The HOKA Rocket X is the flagship running shoe for competitive athletes. It’s a firm trainer with a carbon plate for under $200. It’s far from the cheapest trainer in the HOKA lineup but remember you’re buying a super shoe designed for races. It’s comparable to the more expensive Nike 4%. It’s also the successor to the Hoka Evo Carbon Rocket.
I’ve owned several pairs of these super running shoes and use them for training for different events, including a half marathon, a full marathon, and an Ironman 70.3. I
In this article, I’ll explain if it’s good for training and what you can expect from it from what Hoka bills as a low-profile, responsive racing shoe. Your mileage will vary depending on your fitness training needs, and how you strike the ground while running.
It’s a Firm, Neutral Running Shoe
The HOKA Rocket X is a firm, neutral trainer. Compared to other super shoes, it has relatively little contact between your foot and the ground. It’s not as spongy or soft as the Nike 4%. I also didn’t feel like I was propped up as high as in my Nike running shoes. This particular trainer doesn’t quite have the same bounce as the Nike 4%.
Don’t let that put you off. I didn’t feel like my foot was touching the ground until I went past a certain distance. It’s fantastic for maintaining speed and also if you are concerned with foot strike.
I get the maximum benefit from this trainer when completing one-mile interval sessions and running at speed over shorter distances. I particularly liked this trainer for more challenging workouts.
However, I didn’t find this trainer helpful for slower workouts because it encouraged me to run too fast, lengthening my recovery time. Running wasn’t quite as comfortable when I was experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.
These shoes are for neutral runners, so they’re less suitable for those who overpronate or strike the ground with their heels.
HOKA proprietary technology, its Meta-Rocker, and carbon fiber plate are included in this trainer.
The former propels runners forward while protecting their feet. Running in the carbon fiber plate takes some getting used to. The first time I put on a trainer with a carbon fiber plate, I was surprised by how much the trainer tipped me forward. Walking correctly in these shoes is more difficult than running in them!
The carbon fiber plate offers spring and helps with gaining momentum while fast. These plates are fantastic if you’re running a longer session and want to complete your splits within a particular time or racing in a 5K, 10 K, or a half marathon.
I also used this trainer for longer distance sessions, like training for a marathon and a half Iron Man. I found the shoe was too firm for me for longer distances. Once I went past 13 miles during a run, I began to feel the impact of the ground more so versus more cushioned super running shoes like the Nike 4%.
However, that’s down to my gait and my needs and preferences. Another athlete I’m in a local athletics club with swears by these trainers over the Nike 4% says they help them post personal records!
Hoka Rocket X Fit
These shoes ran true to size for me and fit snugly and neatly. The mid-foot and forefoot of the shoe are relatively spacious but not so much that they cause any issues. The mesh on top of this Hoka running shoe is breathable, meaning they are comfortable to run in during hot and cold weather.
The lockdown, like with most Hoka trainers, is also superb. My feet felt secure at all times. These shoes have good traction for wet surfaces. That said, I don’t recommend using these shoes on trails, as the carbon plate in super shoes is less suited for this type of terrain.
How Many Miles Do The Hoka Rocket X Last?
Perhaps the biggest downside of these super running shoes, like any, relates to durability. The carbon fiber plate lost some spring after 300 miles, which is relatively good for a super shoe.
I still took my pair to near 400 miles, but the super shoe’s benefits wore off. Versus comparable runs when these shoes were new, my legs became tired and sore more quickly.
In comparison, other HOKA trainers without carbon fiber plates offer more durability. For example, runners regularly take the HOKA Clifton or HOKA Bondi past 400 miles. That said, these aren’t super shoes, as light or fast.
The mileage from running trainers depends on your height, weight and gait. It’s worth remembering the durability of other comparable high-performance trainers with carbon fiber plates, like in Nike Vaporfly 4% or the Adidas Adio Pro, tap outs around 300 miles, with some reviewers claiming the Adios Pro loses effectiveness after 100 miles!
Hoka Rocket X Vs The Carbon X
My first foray into a carbon plate super shoe was the Hoka Carbon X. It’s a similar shoe to the Rocket X. The Carbon X is more durable than the Rocket X and is meant for marathon and ultra-distances. However, the Rocket X is lighter and faster.
For context, the Rocket X weighs 7.4 oz while the Carbon X weighs 8.8 oz. The Rocket X has a 32mm heel-to-toe offset versus 35 mm in the Carbon X. I found the Rocket X more comfortable and faster to run in.
Is the HOKA Rocket X Good for Training?
The Hoka Rocket X super shoe is an ideal racing shoe for 5k, 10k, half and potentially full marathons.
These running shoes are a vital part of my current training regime for an Autumn marathon. I use the HOKA Rocket X with the HOKA Clifton, the Hoka Mach 5 and occasionally the Nike 4%. I typically use the Hoka Rocket x for interval sessions on the track, speed workouts, such as one-mile intervals, and any distance up to half marathon at pace.
They excel at these distances and during these types of workouts. However, I do not use these running shoes for easy runs because they’re not great for recovery. The carbon plate encourages running too fast during easy sessions.
I also don’t use them for longer runs past half marathon distance because they’re too firm for my liking at this distance. That said, they are built for longer distances. Picking more cushioned running trainers for longer runs is a personal preference.
Running shoes are personal, so why not pick one of these up, try them on and see if they suit you? HOKA has a 30-day return policy, so you can always send it back if they’re not suitable.