The Bondi has long been HOKA’s signature franchise: with maximal cushion, minimal weight, and a totally unique ride, it has been helping athletes of all stripes reimagine what movement can feel like since the first version hit shelves a decade ago.
Now, the Bondi X adds a carbon-fiber plate to that uniquely HOKA experience, designed to provide a more efficient and responsive ride through every step. We sat down with Senior Footwear Product Developer Ryan Ritzau to learn more about how you, too, can level up with the new Bondi X.
HOKA: Introduce yourself! What do you do for HOKA, and what does your day-to-day look like?
Ryan: Hi Everyone! My name is Ryan Ritzau and I’m a Senior Footwear Product Developer for HOKA. I actually started with HOKA as a key holder/store trainer at the Deckers Brand Showcase; I had the opportunity while working in the retail store to interact with the corporate employees and through various conversations I discovered an interest in product development. Long story short, I applied to a development position and 6.5 years later I’m still developing running shoes for the brand!
HOKA: What goes into the creation of a brand new shoe? How long does the process take?
Ryan: There is a lot of work on the front end when creating a new shoe. Before designers even begin there are multiple steps taken to nail down our target consumers, product placement, design language, color stories, ect. There are a few months’ worth of work before designs even start to come to life. The entire process from initial ideation to being able to purchase a shoe like the Bondi X takes roughly 18 months, give or take.
HOKA: Tell us about the Bondi X.
Ryan: With a men’s Bondi X coming in at just 300g (10.6 oz), it’s a relatively lightweight shoe for how big it is (stack height of 33.5mm in the heel, 28mm in the forefoot). In addition to using the softest HOKA foam to date, the Bondi X features a carbon fiber plate, extended heel, and a wider base for added stability during the gait cycle. It’s the Bondi fans know and love, but leveled up!
HOKA: Where did the inspiration for the Bondi X come from?
Ryan: We asked ourselves why every carbon-plated shoe on the market had to be created with an eye on only the elite runner. Everyone deserves to fly and everyone can level up. What better way to pose the idea than on a super plush HOKA platform with forgiving geometry plus a carbon plate? The Bondi X was born! I think what I’m most proud of with the Bondi X is that it has resonated the way we’d hoped across many different types of runners. At HOKA we’re obsessed with allowing humans of all shapes and sizes fly over the earth.
HOKA: Who is the shoe for?
Ryan: This shoe is for anyone and everyone looking to fly. It’s aimed for the competitive athlete looking to break PRs, or simply someone who’s looking for a bit more pep in their step (when they also need that signature HOKA ride). The Bondi X really encapsulates HOKA’s mission: to empower a world of athletes to fly over the earth. The carbon-fiber plated upgrade in the new Bondi X can help anyone do just that. It’s Time To Fly!
Updating a fan-favourite model is no easy feat. From initial concept sketches to the construction of prototypes to wear-testing to the final product, years of work from multiple teams at HOKA all collaborate to bring you the best possible shoe. The all-new Mach 4 was no exception, so we sat down with HOKA Footwear Designer Ryan Crouch to learn a bit more about the design process, and what makes this new update to the Mach line so great.