One of the fastest growing running shoe brands in the world. Originating in France, Hoka is known for their thick and cushioned soles. Designed for both comfort and function. With incredibly popular models for both road and trail. Today we’ll be looking at two of their more popular road running shoes, the Hoka Bondi vs Arahi. With the goal of helping runners understand the similarities and the differences. So that you can make the right choice when it comes to picking your newest pair of running shoes.
Hoka Bondi vs Arahi
- The Hoka Bondi is a neutral running shoe. Meaning it will be a good choice for most runners not looking for a stability shoe.
- Hoka’s Arahi is a stability shoe. Featuring Hoka’s J-Frame(TM) technology designed to prevent excessive inward roll and overpronation.
- The Bondi weighs well over 1 once more than the Arahi. Coming in at 10.8 ounces compared to 9.3 oz for the Arahi.
- The Bondi is considered Hoka’s most cushioned road running shoe. Which accounts for the extra weight of the shoe.
- Hoka lists the Bondi as a “Plush” cushioned shoe (see above). While they list the Arahi as a “balanced” cushioned shoe.
- There is a 1mm difference in drop between the two shoes. With the Bondi having a 4mm drop and the Arahi having a 5mm drop.
- The Bondi has high arch support. Compared to the Arahi which has more of a medium arch support.
- The Arahi is more comparable to the Hoka Clifton. Just with the added support in the form of their J-Frame technology.
- Although the Bondi is over a bigger shoe. Both have a very similar overall design and sole shape.
- The Bondi 7 is a bit less plush compared to previous models (the popular 5 and 6 series). And has a bit more narrower toe box.
There is a reason so many runners have started wearing Hoka running shoes. The brand’s combination of cushion, comfort, and performance has many first time and seasoned runners wondering why other brands have been lacking this balance for so many years. And these two models, the Bondi and Arahi are perfect examples of how function meets comfort. Below we’ll break down each shoe into a bit more detail. To help you make the right choice for your feet.
The Hoka Bondi
The Bondi has the distinction of being one of the brand’s most popular road running shoes. Designed for runners looking for a neutral running shoe that won’t affect your gate or over correct your form. They also have the distinction of being the most cushioned road shoe that Hoka has to offer. Featuring an asymmetric sole and breathable top build that should work in almost any weather.
On the feet, the Bondi you can’t help but notice the weight. They are much heavier than most other running shoes on the market. But this is again due to the amount of cushion that the shoes offer. Although the recent models seem to be less plush/cushioned when compared to the older models. Like the 5 and 6. This tends to be one of the biggest complaints that people who have run in multiple versions of the shoes bring up. Although the newer models do seem to need a bit more time to break in. And Hoka may have done this (kept them firm until they break in) to help with the longevity of the cushioning.
The Bondi also features a higher arch support. Which can be a bit noticeable for those of us with low to medium arches. My arch would be considered medium, and I can’t help but notice this as soon as I put them on. The newest models also seem to have lost a bit of room in the toe box. Which was one of the things people loved about the older models. And I have a feeling this was to help cut weight (as the shoe is still heavy) and cut cost on material. But overall the Bondi is still one of the most cushioned runners on the market. And with the added cushion makes a great shoe for heavier runners that are really looking to take the road shock off their legs. Which the Bondi does very well.
The Hoka Arahi
Based on the design of the brand’s most popular road running shoe, the Clifton. The Arahi is a stability shoe designed with the brand’s J-frame technology. That helps prevent inward roll and overpronation. You can see the “J frame” in the above and below photos. This is the white section of the sole that runs most of the way along the side wall of the inner shoe and a third of the way around the side wall of the out shoe. Making a “J” shape.
On the feet the Arahi is a surprising light for a stability shoe. And well over an ounce lighter than the Bondi. The weight is very noticeable on the feet and once you start running. I personally prefer a lighter shoe. Which helps keep my turnover fast even when I’m tired. And just because they are light doesn’t mean Hoka sacrifices on the cushion. The Arahi manages to find a great balance of comfort while still remaining agile in the runs and at faster speeds.
The Arahi also features a medium arch which will be perfect for anyone with a low or medium sized arch. But if you need the extra support in this area, the Bondi would be the better choice. The Arahi also seems to have the same issues as the Bondi when it comes to the toe box being slightly smaller than previous models. Again I’m not sure if this was done for the runners or to save money on material by the brand. As most Hoka reviews mention loving the typically wider toe boxes.
It should also be noted that I would call the J-frame “support” in the shoe as mild to medium. And if you have a major issue with over pronation, you may need something more. That said, overall I’m a huge fan of the Arahi, as they take what is great about the Clifton and prove just enough support for those who need it.
Below are images of the Hoka Bondi vs Arahi for a side by side comparison. Sorry the images are not exactly the same size.
Overall the two shoes share a very similar shape. With the Bondi just being bigger. And you will see the J-Frame on the Arahi, which is the white section of the sidewall.
Hoka Bondi 8
Hoka Arahi 6 Profile
The top view of both models. They are very similar.
Hoka Bondi Top View
Hoka Arahi 6 Top View
As you can see below, the sole patterns of the two shoes offer different flexion but are very close in shape.
Hoka Arahi 6 Sole
Conclusion – Hoka Bondi vs Arahi
When comparing the Hoka Bondi vs Arahi there is a lot to love about each of these shoes. Both were designed with a purpose. And do a great job in hitting the mark they were designed for. That said, they are two very different shoes. So I can see why someone would like one over the other based on their preferences. WHile another person may have a completely different view on the same shoe.
Which running shoe would I buy?
The answer really comes down to what you are looking for in a shoe. If you are looking for a neutral runner with max cushion. Or a heavier runner looking to take the road shock off of your legs. Then Bondi is going to be a great choice.
On the other hand, if you like a lighter yet still cushioned road running shoe that offers you a bit of stability and support. Then you are exactly who the Arahi was designed for. And I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a pair.
Note: If you love the Bondi but want/need a stability running shoe, check out the Gaviota here.