Hoka One One Tecton X Review

This week we’ve explored Hoka’s carbon plated trail running shoe and reviewed the Hoka Tecton X. Road shoes that have a carbon plate in the midsole have been the road racing shoe of choice for those that want to go fast since their inception in 2016. The stiff plate, together with a rocker in the midsole increases your cadence, helps you maintain posture and springs you into your next step. This traditional carbon plate technology doesn’t work once you get off the tarmac. This is because you aren’t on a smooth, firm surface, so the shoes aren’t able to roll you along. The stiffness of the shoes means they don’t bend to the shape of the ground, so you run the risk of twisting an ankle or knee. Due to the nature of the technical ground, your cadence is erratic and your stride length changes. A stiff carbon road shoe isn’t nimble enough to ride this terrain and makes it more difficult to run on trails, rather than making you faster.

Running shoe brands have been trying to make a carbon plated trail shoe capable of increasing the runners speed over trail terrain for some years now. In most trail races there are sections of good, somewhat smooth trail that a carbon plated shoe could help increase your speed over. However, it needs to be versatile enough to work on all the other types of trail in between.

The Hoka One One Tecton X is designed to help you go fast on the trails. It has two thin independent carbon plates in the midsole. This allows the shoe to flex laterally and medially to absorb the lumps and bumps, yet it is still stiff enough to increase forward propulsion.

The midsole is Hoka’s Profly Plus. This has a soft foam on the top, with a firmer more durable foam underneath. The Tecton X has two thin carbon plates between the two layers of foam. These run parallel to each other and work independently. The heel to forefoot drop is 4mm with a stack height of 33mm in the heel and 29mm in the forefoot of the men’s shoes and 31 mm and 27mm in the women’s version.

The upper is a jacquard engineered mesh. The tongue is gusseted to prevent debris getting into the shoes. The padding is enough to protect your foot from the laces, but lightweight to reduce water absorption and weight. The fit of Hoka One One trail running shoes has always been a touch narrower.

The heel cup has no plastic in it, so it takes the shape of your heel and gives a good fit. The padding is light but adequate to make the fit comfortable. The Ghillie lacing system allows you to get a good firm fit a along the foot. So, your foot doesn’t roll around inside the shoes even on rough ground.

The Hoka Tecton X is light. The men’s UK 8 weight 240g and the women’s UK5 196g and yet they feel stable and solid underfoot, rather than light and flimsy.

The Tecton X is designed for firmer tracks and trails rather than soft, sloppy mud. The lugs are 4mm deep, which gives good traction on anything but deep mud. The outsole is made of Vibram Megagrip Lite Base. This is a sticky rubber designed to be light and flexible. The lugs will bend and form to the surface they are on to improve traction. We found the grip to be good, even on loose gravel.

There is enough cushioning to allow the Tecton X to be used as a road to trail shoe. However, it doesn’t roll well on the tarmac. This is due to the lugs bending and sticking to the surface. You do feel like you are pulling the shoe off the tarmac as you run along, so it is best limited to small sections of road.

The rocker isn’t as pronounced as it is in other Hoka shoes so you feel more in control. There is also a more subtle feel to the carbon plates than there is in the Hoka carbon plated road shoes like the Carbon X. You aren’t ‘forced’ to run quickly, like in the carbon road shoes. You are completely in control.

Comments from Shop Manager Craig
“I took the Tecton X for a spin for the first time this morning. I must admit I was expecting a rather uncomfortable shuffle. What I got however, was a very comfortable, stable, well cushioned and speedy run over mixed terrain with various gradients.

The shoe fits quite snug but they have more room in the toe box than the Speedgoat which meant my toes didn’t feel squished so my feet never felt restricted.
The cushion as you’d expect is really good, even when racing down steep hills. My feet felt very stable which gave me more confidence to just let go and let gravity do it’s thing.

Whilst not aware of the carbon plates I felt my feet were able to work the terrain better (something I’ve never liked about the Speedgoat) I had a feel for the ground but without the painful stnes hurting my soles and with a more natural foot placement. You can feel the power return when you step on the gas which was very welcome going up hill.

Even though it’s a 4mm drop it felt lower than the Speedgoat but I liked that as it gave me more control. With the Speedgoat I feel too high and not connected with the terrain but the Tecton X felt like I was hugging the ground.

The grip is good. I ran on pavement, hard packed gravel, grass, rocky inclines, wet riverbanks and some wet, loose mud. I felt the Tecton X handled these quite easily.

The carbon plates do feel like they give you a boost though not as obvious as the Carbon X does. It feels more natural. Coming back from injury I thought I was going to struggle but my posture was so much better which meant I wasn’t as fatigued when maintaining pace.

I’d say it’s probably the best Hoka shoe I’ve ran in.”

In Summary the Hoka Tecton X is a versatile trail shoe that offers bit of extra propulsion via twin carbon plates. They have more feel for the trails and are a little firmer than other Hoka trail shoes. If you are looking for trail running shoes that feel like ‘running on pillows’ rather than powering over the ground then the Tecton X isn’t the shoe you are looking for. If you are looking for a trail shoe that will allow you to run quickly over distance then the Tecton X is well worth considering.

Other Considerations

Altra Mont Blanc. These offer a softer ride and broader fit. Here is a link to our review for more information:

Scarpa Spin Ultra. More pronounced rocker. Broader fit. Here is a link to our review for more information:

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