Hoka Carbon X2 Review: Best For Training & Racing

The Hoka Carbon X2 is an amazing running shoe that specializes in ultramarathon distances. It’s high-performance footwear built with a minimal upper and a soft, comfortable midsole.

The dual foam midsole of the Carbon X2 is significantly softer and more cushioned than its predecessor, the Carbon X. Overall, its build is very comfortable, making the shoe ideal for prolonged wear.

The modified lower-density EVA and the ratio of CMEVA to the rubberized EVA are properly adjusted for this shoe. Such a composition makes this shoe durable and comfortable at the same time. 

Thanks to its unique build, it’s possible to use the shoe for various kinds of running activities. Along with being a good option for runners, Hoka’s Carbon X2 is a smart choice for those looking for a shoe for regular jogging. 

An interesting feature of this particular shoe is its structure which mimics natural foot motion during the gait cycle, creating a more responsive ride. Having this shoe on for hours has not been a problem for me. It has a secure upper with sufficient space in the toe box.

The locked-in fit provides heel stability and supports heel strikers. I felt like this is the one feature that single-handedly makes Hoka Carbon X2 the ideal marathon-running shoe.

Hoka Carbon X2 Review

Who Should Buy Hoka Carbon X2

The primary target buyers for Hoka Carbon X2 are marathon runners. It has a carbon-plated texture that keeps the shoe pristine for ages. In other words, I could run around in this shoe for a whole day and it would still be as good as new. Along with this robust build, there are speed-enhancing features embedded in the shoe. 

These shoes perform best at a moderate to frenetic pace. This overall means the main thing Hoka Carbon X2 is offering is speed and durability. As already mentioned, the protruding heel offers better stability and facilitates heel strikers. So, if you want a shoe that will last long distances and more than a year, Hoka Carbon X2 is for you.

I personally use this shoe for my everyday exercise and regular jogging. It has a comfortable inner build. The thick, soft rubberized insole and flexible material make this shoe convenient and comfortable. So, if you are into regular heavy workouts, then Hoka Carbon X2 can be a good choice for you as well. The advantage I got from this shoe is its comfort and premium feel.

Who Should Not Buy

Despite being an amazing shoe, Hoka Carbon X2 is definitely not ideal for all purposes. As it’s an ultramarathon shoe, it’s understandably sturdier than other shoes. The overall build, build material, and structure may feel comfortable, but it’s not convenient for light usage.

For example, I would not have these shoes on as my regular footwear. The sturdiness of these shoes is excessively secure, locking the feet in the shoes. There’s not enough room to move the foot around. So having them on during the office or at school is not a good idea.

Moreover, I noticed Hoka Carbon X2 is not as breathable as you would expect a shoe to be. This is a huge drawback if you are looking for a shoe for everyday usage.

Finally, this shoe does not offer the best flexibility. In other words, they would not bend or stretch if the situation demands. This is why I won’t have them on if I am on tracking or trail running. In simple terms, Carbon X2 is not fit for adventures.

First Impression

At first glance, the Hoka Carbon X2 appears very cool with its thick sole and matte color that pops out in all kinds of lighting. The thick sole may appear hard and uncomfortable, but when I put them on, my impression changed.

Firstly, the shoelaces are swift and smooth, flexibly sliding around without obstruction. It was not difficult to make room for my feet to penetrate the shoe. Once my feet were in, I realized how comfortable the insole is. The upper mesh and both sides are soft and flexible.

However, I have to agree that they are not the most comfortable shoes. They provide sufficient traction but lack flexibility. It mostly feels hard and does not allow much room for my feet to move around. Overall, I would not pick up a pair of Hoka Carbon X2 for my everyday usage. But if I plan to run a marathon or start a rough workout session, this shoe would be my first choice.

Upper Mesh

The upper mesh of the Hoka Carbon X2 is engineered with embroidered TPU yarns and is secured with extra reinforcement around the laces. This build of the upper mesh makes the shoe durable, lightweight and offers sufficient breathability for long runs. The refined collar shape and notched tongue on the mouth of the shoe facilitate a more comfortable fit.

However, the upper mesh does not provide as much breathability, making it unsuitable for regular usage. However, this is not true if you live in a cold environment. If it’s snowing outside, I would choose the Hoka Carbon X2 only because of the upper mesh.. 

Sole Unit

The Hoka Carbon X2 features a dual foam midsole, which is significantly softer and more cushioned than other similar options. The lower-density EVA makes the shoe lightweight. The higher stack height at the top and softer part of the midsole, along with the slimmer lower half and the original thickness of the midpoint of the shoe, is a creative design. This structure enhances the ride quality of the Hoka Carbon X2. Its flexible and sturdy material also contributes to its durability. The sole can withstand the roughest surfaces without much issue.


If you are planning to purchase the Hoka Carbon X2, you are already on the right path. It’s an amazing running shoe with very few competitors. Given its surprising price point, it’s hard to find a rival to compete against this beast. However, you may want to reconsider your decision if your priority is casual wear rather than hardcore workouts. In that case, some other options may be suitable for you. But as long as you are planning on running a marathon, I would not pick up any pair other than the Hoka Carbon X2.

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