HOKA Tecton X review

Author: Laura Fountain

Read Time:   |  July 21, 2022


HOKA Tecton X | £175 | Tester: Laura Fountain

The Tecton X is the first trail shoe from HOKA to feature propulsive carbon plates. We put it to the test to see how it performs...

Trying a new pair of trail shoes always make me a bit nervous. They have a tough job to do. They need to be soft enough to make your run comfortable, but durable enough to withstand rough ground. And some shoes I’ve tried in the past have, quite frankly, been far away from reaching the heights of the best women’s running shoes I’ve tried.

HOKA’s new trail shoe, the Tecton X, promises to deliver all of that – and more. They have thrown speed into the mix too with their first ever carbon fibre plate trail shoe. Would this be too ambitious? How would they compare to the best trail running shoes out there? There was only one way to find out.

HOKA Tecton X technical detailsHOKA Tecton X technical details

Weight: 196g
Sizes: 3.5-9.5
Drop: 5mm
Lug: 4mm

HOKA Tecton X pros:

  • Carbon fiber plates to make you super speedy
  • Comfortable, cushioned shoe
  • Lightweight

HOKA Tecton X cons:

  • Not cheap
  • No wide fit option
  • Not one for ultra marathons

What kind of running is the HOKA Tecton X designed for?

This is a trail running shoe that’s built for speed. It’s the first trail shoe from HOKA that features carbon fibre plates. It’s definitely not an everyday running shoe. Think trail races or a parkrun with fair share of rough ground to contend with. It’s perfect for a PB! It’s not a shoe for ultra distance trail runs. I’d say it’s more suited to somewhere between 5k to half-marathon distance.

Who is this shoe for?

Being a racing shoe, this isn’t a shoe that has beginners in mind. It’s for intermediate to experienced runners who have been training on the trails for a while and are looking for a little extra help to go a bit faster.

How does the HOKA Tecton X fit?

I found it to be a good fit for my slightly narrow, size 6 feet. It was true to size, though if you usually wear a wide fit, you may find it too snug.

Are they comfy?

As you’d expect from HOKA, there’s plenty of cushioning in this shoe and it’s a very comfortable ride. The ProFlyXTM midsole merges a light, responsive foam base and ultra-soft foam underfoot. The upper is also super light but supportive. It’s made from a single-layer jacquard engineered mesh – and I experienced no rubbing.

How did we test the HOKA Tecton X?

For my first run in the shoe, I did four miles that covered a woodland, hard dirt road, tarmac path and a narrow trail alongside a river. I ran the same route again a few days later after it had rained to test them out in soggier conditions.

HOKA Tecton X trail running review

The first stage of any run is always procrastination! I pulled on the HOKA Tecton X and headed straight for the kitchen for some last-minute faffing. I noticed was the slight squeak of the soles on the kitchen tiles. This is relevant, I promise! What did it tell me? The squeak was down to the slight movement in the lugs as I walked across the floor and it means that the soles weren’t rock-hard and rigid – a good sign for me.

My first run in the HOKA Tecton X took me over a variety of terrain and the first was the 400m or so of road that leads me from my front door to the woods. Most of us have to navigate a certain amount of pavement or road to actually get to a trail and these shoes coped well with it. Even if you’re saving the HOKA Tecton X purely for race days, it’s possible your trail race will involve a short road section, so it’s good to know these shoes will be able to cope with it.

The next section of my run was half a mile of flat forest floor. It was loose ground (mostly centuries of compacted pine needles), flat and wide. If this were a trail race, this is where you’d put your foot down and look to do some overtaking. On my run there was just one dog-walker for competition, but I picked up the pace anyway. The Tecton X showed what they were made for and I definitely felt the spring in each step that the carbon fibre plates were delivering.

The shoe coped well with all the terrain I covered in both damp and dry conditions. Its Vibram® Megagrip Litebase outsole gripped the paths well. The carbon fibre plates certainly give you a spring in your step and I could feel myself going faster than planned. TMI, but on that first run I’d just gotten my period and expected to be very sluggish. Reader, I was not sluggish and I’m crediting the shoes for that.

HOKA Tecton X vs North Face VECTIV™ Flight Series™

The obvious competitor to this shoe would be the North Face VECTIV™ Flight Series™ running shoe. Both are trail shoes with carbon fibre plates with only £5 difference in price. The North Face option comes in more colours, but I found the HOKA more comfortable in the upper.

Where can I buy the HOKA Tecton X?

The Tecton X is £175 and is available in one colour. You can buy it online at HOKA, or find a local HOKA stockist.

Written by

Laura Fountain

Laura Fountain

Journalist, run coach and author of the The Lazy Runner, Laura has run over 20 marathons

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