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Our verdict

A good shoe although not perhaps in the category in which it sits. As a race day shoe it lacks the 'pop' of its stable mate, the Rocket X, and with that model being cheaper it is the better race day option. The Carbon X is ideally a lightweight training shoe or an ultra runners racer. That said, are you racing your ultra or 'getting around?' - if it's the latter then maybe skip the carbon plate altogether and try the MACH 4.

  • Positive
  • The all-important carbon plated midsole
  • High levels of cushioning
  • Everyday 'usability'
  • Negative
  • Lacks 'racing shoe feel'
  • Pointless heel flare
  • What we thought
  • Technical info
  • Runner reviews (0)

First impressions

An update to the Carbon X, this shoe certainly looks the part. An extended heel flare gives the impression of speed, think Nike Vaporfly Next%, only here the flare is split for a double-pronged appearance. The midsole cushioning and outsole look pretty much unchanged and feature the carbon-fibre plate. The upper is neat and looks smart, with a nice mesh construction.

Midsole

The familiar rocker shape is present and the shoe here remains largely unchanged from the previous version. As with the previous version there's a lack of mentioning of any 'spring' or 'propulsion' from the carbon plate. Hoka simply say its it's there to maintain the rocker shape and help toe off. In this update I was hoping for a little more, be that from a stronger plate or update to the midsole material but it didn't happen. The shoe feels smooth on the run, but not really that exciting. It lacks some of the 'pop' you get from other carbon plated shoes.

Upper

It's a neatly finished design, an engineered mesh with just the right amount of padding to make it comfortable without adding extra weight. Fit is good, particularly around the heel and midfoot. The heel collar fits well and despite the slightly unusual design sits really nicely around the ankle and Achilles. There's a little bunching in the toe box around the bottom of the laces, ok, that could be my foot shape but it's no deal breaker as with a slightly thicker pair of socks this extra volume was reduced. I the shoes were a good fit.

Sole

The outsole really forms part of the cushioning and midsole in this shoe, being a generally more durable material. It wears pretty well so there are few concerns here but it is purely designed for the roads, so it's pretty smooth!

Conclusion

A reasonable update, looks good and fits well. It's just not moved on too much in terms of performance. That heel flare serves no purpose (if you are striking that far back then forget carbon plates!) It runs well, nice and smooth and feels efficient, so maybe at the right pace it's perfect, it's just finding that pace. In my opinion, for racing anything quicker than 6 minute miles, other shoes offer better response. As an ultra shoe it might be perfect, the Hoka sponsored athletes certainly agree.

Technical info

Profly X - Provides a soft, propulsive experience

Carbon Plate - Deliver a smoother transition throughout the gait cycle.

Meta-rocker - Increases running efficiency.

Profly X - Provides a soft, propulsive experience

Foam Outsole - Ensures lightweight durability.

 

 

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