Brooks Glycerin 21 VS Hoka Bondi 8: What Should I Buy?

If you’re a runner searching for a comfortable, well-cushioned running shoe, the Brooks Glycerin 21 and Hoka Bondi 8 are two of the most popular options on the market. But how do you decide between these two plush trainers?

This in-depth comparison examines all aspects of the Glycerin 21 and Bondi 8, including features, technologies, performance, and more. We’ll outline the key similarities and differences to help you determine which shoe best fits your running needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Glycerin 21 And Hoka Bondi 8:

FeatureBrooks Glycerin 21Hoka Bondi 8
Launched In20242022
StabilitySupportive and stableVery stable
FlexibilityModerately flexibleRigid
SizingMen’s 7-15, 17, Women’s 5-12Men’s 7-13, Women’s 5-11
Weight9.30-10.50 oz10.8 oz
CushionPlush, comfortableHighly cushioned, balanced
OutsoleDurable rubberRubber with wide platform
MidsoleDNA LoftCompression molded EVA
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$160$165

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Glycerin 21 uses a DNA Loft midsole which provides soft, durable cushioning designed to maintain comfort over many miles. The full-length rubber outsole is both durable and flexible, delivering reliable traction and a smooth heel-to-toe transition. The engineered mesh upper offers a secure, breathable fit that adapts to the shape of the foot.

GLYCERIN 21
GLYCERIN 21

Hoka Bondi 8
BONDI 8

The Bondi 8 features a compression-molded EVA midsole that provides responsive, durable cushioning tuned to absorb impact. The rubber outsole uses a wider platform and meta-rocker design for enhanced stability and a smooth ride. The engineered mesh upper includes plush tongue and heel lining made from an quick-drying foam material, offering next-to-skin comfort.

Durability:

The Glycerin 21’s full-length DNA Loft midsole maintains its plush cushioning properties mile after mile. Even after considerable wear, the durable rubber outsole continues to deliver reliable traction and slip-resistance during the gait cycle.

The Bondi 8’s compression-molded EVA midsole retains its shock-absorbing characteristics and responsive feel over repeated long-distance road runs. The hardy rubber outsole withstands abrasion from high mileage training, providing grip and longevity. Both models are built with premium materials to last through heavy weekly running.

Fit:

The Glycerin 21 runs true to size for most foot shapes, with testers finding a comfortable glove-like fit from heel to toe. The engineered mesh upper adapts to the contours of the foot for personalized lockdown. Some found the toe box slightly narrow, though the shoe generally accommodates various foot volumes.

GLYCERIN 21 TOP VIEW
GLYCERIN 21 TOP VIEW

Bondi 8 Top View
BONDI 8 TOP VIEW

The Bondi 8 fits snug through the midfoot and forefoot due to the integrated upper construction. The materials are less stretchy than previous versions for a performance fit.

However, the midfoot and heel still offer a secure, customized lockdown. Wider feet or high volume sizes may find the Bondi 8 too narrow, so trying on this model is recommended.

Stability:

With its wide platform, 10mm drop, and guidance line technology, the Glycerin 21 provides moderate pronation control for mild overpronators. The full-length DNA Loft midsole remains stable and balanced over long distances. Heel strikers will appreciate the built-in pronation support upon foot strike.

The Bondi 8’s lower 4mm drop, early stage meta-rocker sole, and broad outsole enhance natural stability for neutral runners. The shoe corrects overpronation surprisingly well given its neutral category. Both the maximally cushioned midsole and secure upper hold the foot centered throughout the gait cycle.

Cushioning:

The Glycerin 21 contains DNA Loft cushioning, providing plush, pillowy softness underfoot without losing energy return. The responsive foamabsorbs impact while maintaining momentum. Full ground contact allows the midsole to cushion every step.

The Bondi 8 features maximum compression-molded EVA foam tuned for softness. The high 55mm/29mm stack height provides luxurious cushioning from heel to toe strike. Testers describe the smooth midsole as providing a floating, cloud-like sensation during the run.

Value for Money:

The Brooks Glycerin 21 retails for $160, which is reasonable for a premium daily trainer packed with cushioning technologies. Comparable shoes often cost $10-20 more, making the Glycerin a great option for runners on a budget.

While $165 is not inexpensive, the Hoka Bondi 8 delivers maximum cushioning and comfort that helps reduce injury risk. For runners who prioritize plush softness and protection, the price reflects the specialized construction required to achieve this.

Both shoes should last around 500-600 miles with proper care, meaning you can get considerable mileage for the price. Their durability offsets the initial investment over time.

The Glycerin 21 utilizes a full-length DNA Loft midsole and flexible grooved outsole for a responsive, well-cushioned ride suitable for most runners. This versatility makes it a high value option.

The Bondi 8 employs extra thickness Zonal 3D printed midsole foam strategically placed for softness exactly where needed. You pay for the precise construction required to create this sensation.

While expensive, the Bondi 8 delivers highly specialized maximal cushioning that helps absorb impact for injury-prone runners. This can reduce medical costs in the long run.

For runners needing stability, the Glycerin 21 provides great pronation support at a reasonable price compared to dedicated stability models that can cost $20-40 more.

Performance Comparison:

Walking:

The Glycerin 21’s flexible forefoot, breathable upper, and thick midsole cushioning provide comfort for long walks. The ample heel cushioning prevents pain during heel strike.

The Bondi 8 offers extremely soft cushioning underfoot which helps absorb impact while walking. The rocker-shaped outsole encourages smooth heel-to-toe transitions during the walking gait cycle. The secure upper keeps the foot centered.

Running:

While not as soft as the Bondi 8, the Glycerin 21 supplies plenty of cushioning for easy runs and recovery days. The responsive DNA Loft foam provides a lively, energetic midsole. The shoe suits daily training for neutral runners.

The super-soft Bondi 8 midsole absorbs shock extremely well for recovery runs and long distances. The exaggerated rocker profile facilitates smooth landings. However, the heavy, rigid build isn’t ideal for faster paces like tempo runs or strides.

Plantar Fasciitis:

The Glycerin 21’s cushioned midsole helps reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis. The arch support also relieves tension on the plantar fascia. The roomy forefoot helps accommodate custom orthotics.

The plush cushioning of the Bondi 8 helps absorb shock during foot strike, great for reducing plantar fasciitis discomfort. The wide base provides stability to support the foot throughout the gait cycle.

Standing All Day:

The Glycerin 21’s DNA Loft cushioning maintains comfort and shock absorption even when standing for extended periods. The OrthoLite® sockliner further enhances underfoot softness.

The Bondi 8’s maximally cushioned midsole provides pillowy comfort when worn all day. Testers praise the shoe for keeping feet content even during prolonged periods of standing. The upper also stays comfortable without pinching or rubbing.

Final verdict:

The Brooks Glycerin 21 and Hoka Bondi 8 are both excellent cushioned shoes. The right choice comes down to your needs as a runner.

The Glycerin 21 offers versatile cushioning suited for daily miles at various paces. The breathable upper provides a secure fit and the durable sole maintains cushioning over long distances. It works well for runners who need pronation support.


The Bondi 8 delivers ultra-soft cushioning specially designed for recovery days and slow long runs. The super plush midsole absorbs shock extremely well making it ideal for sore feet or plantar fasciitis. However, the heavy build isn’t made for fast paces.

In summary, if you want well-cushioned versatility suitable for most training, choose the reliable Glycerin 21. But if you desire maximum softness for slower mileage or foot pain relief, opt for the Bondi 8. Try them on to decide which model best matches your preferences as a runner.

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