Hoka One One Q&A: Win A Pair of Hoka One One Rocket X

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What are the differences between the Rocket X and the upcoming Carbon X2?
Men size 11.5

  • The new Carbon X 2 will use similar materials found in the Rocket X. The CX2 will feature the same CF plate and even more of our lightest weight foam to date! The CX2 will handle longer distances for training and racing based on personal preference, comparative to the RX that was designed to handle mainly racing.
With AdiosPro using carbon rods and the ruling of only one layer of carbon plate (I know there is real specifics wording but hopefully you know what I’m referring to) where do you see the next step to make shoes even faster? Carbon plates, Cushioning? Somewhere else?

  • “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” -Booker T. Washington
I recently purchased my first pair of Hokas. I decided on the Clifton and they seem a bit narrow. Is that normal for Hoka or just the Clifton. How would the Rocket X compare? Men’s 12.5.

  • Our non-wide models are measured at standard width. Usually an EG mesh will conform to the shape of the foot and loosen up slightly but depending on your foot width, some will need a wide version. The Clifton wide should give you all the cushion of 3 seats without the cramped cabin. The Rocket X should fit similar to the Carbon X with a more accommodating lockdown across the forefoot. The Rocket X fits true to size.
How do the shoes handle in wet conditions? Going into winter & fall, this is going to be a huge factor with many of the current carbon plated racers.


  • The zonal placed rubberized outsole will provide excellent traction in sub optimal conditions. However most shoes won’t help you swim.


Will the carbon plate in the Rocket X be more rigid in bigger sizes to accommodate for larger runners?
Men’s size 12

  • The CF plate is 1mm thick for all sizes.


What is the weight of these? And would you suggest only using these on road or is light trail okay?

  • The weight comes in at sample size for M9/W7 at 7.4oz or 210g. The outsole is really meant for road and would not accommodate uneven trail runs, however there is one video on youtube depicting a hard effort in the Rocket X on a groomed single-track trail in Ashland, OR. This gave some interesting insights on how the shoe could handle dirt roads overall.
About how many miles can I get out of this shoe? I would like a racer that can also use for my tempo workouts.
Women's 7.5

  • Overall the Rocket X was designed as a racing flat specifically. This means large amounts of training would be better suited in a model like the Carbon X over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, mileage is not the most reliable determinant when calculating something subjective. What the shoe feels like underfoot to some may feel very different to someone else over a given amount of use. We do know the durability and ride experience will change over time like most footwear depending on a plethora of factors. These include but are not limited to; surface run on, individual gait patterns, exposure to extreme temperatures, and other variants of those. The CF plate does help distribute forces across the midsole evenly, leveling "wear/use." That being said however, The plate resiliency is dependent on the factors of "use/wear" for each individual since the CF plate and midsole work together.. Although there is a generous amount of propulsive midsole material, the initial “pop” will dampen as the shoe is used. Ultimately you can train in the Rocket X but it might not feel as “fresh” on race day depending on the volume of training it is used for. We recommend training in something like the Carbon X that will handle more miles of training and then using the Rocket X for race efforts.
As someone who has used the Clifton since the first model, how does the toe box width and durability compare to the Clifton?

  • Adding to the family of lightweight propulsive cushioning, the initial thought started with the Carbon Rocket’s silhouette. The last/shaping of the upper came from the Carbon X although the materialization around the foot was tweaked to provide the best fit at the lowest weight. The Clifton upper was designed for training while the Rocket X was designed for racing. How you use the shoes will determine the durability of the upper.


Is this meant to be a training shoe as well as a racing shoe? What is the expected maximum mileage for these shoes?

  • Overall the Rocket X was designed as a racing flat specifically. This means large amounts of training would be better suited in a model like the Carbon X over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, mileage is not the most reliable determinant when calculating something subjective. What the shoe feels like underfoot to some may feel very different to someone else over a given amount of use. We do know the durability and ride experience will change over time like most footwear depending on a plethora of factors. These include but are not limited to; surface run on, individual gait patterns, exposure to extreme temperatures, and other variants of those. The CF plate does help distribute forces across the midsole evenly, leveling "wear/use." That being said however, The plate resiliency is dependent on the factors of "use/wear" for each individual since the CF plate and midsole work together. Although there is a generous amount of propulsive midsole material, the initial “pop” will dampen as the shoe is used. Ultimately you can train in the Rocket X but it might not feel as “fresh” on race day depending on the volume of training it is used for.
 
  • Does HOKA intend to experiment with new foam compounds (PEBA, TPU, etc.) in the foreseeable future, or is EVA going to continue to be the HOKA way?
Our goal at HOKA is to propel people forward and empower all athletes to feel like they can fly. We will continue to fine-tune the HOKA cushion and ride characteristics using existing technologies, as well as exploring all new opportunities that allow us to deliver the best experience in the bold and unexpected way athletes have come to expect from us. In short: Both.
  • How would you describe the outsole foam composition and what makes it special?
The midsole, and parts of the outsole, is made of our lightest performance EVA. It’s designed to provide ample cushion and energy return with minimal added weight. We've also placed rubber in strategic zones on the outsole to maximize durability while minimizing weight.
  • What will set this apart from other super racers that have a new advanced foam?
Although the midsole itself is the lightest performance foam in our portfolio, the material itself is only one part of the equation. The overall construction, geometry and design details, combined with attention to materials, has allowed us to deliver a version of the HOKA ride that is unique in its combination of comfort and performance. It’s designed to be soft, smooth and effortless on race day, and to be extremely light yet supportive if you’re using it to train. We have had very positive responses from the field on how balanced the ride experience is, in addition to the performance it delivers.
  • how much has changed, if anything, from the shoe from the trials back in Feb? How many protos did you go through and when did athletes first start testing them.
This is only a color update – otherwise it's the same shoe Aliphine Tuliamuk wore when she won the Trials. It’s difficult to isolate a specific number of prototypes as our carbon plate program dates back years, and all prototypes are informing the design of each shoe. In this specific case, athletes were involved early on from the project initiation the year before trials, from first prototypes to final detail approvals.
  • How rigid is the Rocket X’s plate in relation to other shoes?
The rigidity of our plate is on par with other competitors, but it’s also important to note the rigidity and performance of the overall midsole is contingent to the other elements of the midsole. In this case, the plate rigidity provides aggressive ride characteristics for racing while the midsole provides HOKA comfort and cushioning elements; these features combine to create an experience unique to the Rocket X.
  • what makes this new foam compound so much different/better than the foam used in the Carbon X?
It’s a bit lighter, and its performance characteristics allowed us to craft a shoe that provides a lighter, softer HOKA ride experience than the Carbon X. The Carbon X has a similarly aggressive geometry, but it’s built up to be more supportive and has a dual-density PROFLY™ midsole construction for a former groundfeel. Our athletes have used both shoes for training and racing alike, as they provide different ride characteristics and both have a place in the quiver, so to speak.
  • Why have a split cf plate instead of a full cf plate like other brands?
Our carbon fiber plate has a split “fork” construction, which is designed to allow for re-supination upon impact and toe-off. This is the same design found in the Carbon X. Ergonomically speaking, it is designed to more precisely accompany the path the foot follows as it travels through its gait cycle.
  • As we approach winter, how does the Rocket X midsole hold up against/react to frigid to sub-zero temps? Foams, the rotation
In general, foams become stiffer in colder weather and we’d expect the Rocket X foam to follow that pattern. This might change the ride characteristics somewhat, but ultimately we don't expect this to affect the overall performance of the shoe. The HOKA NAZ Elite athletes were wearing this shoe last winter in Flagstaff and didn’t report any issues. As for grip, the shoe features a fair amount of rubber coverage especially at places of high pressure, which are designed to help provide purchase on wet surfaces.
Utility
  • How many miles will this shoe last? Will the plate lose its resilience before the shoe is ready to be retired?
The Rocket X was designed as a high-performance shoe, and the tradeoff for performance is usually lifespan due to elements like reduced midsole volume, minimal outsole rubber coverage, etc. While the Rocket X certainly has a lot of cushion for a “racing flat”, to the extent some athletes might choose to train in it, we would recommend doing larger amounts of training in a shoe like the Carbon X, or even some of our non-carbon-plated models like the Rincon 2, Clifton 7, or Bondi 7. Overall, we don’t believe we can prescribe a mileage lifespan to any of our shoes, since all athletes are different, and some will be able to get more miles out of a pair while others get fewer.
  • How is the traction on wet roads? – minimal rubber
We expect it to be on par with most racing shoes. The rubber is minimal to reduce weight, but we’ve placed it in the areas designed to provide as much traction as possible under that constraint.
  • How does this compare to the new Hoka Carbon X2 that is coming out?
Carbon X2 design features more cushioning, and was designed to provide a more propulsive ride via a more aggressive Meta-Rocker shape. It is designed to appeal a broader range of athletes who might be looking for a racing shoe but might also want a supportive, faster training shoe.
  • What upgrade or change from the Carbon X to this shoe is the HOKA team most excited about?
The Carbon X was designed to make carbon fiber plate technology more accessible to a broader range of athletes beyond tip-flight elite performers, and it delivered that experience in a supportive, propulsive midsole designed to make any athlete feel like they can chase their goals. The Carbon X 2 was a chance to refine things like the upper fit and to slightly tweak some of the midsole and outsole geometries in order to enhance the HOKA ride and unique experience further.
While the Rocket X has evolved from the same innovation story as the Carbon X – utilizing carbon fiber plates to provide a ride designed to be more efficient and propulsive atop the already unique cushion and smooth ride of HOKA – it represents a different branch in the family tree.

  • How long did was the research and design phase on the rocket x?
With over ten years of innovation at HOKA, testing procedures are a perpetual and rigorous process that span months, even years sometimes. Additionally, we have been experimenting with carbon fiber plates in the midsole for most of that time. Our team is dedicated to providing the best experience possible for all athletes with the goal of empowering them to fly, and that means we adopt an “always-on” approach to innovation and improvement, constantly utilizing new and sustainable materials, and testing the results at all times along the way. The flight check may be lengthy but when a shoe is ready to launch, it’s Time to Fly.

  • What is more exciting to work on - improving on an existing line of shoes, or starting a completely new shoe?
Both are exciting in different ways. We always try to balance evolution, thinking of new product, and continue to bring new innovative concepts while fine-tuning our shoes based on consumer feedback. Whether we are improving an existing model or creating a new one, we do it with the goal of solving problems, doing it in a bold and unexpected way, and ultimately empowering all athletes to feel like they can fly.
-Thibaut Poupard, Senior Manager of Innovation at HOKA.

  • What is EVO
The name “EVO” is on some of our products and it typically denotes there is an innovative new feature on the shoe designed for high performance. The EVO line is frequently how we bring new concepts to our athletes.
  • what have been some challenges of progressing with putting out innovative shoes during the pandemic? Has it put a hold on upcoming releases?
While some release plans were adjusted, COVID-19 did not put a halt to our mission of developing bold, unexpected products that empower athletes. We’ll always find the best way to bring it to our consumers, and in the most relevant way.
Comparison


  • Which of Hoka’s non-carbon plated shoes is most comparable to the Rocket X in terms of cushioning/geometry/materials, etc.? (I.E. - Is this closer to a Carbon Rincon or a Carbon Clifton... or something else entirely?)
There isn’t much of a direct comparison, as the Rocket X is a unique shoe. We might highlight the Rincon 2, which has an incredible weight-to-cushion ratio and features soft, light HOKA cushion and is designed to feel Relatively effortless. The upcoming Mach 4, which marks a major departure from previous versions of the Mach, is similarly designed to provide a protective-yet-propulsive – and ultimately fun – ride for athletes wanting something up-tempo.
  • As for the geometry, it seems it doesn’t have as much rocker as the carbon x. What efficiency could we expect from this compared to the carbon x?
The material execution with our new midsole foam, combined with the shape of the carbon fiber plate, is designed to provide the same efficient transition and unique HOKA ride as shoes with more aggressive Meta-Rockers. The less aggressive Meta-Rocker allows also a different experience for toe-off, fined tuned to meet the needs of high-performing athletes.
 
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@Hoka One One Official the Rocket X looks fantastically similar to my favorite Hoka racer of all time the Hoka Tracer 2, any relation to the Tracer 2! So pumped to try out the new Rocket X! MENS SIZE 10!

The Rocket X would be the next best thing. A performance silhouette similar to the EVO carbon Rocket which was similar to the Tracer. The underfoot propulsive cushion and ride experience would be next level.
 
@Hoka One One Official, for someone looking to PR a half marathon running around a 1:35 would you recommend the Carbon X or Rocket X? Women’s size 7
Ultimately it depends on personal preference but the Rocket X will feel like a true racing flat overall. The comfort levels over varying paces and distances are different in both shoes. If time is of the concern we recommend you strap a Rocket X on your feet.
 
Do you plan on using EVA for future carbon plated shoes or have you tried other compounds? Also... why the huge reflector in the back?

Mens Size 13.
 
CAN THE ROCKET X PERFORM, GRIP, AND TRIGGER ACUTE ACCELERATION ON TWISTY CURVY ROCKY TRAILS?? 🏔 🌲
SIZE: 11.5 mens
Shoes would be a huge blessing right now🙏🏼
 
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