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Trail Runner Monday, 21 November 2011 10:06 TWEET COMMENTS 1

Hoka One One Bondi B

Hoka One One Bondi B

$169, 10.2 oz, www.hokaoneone.com

The Dirt. At first glance, these road-to-trail crossovers look clunky, heavy and reminiscent of platform shoes from the 1970s ... or the Hoka One One Mafate from 2010. But in reality, the Bondi Bs are marshmallow-light tanks—they have 50-percent more surface area than other shoes, and are 15-percent lighter and 10-percent lower in the midsole height and have a more flexible midsole than the Mafate. Testers loved its bouncy toe-off.

A super-thick, soft EVA midsole not only feels like "running on the moon," but soaks up a significant amount of shock. The heel-to-toe drop is slight (four-millimeters), encouraging a midfoot landing while the rocker profiles provides a smooth ride. A soft nylon tongue and heel cup won't aggravate your ankles like the thicker material on the Mafate upper. The outsole has a wide surface area, providing great stability and a non-aggressive lug system performed well in most conditions except mud.

Fit. The narrower upper fits medium- to high-volume feet well and prevents foot slosh during descents; narrow feet might still experience some movement. Overpronators felt stabile because of the straight last—it works like a motion-control shoe. Women's size 9 and above are built on a wider last than smaller sizes.

Best For. With such a wide base, testers had no fear tackling steep descents with speed. The Bondi Bs run best on roads and dry, packed trails, and are suited to the runner demanding an extensively cushioned lightweight trainer/racer.

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