I’ve wanted to try the Hoka Carbon X 2 for what seems like…forever? Maybe not that long, but a while. To me, the original Carbon X didn’t live up to a “fast carbon plated shoe.” It was a great trainer, but would I race a marathon in it…probably not.
So when the Carbon X 2 came out, I was ready! Let’s be honest here, when am I not ready for new shoes?
So what is the Hoka Carbon X 2?
The Carbon X 2 is a carbon-plated shoe made for the ultramarathon distance. It has more cushion and substance than its competitor carbon-plated shoes. More cushion isn’t a bad thing, and you don’t need to be an ultra-marathoner to need more.
Hoka Carbon X 2 Quick Facts:
Weight: 8.4 oz
Heel to Toe Drop: 5 mm
Hoka Carbon X 2 Intro:
As mentioned, unlike the rest of the carbon-plated world, the Carbon X 2 was designed with the ultra marathoner and long-distance racer in mind. Jim Walmsley has worn it for his world record attempts. For the rest of us, it’s a great option for trainers and racing. If you want to try a carbon-plated shoe but might benefit or needs more cushion, the Hoka Carbon X 2 is a good option.
What makes the Hoka Carbon X 2 better for training than most other carbon-plated shoes?
- It’s wider. The wider base allows for more foot types and makes the Carbon X 2 more stable than most any other carbon plated shoe.
- It’s cheaper. At $180, it’s cheaper than almost every other carbon-plated shoe.
Hoka Carbon X 2 Fit:
The look and fit of the Carbon X 2 has been updated. It now has the dove tail back like the Hoka Mach 4 and similar to the Hoka Clifton Edge. It just appears to be a lot sleeker and smoother than the previous version as well.
Of any carbon-plated shoes, I think the Carbon X 2 has one of the best fits. The upper is made of a thin layer of breathable mesh. It’s minimal but does everything you really need in an upper of a shoe.
One thing I don’t love is the flat tongue. I’ve had issues with this in the Clifton Edge, and it can sometimes cut through my skin. I found myself adjusting it a little more than I liked to make sure I don’t result in a bleeding ankle.
In running shoes, I wear between a 10-11 wide. The women’s size 10.5 in the Hoka Carbon X 2 fits perfectly. I love how wide and how much room my feet have.
Hoka Carbon X 2 Ride:
Compared to the previous version, the Carbon X 2 is much softer and feels as though it has more cushion. According to Hoka, the EVA is a lower density, and the ratio of CMVEA to EVA is slightly different. It went from 65%/35% to 80/20. What the heck does that mean? It’s softer, less durable but does have more cushion. Less durable is scary for me because I never got more than 200 miles in the original Hoka Carbon X.
Another big update in the Hoka Carbon X 2 is the carbon plate is moved down slightly. This adds to the softness.
Running in the Hoka Carbon X 2, I don’t feel the same fastness as other carbon-plated models. I feel faster than the average training shoe, but I don’t feel like I’m going to break any marathon personal records. For me, it falls perfectly into a faster long-run training shoe. A shoe I want to run faster but don’t want my legs to beat up afterward. I’ve run about 100 miles in the Hoka Carbon X 2, including fast runs, easy runs, and daily runs. (I haven’t taken it on either the track or trails).
Traction: One thing I wish the Carbon X 2 had any of is traction. Like the original, the Carbon X 2 doesn’t have any EVA rubber at the bottom, which is why it’s not as durable nor performs “the best” in bad weather. It’s a fair-weather shoe that means if it’s raining or dealing with any inclement weather, you will find yourself sliding all over the place.
Hoka Carbon X 2 Conclusion:
I like the Carbon X 2 for training, and it’s one of my favorite perfect weather long run shoes. (That is oddly specific). If the ground is dry and I’m running longer and faster, it’s perfect. Don’t get me wrong; it’s also a great racing shoe if you want or need more cushion.
For me, I prefer a lower profile racing shoe like the Hoka Rocket X. You can’t really beat the price of $180 for a carbon-plated shoe. You also can’t beat the width of a carbon-plated shoe.
I do hope the Carbon X 3 will have rubber at the bottom for durability and traction.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
Easy/Daily Runs Saloman Sonic 3 Balance, Brooks Glycerin 18, Mizuno Rider Waveknit 3, Diadora Mythos Blushield Volo, Brooks Ricochet 3, Nike Pegasus 37, New Balance 1080 v11, Hoka Bondi 7, Asics GlideRide.
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Questions for you:
Have you tried the Hoka Carbon X 2?
What is your current favorite racing shoe?