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Hoka Bondi X: First Impressions

When I had my first look at them I thought "WOW", they look super-fast. They had this summer vibe about them. Looking at them made you feel like you want to run and have fun.

Not being used to a high stacked shoe like this, I first walked in them for a day or two. I then decided to go out on a fast 5km and see what they really felt like. I must admit I got into stride and it felt quite easy from the outset. The bounce and push off I received from them was unbelievable.

At one stage my legs were too quick for my body. Running on flats and ascents was easy, but where I felt the most benefit was on the descents. The carbon plate and X inline featured in the shoe propel you forward with a hop skip & a jump. I had great response from the road even though the stack is as high as it is. The plushness of the soles does not take anything away from the response from the road. I tend to pronate when running but I did not have any major issues while running with the Bondi X’s. The overall fit of the shoe is snug, and the heel felt locked in at the back.

The tongue of the shoe felt a bit short and slid down a little while running. The upper of the shoe is nice, soft with enough room for a broad footed guy like me. The one drawback for me specifically was that you tend to want to use your heel as a strike option. I used to be a heel striker in the past and moved to a midfoot strike over the course of a year. I could however feel that I was moving back to a heel strike with the X’s. With the stack and the slop of the heel at the back, you start feeling for that heel bounce propelling you forward. This meant that I could feel a bit more strain in my calves and Achilles than I am used to. Saying that, if you are already a stacked shoe runner you should really enjoy this fast shoe.

My overall verdict on the shoe is very positive. It’s a lekker running shoe with great support and incredibly light (297g) - all round quick.

Value for money: I would say yes if you look at similar shoes in that price range.

Who they would be for: In my opinion, they would suit any seasoned runner, even heelstrikers seeking the added push off and the bounce of the carbon.

-Regardt Janse van Rensburg


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