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Reviews Hoka Carbon X 3 review - Run shoes - Run

Hoka Carbon X 3 review

Hoka’s latest iteration of the Carbon X aims to be more propulsive than ever. But does it live up to its billing?

hoka carbon x3

The Hoka Carbon X 3 is pitched at athletes looking for ample support and propulsion for fast endurance road racing and training.

But does it deliver on its promises? 220’s staff writer Kate Milsom puts the shoe through its paces to find out…

Hoka Carbon X 3 review

The new perforated upper aims to offer a more secure fit and improved breathability over the original. The knit’s unique, with the upper moulding to the foot like a sock and allowing complete freedom of movement.

It looks stylish and performance-ready, and feels extremely light and flexible when on. The material expands comfortably as the foot swells during long runs, while the sock liner and oversized heel tab means it’s quick and easy to slip your foot into it – ideal for a swift transition if you’re wearing them on race day.

The downsides of having such a malleable upper are that it provides less structure than a more built-up shoe. The heel’s well supported, but the midfoot and forefoot must rely on the large sole and bevelled heel for stability.

If you’re a runner that needs extra support and cushioning along the heel collar and within the shoe, you’d be better off reaching for a cushioned option from one of these race-day run shoes.

The eyelets also don’t reach very far up the shoe, so you’ve got to rely on the sock liner for top closure. We’ve no problem with this, but if you require extra support or have particularly narrow feet, then these might not be for you.

Meanwhile, the soft EVA midsole with ProFly construction is great at absorbing impact and feels soft on the joints. There’s propulsion a-plenty thanks to the same ‘responsive carbon fibre plate and aggressive Meta-Rocker’ as seen in the Hoka Carbon X 2.

Meanwhile, the curved geometry with 5mm drop encourages a smooth rolling movement from heel-strike to toe-off, helping to maintain an efficient foot strike.

Though the sole seems chunky, the shoe’s still agile in motion. The third generation’s said be 10g lighter than its predecessor, our size UK5.5 coming in at 199g per shoe.

The X 3 performs best over tempo efforts and makes a solid companion for longer distances. Having been tested to their limits over multiple road marathon races, the X3 would be our pick for fast road racing.

Verdict: Propulsive and light with just enough cushioning for longer distances.

Score: 88%

Pair these with…

Inov-8 Trailfly Mid Socks

Credit: Inov-8
  • £23.99

When it comes to running socks, you don’t want to scrimp on quality. Picking the right pair of socks is essential to sidestep the emergence of any annoying and painful blisters and sore pressure points.

The Trailflys from Inov-8 aim to offer comfort and protection underfoot over unpredictable terrain. The sock has zonal padding and fits snugly, helping to relieve common pressure spots.

The recycled fabric used is moisture-wicking, and we found them highly breathable when on the go.

This twin pack of run-specific socks from Inov-8 is a great investment to support the feet when you run, over any terrain.

The Trailfly socks are available in both male and female versions and colours, while we’re also fans of the low-cut option.

EDZ Zip-top Base Layer

  • £59.99

If you’re after a thin base layer for a winter layering or mild weather, you can’t go wrong with this sublimely comfy option from EDZ. Made from 100% wool with superfine grade yarn, the zip-neck top’s kind to the skin and does a great job of wicking sweat.

We’ve tested the base layer over tough hikes and autumnal runs, with it proving the perfect breathable layer for hard efforts. Plus, it’s lightweight at a claimed 200g.

Profile image of Kate Milsom Kate Milsom Freelance sports journalist


Kate Milsom is 220 Triathlon's former staff writer. She's a keen endurance triathlete, marathon runner, and bikepacker and her interests include cycling, nutrition and sports injury. Having previously bikepacked across Europe solo, Kate advocates for adventure and inclusivity within sport.