Hoka One One Carbon X 2
This newest addition to the Carbon X lineup has undergone quite a few performance updates as well as a style makeover to compete with some of the more stylish brands out there on the market. The heightened durability also means that this is a shoe built for training as well, so you won’t have to lock it away in anticipation of race day.
Below, I wanted to dive into some of the advanced features that make this one of the best racing shoes out there on the market.
Carbon plate for an energetic and even gait cycle
Breathable mesh upper
Flared heel collar
Rubberized foam outsole for extra cushioning
Made from lightweight materials for an energetic ride
Aggressive Meta-Rocker for added stability
Bulky design is not for everyone
Runs ½ size too small
The midsole is where the Hoka Carbon X 2 really shines. This design is made with Hoka’s PROFLY midsole material that is incredibly soft and supportive. What I love most about this midsole is that it offers that classic cushioning found in many Hoka trainers, but you won’t lose any energy return. It strikes the perfect balance between cushioning and performance.
What makes this midsole unique is the addition of both a Meta-Rocker and a Carbon plate sandwiched between the PROFLY midsole and outsole. The carbon plate runs the full length of the shoe and curls up a bit at the toe box for a smooth and energetic ride. The Meta-Rocker has a curved design that acts as a rocking chair for your feet for smooth and easy transitions. It’s typically only found in stability shoes, but in the Carbon X 2, it really works well to keep your gait cycle light and easy.
The upper is composed of an engineered mesh material that helps to move hot air up and away from your foot. While it’s breathable, it will still run a little hot due to the thickness of the mesh and the synthetic overlays to boost stability and performance. One of the more notable changes to this design is the addition of the flared heel collar. This collar offers a sleek and modern look, and also works to cut down on rubbing on the heels, as well as cutting down on the overall break-in period of this shoe.
It also has embroidered TPU yarns to help boost stability and help you achieve that nice locked-in feel that makes these shoes melt into your feet. Reinforcement around the laces adds a bit of stability, but can sometimes run a little too hot. Many runners opt to swap out the laces on this design for something that is a little more stretchy and forgiving.
The outsole of this design is composed of rubberized foam material for a soft and springy ride. Many running shoes can feel a little bottom-heavy, with the majority of the weight found at the base of the shoe. A heavy rubber outsole can really slow you down and give your feet a pendulum effect while running. By utilizing a rubberized foam for the outsole, these shoes feel impossibly light and offer excellent energy returns when running on hard surfaces.
However, this rubberized foam outsole has a slight drawback. Rubber outsoles exist because they are insanely durable. They may be a little on the heavy side, but they are designed to last for hundreds and hundreds of miles while showing little signs of wear and tear. While this rubberized foam may be light and energetic, it just isn’t as durable as the classic rubber outsole. Many users found that they shaved off at least 2 mm of overall stack height after about a hundred miles out on the road.
I found that the Hoka Carbon X 2 is perfect for races. Whether you're running a 5k or competing in a brutal ultramarathon, the overall build and design of this shoe offer a lightweight fit and advanced performance features in the midsole and outsole to keep your feet and legs comforted and protected.
The lightweight design will keep you light on your toes, and the carbon plate and Meta-Rocker keep your gait cycle nice and even prevent pain in your joints. The durable build and short break-in period allow you to save them for race day, or wear them as an everyday trainer.
Hoka knows that feet need room to move. What I love most about this design is that the upper boasts a wide fit that won’t squeeze the life out of your forefoot, and also has a roomy toe box that lets your toes naturally splay inside of the shoe. It’s important to note that the toe box of this design is slightly narrower than other Hoka’s, so be sure that you give these shoes a spin before you make your purchase.
It’s also important to note that these shoes run slightly small. If you wear a 10 in other Hokas, it may be in your best interest to opt for a half size larger to ensure that you get the proper fit for your feet. If you have never worn Hoka’s before and can’t quite make it to your local shoe store to try them on before you buy them, you will need to bust out the tape measure. Take ample measurements of your feet and compare them to the sizes on Hoka’s website to ensure that you get the right fit for your feet.
Hoka trainers have a very specific style to them, and that is still true when it comes to the Carbon X 2. However, there have been sleek changes to this design that make it a little more modern and less clunky than other designs in the Hoka lineup. I love that it boasts a flared heel collar that you see on a lot of modern running shoes, especially from Nike. This flared collar not only looks modern, but also cuts down on the overall break-in period as well.
This is one of Hoka’s more expensive trainers, but it is still considered incredibly affordable when comparing it to similar race day trainers out there on the market. It has a lot of similar performance features as the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% 2 but comes in at a price point that is much more affordable. When you take into consideration the high-performance features, durability, and overall design of this shoe, it is well worth every penny!
Comparisons to Previous Versions
The biggest update made to this shoe lies in the midsole. Hoka doesn’t often tinker with their midsoles, but the improvements made to the Carbon X 2 are perfect. They kept the same PROFLY midsole material, and just turned the dial up to and 11. The midsole on this updated version is much lighter and much more cushioned than previous versions. This updated midsole gives you nice step-in feel without sacrificing agility and responsiveness.
The style changes made to this shoe make it look a little more modern and utilize many features found in shoes on the bleeding edge, such as Nike. It has a split heel and a flared heel collar that is found on many modern trainers. The flared heel collar not only looks sharp but also cuts down on rubbing against your heels.
It may cost a little bit more than your average runner, but the quality materials built into this shoe make it well worth every penny. If you need a secret weapon come race day, the Hoka One One Carbon X 2 is a great choice!