Hoka Carbon X3 - Our Thoughts
Hi, my name is Nathan Cremin, I've been training and competing in the sport of track and field for nearly a decade now, mainly racing the 800 metres and 1500 metres and on average I run around 40 - 50 miles per week. Throughout my time as an athlete I have run thousands of miles in countless pairs of running shoes, giving myself a great knowledge on running shoes and their many different uses and abilities. In my post today I'll be giving you the reader my personal opinion and experience with the Hoka Carbon X3s, what I found to be the shoes pros and cons, and what type of runs I would use the Carbon x3s for.
Upon taking the shoes out of the box I was surprised at how big and bulky the shoes looked when compared to usual racing shoes that have hardly any excessive material in order to stay as light as possible, and this had me questioning whether or not they would hold up when compared to different brands.
While reviewing i had the Carbon X 2 in the showroom with me in order to understand what has changed from the previous version. What I noticed was that the Carbon X 3 has a completely new knit upper and also has a new foam midsole, all the while maintaining the blueprint from the Carbon X 2s so the shoe doesn't feel completely different on foot.
The First Steps:
Once I put the shoe on I noticed the shoe is nowhere near as heavy as they look and are very light. After doing my usual walk around for a few minutes and getting used to the feel of the shoes, I turned on the treadmill and started my test run.
Up and running:
Starting at my usual slow pace i admittedly found the shoes quite clunky and hard to settle into, but in their defense they are not meant for slow paces, plus the carbon plate is going to almost force you to go fast due to its propulsive force, so there's no point even trying to go slow because you wont get the full use out of the shoe. Because of this I decided to test the shoes the way they're supposed to be used and ran the rest of the test at my tempo pace and immediately saw the benefits. The mix of the responsive midsole and the carbon plate propels you forward while also allowing your legs to save energy and keep going at a fast pace. The knit upper keeps your foot locked down and I found no slipping in the heel. I thought it was unusual for a version of a “super shoe” to use a knitted upper, with many using a single layered mesh upper, however the knit upper definitely holds up against rival brands and the breathability i felt while running was very much appreciated due to the fact I was testing on one of the hottest days of the year.
In conclusion, the updated Carbon X 3 remains a unique shoe among the “super shoe” racing category. It’s softly cushioned with a firm landing like many of its contemporaries, but it has a distinctively different ride than most other super shoes that serve up a bouncy feel with explosive propulsion.
What its for:
Personally if I was to use the Carbon X 3 in my rotation I would only use it for my fast tempo runs and maybe a long run that involves a bit of speed. I wouldn't use these shoes for my slow runs as there's simply no point because you're not using the shoe to its full potential and instead of being relaxed while going slow you're almost trying to force yourself to fight against the carbon plate and go slow.
All in all the Carbon X 3s are a big improvement from the previous Carbon X 2s with the changes providing needed improvements in order for Hoka to compete against its competitors.