The outsole of the Bondi 3 consists of a combination of lightweight and abrasion-resistant rubber. The tread pattern—which is comprised of numerous small lugs that run from heel to toe is designed for neutral runners in mind. It provides enough traction that runners who enjoy light trails will find this maximalist shoe sufficient to traverse uneven topographies. Specific traction zones in high-wear areas have been built-in for additional grip and durability. In addition, both vertical and horizontal flex grooves are cut throughout the outsole for added flexibility and surface control.
The midsole unit of the Bondi 3 is the central element that will appeal to runners looking for superior cushioning in their running shoe. Made of compression-molded EVA, or HIP CMEVA, this super-plush cushioning has a stack height of 24.5mm in the forefoot and 29mm in the heel. This full-length midsole is twice the volume of a typical midsole, making it the heart and soul of the maximal running experience. Its super-thick size makes it possible to absorb shock impact while providing superior cushioning through a lightweight platform. The midsole region also features Hoka One One’s Meta Rocker technology, which helps support running gait and encourages natural foot roll through the cycle. Additionally, the Bondi 3’s midsole includes water drainage outlets, which function like rain gutters to keep the midsole dry from collected moisture, and a removable insole.
The Bondi 3’s upper features a layered no-sew construction for a snug and secure fit. Its air mesh material ensures thorough ventilation while its stretchy speed lacing system makes it possible to tie up a pair in record time. For runners who don’t like speed laces need not worry: a pair of traditional laces come with this shoe. On the rear part of the Bondi 3, you’ll find a full heel counter with a comfort collar, while the interior of the foot chamber includes a comfortable amount of padding. The toe box features a toe bumper that comes especially handy if runners decide to try a pair out on the trails.
A significant concept in the maximal running experience is the disproportion between volume and weight. In essence, runners experience a shoe that’s bulkier due to additional padding but extremely light when compared to its overall size. Weighing in at 10.8 ounces/306 grams, while the Bondi 3 cannot be recognized as a particularly “lightweight” trainer, for its additional cushioning and larger volume, this is still a fairly lightweight shoe.
The air mesh material that comprises the upper of the Bondi 3 has tiny perforations that function as the shoe’s ventilation system. Hoka One One calls this snug lycra upper their ComfortFrame, which provides runners with a good amount of air circulation in every direction in order to help their feet stay cool and dry throughout a ride.
Just like minimalist running shoes required an adjustment period, the same applies with the maximalist
experience. Of course, the Bondi 3 is a soft well-cushioned shoe and in general, runners who have purchased a pair of Bondi 3’s commend the shoe for its heavenly levels of cushion and comfort in the midsole. For others, on the other hand, this can be overwhelming, especially adjusting to wearing such large profile shoes. As with minimalist shoes, the appropriate adjustment period for runners is around two weeks, gradually acclimating themselves to running in a shoe with a radically different profile and cushioning than their previous “average” running shoe. In terms of fit, some runners have reported that the Bondi 3 is too narrow, which is a bit ironic considering that one would assume such a “big” shoe to be roomy.
One One is not shy when it comes to using bright colors in their lines, but they also seem to refrain from going overboard. The Bondi 3 comes in gray, blue, and neon green color combinations, along with bright orange, and purple for the women’s versions. All of their shoes have the trademark HOKA emblem on the side. The bright color and large profile of the shoe should appeal to those who want to get noticed on the track or trail, and certainly, its flashy look is good for high visibility in low-light conditions. For others, it might be a bit too much to wear big, bright shoes like the Bondi 3--but then again, you’re not running down the catwalk.
While the Bondi 3’s superior comfort and cushioning is central to its appeal, some runners have reported that the shoe wears out quickly, especially the tread on the outsole. And other than anti-abrasion rubber used on the outsole, there doesn’t seem to be many other advanced options that enhance overall durability. Although this experience may vary from runner to runner and their activities while wearing the Bondi 3, it should be noted that this complaint has been repeated by a noticeable amount of runners that have worn this edition.
While you’re not quite on stilts, the Bondi 3 does place the runner high enough off the ground that their feet will be further away from any ground hazards
, making it unnecessary to implement some of the more advanced protection features that are found on a standard shoe. Additionally, the Bondi 3’s plush cushioning will do wonders in terms of keeping joints pain-free (which is a big reason why a lot of runners switch over to maximal shoes). Many users of the Bondi 3 report, not a decreased feeling of wear and soreness
after running in them for a while. The upper does include a wide toe cap to protect against small fragments and objects that may be encountered during a run, considering that being higher off ground means the toe region will be frequently more exposed to such calamities. While not a shoe that goes out of its way to provide extra protection, it’s a bulky enough trainer that many protective elements average running shoes would implement would be simply unnecessary.
Being a maximalist trainer with an ultra-thick midsole, the Bondi 3 has a decreased level of responsiveness. Its compression-molded midsole does not respond in the same way from one made through injection process, which creates lighter and bouncier foam. Since its midsole’s stack height runs between 24 to 29mm in thickness, this lack of responsiveness is expected, but this may cause an issue—and for some, a period of adjustment—with runners used to a more responsive ride.
In a maximalist shoe, there’s no need to add any pronation
support or much of anything else for that matter to address these issues. However, the Bondi 3 does include Meta Rocker technology, which functions much like a rocking chair to encourage natural foot roll. This sculpted outsole propels you forward to encourage a natural running gait. As a result, you’ll be less likely to suffer sustained injuries
from an ineffective running form. This is also a shoe meant for neutral runners, so those who need additional support or an arch post may need to invest in an insole that specifically addresses these issues.
The Bondi 3 is intended for traditional running surfaces—asphalt, concrete, and tracks. However, many runners also take it out on the trail. It has enough traction to be able to tackle some technical terrains and uneven topographies, but some runners have reported that it doesn’t tackle wet surfaces with the same vigor, so it’s best to stick to dry surfaces while running in this shoe.
Maximal shoes tend to come at maximum prices, and the Bondi 3 is no different in this regard. Some runners may experience sticker shock when pricing this shoe, and even with the release of the Bondi 4, prices have not gone down while supplies have dwindled for this edition. But runners that need better cushioning will simply have to pay the price for a shoe that affords this much comfort on a run.
The Bondi 3 offers a respectable amount of traction, especially considering that while it’s meant for road use, it performs adequately over rugged terrain. But as stated before, this is not the best shoe to use on wet surfaces. Consequently, expect to get solid traction but not exceptional enough to take on more extreme conditions.
A large volume midsole in the Bondi 3 restricts overall flexibility simply because of so much volume being taken up by one component of the shoe. However, Hoka One One’s Meta Rocker technology does compensate in this category, as the rocking chair motion it produces encourages a more natural running form. In addition, the numerous flex grooves cut into the outsole gives the shoe a more flexible base for better surface control, while its lycra upper is flexible enough to provide a secure fit after lace-up.
the Bondi 3 provides is a bit of a headscratcher, mostly because one would assume that a shoe with a tall stack height would translate to a high stability platform. Yet the heel to toe drop is as low as some minimalist running shoes. The reason is very simple: the high midsole foam is evenly distributed. One can expect a natural inclination to land on your midfoot or forefoot with this shoe. However, this can make them feel a bit awkward at first, considering that a midfoot to forefoot landing with a high-profile shoe is not a particularly natural feeling. Those that require more stability in their shoe may find the Bondi 3 lacking in this regard.
Coming in at 4.5 mm, the heel to toe offset is very low, making this shoe ideal for midfoot and forefoot strikers
, despite its high profile. The Bondi 3’s low drop and high amount of cushioning are worth much consideration for anyone who is looking to protect their joints from injury and encourage better running mechanics.
• HIP CMEVA midsole with an exceptionally large midsole cushion
• No-sew construction
• Low heel to toe drop
• Highly breathable air mesh upper
• Traction is ideal for road use and light trails
• Meta Rocker technology helps support natural running gait
• Strategic high-abrasion rubber traction zones on the outsole
The Bondi 3 and the maximal running movement as a whole, for that matter--fills a very specific niche in the running market, so undoubtedly it’s not going to appeal to everybody. It’s also likely that you’ll either fall in love with or intensely dislike, a maximal shoe for some obvious reasons. However, many runners that have embraced this movement for keeping their joints protected and comfortable, especially after having tried minimalist shoes that subject the joints to so much pressure. Bondi 3 fans seem to be very grateful for not feeling worn down after training, and it’s hard to argue against a shoe that keeps your limbs and joints feeling fresh after running a long run. With that in mind, if you happen to be the individual on the verge of giving up running due to injury or just simple discomfort, the Bondi 3 could be the best answer available to your problems.