 2011 Bondi B size 10 on left and a size 10.5 on right. Notice that the size on the insole is a half size smaller than the size listed on the box or tongue label.

Insole Bottoms of 2011 Bondi B Shows True Size - Labeled Size 10 on Left 10.5 on Right

Insole Bottoms of 2011 Bondi B Shows True Size – Labeled Size 10 on Left 10.5 on Right

Starting in 2012, Hoka corrected the sizing error. So a 2012 Bondi B (or S) size 10 is equivalent to a size 10.5 in a 2011.

You can see the manufacturing date on the tongue label. A 2011 size 10.5 is identical in size to a 2012 size 10.

Bondi B Size Label Shows Manufacture Date

Bondi B Size Label Shows Manufacture Date

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Bondi S Size Label Shows Manufacture Date

Bondi S Size Label Shows Manufacture Date

As far as I know, the sizing problems with the 2011 Bondi B were unique to it and none of the other Hoka models such as the Mafate were sized wrong and suffered from being labeled wrong.

If anyone out there has more accurate or detailed knowledge of the history of the sizing issues of the Bondi B and Hoka shoes in general, please leave a comment and clarify the mystery.

Is the Upper of the Bondi S more Breathable as Claimed?

Some reviewers complained about the upper on the orginal Bondi B not being very breathable and caused your feet to get hot and sweaty. I must admit I did not notice this. So I do not notice the Bondi S being any different as far as feeling more breathable and cool. The only differences between the uppers of the Bondi S and the Bondi B appear to be minor and mostly cosmetic.

Conclusions

The tongue of the Bondi S has less cushioning than the Bondi B. If you have a sensitive boney instep, this lack of cushioning may make the Bondi S less comfortable than the Bondi B.

The insoles (sock liners) of the Bondi S are a softer sponger open cell material than the insoles of the Bondi B (at least my 2011 models). When new, this makes the Bondi S feel slightly softer and even cushier than the Bondi B.

The speed lace system does make getting the Bondi S shoes on and off quick and easy. If this is important to you, then choose the Bondi S over the Bondi B. This is the only real significant difference between the two Bondi models.

For the most part, the Bondi S is the same shoe as the Bondi B. It runs and feels the same. So my review of the Bondi B applies just as well to the Bondi S.

The Bondi is a comfortable super cushy training shoe. If you have foot problems, depending upon the specifics of the foot troubles the Bondi can make running comfortable again. The Bondi is not a high performance responsive fast shoe.

Having over a year of experience doing part time running in the Bondi B and now in the Bondi S I would have to say that the high mileage claims of the Bondi B are over rated for most runners. Some people claim that they can get upwards of 1000 miles in Hokas and this justifies their high cost. My experience is that the Bondi (either the B or S as they have the same sole) is a fragile shoe. A single run on rugged rocky terrain can rip the outsoles right off them requiring regluing and repairing if possible. The thick cushy sole also tends to compress in non-uniform ways causing the shoe to have a tilt. Whether the sole on the inside or the outside of the foot compresses more depends upon an individual’s biomechanics. For me, I must be a pronator in my right foot as the inside of my right shoe compresses significantly faster than the left. Once it develops a significant tilt, the shoe is ready to be retired – as I start developing hip and knee irritation. This compression starts to become apparent after as little as 100 miles. So I don’t see how people are getting 1000 miles out of a pair of Bondis, unless they have totally neutral perfect running biomechanics.

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The Bridger Ridge Run blog is an information portal for all those seeking to learn more about the Bridger Ridge Run event held every second Saturday of August in Bozeman Montana. This blog contains notifications about important registration dates and deadlines, history of the event, training advice and other stories and entertaining tidbits of information about the Bridger Ridge Run.
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18 Responses to Hoka One One Bondi S Speed Review

  1. Miguel Oscar Canto García says:

    Hola runners……alguien sabe o tiene algun comentario de que si los hoka one one bondi speed sugeridos para triatletas tienen sistema de drenaje en la suela inferior para no provocar acumulamiento de agua durante la hidratación en largas distancias ?……les agradezco mucho, saludos

  2. Susan says:

    Its so interesting that everyone has such different experiences. I bought hokas on the advice of my physio (a road marathon runner) while recovering from plantar facitis. I couldnt believe the difference (changing from Nikes) and couldnt believe that running could be so pain free. I just checked and I have 1200kms on this pair and they are just starting to show wear on the tread and with some tiny holes in the mesh. I hope they havent “collapsed” as people have discussed as I dont want to change them before this weekends marathon. This is my second pair however as the first ones were replaced after five weeks. I was so annoyed that in such an expensive shoe the cushioning around the heel wore out almost straight away and caused heel blisters. I complained to Hoka who without question replaced them for me. The second pair did exactly the same thing in the same amount of time, but by then I was so excited that my foot generally didnt hurt, I put up with the blisters for a few weeks until my feet got used to the rub spot and the blisters stopped. I am definitely a creature of habit and dont like to chop and change my shoes, but I do tell everyone I know about these as they have been quite miraculous for my injuries!

  3. J says:

    I have been confused with the sizing, also, as my most recent pair felt too big and I thought I needed to go down a half size. thanks for posting.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wear size 7-7.5 and order a pair of Bondi Speed 2 size 8 before reading this blog because some were saying that it runs slightly smaller. Size 8 is too big for my feet. I was curious and weighted the shoes to find out if the specification from Hoka is correct or not. From their website they claim the Bondi Speed 2 weight is 9.5 oz. but here is the weight for the shoes size 8: Left shoe = 11.9 oz.; right shoe 11.2 oz. that a difference of .7 oz. between the two. I was thinking what happen to their QA control? The company I ordered these Hoka sent me a replacement exchange shoes size 7 and they fit me perfect. However, I was curious again and weighted the shoes size 7: Left shoe = 11oz.; right shoe 10.2 oz. that a difference of .8 oz. between the two. These shoes are made in China (I have nothing against them) but for the price I would think that they would be better QA check on them. I will try them out this weekend.

    • Yes, it is also my experience that Hokas suffer from lack of quality control.

      I commented on the left to right shoe weight differences in a previous post.
      https://bridgerridgerun.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/hoka-one-one-review/

      They are really just big hunks of foam with a cloth upper. With all that foam, a little variation in amount and density of the foam is going to affect the weight.

      Variation in the amount and density of the foam will also affect the feel and flex of the shoe. I’ve seen some Hokas that are as stiff as a brick and others that are as soft as a sponge. I’ve mentioned this in a review of the Bondi B.
      https://bridgerridgerun.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/hoka-one-one-bondi-b-review/

      And yes, Hoka (and those that promote them) lie about how much they weigh.

      You would expect more consistency and quality control in a $150.00 pair of shoes. So it is disappointing that Hoka comes up short on the quality control issue.

      Your only defense is to bring a scale to the store and thoroughly check the shoes out. Hand select a good matched pair that has a flex and feel to your liking. Or, try a different brand – experiment.

      All running shoes are pricey these days and Hokas especially so. Given the low Chinese manufacturing cost, the mark up is excessive to put it mildly.

  5. Anonymous says:

    FWIW I have 500 miles on a pair of Stinson Evos and think I can get another 200 out of them. The out-sole did not start to show any noticeable wear until after 400 miles. The mid-sole is also still fine and provides plenty of cushioning. I run about 70% of my miles on very rocky New England trails and have never had a stone, or any other object, leave a mark on the sole, no less puncture it.

    Some people wear shoes quickly and unevenly and will wear out shoes regardless of make or model. In such cases it is irresponsible to make statements about a shoes’ durability without a disclaimer that they have similar issues with other shoes.

    My disclaimer is that I am 6’0″ and 163 lbs, a mid-foot striker, and tend not to wear out my shoes quickly or unevenly. I have many pairs of shoes from other manufacturers with 300-400 miles on them which show little out-sole wear, but with mid-soles that have no life left in them. In comparison, the Hoka’s mid-soles provide a lot more protection and durability. The $/mile will be on par with other trainers I have run in, but the Hokas save my legs.

    One final, and very important benefit, is the on-trail performance. I am able to run significantly faster on rocky trails in my Hokas because they steamroll rocks and roots so I don’t have to slow down as much, particularly on downhills. I have a regular 5 mile trail loop and the first time I ran it in the Hokas I shaved a full 2 minutes off of my previous fastest time without pushing myself harder than usual (wearing a HR monitor). I have also run 4-6 mile trail races in them and find that the additional weight compared to racing shoes is offset by the speed with which I can run over rough terrain. For me, Hokas are not an Ultra shoe, they are an every day shoe for my 30-40 miles per week.

    Time to Fly!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Hoka’s are great shoes, but I was injured on my first pair when I didn’t realize they were broken down, and developed plantar fascitis after they altered my foot strike pattern. My nike’s or asic’s are tougher to run in but never lose their bounce and the plantar fascitis cleared up in a few weeks. Waiting to fully recover before trying a brand new pair of Hoka’s. I guess all EVA shoes have the wear issue vs conventional rubber/pu shoes:

      “The primary materials used in midsoles are EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and PU (polyurethane). EVA is a foam that is light and has good cushioning, but breaks down fairly quickly. Compression-molded EVA is harder but more durable. PU, also a foam, is denser, heavier, and more durable than EVA. Generally, bigger runners do well with polyurethane midsoles. EVA is more common because of its lightness and more cushioned feel.”

  6. scott says:

    The Hoka’s have completely cured my knee problems, but I found Hoka’s cushioning does wear out quickly. If you can afford $200 every two months, they are a great experience to run in.

    I have a forefoot strike, and the cushioning temporarily totally gave out when I sprinted down a steep slope. Its was like squashing a piece of styrofoam. They are very comfortable on the flats or when running with a heel to midfoot strike. After 200 miles, I checked mine by trying on a new pair, and my current hoka’s are completely shot. My Nike free 4.0 have more spring to them.

    Currently have plantar fascitis problems after running a marathon in the worn-out pair of hoka’s.

  7. leonard says:

    corro con le scarpe hoka dal 2010 e devo dire che le hò trovate ottime in particolare mafate wp.solo un difetto suola che si consuma rapidamente poi il prezzo è eccessivo.

  8. Ken says:

    My mechanics cause the outer portion of my left shoe to fail WAY before the rest of the shoes do. I’m lucky to get 150 miles out of them. I love the shoe, but it sure is hard to justify a dollar a mile or more to run in them when I can do it in another shoe for 1/2 price.
    Also, 95 % of my running is on trails; on 2 seperate occasions I’ve had to pull a shoe off & get a tool do dig a sharp rock out of the sole, it had pierced all the way through & was into my foot! A rock plate would be helpful on these, & in my opinion, worth the extra weight.
    Also, while I’m wishing, the red & blue clown look is too much on the Mafates…I would like to call less attention to my clown shoes, not more. 😉

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I like how you pointed out the cost of Hokas as a dollar a mile.

      That is going to give me something to think about as the miles go by on my next run – the $ cost of running per mile. Does the dollar not being worth near as much as it was just a few short years ago make it better or worse?

      Yes, I also have had sharp rocks poke all the way into the sole and bruise my foot. But never get stuck like you mention. In my case, the rock left behind a tear in the midsole, but it kind of self-healed as the shoe was still viable.

      A few weeks ago, I did a trail race in Southern Utah and the course traversed a lot of sandy sections. Just when I wished I was running in some Hokas with big wide soles for floatation in sand, I passed someone wearing Hoka Bondis. They were struggling. The thin outsole had partially peeled off their shoe and it was flopping around, catching and dragging in the sand – giving them fits. It made me smile and be glad I was not using Hokas.

  9. Johnny says:

    I’ve read the Bondi B is slightly wider in the toe box than the Stinson Evo. How’s the width of the toe box of the Bondi Speed compared to those two?

  10. Jeff says:

    As for the sizing issue, I’m not sure it’s a 2011/2012 problem. I have a pair of Bondi Bs (in the same citrus/grey configuration) that lists the size on box, tongue, and insole as 10. Production date listed on the tongue is 12/2011. So, perhaps they started relabeling before the end of the 2011 production run.

    I have also noticed a softening of the inside forefoot after around 150 miles. I love the shoes despite all of its problems, however, so I just plan to switch them out after 200-250 miles of use. Again, I’m not sure how anybody could get 1000 miles out of them, but they are worth it to me in spite of the high relative price.

    • Thanks for your comments Jeff.

      You add a good data point that Hoka may have corrected the Bondi sizing errors prior to 2012 – perhaps sometime in late 2011.

      Others will find your comments about wear, mileage and useful life of the Bondi helpful. Thanks again.

  11. Pingback: Hoka One One Bondi B Review | Bridger Ridge Run

  12. I really liked the Bondi B. I must have used my last pair for at least 1000 miles. But I didnt ever run on really rocky terrain. The long way at the M was about the worst I dared to use them on. They are awesome for letting you be able to run more often and with less foot pain. I used them mostly on roads and easier trails. Even ran the Franklins Fat Ass 50K in them. ha ha

    But as you stated. The same thing happened to me with the crushing of the inside of the shoe. Of course I didnt notice it really at all. Until I got injured from it. After running the 50K and a few other long runs in them with them smashed crooked. I injured my right leg IT band. and have had problems with it ever since. I wish I had known that these shoes did that before I got injured. I would have payed way more attention to it and threw them out right away. I ultimately figured out what was wrong with them. When I was walking back from a long out and back run. My IT band was bothering me so bad I couldnt run anymore so I turned around to walk back. after about a 1/2 mile or so I was like WTF no wonder my knee hurts my feet are all crooked and it is stretching on the outside of my knee horribly. So I finished the walk trying purposely to land on the outside of the shoe that was not crushed and my knee started feeling way better. So they were thrown out as soon as I got home. I wish I could tell you how long it takes to crush them like that. As I have no idea of when mine happened. I emagine it was long before the 1000 miles like you said. If anyone ever tries a pair make sure you walk in them a little after your runs to feel if you are walking crooked or
    not. ha ha

    • Good points and advice Randy. Thanks for the comments.

      Yes, once the sole gets asymmetrically compressed (crushed), they can lead to problems like IT band pain. I guess you just have to monitor how they feel and inspect how they look before you put to many more miles on them.

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