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Hoka Tecton X 2 Review

Ultra comfortable and insanely quick on cross-over gravel and road terrain, this model will feel more propulsive than the rest
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Hoka Tecton X 2 Review (The carbon plate embedded into the sole of the Tecton X 2 makes it a peppy shoe for trails that can hold its own on...)
The carbon plate embedded into the sole of the Tecton X 2 makes it a peppy shoe for trails that can hold its own on paved surfaces.
Credit: Matthew Richardson
Price:  $225 List
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Manufacturer:   HOKA
By Matthew Richardson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 28, 2023
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 19
  • Foot Protection - 25% 8.0
  • Traction - 20% 6.3
  • Sensitivity - 15% 5.0
  • Stability - 15% 7.6
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8.1
  • Weight - 10% 7.8

Our Verdict

The Hoka Tecton X 2 propels you with loads of energy, courtesy of its integrated carbon plate. Crossover terrain represents a seamless fusion of surfaces, where this versatile shoe thrives. It dominates buffed trails, gravel roads, and even urban landscapes with its smaller lugs. We found it most suited for experienced athletes who are looking to gain time on crossover terrain. Its overall comfort and speed make it our favorite when the terrain eases up. Our review of the top trail running shoes shows how it stacks up versus competing products.
REASONS TO BUY
High energy transfer
Ultra comfortable upper
Lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Springy feel at first
Suffer slightly on technical terrain
Editor's Note: This review was added on June 28, 2023, to update our thoughts on the newest version of the Tecton X series.

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Hoka Tecton X 2
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $225 List
$224.95 at Backcountry
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$189.95 at Backcountry
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Bottom Line If you don't mind the rigidity, this model is one of the fastest we've ever testedA perfectly fitting, comfortable, and very protective shoe that just begs to be worn on long run daysWith each step you are picking up less than the competition, and for advanced runners the precision and speed are unmatchedUnrivaled traction makes this a one-stop shop for mountain athletes and off-trail runnersSome more advanced runners may find this shoe overbuilt with stiffness and support, but we love the protection and comfort
Rating Categories Hoka Tecton X 2 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Nnormal Kjerag Salomon Speedcross 6 Brooks Divide 4
Foot Protection (25%)
8.0
9.0
6.4
7.3
7.9
Traction (20%)
6.3
7.5
7.5
10.0
4.8
Sensitivity (15%)
5.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
3.4
Stability (15%)
7.6
9.0
8.5
5.0
9.0
Comfort and Fit (15%)
8.1
9.0
8.8
9.0
7.8
Weight (10%)
7.8
6.4
10.0
5.8
6.1
Specs Hoka Tecton X 2 Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Nnormal Kjerag Salomon Speedcross 6 Brooks Divide 4
Sizes Available 7 - 14 US
regular
4 - 13 US
regular
4.5 - 13.5 US
regular
7 - 14 US
regular and wide
7 - 15 US
regular
Measured Heel Stack Height 38 mm 31 mm 25 mm 33 mm 32 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 7 mm 9 mm 8 mm 12 mm 9 mm
Rock Plate Carbon Fiber Not disclosed No No No
Measured Lug Depth 4 mm 3.5 mm 3 mm 5.5 mm 2.5 mm
Measured Weight 9.64 oz 10.64 oz 8.05 oz 11.08 oz 10.82 oz
Upper Matryx textile Matryx Jacquard Matryx Jacquard Synthetic, textile Mesh
Midsole ProFly X construction Energy Save PU foam with Profeel Film rock protection EExpure midsole Salomon EnergyCell+ EVA DNA LOFT
Outsole Vibram Megagrip with Litebase Salomon Contagrip MA Vibram Litebase Salomon Mud Contagrip TrailTack Rubber
Heel Tab Type None None None None None

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Hoka Tecton X 2 is the fastest shoe in our test lineup. The integrated carbon plate is excellent at transferring energy and propelling you forward. Crossover is a buzzword that's used often, but what actually is crossover terrain? Largely this shoe does everything you could want, but it is best on easy buffed trails and gravel roads. The smaller lugs also make it great for runs that start and end on roads. This shoe desires speed, and you must give it what it wants — otherwise, it will feel unruly and uneven. Given the price, it's clear that the Tecton X 2 is for experienced athletes and situations where time matters. If you often run on crossover surfaces and need to shave seconds, this could be the shoe for you.

Performance Comparison


Excelling on crossover terrain, the Hoka Tecton X 2 provides an ultra high energy return without tipping the scales.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Foot Protection


We measured the stack height of this iteration at 38mm in the heel and 31mm at the forefoot, giving a little more of a drop than Hoka claims (Hoka claims 5mm, our measurements equal 7mm). The drop felt adequate, especially given the stability — any higher, and we'd expect it to feel a little tippy. The Tecton X 2 stands out compared to other plush ultrarunners thanks to the construction in the midsole. The ProFlyX midsole is dual-layered and slightly stiffer than single-layered Hoka designs, but it offers a great balance of responsiveness and protection. The dual carbon fiber plates that run along the edges of the shoe add to the firm ride. The Matryx-knit upper is ultralight, but the stiff rubber toe cap provides structure and protection.


The signature 'X' carbon midsole provides ample foot protection, so much so that you can rarely sense what's underneath your foot. This is fine for focused running, especially while racing, but can make easy runs feel a bit more vague. That said, for rocky terrain and gravel roads, the bottoms of your feet should remain fatigue-free over a longer period of time, thanks to the added protection.

hoka tecton x 2 - profly+ midsole and the 'x' carbon fiber plate reduce sensitivity...
ProFly+ Midsole and the 'X' carbon fiber plate reduce sensitivity but provide loads of foot protection for long miles keeping your feet fresh.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Traction


The Vibram Litebase used on the Tecton X 2 is ideal, given its desire to run on harder, dry surfaces. This gives the shoe ample grip when there is good surface contact. However, due to this firmness, the X 2 isn't as great in wet conditions or when traction is needed on uneven surfaces. While the lugs are 4mm tall, they don't offer a ton of purchase, and their uniformity continues to suggest that this shoe isn't made for the most technical terrain.


We never had issues with the traction on the Tecton X 2, but its lack of traction on technical terrain is noticeable. Buffed track and gravel roads are ideal when running in this shoe, and we found tempo runs to be a blast with moderate traction that showed little turnover resistance. We've had minimal signs of tread loss even after many miles, another benefit of hard rubber, which wears less rapidly.

hoka tecton x 2 - hard vibram litebase makes for a durable grip on dry terrain and...
Hard Vibram Litebase makes for a durable grip on dry terrain and smaller lugs reduce rolling resistance keeping the shoe lively and fast.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Sensitivity


Given the high foot protection and larger stack of the X 2, it's no surprise that there is minimal trail sensitivity. This is largely an issue on technical terrain but can be quite nice on monotonous terrains like gravel roads and pavement. This makes the ride more uniform, allowing you to focus your efforts on turnover and energy transfer. The one downside of this is when you lose focus and run more relaxed. Due to the lack of sensitivity, it can be easier to be less precise with your footwork leading to potential injury issues in your ankles if you aren't careful.


Our team of experienced runners didn't find any of this to be a deal breaker, but it's worth mentioning to those who are on the fence with the model. If you haven't developed proper form or are just starting to get into running, we'd look for a model that is less progressive when it comes to the fit and feel.

hoka tecton x 2 - minimal sensitivity is needed on terrain like this. our lead tester...
Minimal sensitivity is needed on terrain like this. Our lead tester Matthew prefers the Tecton X 2 on terrain that is smoother and more even.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Stability


The wide, stiff platform and low drop of the X 2 contribute to the feeling of stability. This is more than adequate on flat terrain where the foot can be properly planted. On technical terrain, the higher stack is noticeable and can sometimes feel uneven. The split carbon fiber plate claims to assist with this increased feeling when under torque, but we could never tell that the carbon fiber plate underneath was split. While we appreciate the benefits of carbon fiber plates, they aren't ideal for everyday runs, in our opinion.


This high rigidity of the X 2 adds support to the ankles, knees, and hips without feeling overly supportive. This is thanks to the high level of cushioning and responsiveness that keeps the shoe feeling fast and agile. Some shoes that are overly supportive tend to be dull and slow feeling, far from the case with this model. While this wouldn't be our top pick for technical terrain, we still think it is suitable on most types of trail. For users heading into the mountains and tackling a lot of off-camber landscapes, we'd look for something with less stack. Your experience level will determine the type of trail you can tackle, with more experienced runners being able to push into more technical terrain.

Gravel roads feel right at home and the wide platform provides a stable landing that allows for easy smooth running.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Comfort and Fit


This is one of the most comfortable uppers we've tested. The new Matryx material on this version is slimmer than the previous model, with the toebox being more pointed. Our previous complaints regarding this shoe really only revolved around the upper, and Hoka adapted the model perfectly. We wouldn't say the X 2 is any narrower though, as the toebox seems to have gotten most of the redesign. The tongue is also excellent and offers minimal padding while being ultralight. We wish all uppers felt this good.


The ground feel and running comfort is great too. Ample cushioning reduces any harshness created by the carbon plate. We found long-run comfort thanks to the compressive nature of this model, and the high foot protection continuously reduces foot impacts and fatigue. On the flip side, off-camber terrain doesn't feel great, given the lateral stiffness, and users who want an easy run may feel like the X 2 doesn't relax. For the most comfort, we'd recommend keeping this shoe on buffed or less technical terrain. While it can tackle more advanced terrain, it will require constant focus; perhaps not an issue for race day but for easy runs, this shoe can feel easily overbuilt.

The updated upper is slimmer in the forefoot creating a performance fit that feels more directional and aggressive than the previous version.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

Weight


At 9.64 ounces per shoe for a US size 10.5, this is one of the lightest shoes in our lineup, which is impressive, given the amount of tech. Hoka is known for its light cushioning, and the additional carbon insert doesn't add much over some of the similar models. We'd argue this is a blend of the Speedgoat and Torrent series. This weight allows for easy turnover and creates a lightness when moving uphill. The propulsion properties keep the Tecton X 2 feeling energized and lively. Some could find this model to be a bit overkill for easy runs as the shoe can tend to overpower. Often light shoes require lots of input from the user to feel fast, but the Tecton requires significantly less ground input to still feel lively and agile. At this weight, all types of events are possible, from fast sprints to ultra distance.


Should You Buy the Hoka Tecton X 2?


If you're an advanced runner looking for speed, we'd recommend the Tecton X 2. While not ideal for everyone, there is no better-performing model for those who run focused on crossover terrain. For the most advanced runners, we'd even argue you can take this on rough terrain due to your ability to focus and be precise even when fatigued. For more moderately experienced runners, you will find this shoe right at home ripping through town or out on the local trails. Over time we found the X 2 to become more comfortable, and we think it's a great addition to a quiver for tempo days.

Even though this shoe is most suited for easier trails we made sure to test it on technical terrain allowing us to give our best opinion on who it's for.
Credit: Matthew Richardson

What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?


The Tecton X 2 is an innovative carbon-fiber shoe that is relatively new to our lineup. The other plated shoe we've tested is the Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro 2, which didn't score as highly but is a worth checking out. If you love Hoka and prefer long distances, our recommendation is the Torrent 3. It's more versatile than the Tecton if you crave varied terrain and is also much cheaper. The Brooks Catamount 3 is also a great comparable option, giving a lighter shoe for a lower price tag.

For crushing easier terrain the Hoka Tecton X 2 is one of our favorite models. Its uphill performance is excellent thanks to its energy return and lightweight stable design.
Credit: Matthew Richardson


Matthew Richardson