Another month, another super shoe. Hoka has been on the forefront when it comes to running shoe innovation. They have been pushing the market like no other brand in the last few years. Hokas uprising is closely connected to their maximum cushion approach balancing with the weightlessness of their product. Their latest release features the utter pinnacle of their recent collection – the long anticipated Rocket X2.
The Rocket in its second edition is the brands leading road-racing shoe. Plainly aimed for marathon racing, the X2 has everything that all carbon super shoes these days obtain – a springy oversized midsole combined with a firm carbon plate – the magic combination for speed.
Although weight typically is one of the strongholds for Hoka shoes, I was quite surprised to find out that the update to the Rocket X does also include a weight gain of 234 grams. One of the explanations could be that the stack height has been raised from 30 mm/25 mm to 36 mm/31 mm. Although running in the Rocket X2 did not feel clumsy and heavy though.
While Hoka seems to rule the running shoe market, their top racing shoes have been lacking the magic somehow. One of the explanations for this is, that Hokas compression molded EVA foam, that is widespread with their training shoes, lacks the energy return that is needed for quicker running. The Rocket x2 is the first Hoka shoe to use the PEBA foam that most of the other shoe brands take for their top range carbon race shoes.
Hoka listened and changed quite everything to the initial Rocket X model. With the arrangement of the new foam material and a remodeled carbon plate, this shoe has an amazing springboard feel. I was super thrilled to feel that amazing bounce that this shoe overs. A very powerful and race-oriented feeling of pure bounciness. Entertaining!
Quite weirdly, the Rocket X2 doesn’t feel as “high” as some of the other carbon plated high stacked super shoes. It feels more like you’re in the shoe, other than on top of it. An experience some of the other shoes give to me and something that is very noticeable with this model. Consequently, this shoe feels exceptionally stable for its style. I sneaked some dry trails in during one of my jogs with this shoe and it felt positively bizarre to do that in such ease with such a road racing shoe.
Although I used this shoe on trails, it is clearly a road racing shoe and should be used just for this. The outsole is very solid, offers a great grip on dry and wet roads and runs smooth on the track. The design is pretty much flat and that creates a smooth and comfortable ride. Its feels very stable and durable, also something that is not the norm for high end shoes nowadays.
For some runners the missing padding on the heel section might be a problem. I’m used to it especially in the light high end racing shoes, but it is missing in this model. After some runs I figured out how to lace the shoe and it didn’t cause me any trouble at all, but It surely is a feature that can be improved in the next version.
Although there are some downsides, the latest version of the Rocket X is an amazing and fast racing shoe. It’s a proper and well-constructed update to its predecessor. The shoe has an amazing support for speed and that makes this shoe a lot of fun and easy to run fast in. While additional weight might be a problem, it gets outweigh by the pure springiness that is exceptionally special and to me one of the best on the market right now. It is no surprise that all Hoka Elite athletes instantly switched to this model as soon as it was accessible. A shoe that now moves that distinct Hoka character into a real road racing Rocket ship.
Tune of the day: Goldie @ HÖR