Full disclosure – I’m working with Hoka on an Instagram collaboration but this post is not sponsored. I never get paid for my reviews as I want them to remain trusted, totally honest and unbiased.
Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t cheap and will set you back £160.
They were designed to be fast. Hoka’s director of footwear design said ‘we went people to feel fast when they put the shoe on’. And I’m going to be honest, because I don’t think they felt that different to other Hoka shoes that I’ve worn before. They don’t look that fast either, in my opinion.
But more important than how they look, is how they feel and perform.
There’s a carbon plate running from heel to toe that helps guide the stride through the ‘metarocker’ feature. It is designed to help generate a more forceful toe-off. And it does.
The Metarocker on this is intense on the shoe, helping propel you faster, quicker off the ground. I found it almost a little awkward to run slowly in these shoes, but loved them on the track and tempo runs.
I race in a cushioned shoe. I do spadework in cushioned shoes and I definitely easy run in cushioned shoes. The foam above the carbon plate is soft EVA foam; below the carbon plate is rubberised EVA.
And they’re not just designed for speed workouts and tempo runs. They recently helped Jim Warmsley break the 50 mile race World Record!
These shoes would be great for a speedy marathon, half or 10K race, however they would need some getting used to in training as in Runner’s World tests, heel strikers felt that their lower legs had to work harder to keep up with the shoes rocker action.
For those wanting to race in them (or take them on holiday!), you’ll be pleased to hear that they are lighter than they appear (although not as light at the Nike Vaporfly 4% or a more traditional racing shoe).
They are taking some getting used to as they are a bit firmer than the Adidas Boost and Vaporfly (and my favourite Arahi Hoka’s) but they do feel like they have a quick bounce back (and help speed up leg turnover – or maybe that’s just in my head!).
My only real gripe…WHITE?!! I managed to flick mud on these beauties during their first outing.
Would I buy the Carbon X -> Yes, if I was going for a big PB race (a marathon or half marathon) to give me an extra kick. Mentally and physically.
Your Questions Answered:
Are they a wide fit? Especially in the toe box? I have quite wide feet and the Carbon X fit my toes just fine. The Clifton’s I have found to be a bit narrower, and think they rubbed slightly on my big toe. However no issues with the Carbon X in the same size.
Are they cushioned? Yes, not as much as the Arahi (still my fave Hoka’s), but much more cushioned than some of the other speedy shoes on the market.
Do they feel unstable? No, however they are definitely not designed for trails. Stick to the roads in these ones.
What’s the heel-toe drop? It may look like the drop is huge, but intact the 5mm toe drop isn’t actually a big drop, especially when compared to the Nike 4% at 10mm.
Are they a neutral shoe or do they work for those that pronate? They are neutral – personally I wouldn’t wear these for those than pronate however Hoka do have options for those that need extra stability.
Are they good for those prone to shin splints? Extra cushioning might help but I’d highly recommend getting a gait analysis, and tackling the problem of tight/weak calves to help with shin splints. (How to avoid and treat shin splints).