Fell runners and off-road ultra competitors will appreciate the speed and agility of the race-ready Hoka Tecton X2…
Hoka Tecton X2
$225 / £185, amazon.co.uk
- Excellent for road-to-trail transitions
- Fast, agile and responsive
- Good cushioned protection
- Fit might be snug for some
- Grip struggles in trickier conditions
More important that picking the best running shorts is choosing the right footwear for the running you do. The race-friendly, carbon-plated Hoka Tecton X2 is built for speed on the trails. It packs the same punchy nitrogen-infused Profly X foam you’ll find in some of Hoka’s all-out road race shoes. It also has not one but two carbon plates, new water-resistant uppers and Vibram Megagrip with Litebase outsoles for tackling technical trails or muddy conditions.
The original Tecton X was a much-heralded shoe, so does this reincarnation live up to those high standards? I slipped on a pair of the revised HOKA Tecton X2 and clocked up some significant mileage to find out.
Hoka Tecton X2 design
The Hoka Tecton X2 sticks with a similar formula to the first-gen shoe, with the same stack of Profly X midsole foam, parallel carbon plates and an early-stage metarocker to deliver smoother, quicker transitions from heel to toe and faster toe-offs.
Up top, the Tecton X2 has dense and structured new Matryx uppers with hydrophobic properties to help keep them out water dry faster.
See how these compare against the rest of the best trail running shoes
The heel collars are medium padded and there’s a flat-lay gusseted tongue and some overlay to reinforcements across the toes for added protection – but not a lot.
Flip them over and there’s a Vibram Megagrip with Litebase outsole, with 4mm lugs to provide grip, traction and durability.
Hoka Tecton X2 weight, stack height and drop
The Hoka Tecton X2 stack height comes in at 30mm in the heel and 25mm in the forefoot for a 5mm drop. They tip the scales at 8.8oz or 252g in a men’s UK size 8.5. That’s heavier than the first-gen Tecton X, though the X2 is still a comparatively lightweight trail shoe.
Price-wise, Tecton X2 launched at $225 / £180. That’s a shade cheaper than other carbon plate shoes like the £200-plus Nike UltraFly and the New Balance SC Trail.
In my run tests I’ve done well over 200 miles in these shoes. That includes plenty of lighter trails, at a mix of paces from faster miles to ragged-form plods. I’ve also raced a technical, wet, steep and slippery trail marathon in them.
Having put in the hard yards, I’ve become a big fan of these shoes. They offer good comfort out of the box with a secure fit and hold in the heel and across the midfoot, with no notable slipping even on steep descents.
Hoka Tecton X2 performance
They hug a little tight, though, and if you like a roomy toe box you may want to go half a size up. But you get a good disappearing feel with these X2s. And after my five-hour trail marathon, I had no blisters or hotspots. The shoe just fades into the background and lets you get on with running.
When it comes to the ride, I found these virtually identical to the original Tecton X, and if you can find those cheaper, I see no reason to splash out full price on these.
They’re comparatively light and agile for a trail shoe and you get a little extra pop from the combination of those plates and the Profly X foam that really shines when you hit flat, compacted trails or road sections. Though there’s not a huge difference over Hoka’s popular non-plated trails shoe, the Speedgoat 5.
If you like a directness to your trail shoes, these might not be for you. The stack of cushioning is perhaps a little high, soft and not as connected to what’s underfoot as the likes of the Inov-8 TrailFly G270 V2 or the Altra Outroad 2. But stability-wise, it coped well moving over stones, roots and uneven terrain.
Hoka Tecton X2 cushioning and grip
Grip was something of a mixed bag. The Litebase outsoles coped well enough in all the dry conditions but I wasn’t 100% confident on wet trails. At times I felt I needed to hold back and you probably wouldn’t want these for muddier routes.
The Tecton X2 is a good, fast and nimble trail shoe and I’d happily use it to race shorter trails. There’s also enough cushion to protect your feet deeper into longer efforts, so it can tackle slower ultra distances too.
If money doesn’t matter, the Hoka Tecton X2 is an excellent trail choice. But if you’re looking for a cheaper option, I don’t think there’s much to choose here over the Speedgoat 5 – which is $70 / £40 cheaper. Or you could opt for the first-generation Tecton X.