May 052016
 

HOKA Bondi 4 Wide

Appearance

The familiar, over sized appearance of the Bondi 4 Wide is very noticeably wider in the forefoot, in this welcome new version.

The widest part of the human foot is across the toes and not the balls of the feet and this I confirmed on a recent visit to my new grand-daughter.  Unfortunately, running shoes often don’t conform to this shape.

I’ve loved the HOKA shoes since their first appearance on the scene but have always struggled with the too-narrow toe box. To compensate I’ve had to use shoes a few sizes larger.  I have also tried cutting the toe box away – not an uncommon trick for multiday runners – but this can then lead to other problem areas.  Hence my enthusiasm to try this new, wider version of the popular Bondi shoe.

When I weighed the Bondi 4 Wide UK size 9, without any insole, it weighed 286g, compared to a New Balance 1080v5 4E which came in at 279g.  An excellent weight belying their bulky appearance.

Fit 

As mentioned, I like a wide fitting shoe and because of this new version I was able to accept a ½ to one full size smaller shoe because of the wider toe box which is great.

I’m very fussy about a shoe’s upper design, as excessive strapping and stitching can be a nightmare, producing increased areas to rub and chafe over countless miles.

As soon as I put my hand into the shoe it felt like a glove and I was delighted to see that this new, wide version has minimal stitching and strapping on the upper.  The area where the, traditional-type tongue, is stitched to the upper, at the forefoot, has also been considerably ‘smoothed off’ compared to earlier models which is a boon. All other design is cleverly just printed onto the shoe.  Brilliant idea. 

Feel 

A fantastic, smooth ride which I adjusted to, within minutes and simply loved.  I run for hours and days in races, so spend huge amount of time with my running shoes on.

When I’m running in multiday races, up to 3100 miles in length, I experience a rising tide of pain, fatigue and sleepiness and anything that can help with that is a God send.

The running surface tends to feel harder and harder as the event progresses and being able to run in HOKA’s is an absolute dream.  Less impact, less pain as the event nears its conclusion.

For me, one of the most powerful sensations was when I switched back to my normal running shoes – it felt like I was running barefoot, such was the difference the HOKA’s were making! 

Conclusions

I have quite a history of finding it difficult to find shoes that fit me well – even before I moved up to very long ultra distance running.  For these shoes to have been such a success in such a short time does say a lot for the new HOKA Bondi 4 Wide shoes.  So, if a wider fit and a great feel are what you are looking for then these might be for you.

It is also clear that the company are listening to and working with, runners across a whole range of disciplines which is a very encouraging approach these days and will, I’m sure, mean continued innovation and success for HOKA and their athletes.

Time to Fly!

William Sichel

Shoes supplied by UltramarathonRunningStore.com

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