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Hoka One One Carbon X2 Review

The Hoka One One Carbon X2 is the latest carbon fiber plated shoe update and we were able to get them on our reviewers’ feet. The Carbon X2 is positioned as an endurance racer, but that doesn’t mean you need to only run long in this shoe. It also means it’s going to be quite durable and go the distance.

by Dave Martinez

Hoka One One Carbon X2

We couldn’t do this review before acknowledging the  Project Carbon X2 event put on by Hoka One One on January 23, 2021. In 2019, Hoka put on the first Project Carbon X to showcase the release of this model. In both events, the goal was to set a new World Record at the 100K distance. In 2019, Jim Walmsley set a new 50-mile record of 4 hours, 50 minutes, and 8 seconds. This year, he missed the 100K World Record by 11 seconds running 6:09:25. He shattered the previous American record of 6:27:44. Kudos to Hoka One One for putting on a free online event with the same quality of broadcast you’d expect from a major network.

Hoka One One Carbon X2

Testing the Hoka Carbon X2

Let’s go over what’s changed in version 2 and then we’ll dive into what our tester’s thought about these updates. Probably the most notable update is the upper. The material has been simplified while remaining lightweight and breathable. The heel collar has been reshaped with that extended collar to reduce issues with the Achilles. We’ve seen this same design on other Hoka One One shoes over the last year. The PROFLY™ midsole is softer and the outsole is firmer to compliment the carbon fiber plate. The carbon fiber plate was lowered and is closer to the ground/outsole for a more responsive feel while maintaining a softer ride.


Our reviewers noticed how the improved upper also improved the fit of the Hoka One One Carbon X2. Cameron from our Kennesaw location said, “…redesigned upper that gives a much more snug, less sloppy fit.” Jordan, from our Midtown location, agreed, “The upper is a bit more fitted, consistent with the Clifton 7 update. I like this trend.” Mike from our Decatur location noticed the difference in the improved heel collar. Jason from our Brookhaven location agreed that the heel felt more secure but also added that “…the toe box was noticeably more accommodating…” due to the changes in the upper. Luis from our Kennesaw store did note that it did feel true to size.


Ashley from our Suwanee store pointed out the difference in stability compared to other carbon fiber plated shoes, “… a bit more stable than other carbon plated shoes because they have a wider base.” It’s also no surprise that shoes with a carbon fiber plate are stiff and rigid. Luis from our Kennesaw store had this to say, “you can really feel the carbon plate transition on the speed workouts. Out of all the HOKA shoes I have tried to run in, the Carbon X2 has been the only shoe that I have been excited to put and go for a run. ” While Hoka states on their site that the Meta-Rocker has been updated to be aggressive, Jordan thought differently, “it even felt like the X2 had a less aggressive Meta-Rocker dip under the ball of my foot.” Mike from our Decatur location made some comparison to other carbon fiber plated shoes, “one of the first things I noticed about the Carbon X 2 when standing in it is the PROFLY™ cushioning. Compared to other carbon-plated super shoes such as the Nike Vaporfly Next% the Carbon X 2 has a much more firm underfoot feeling.” Jason had this to say about the updated cushioning, “the midsole feels nice and soft, on par with my expectations for a Hoka, and not as jarring as the predecessor.”


So how did it feel to put the Hoka One One Carbon X2 through the paces? “The carbon plate gave the shoe a very responsive and smooth ride when I worked the pace down during workouts. Even towards the end when I started to get tired, it was nice to have the shoe to help me pop off the ground, keeping my cadence up and stride smooth. For this reason, the shoe quickly became one of my favorites for these workout days, and even long runs where I want to work the pace down.” said Cameron. Luis felt like this shoe was more suited to mid-foot strikers, “I really enjoyed the transition I felt while I was pushing the pace and again midfoot stickers will love the shoe.” Jason is a big fan of the ride of this shoe, “the ride is almost effortless, almost every time I’ve run in this shoe, I’ve gone 20-30 seconds per mile faster than my perceived effort.” Ashley also felt that the Hoka Carbon X2 allows for a faster pace even on easy runs, “I ran a few easy runs in these, as well as a couple of interval workouts. While they feel okay on easy miles, they felt great on my faster runs. I couldn’t, not run fast!”

Weight 8.40 oz Weight 7.00 oz
Drop 5 mm Drop 5 mm


Overall, our reviewers enjoyed running in the new Hoka One One Carbon X2. While Jordan liked the improved fit that the upper provided, she did prefer the feel of the previous version, “I personally preferred the original here because I had a better platform to push off of.” Cameron’s final thoughts: “Overall, this is a very versatile shoe, from long runs to race days, even though it was not my favorite for chill runs.” Luis already knows which race he’s going to use the Hoka Carbon X2 for, “I plan on using the shoes for the Atlanta Publix Half Marathon.” While Mike for Decatur feels it feels a bit firm compared to other carbon fiber plated shoes, he does expect that firmness to increase the durability of the shoe compared to others. While most carbon fiber plated shoes are designed specifically for race day only, Jason feels that “…the Carbon X2 is a great improvement over the first one, and the closest to daily trainer appropriate as I have gotten in a carbon plated shoe.” Ashley will finish this review with her comment, “Overall, it’s a solid shoe that’s very responsive and built for speed and distance.”

The Hoka One One Carbon X2 can be found in all of our locations and can also be purchased online (free shipping) through our online store.