I was intrigued to find out more about the shoe after Jim Walmsley broke the world 50 mile record in the HOKA Carbon X with a time of 4:50:08, 43 seconds better than the prior 1984 record by Bruce Fordyce.
Before writing this review, I’ve put over 100 miles into my Carbon X’s and tested them for easy runs, interval training and one 10k race which I got a PB in.
How they feel to run in: Firstly. If your using these shoes for a very slow recovery run, you won’t get the best out of them. As the carbon plate is firm and you don’t make full use of the Metarocker system.
Both of elements (carbon plate & Metarocker system) really come alive when your settled into a good tempo pace, it feels like it’s propelling you forward and encouraging you to run off your forefoot, as the rolling gait cycle starts working.
If the Carbon X shoe was a car, it would be a GT (grand tourer) designed to go fast whilst covering long distance in comfort.
I could explain in length about the technical details… but the facts are I ran a 10K PB in them.
Ok so here’s some facts:
- The foam midsole stays firm as carbon fibre plate allows the shoe to keep the shape and integrity of the metarocker;
- Whilst the Carbon X looks bulky, this is deceiving as it’s fairly light at 246g (US sz 9). It’s a snug fitting mesh upper, the tongue is stitched so there’s no movement, and it has a wide toe box;
- 32mm heel and 27 mm forefoot, with a 5mm heel-toe drop.
The competition: The next thing most people will think, is how does it compare against the Nike 4%…
So I’ve not worn the Nikes, but I’ve held both side by side. And the Nike’s feel and are lighter (195g – Men’s size 9).
I was talking to a guy who owns a running store and he was saying that, if you got fatigued towards the end of the race, and say you started running more on your heel the 4% would compress more and give less support than the Carbon X.
Looking at both shoes while they share the feature of a carbon fibre plate, coupled with lots of cushioning the 4% appears to be more like a race shoe that you don’t train in. But the Carbon X is a race shoe that you can train in.
However opinions aside, both shoes do their job well, in different ways.
Race distances: I’d say that the Carbon X a road shoe that is ideal for anything from the marathon and the ultra distance.
Whereas if you want to run a fast 5k, 10k or half marathon race try the HOKA Carbon Rocket.
Cost: Prices will change, but in June 2019 the approximate prices are as follows:
- $180 (US)
They are a great training and race shoe and this combo makes them good value for money.
To sum up: If your running very easy on them (recovery pace) it will feel very firm and you won’t get the best out of them.
The Metarocker and carbon fibre plate really make the shoe preform as it’s meant to, by pushing you forward when your dialled into a good pace.
HOKA is Maori term which means to fly/soar, and you will do in the Carbon X if you’re covering long distances, quickly at a set pace.
These would be a great road shoe for the marathon and ultra distances, and I’m looking forward to getting some marathon tempo miles out of them.