On May 4th 2019, one of HOKA’s most innovative shoes was unveiled in a way that challenged limits. The Carbon X was showcased by HOKA athletes from around the world in attempt to conquer the 100K world record in Folsom, CA. After another 18 months of development by the HOKA Design, Product and Innovation teams, the updated Carbon X 2 is here. We sat down with Senior Footwear Designer Odile Boyer to learn more about how the Carbon X 2 updated from its predecessor, and how this ultra running shoe can help inspire athletes of all types to reach for their personal best.
HOKA: Tell us about what you learned from the original Carbon X in developing it’s successor.
The original Carbon X is already such a great shoe that has been adopted by so many people; [Director of Design] Matt Head did an amazing job creating this product last year. For the second version, reviews and wear test were very important to inform what improvement needed to be made. The last thing I wanted to do was change a recipe that was already working, so I focused on a couple of details that would help improve it.
HOKA: Specifically, what are the main updates in the Carbon X 2?
The key focuses on the update was to: extend the rocker to improve a seamless stride; amplify the softness and responsiveness by lowering the carbon plate to be closer to the ground; and improve the upper and midfoot lockdown. The upper TPU mesh allows breathability or rigidity in specific zones without adding an extra overlay which is better for weight and reduces the need for extra materials.
HOKA: What distances is the Carbon X 2 ideal for?
The Carbon X was created in the idea that it would be used for long distance racing: marathon, half-marathon, and other distance events.
HOKA: How does the Carbon X 2 compare to the Rocket X?
The Rocket X was created for shorter distance racing, even though elite athletes love it for the marathon distance. It’s more responsive and the stack height is lower to the ground, and was created to be seamless and lightweight. The Carbon X 2 has a higher stack height and feels more cushioned; it was created to be a premium racing shoe with a good balance of responsiveness and cushioning.
HOKA: What aspects of the Carbon X 2 are you most proud of?
I am pretty proud of the overall design of the Carbon X 2. I think it’s bold and very recognizable. I am proud that I was able to work on the Carbon X lineage. What I am mostly proud of would probably be the tooling, I really like the way it came out – it looks fast and it was really fun to design.
HOKA: Who is the Carbon X 2 made for?
The Carbon X 2 was created for anyone who is a competitive runner or has a competitive mindset.
The Carbon X 2 is available for presale December 15th, and launching on January 1st, 2021.