You may have heard new about HOKA ONE ONE’s newest shoe – the Carbon X – recently. It was launched in early May with their Project Carbon X, a desire for a 100k world record and a 10x10k. In the end, Jim Walmsley set a new 50-mile world record (good God) and the shoe was off and running – literally. HOKA’s new high-performance shoe clearly has the clout, but it’s not just for the uber-elites. We recently received a pair of their beautiful Carbon X – and have been putting it to the test on a much…less professional basis.
These are intended for runners in their neutral cushioned category – “intended for runners who have a higher, more stable arch that does not pronate excessively (roll inwards) or may even supinate (roll outwards).” As someone with high arches, these felt quite like heaven on my feet.
And they looked the part too.
I’m not a huge worrier about how shoes look. I don’t have a standard color scheme requirement, nor is there a visual style I prefer. If it fits well and supports my feet appropriately I am on board – regardless of the look. That being said, I think these are frickin’ beautiful. The white is classy and the addition of the blue really gives it a classy look – enough flair without being too much. The little accentuated gold on the heel tab is a nice added touch. I just am obsessed on the look (though, again, it’s probably the least important thing I care about in shoes).
As far as the fit goes, I am pretty much in love with these. I have seen a variety of reviews that mention that heel strikers were met with sore calves after running in these. I consider my self a significant heel striker, so I expected to pull out the CBD stick after each run. However, I have not once felt any significant calf soreness. There is a lot of cushioning (32mm and 27mm in the men’s shoe – 30 & 25 in the women’s), but it felt different than “squishier” models that HOKA makes, this ain’t it. It’s got some solid road feel to me and I wasn’t offput by the plate underneath.
Speaking of the plate, it may be a game changer in my personal book. It was incredible how much I felt I was boosted forward due to the plate. I was off of my heels and rolling forward with each step. Maybe it was the technology or maybe it was the excitement to try out a new pair of shoes, but my first run in these knocked some serious time off of a casual run. I felt the benefit of the rocker in the later stages of an 8 mile run. I often find myself smashing into my heels as I get tired, which I know tends to slow me down and lose momentum. The rocker wouldn’t really allow me to settle into the comfort zone and continued to propel me forwards – leaving me no option but to continue the speed. I could see how this may be uncomfortable for some runners, but for a slightly above average speed runner such as myself, this propulsion didn’t push me into a zone I couldn’t keep up with.
As far as fit, this was one of the smoothest and easiest fits I have had in a shoe – and it continues a month in as well. It fits snugly, but not too tight. With the addition of a heel tab, it is as close to a slip-on running shoe as I have tried – it would have hardly even needed to be tied. I found it interesting that though there was no heel counter, my foot still felt locked in (though maybe not as much as some may prefer). My heels, surprisingly to me, felt like they stayed on the bottom, which isn’t always the case with me. I’m attributing it to some stitching that starts near the laces and goes around the back. The upper is single-layer mesh and makes things super light and breathable. But even with it’s lack of weight, it still stayed comfortably reassuring with solid tongue assistance.
The Carbon X be too heavy for some to be a true road racer, but as someone who isn’t about to win any events in the near future (or ever probably), I didn’t find the weight overbearing.
Overall, I am pretty much in love with this shoe. I found it to be an amazing combination of looks and functionality – and it’s pushed me forward in my running speed, literally and figuratively. The cost is definitely at the top end, but still less expensive than other similar options out there. It may not be for everyone, but I’d recommend not being scared off by the rocker right off the bat. Go give it a test spin somewhere local or utilize HOKA’s 30-day trial
Company: HOKA ONE ONE
Products & Price: Carbon X ($180)
- Weight: 8.7 oz
- Heel-to-Toe Offset: 5 mm
- Stack height: Toe – 27mm
- Stack height: Heel – 32mm
- Single layer engineered mesh upper offers breathability across forefoot
- Embroidery reinforcement provides a lightweight midfoot lockdown
- Gusseted tongue prevents migration across the instep
- Early stage Meta-Rocker delivers an up-tempo and propulsive ride
- Light and resilient PROFLY X foam sits above the carbon fiber plate while rubberized foam sits below the plate
- Carbon fiber plate curls under the lateral toes to prevent re-supination and deliver a smooth transition
- Wider forefoot platform provides support and stability along with an accommodating and comfortable fit
- Rubberized foam outsole offers a lightweight, responsive ground contact
Thank you to HOKA for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.