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hoka one one Reviews

HOKA CARBON X 2 ATHLETE REVIEW

Pro triathlete Nick Chase (@race_chase) took the new HOKA Carbon X 2 through its paces from his home training base in St George, Utah.

By Nick Chase

Present day shoe technology is simply mind blowing. It’s no wonder as to why carbon shoe prices are soaring.

You’re paying for a ton of research and development as well as mega performance gains! This is likely one of the best “shoe eras” ever! The HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X 2 definitely seems to have a firm place within the carbon shoe world.

Take a look at my review as I run it through it’s paces. Learn why it’s going to be a key part of my shoe rotation on this year’s training and races season.

HOKA CARBON X 2 AT A GLANCE

The color, stance and overall design certainly visually grab the eye! They look like a top-fuel dragster, ready to toe the line for a ¼ mile PR!! However, after running in these babies heavily over the past few weeks I can tell, these are built for mileage!

Marathon to Ultra, that’s where I personally feel a sweet spot. I also did feel a bit sore after my first few runs; I’ve been running in 8mm drop shoes, non-carbon. So, although the Carbon X 2 runs softer than the previous Carbon X, I still felt it the stiffness in the foam. Also, another reason this is a great high-mileage racer…oh, and it holds the American Ultramarathon record to boot!

A bit more depth

For starters, HOKA altered the foam density towards a more cushioned ride and lowered the location of the carbon plate. This means you run on more foam, softening the ride against the rigid carbon.

With a 5mm drop, I personally felt the need to really lean into this shoe to feel the “boost”. Even with a dominant heel strike over 16 miles, I felt the meta-rocker rolling me forward. Again, this is why I’m definitely leaning towards a higher mileage race-shoe.

During hill reps I felt less of a boost in terms of performance. But let;s put that into context; only a few shoes really help launch against an 8% grade hill repeat.

Transitioning downhill, I felt like these shoes were going to run away from me; I really had to lean into the mid-foot, over-speed mechanics.

THE RIDE

With the Carbon X 2 I felt like I was just feeling the carbon, foam and shoe…without a whole lot of road feedback. Even after 80 miles, the shoe really felt just as “new” as it did on day 1…the foam is durable and the rubber sole seems like it should hold up well enough to swallow the $180-dollar price point. 

I was very impressed by how nicely my size 12, wide-flipper-foot fit snug and secure within this amazing upper! The achilles support system, gusseted tongue and dove-tail heel made for a firm, stable and un-compromised ride, especially while cornering in the wet.

Finally, with limited grip, I couldn’t call this a good trail shoe but certainly would say it did well on dirt roads!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Anyone can slap a carbon plate in a shoe these days but what defines a shoe’s greatness heavily depends on the foam. And importantly, HOW that plate interacts with the foam and your foot.

HOKA has done a great job providing everything a marathoner or ultra-marathoner might need to limit foam breakdown for a long-haul, fast run!

I really fell in love with this shoe more and more as I ran. Bonus is I received a ton of compliments on the color and overall look…which of course matters to us vain runners – jk. Our shoes need to look fast because duh, everyone will assume we are a threat on race-day!

Great work HOKA and if you’re looking for the next step and a bit more energy return for a half marathon, check out the HOKA Rocket X too.

SHOP HOKA CARBON X 2

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Women's
HOKA CARBON X 2
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hoka one one Reviews

HOKA CARBON X 2 REVIEW

After it’s debut, the smartly updated HOKA Carbon X 2 is ready for the running season ahead.

THE BUZZ

The Carbon X returns after the successful first edition won races and set records. It proved itself among the best of the initial crop of long-distance racing shoes built with carbon-fiber plates embedded in thick, cushy midsoles.

The Carbon X 2 is a maximally cushioned neutral-oriented speed shoe. It has a staunchly rocker profile and an energetic vibe that promotes fast-cadence running.

Hoka Carbon X 2 - What's New

WHAT’S NEW

The smart updates HOKA Carbon X 2 to make this edition slightly lighter and cushier. It is more consistent and efficient and, ultimately, even faster than the original.

Specifically, the shape and positioning of the carbon-fiber plate have been updated slightly for smoother, more efficient transitions. The midsole is slightly thicker and slightly softer for a more plush ride. Add to that the new, extended Achilles-friendly heel tab improves comfort and fit.

A stretchy Lycra bootie finishes off the Carbon X 2. This feature creates a gusseted tongue for a locked-down feeling at the mid-foot. It’s topped off with an engineered mesh upper that delivers breathable comfort.

FIT, FEEL, RIDE

The Carbon X 2 has a true-to-size fit with a medium width from heel to toe. It also brings in a little bit more room in the toe box. Compared to other carbon-fiber racing shoes, it’s a bit more roomy, especially in the toe box.

It’s a unique shoe that feels soft at step-in, but it tends to feel a bit firmer the faster you run in it. That’s a good combination that allows it to be comfortable, responsive, propulsive and fast. The most unique feature about this shoe is the rolling sensation of the ride.

Unlike some other super shoes with carbon-fiber plates that are bouncy, the Carbon X serves up a smooth, rhythmic, rolling ride. This stems from the distinct rocker geometry and catapulting sensation of the carbon-fiber plate embedded in the foam midsole.

There’s not much flex in this shoe, but it’s supposed to be firm and snappy. It’s takes a short amount of time to get used to it, but once you find that rhythm you’ll feel the energetic boost in every stride. It will feel almost effortless.

Hoka Carbon X 2 Review 2021

WHO IT’S BEST FOR

If you’re interested chasing a new personal best in the half marathon or marathon or want a proficient performance trainer for long runs and tempo runs, this is a definitely one every runner should consider.

While it’s a ideal choice for front of the pack runners, it’s an especially good shoe for committed age-group runners and middle-of-the-pack runners. This is because it accommodates a wide range of stride styles and encourages quicker and more efficient turnover for moderate paces too.

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Pros

For the encore edition, HOKA made some adjustments to the placement of the carbon-fiber plate. Embedded in the midsole, this allows the rolling vibe and energetic toe-off to be more accessible to every type of running gait. The plate is split under the flared midsole forefoot platform, allowing for optimal resupination to set up the toe-off phase of the stride.

The midsole of the Carbon X 2 is 2mm thicker and slightly softer than the original. This creates a more plush feeling from touch-down to toe-off. That includes slight changes to the cushy foam above the carbon-fiber plate and the durable and responsive injected-molded, rubberized EVA foam below the plate.

The outsole is made from a durable, injected-molded rubberized EVA. This provides a secure grip on wet and dry surfaces while also contributing to the propulsive ride.

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Cons

If you prefer or typically run in shoes with soft, compressible midsoles, the ride of the Carbon X might seem too rigid and rolling for you.

The Carbon X 2 much softer and more accessible than the first version. But it still a different ride than most carbon-fiber racing shoes that feature a soft, bouncy ride.

TECH SPECS

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Tech Specs

SHOP HOKA CARBON X 2

Hoka Carbon X 2 - Men's
MEN’S CARBON X 2
Hoka Carbon X 2 - Women's
WOMEN’S CARBON X 2