Hoka Carbon X 2 Review

Hoka Carbon X 2 Review

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?

Hoka Carbon X 2 Review

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 Review

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 Review

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 Review
I hope eventually this paper thin tongue goes away

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 Review

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 7Asics GlideRide.

Speed Work:  Nike Tempo Next%, New Balance Fuelcell TC Shoe ReviewReebok Float Ride Run fast Pro,

Long Runs: Hoka Carbon X 2, Hoka Clifton Edge,  Under Armour Sonic HOVR 3

Trail Running/Hiking: Hoka Torrent 2, Saucony Peregrine 11, North Face Flight VECTIV

Races: adidas Adizero ProAsics MetaRacerNew Balance Fuelcell 5280Nike Next%,  Saucony Endorphin ProNew Balance fuelcell TCReebok Run fast Pro 

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the Hoka Carbon X 2?

What is your current favorite racing shoe? 



  1. I am a big HOKA fan. I have not tried the other carbon-plated shoes on the market but I really like the Carbon X 2. I use the Rincon 2 for long slow runs, the Mach 4 for fast training runs, and the X 2 for races. I have not tried the X 2 in wet conditions. I recently ran a half marathon using the X 2 and was very pleased at how my legs didn’t get tired during or after the race. At age 70 that is a definite plus.

    1. That’s awesome Doug. Which half did you race? I wanted to like the Rincon more but it’s not as durable for me.

      1. I ran the Whidbey Island Half Marathon in Oak Harbor, Washington, wearing the X 2. Very hilly course. With the X 2 the downhills felt super fast, but under control. One question though: how does the Carbon X 2 compare to the Hoka Rocket?

      2. I’ve heard that area is fairly hilly! I have relatives that live out that way. The Carbon X 2 has more cushion than the Rocket. I think the rocket is a “faster shoe” but it is a lot less cushion.

  2. As an older and slower marathoner, I’m excited for this shoe (more time on my feet to complete the marathon distance so I would like the cushion). I have the original Carbon X, which I have worn for two marathons and a half. Now it’s finishing it’s life as a training shoe. I was worried about the traction in poor weather, but I wore it for the Atlantic City marathon which finished in pouring rain on a wood boardwalk, and I had no issues with slipping.

    1. Funny you say that Wendy, I actually did injure myself one year from slick AC boardwalks and not enough traction. I think if the shoe can handle there, it can handle anywhere. I am looking forward to hearing what you think about the updated version.

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