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Hoka Tecton X 2 Review: Profly+
By David Salas and Matthew Klein

The HOKA Tecton X was the first carbon-plated trail racing shoe that HOKA brought to the market. While it was not the first carbon-plated trail shoe on the market, it was the first to use a dual-plate system that runs medially and laterally parallel to each other. It was a solid option last year (2022) as a trail racer for a variety of distances. The Tecton X 2 returns with a redone upper to clean up the fit while attempting to maintain the fit and ride of this dirt racer. 

Hoka Tecton X 2
Price: $224.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.8 oz, 252 g (men's size 9), 7.4 oz, 211 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: M: 32 mm / 27 mm; W: 30 mm / 25 mm
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Carbon-Plated Trail Racing Shoe


Matt: The Hoka Tecton X 2 is a dual carbon-plated distance racing trail racing shoe. It is one of the lightest carbon-plated trail shoes and maintains a moderate stack height for lightweight snappiness on a variety of terrain. A grippy Vibram outsole grips the trail well, but is still moderate enough to tackle road-to-trail miles. The fit is on the wider side for a Hoka but maintains its racing feel with a low-volume upper. Those wanting a carbon-plated, stiff, lighter and moderate stack height shoe for a variety of trail distances when you are trying to move faster should check out the Hoka Tecton X 2.

David: The Hoka Tecton X 2 is a nimble trail running shoe designed for racing. The shoe has a light rocker geometry, though still maintains a relatively flat profile. The shoe uses shallow Vibram megagrip lugs to help with providing traction, reducing weight, and adding some versatility to the shoe. The Tecton X 2 is a lightweight trail option for a good majority of shorter trail distances but can potentially handle up to 50k or more for experienced runners.

: Craft CTM Ultra Carbon 2, Saucony Endorphin Edge (sorta)


Matt: The Hoka Tecton X 2 fits me true to size in my normal men's US size 10. Unlike the previous version, the volume is low and the fit is more snug throughout. The toe box feels slightly tapered with the low riding upper. The forefoot is also slightly snug although this again comes from how low the upper is. The midfoot is definitely snug with a thin gusseted tongue. The security is great due to the secure hold at this area and I did not have to tie the laces down much. The heel is also snug and features a moderate amount of heel collar cushioning. There is a moderately flexible heel counter that only those with higher heel sensitivities will notice/have problems with. The upper provides a performance fit overall with the snug and secure fit. I would definitely wear socks with this shoe due to the overlays in the forefoot giving me a blister when I tried to go sockless. Those who found the previous version slightly long or too wide will enjoy the upper modifications in this version. 

David: The HokaTecton X 2 fits true to size in my men's 9.5. The shoe has a relatively snug fit throughout and fits the profile of a racing shoe. From a security standpoint it feels really trustworthy from the beginning. The upper is an engineered mesh with some light reinforcement throughout the full length of the shoe. The volume is a little low, so those that like having a lot of space this is certainly a snug shoe. The width in the heel is normal to slightly narrow. The midfoot is normal. The forefoot is normal to slightly wide. This upper fits my foot incredibly well and I had no issues with slippage or translation. The tongue is thin, though padded just enough to allow for good lockdown. There is a shallow heel counter present in the Tecton X 2, though it is padded moderately. I had no irritation in this region. I really feel like Hokanailed their upper on this one. 


Matt: The Hoka Tecton X 2 features a similar sole design to its predecessor. There are parallel carbon plates in the medial and lateral side of the shoe that add longitudinal and torsional stiffness. This is quite noticeable while transitioning through the shoe. The midsole is still ProFly+ (EVA) which has plenty of cushion at its moderate stack height. The weight is on the lighter side for trail racers at 8.8 oz (men's size 9) and with the snappiness of the sole feels best at uptempo and racing efforts. It can feel a little clunky at slower paces, but that may be due to the stiffness and heel. The heel features a centered bevel with medial and lateral sole flare. The flare extends out a decent amount and does cause an early initial contact when landing at the back. This feels clunky/slappy and has made my posterior tibalis muscles sore due to the quick push medially. The midfoot is far better/smoother, allow for an easy transition forward. The forefoot is one of the best parts of the shoe, with a stiff but smooth transition off the toes thanks to early stage meta-rocker.

The forefoot is stiff and feels best when you transition quickly through it at uptempo/faster speeds. While I have done a few easy runs in this shoe, it shines far more when picking up the pace. Trail fartleks and tempo runs feel far better than easy runs. The shoe comes most alive when bombing down hills at high speeds. The cushioning is more absorptive than bouncy, so running fast downhill feels protective while stiff plates help you snap forward. The foam is still EVA, so the ride overall is still grounded. The Vibram Megagrip lives up to its name on both trail and road. The design of the lugs seem close enough that road use does not feel awkward, but the grip on a variety of terrain is also great. Dirt trails, gravel, fire roads and mild mud have all been fine in this shoe. I would not take it on super technical terrain, but anything else this will grip and pull you through fine. Even with road use, the outsole lugs are intact and I only see a tiny bit of wear. This makes me suspect that this shoe will last for a long period even with mixed terrain use. 

David: One of the best trail running shoes of the year for me. I have been able to test quite a few and this one seems to work really well with my mechanics. There are some small things that may help transitions, but overall performance was quite good. The geometry is relatively flat, though still has a slight rocker profile. With that being said there is a mild to moderate heel bevel in the heel and a mild toe spring in the forefoot. The ProFly+ midsole seems to absorb cushioning pretty well throughout, though still holds some firmness. The plate definitely stiffens and firms up the midsole in a good way for me. The shoe feels similar to a traditional racing flat with firmness and responsiveness, though with slight rounding.

I found that I could take the Tecton X 2 on nearly any kind of trail I wanted. Cornering was very good and the lugs were very sticky. The shoe seemed to do okay in mud, though I did not get a chance to take through gnarly mud conditions. The shoe is lightweight and has a decently wide foot base. The platform is trustworthy and I found I hesitated much less when approaching obstacles. The upper felt secure and I did not have to second guess running hard turns or going through rocky areas. Though improved from the previous model, I do find this to still be a tad slappy at the initial contact through loading response and mid stance. I think maintaining the forefoot geometry and rounding that heel just a tad more will make this shoe feel even more race ready.


Matt: The Hoka Tecton X 2 is a neutral trail racing shoe. There are mild elements of guidance including a wider sole (especially at the midfoot) and mild sidewalls. As with the previous version, the sidewalls are larger on the lateral side than the medial side. Combined with the lateral heel flare mentioned earlier, landing at the rearfoot does create a quick medial bias. The anterior midfoot and forefoot are much better with the wider platform and rigidity from the plate. Landing farther upfront feels far better from a stability standpoint, although those with a history of lateral ankle sprains will do quite well in the rearfoot of this shoe. 

David: I found the stability of the Tecton X 2 to be quite good given there are no formal stability measures. The wide base and great lockdown provided a very trustworthy platform. I like that the forefoot is not overly rounded, for it still allows for a good amount of forefoot contact and ground feel through those stages. The sidewall in the heel is very well integrated and gives you that classic Hoka  bucket feel. The sole flaring is done well and not overly wide. Traction underfoot is sticky and predictable. The upper lockdown is done very well and there is not major stretch. The one thing I'd like to see for rearfoot stability is just rounding the heel bevel more. The slightly slappy transition it currently has does give you a half second of adjusting while coming down large downhills or navigating uneven sections. If the heel was smoother I could stay forward a little more and direct myself. Otherwise, I feel Hoka did a good job. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Security
By David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS

Ironically, one of the thing I have troubled with Hoka in the past is security. The high stack height and sharp rockers have always seemed to provide some heel slippage or translation with my foot. The opposite was the case with the Tecton X 2. The upper was snug and held my foot very securely from the moment I put it on. This model is a good example of providing a lightweight upper that holds the foot but does not allow for excessive slippage or translation. We often forget about how important an upper can be. In the case of this shoe it held my foot to the platform very well and allowed me to use the shoe as it was intended to be used. The upper gave me confidence both when turning and when running through sloppier conditions. A few things contributed to this and it lies in the little details.

The engineered mesh does not have too much stretch to it and also has small amounts of reinforcement globally throughout the shoe. The upper material integration with the sidewall in the heel is also done really well and allows you to stay centered on the platform. The upper can be the difference when you are deciding on sending it down a section or holding back and taking it slow. Especially in a racing trail shoe you can't miss this detail. In this model, the Tecton X 2 delivered.


Matt: My major recommendation for the Tecton X 2 is to round out the lateral heel bevel. The front of this shoe is great and transitions well. For me, the rearfoot lateral flare is right where I land and pitches me medially quickly. This feels slappy, a bit jarring and awkward at first, then starts to fatigue my posterior tibiali muscles on both sides of my ankles. Rounding out the flare or even rounding out the heel more may undo this, but has to be balanced with keeping a wide platform for inherent stability in both directions. This could also be offset with a lateral crash pad. Hoka could also use the same PEBAX foam they did in the Rocket X 2 as softer foams negate the negative impacts of a lateral flare. 

David: My biggest recommendation for the Hoka Tecton X 2 is to round the heel bevel more.  I feel the forefoot toe spring is good as is. The reason for the heel is that the shoe is still a tad slappy, though significantly better than the first version. The moderate stack and stiff platform can be a tad jarring if you don't have a smooth transition through that loading response. 


Matt: The Hoka Tecton X 2 is a trail racing shoe for those who want a stiff, moderately cushioned, lighter shoe for uptempo efforts and racing on softer surfaces. The new upper is lower-volume and more snug than the previous version, improving security and lockdown. The ProFly+ midsole provides moderate cushioning while the parallel plates add stiffness that feels best on faster efforts and downhills. It is one of the lighter carbon-plated trail shoes on the market, but Hoka will need to do some extra leg work on future versions with where the market is going. This category of shoes is about to get larger, so some lessons from the Rocket X 2 may be in order.

That said, the Tecton X 2 does fit in a unique spot in regard to those with lateral instabilities. It almost looks like the heel is laterally wedged, which further resists lateral motion and is a great option for those who need stability with uncontrolled supination. For those extra medial motion, this shoe may not work, but for those with a history of lateral ankle sprains or lateral instabilities, your trail shoe exists. 

David: The Hoka Tecton X 2 is for someone that wants a stiffer trail shoe that is lightweight and not dramatically rockered. The shoe provides a surprisingly natural transition for a carbon-plated shoe. Those who also like shallow lugs and don't need large depths in that region will find this to be a fun sticky shoe. This shoe will shine most at 25k racing but those who are experienced can certainly take this farther. 


Fit: A-/B+ (Low volume, secure racing/performance fit)
A- (A stiff cushioned shoe that works well for uptempo and faster trail efforts/races)
Stability: B+ [Neutral] (Stable forefoot with medial bias at rearfoot. Best for those with lateral instabilities)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Nothing major new with this version, still needs the medial heel bias fixed. Outside of the heel, well designed shoe)
Personal: B (With the injection of other super foam/plated racing shoes into the market, my trail racing preference is elsewhere, especially with the medial bias at the heel)
Overall: B+ 

Fit: (One of the best fitting trail shoes I have tried without sacrificing security)
A- (Lightweight and nimble yet still responsive and aggressive. I found this to be a natural shoe I can run a variety of paces. The heel transition is really the one thing I would like to see cleaned up.)
Stability: A- (Very good throughout. Trustworthy upper and platform. The heel transition leaves that foot floating a tad longer than I would like it to and does sometimes change my line decisions when running.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (Hoka is doing a good job of learning off their old projects and cleaning things up as they go. For this being plated and less aggressively rockered they did a decent job, though the transitions can still be improved.)
Personal: A- (Outside of the heel thing I had a very fun time hitting trails in this shoe)
Overall: A- (A lightweight trail shoe that can tackle a large variety of paces and trail conditions)


Hoka Tecton X 2
Price: $224.95 at Running Warehouse

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***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Hoka One One for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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