A Carbon Plate for All

Hoka One One Launches What Could Be Its Fastest Running Shoe Yet


Hoka One One announced its newest racing sneaker, the Carbon X and we have a feeling it’s going to be speedy. Using a carbon plate in racing shoes became popular with Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly 4% shoes, and the Carbon X follows suit. At 8.6-ounces it’s still lightweight enough to compete with the fastest shoes on the market, but with the maximum cushion possible in the midfoot. “We wanted to make a product to make people move fast over long distances,” Matt Head, footwear design director at Hoka One One, says.

The upper is a single-layered engineered mesh that is a “traditional fit, so you can dial in as you need,” but you’ll still want to wear socks with it, Head says. The shoe combines premium performance engineering (with the rocker-build and carbon plate) with the low weight to cushion ration that Hoka has become known for. The foam and cushioning are comparable to the Mach 2 shoe in the current line, and the carbon plate can also be found in a racing flat, the Carbon Rocket. “It’s less of a shoe,” Head explains. Scott Fauble wore the shoes at the Boston Marathon and was the first American finisher at Boston with a time of 2:09.

However, Hoka One One wants to make it clear that this new shoe isn’t just for elites. Hoka One One appeals to everyone from the first American finisher at Boston to the final finisher — “we don’t want to create a shoe that cuts them out of the loop,” Head says. The Carbon X is for everyone.

The patent-pending carbon fiber plate is sandwiched between the (it’s a lightweight EVA — more responsive than the foam in the Clifton — not soft and mushy) CM Betty Fly Foam and injected rubberized EVA below the plate. The outsole made of a compound that’s found in the Mach 2 and Cavu has a good balance of traction, Head says. While not quite as grippy as rubber, it does have rubber in it and is substantially lighter. And it still provides ample traction. When you step into the shoe, it feels fast. “It feels closer to the fly range in terms of the rest of products and an energizing feel,” Head says.

And, right on the heels of Nike’s ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% release ($275), the second edition of the elusive running shoes that have been proven to help you run four percent faster, the Carbon X is more accessible from a price standpoint at $180.

You can purchase the Hoke One One Carbon X starting May 15 and in stores June 1 for $180. Stay tuned for a full review.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Skechers Gorun Razor 3 ($135)
Adidas Adizero Sub 2 Shoe ($180)
Reebok Floatride Fast Pro ($250)
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