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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

May 9, 2014

HOKA BONDI 3: My Designated “Finisher”

EmoticonThe first significant update to the original Bondi B was when I first saw the Bondi 3 in the Hoka website in December 2013.  

Being a visual creature, the Bicolano Penguin got attracted to the Brilliant Blue / Hi Rise / Citrus colorway. The blue and yellow color scheme is  reminiscent of the Ateneo de Naga blue and gold.

Fresh out of the box
It was  4 months after that I got to hold and own a pair. Thanks to the generosity of one of my favorite cousins, Virlita. She visited the Philippines for the Holy Week and she was heavenly kind, bringing  the Bondi 3  as pasalubong from Virginia Beach.

A pasalubong from fave cuz

6 pairs of  Hokas & counting
This is my 6th pair of Hoka. I am a Hoka fan. The Hoka appeal has always been the marshmallow soft cushioning that my tired and old feet, calves, knees and the like crave for in the run-all-you-can  buffet we collectively call the ultra marathon. Funny my taste buds never liked marshmallows but my soles do evidently.    

The Hoka website lists down the finer details of the Bondi 3:

O            CATEGORY:
               Neutral ULTRA Lightweight Cushion

O            GEOMETRY:
               Offset: 4.5mm
               Heel: 29mm
               Forefoot: 24.5mm

O            WEIGHTS:
               10.8 oz.

O            SIZES:
               Men: 7.5 – 14

o             Layered No Sew Construction
o             Lightweight Breathable Air Mesh Upper
o             Comfort Collar
o             Super Soft and Lightweight EVA Strobal Board Lasting
o             Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
o             Full Length HIP CMEVA Midsole
o             Deep Foot Frame
o             4.5 mm Heel to Toe Offset
o             Full Ground Contact Design
o             Combination Hi-Abrasion Lightweight
o             Rubber and Blown Carbon Rubber

The Bondi 3 is the latest incarnation of the Hoka Bondi. Of all the Hokas, the Bondi B is the one that I  have utilized the most. It was my Bondi B pair on my feet  when I crossed the finish line of the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Mayon 360 ultra marathon. It has seen many an LSD runs with me on Sundays.A definite workhorse of a running shoe. Given the wear and tear, it is time to retire the Bondi B  and use the Bondi 3 for finishing duties in my future ultra marathons.

The new Bondi 3 and the grizzled Bondi B
Now, what is new about the Bondi 3?

The midsole and outsole of the Bondi 3 are unchanged from the Bondi B.  It is comprised of carbon rubber (on the heel and forefoot) and blown rubber (across the midfoot). The presence of deep  grooves  on the outsole are seemingly for water drainage system.

Same midsole and outsole

deep grooves on the outsole
The upper on the Bondi 3 has been modified as overlays along the midfoot and around the forefoot are heat pressed instead of stitched.  The thickness of the tongue has also been trimmed a bit. Unlike the Bondi B, the Bondi 3 has lock laces instead of the traditional.

Different lacing system and thinner tongue

Do I prefer the Hoka Bondi 3 over the Altra Olympus?

On one hand, the Bondi 3 has more luxurious cushioning than the  Olympus, allowing the Hoka shoe user less muscle fatigue associated with ultra long distance running. On the other hand, the Olympus has zero-drop versus a 4.55mm offset on the part of the Bondi 3, allowing the Altra shoe to encourage a more natural running form on the part of its user.

Thicker cushioning for Bondi 3 vs Olympus

Quite a dilemma. Or is it? Good thing, the running shoe matter is not about a zero-sum mentality (the notion that "there must be one winner and one loser; for every gain there is a loss."). I believe, a prudent running shoe ownership philosophy is one of “win-win” which hinges  on the concept of shoe rotation. In a blog post (http://runblogger.com/2014/02/rotating-running-shoes-thoughts-from-saucony.html), exercise physiologist Peter Larson talks of a study conducted by Spencer White (head of Saucony Lab) that suggests that rotating shoes might reduce injury risk. For running shoes, polygamy is it.

Thus, moving forward for me, I intend to rotate the usage of running shoes for training. And even for running an ultra marathon, I plan to use the Altra Olympus as an initiator (first 2/3 of the race)  and the Hoka Bondi 3 as a finisher (last 2/3 of the race).  
Will I recommend the Bondi 3  for other runners?

Yes, of course. Already, fellow 83nean Ernie  is already excited to own a pair, this after having a look at my  blue and gold Bondi 3.

The Hoka Hunks live on....Emoticon

Time to fly again

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