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Reviews Hoka Skyward X review

Hoka Skyward X review

Hoka continues to push boundaries with its new max cushioned carbon road shoe, but should you buy it? We find out...

Hoka Skyward X run shoe
Credit: Tomos Whitmarsh-Knight

Hoka is well known for high-stack, max cushioned shoes, and the brand has innovated once more with an all-new shoe with even more stack and cushion. Enter the Skyward X, which may just be one of the best running shoes around for training right now.

First impressions

This shoe left me taken aback when I pulled it out of the box due to the sheer size of it.

Here is a carbon-plated daily trainer with a 48mm stack height at the heel and 43mm in the forefoot (46mm and 41mm for women).

That does mean you can’t use this shoe in competition, but given a weight of 289g (men’s size UK7), you probably wouldn’t want to anyway.

That stack height and weight shows this shoe isn’t built for racing, anyway, with Hoka labelling the Skyward X as the plushest ride on the road.

How we tested

Each running shoe we review gets put through the same level of testing, including numerous runs of varying distances over the period of several weeks at a minimum. This includes long, slow runs, plus faster tempo efforts or interval sessions. We test against a range of criteria including comfort, breathability, support, stability, ride, propulsion and value.

Ride and feel

Hoka Skyward X
Credit: Tomos Whitmarsh-Knight

Over the last month, I’ve enjoyed using the shoe for a variety of training runs that’ve varied in distance and pace, and it does feel incredibly plush.

What makes that so? It all comes down to the Hoka’s impressive PEBA and EVA blended midsole, which includes a curved carbon fibre embedded plate (see our list of the best carbon plate running shoes for more). 

During each run, comfort and stability were the two noticeable themes that stood out.

That surprised me, as stability isn’t the first thing I expected from the Skyward X given its stack height.

Another characteristic that quickly became apparent was that the carbon fibre plate delivered a highly efficient roll that produced a nice extra pop at toe-off, allowing me to push the pace or cruise however I pleased.

I managed five consecutive days of running in this shoe with no muscle soreness, which is a miracle given my proneness to injury.

Upper and fit

With regards to the fit and upper, the Skyward X fits true to size, with decent width in the forefoot and ample room in the toe box.

The upper hugged my feet nicely and felt breathable, and while the tongue is padded, it’s not overdone, but it did take me a few runs to get the lacing locked down to my liking.

Traction and style

Hoka Skyward X running shoe
Credit: Tomos Whitmarsh-Knight

On training runs the outsole delivered plenty of traction in dry and wet conditions, while the depth of the sections in contact with the ground is more than adequate for long term usage.

Aesthetically, the Skyward X looks great, and the shoes received some compliments at various club runs, although I look forward to more UK weather-friendly colourways.

Conclusion

To summarise, if you’re looking for a maximal trainer with a forgiving yet energetic ride for those high mileage weeks or weekly long training runs when your legs are screaming, then the Skyward X is a great new option to bring into your shoe rotation.

Alternatively, see our list of the best cushioned run shoes for more options.

220 Triathlon verdict

Not a shoe for super speedy days, but perfect for looking after your legs on long runs and heavy training weeks. Score: 95%

Pros

  • Plush and comfortable
  • Propulsive ride

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not cheap

Hoka Skyward X specs

Price:£185 / $225
Sizes:6.5-14.5 (men’s, UK), 4-9 (women’s, UK)
Stack height:48mm/43mm (M10), 46mm/41mm (W8)
Drop: 5mm
Midsole:PEBA, Super Critical EVA, carbon fibre plate
Weight:289g (UK7)
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