Hoka One One Rocket X Review; The Next Big Marathon Super-Shoe?

The Hoka One One Rocket X is one of two Hoka super shoes on the market. Built to cover anything from 5k to the marathon, the Rocket X features a responsive compression-molded EVA midsole and an aggressive carbon plate.

This is one of those racing shoes that comes with some hype surrounding it, as we saw Aliphine Tuliamuk storm away from the rest of the field in the US Olympic Trials marathon with this shoe.

Of course, all of the credit should go to her for a gutsy performance, but I know all of us had the thought pop up in our heads asking “I wonder what shoe she is wearing”.

When Hoka finally dropped this shoe it was already super anticipated by the general market, and especially Hoka enthusiasts!

HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X

The new Rocket X running shoes. This insanely responsive shoe has the same propulsive carbon fiber plate as the Carbon X, plus the lightest foam in HOKA history. Fast, efficient, and breathable, your Rocket X was built for race day, tempo training, and speedy paces.

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The Hoka One One Rocket X is one of two Hoka super shoes on the market. Built to cover anything from 5k to the marathon, the Rocket X features a responsive compression-molded EVA midsole and an aggressive carbon plate.

Specifications

  • Stack Height: 35 mm (Heel), 30 mm (Forefoot) Mens
  • OFFSET: 5mm drop from heel to toe
  • Weight: 7.5 oz. (212g) Size 9 (unisex)
  • FIT: True to size

Overall Rating: 
4.5/5 stars

Quality

Durability

cost

So we have covered all the hype built around this shoe, but has it held up to snuff? Let’s find out!


UPPER - Materials and Lockdown

Hoka One One Men's Carbon X Running Shoe, Imperial Blue/White, 10 D(M) US

So this may be the least exciting part about this carbon plated racing shoe, but the upper is worth covering because there are some high points, but also some lower points to be aware of before purchasing.

The upper is constructed with an Open Engineered Mesh that intends to offer lightweight comfort with ideal airflow, this pairs with an Anatomical Tongue to provide a precise fit for your foot.

The first thing I noticed in the Rocket X was the airflow it allowed for in the toe box area. You will be getting plenty of breathability out of this racing shoe and I see that as a huge positive, especially as a marathon racing shoe. Which is something that you also find in the Arahi and the Carbon X

-You might like: Hoka Carbon X2 vs Rocket X

Hoka One One Men's Carbon X Running Shoe, Imperial Blue/White, 10 D(M) US

The fit is good over the top of the foot and in the heel collar, but honestly I think it felt pretty loose in the toe box and I could see why some may want to go a half size down to make sure it will fit securely for the entirety of a race.

Be aware of this before taking your Rocket X out for a longer training run or race.

Overall however, the fit is quite comfortable, the internal socklier is accommodating, and the heel counter is fairly rigid for a racing shoe (in a good way).

POSITIVE: Very breathable!

DRAWBACK: Loose toe-box
HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X

The new Rocket X running shoes. This insanely responsive shoe has the same propulsive carbon fiber plate as the Carbon X, plus the lightest foam in HOKA history. Fast, efficient, and breathable, your Rocket X was built for race day, tempo training, and speedy paces.

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SOLE Unit - Firm and Propulsive

I am probably not the first one to think this (or even first to say it), but this shoes energy return rivals the best marathon super shoes on the market.

You can achieve a high amount of performance in this shoe that will allow you to toe the line with the likes of the Next%, the Endorphin Pro, and the ADIOS PRO to name a few of the top ones out there.

Ok, now that the riffing is out of the way let's look at the nuts and bolts of the midsole, which seems to have simple components implemented in a complex way!

Hoka One One Men's Carbon X Running Shoe, Imperial Blue/White, 10 D(M) US

First of all we see a CMEVA (compression-molded EVA) midsole foam to provide optimal lightweight cushioning, which mixes with a strategically placed Carbon Fiber Plate to minimize energy loss and enhance forward propulsion.

These are further enhanced by the signature Hoka Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry is a rockered midsole design engineered to provide a smooth ride.

So I have already gushed about the responsive and propulsive nature of the shoe, and all of these components I mentioned are contributing factors, but let's talk about the drawbacks of the midsole.

It can cause some excessive supination for neutral runners, weird but for some reason it really threw me and my friend on the outside of our feet much of the time and this definitely threw my gait-cycle off a little bit.

It may very well not be an issue for the majority of runners, but it's some foot for thought.

Although it is a high performance shoe, I think Hoka needs to find a way to drop the overall weight of the shoe a little bit if it wants to compete in the long term.

Hoka One One Men's Carbon X Running Shoe, Imperial Blue/White, 10 D(M) US

It is just a little heavier than some of the other marathon super shoes out there.

All of that being said, Hoka has found a great opportunity to be the “normal runner’s” marathon super shoe.

It is propulsive and aggressive, but not in the same way a Next% shoe is. You can still run close to your true form in the Rocket X, and that makes a big difference over 26.2 miles, or even 13.1 miles.

Finally, the Zonal Rubber outsole is solid and provides enough traction to get the job done on race day or key workouts, just be careful not to overdo it in this shoe on your workouts or long runs leading up to the big race.

POSITIVE: Propulsive midsole

DRAWBACK: Possible gait-cycle disruption with excess supination

HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X

The new Rocket X running shoes. This insanely responsive shoe has the same propulsive carbon fiber plate as the Carbon X, plus the lightest foam in HOKA history. Fast, efficient, and breathable, your Rocket X was built for race day, tempo training, and speedy paces.

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Durability Prediction - 300 Miles (485km)

Ok, so 300 miles isn’t exactly a ton of miles, but seeing as how this is a high performance marathon racing shoe, I think that 300 miles is actually super solid.

It gives you the opportunity to run your key workouts leading up to the big race and then still have plenty of pop left in the midsole to help your performance on race day.

It’s not built to be durable, it's built to help you reach new personal bests and protect your feet and legs along the way, big ups to Hoka for finding a pretty solid balance there.

Hoka One One Men's Carbon X Running Shoe, Imperial Blue/White, 10 D(M) US

Best Uses - Marathon Racing, Long Runs, Tempo Runs, Marathon Speed Work

This is going to be the shoe you wear to nail those big workouts starting 8-10 weeks out from race day, and then you will still get plenty of performance out of it in the competition.

Definitely wear the Rocket X a couple of times before your race, even if you are someone who likes to “save” your racing shoes for the exact day.

This is the kind of super shoe that you want to have some experience in before trying to go all out in your performance.

Anyway, this will be great to wear in your longer workouts and long runs because the CMEVA will protect your feet and legs from excessive damage and then you’ll still get a lot of performance benefits as well.

HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X

The new Rocket X running shoes. This insanely responsive shoe has the same propulsive carbon fiber plate as the Carbon X, plus the lightest foam in HOKA history. Fast, efficient, and breathable, your Rocket X was built for race day, tempo training, and speedy paces.

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Conclusion - A Solid Option Enhance Training and Racing

Hoka One One Men's Carbon X Running Shoe, Imperial Blue/White, 10 D(M) US

In the end, Hoka does a great job at taking a crack at the super shoe category, and although it took them a couple of less than amazing shoe models, the R&D people got this one pretty right and checked a lot of boxes.

You will definitely get your money’s worth out of this shoe if you use it for some longer road workouts leading up to your big race. I’d say the Rocket X gets you pretty close to reaching your next personal best!

Should You Get The Hoka One One Rocket X?

Short answer: Yes, I think anyone looking to race a half or full marathon should look into grabbing those racing shoes because of its lower price point and outstanding performance features.

(Slightly) Longer answer: Although it is a great shoe, you should try on the other super shoes out there to find the one that best fits your running style and form.

Try not to be loyal or disloyal to any company, they all bring something different to the table in terms of performance and it would be cheating yourself if you did not take some extra time to see which shuper shoe model works best for YOU!

HOKA ONE ONE Rocket X

The new Rocket X running shoes. This insanely responsive shoe has the same propulsive carbon fiber plate as the Carbon X, plus the lightest foam in HOKA history. Fast, efficient, and breathable, your Rocket X was built for race day, tempo training, and speedy paces.

Check Price Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.