The HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X already broke the world record for 50 miles—and it’s coming for your personal records, too.
HOKA debuted its newest racing shoe in early May during Project Carbon X in Folsom, California. At the event, a group of elite ultramarathoners wore the Carbon X shoe in an attempt to break the 100K world record. No one topped the official 100K mark in the central California heat, but ultrarunner Jim Walmsley broke the 50-mile record with a time of 4:50:09 in the middle of his run.
Now, the shoe is ready topple your best times.
Carbon X derives its performance from a minimal, lightweight construction and a curved carbon-fiber plate that gives the shoe an amplified rocker shape and noticeable pop during toe off. In this review, we dive into the technology behind HOKA’s new racing shoe, the fit and how it performed for our testers.
Here’s what you need to know about the new HOKA Carbon X:
From the sole to the upper, HOKA tuned the Carbon X to be an ultra-cushioned, featherweight long-distance running shoe.
On top, HOKA kept things simple: A single layer of engineered mesh wraps around your foot for a streamlined fit.
The mesh doesn’t provide much structure to the midfoot and forefoot—when you take your foot out, it has a tendency to collapse. But the breezy upper keeps the shoe’s weight to a minimum: a men’s size 9 only weighs 8.7 ounces, and a women’s size 7 is 7.2 ounces.
To give the shoe some shape, HOKA embroidered the shoe with stitching that grabs the top eyelet on each side of the shoe and wraps around the heel. There’s no heel counter, but the stitching helps lock down the midfoot and heel. None of our testers felt their heels slip around whether they were logging easy miles, cruising during long runs or hammering 1,000m repeats on well-groomed trail. In fact, one tester set out on a hard (and hot!) long run with a less-than-ideal synch (she says the shoe didn’t feel tight at all), and still, she says, her foot felt secure the whole time, and she didn't experience any blistering.
Another one of our runners with high-volume feet says he has to wear the thinnest socks he has to avoid adding extra girth, but none of our testers with average-width feet had any problems.
HOKA punched six lace holes up each side of the shoe for a standard lacing pattern. An empty seventh at the top to lets you customize the fit.
The plate adds a couple of noticeable characteristics to the Carbon X:
One tester says it gives you the protection of an everyday trainer and the boost of a speed shoe.