When it comes to improving both on and off the pavement, it's important to have gear that can support you in that process. Pushing yourself in your athletic endeavors can teach you a lot about life, about yourself and what it means to be constantly improving. Running is the most acute example of this. In most cases, it's a solo sport. Just you, the road, your shoes and your thoughts. It takes a certain personality to pursue self-improvement and self-betterment through running \u2014 personalities like Brian Galdamez and Mireille Sin\u00e9. Galdamez and Sin\u00e9 are two of the most driven runners in LA, and to explore the topic of improvement through running, we had them test out the new HOKA ONE ONE Bondi X \u2014 a shoe designed to improve your running performance through its carbon plate. Galdamez and Sin\u00e9 are both accomplished runners active in the Los Angeles running community, and with numerous miles under their belts and races on the way, they were perfect candidates to give these shoes a test. We caught up in Los Angeles with Sin\u00e9 and Galdamez to ask them not only what they thought about the HOKA Bondi X, but also about their journey to self-improvement through running. Brian Galdamez Brian Galdamez is an LA-based photographer, visual artist and writer. He began running on a quest to improve his health and has not looked back since. He's an active member of the Koreatown Run Club and can be seen a few days a week at his favorite running spot, The Pasadena Rose Bowl. Learn More Q: Do you find a sense of self-improvement through your running ? Brian Galdamez : "Through running, I found the ability to dig deeper, to be able to endure discomfort to get to whichever target is in front. Long-distance running specifically has helped shift what endurance means in my mind. It has helped develop the ability to discern, to be able to tell when pain is real and when it\u2019s just created by the chatter in my mind. When the chatter starts, there still is more to dig for. That is where I feel the growth is primed. Running has helped me develop a better sense of discipline and continues to show me what consistency can create in not only sport but also in life." Q: What inspires you and drives you most on a run and in your life? BG: " In running, in all areas of life, I feel there\u2019s a pull to expand into new ways and space. That pursuit of expansion is what fuels me. It can be easy to get caught up in our comfort zones, yet stepping out of it is where I feel we create the opportunity to develop our potential." Q: How was testing out the Bondi X? BG: " T esting the Bondi X was refreshing. I have tested two carbon plated shoes before and these HOKA shoes stack up well with them. I am not used to shoes with this amount of cushion and having a carbon plate. I could sense the difference immediately stretching and warming up. Once starting the run, that feeling was amplified with each foot strike. "The biggest difference I noticed was how light and comfortable they feel throughout the run. I was able to just focus on the movement. In addition, they felt efficient in the sense that there was a return of energy on how they made contact with the ground. The shoes felt like a great tool in minimizing the distraction certain gear can create. The balance between cushion/comfort and performance is evident in the few miles I got to put into these HOKA shoes. I love to see shoe design being pushed to be able to incorporate the elements athletes are looking for in their training and for race day." HOKA Bondi X The Bondi X from HOKA is a running shoe that features a carbon plate and strikes the balance between cushion and performance. Made with Rocket X foam and Bondi stack heights, the shoe delivers on comfort while remaining lightweight. The compression-molded EVA midsole provides the signature HOKA cushioning that makes it stand out from other running shoes. The shoe continues to have the cushy bounce that runners love in the Bondi but with a carbon fiber plate to add stability, snappiness and a bit of speed. Plus, with an all-white upper and midsole set off by a pop of color, the Bondi X is easy on the eyes, too. Price: $200 SHOP NOW Mireille Sin\u00e9 Mireille Sin\u00e9 is a public health advocate and member of the Blacklist LA running group. Sin\u00e9 became serious about running after her Lupus diagnosis left her with limited physical activity for two years. Starting with 5Ks and building up to marathons and trail running, Sin\u00e9 credits running for her sense of discipline and determination. She can most often be found running the city street of Los Angeles or switching up her training on the trails of Griffith Park. Learn More Q: What inspires you and drives you most on a run and in your life? Mireille Sin\u00e9: "My health is a big factor when it comes to running. I know what I feel like when I\u2019m not running \u2014 to be honest, I don\u2019t like how it feels very much. When I\u2019m on a run, I know that I\u2019m building physical and mental strength and I will be a better person because of these miles. The community is also a good driving force. There is just so much diversity between runners and you never know who you\u2019re inspiring. It\u2019s amazing to see so many people work on their goals and achieve them." Q: How was testing out the Bondi X? MS: " The Bondi X felt pretty great! Right out of the box, I felt like it would be a good shoe to train in and do a marathon in. I like the sleek look of it compared to the normal Bondi shoe. The biggest difference would be the amount of cushioning in the Bondi X vs the Carbon X. For someone like me who floats around the 4:30 time for a marathon, the amount of cushioning in the Bondi X would be great for the time I spend on my feet \u2014 and the boost from the carbon plate may actually help me get to a new marathon time!" Q: The Bondi strikes the balance between cushion and performance, did you notice this while running in them? MS: " I did notice this while running in them. I think it\u2019s a great update on the Bondi that many fans will enjoy. For those that have been curious about trying a carbon plated shoe, the Bondi X will also be a great entry point. All around, it\u2019s a fun shoe with lots of potential."