Sunday, April 23, 2023

Hoka Tecton X 2 Multi Tester Review: 11 Comparisons

Article by Dom Layfield , Jeff Valliere, and Mike Postaski

Hoka Tecton X 2 ($225)


Dom:  The Tecton-X exploded onto the trail running scene in June 2022 amid a slew of excitement.  Jim Walmsley had been seen running in prototypes for months ahead of launch.  Since the introduction of the Nike Vaporfly in 2017, plated road shoes have become ubiquitous at almost every level, but similar tech has been slow to translate to trail running.  There were a few pioneering attempts (notably, the 2019 Skechers Speed Trail Hyper), but in late 2021 and throughout 2022, we witnessed a surge of plated trail shoe launches (RTR Reviews at the links): (Speedland SL:PDX, SL:HSV, GS:TAM; Scott Sports Speed Carbon RC; Scarpa Golden Gate Kima; Saucony Endorphin Edge; Adidas Terrex Agravic ProSTR/KE MVMNT Vimana; Hoka Tecton X, TNF Flight Vectiv)

Dom:  Like everyone else at RTR, I was excited to test the original shoe.  I had assumed that the plate would make it an excellent choice for short distance (i.e. fast) races on smooth trails.  What I hadn’t anticipated was that it would also make a capable ultra distance shoe.  The combination of a thick foam stack and sandwiched plate provide tons of rock protection at a very light weight.  I wore the original Tecton-X at Angeles Crest 100, UTMB, The Bear 100 and the first 100k of Javelina Jundred.

A mere ten months later, Hoka released the Tecton X 2.  This feels like an incremental change rather than a major revision to the shoe.  There is a new Matryx upper, but little else seems to have changed.  The plate in version 2 feels stiffer than the original, but I’m not sure whether this is just a consequence of my having several hundred miles in the old shoe.


  • Very light for the amount of cushion and protection - Dom, Jeff, Mike

  • Version 1 was impressively durable- Dom, Mike

  • Decent traction given small lugs - Dom, Jeff, Mike
  • Upper improved - more substantial w/ no weight gain - Mike P


  • Minimal ground feel - Dom, Jeff

  • Shoe doesn’t feel fast  - Dom

  • Oversprung heel can occasionally launch you sideways in rough terrain- Dom

  • Pricey - Dom, Jeff

  • Despite two independent parallel plates, shoe can feel tippy in technical terrain - Jeff
  • Race-fit upper could feel snug for some- Mike P


Weight: men's oz  / g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s 9.5 oz  / 270 g (US10)

Tecton 1 weighed 9.5 oz / 268 g (US9.5)

Stack Height: (estimated) men’s 33 mm heel / 28 mm forefoot (5 mm drop)

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Dom:  Compared to Tecton X v1, the new upper feels similar.  When running with a v1 on one foot and v2 on the other, I could barely tell the difference.

Dom:  If you’re not familiar with v1, what that means is a lightweight, minimally-structured upper.  The forefoot fit is a little narrower than I would like, but I have a wide foot and enjoy room for my toes to spread out.  People with narrower feet, or those who like a snugger fit, might describe the forefoot as roomy.  So, basically, the shoe is nicely gauged to a happy medium.  The back end of the shoe fits my narrow heels well, with no slop or looseness.  

Dom:  One notable aspect of the new upper is that the toe bumper is softer than before.  I didn’t experience any problems during training runs, but found that the X1 v1 would aggravate my toenails during long races (50+ miles).  Hopefully, this subtle revision will resolve the issue.  I’ll report back when I’ve run my first race in version 2!

Dom:  I also noticed, during side-by-side comparison, that v2 felt a little more cushioned than v1.  I’m not clear at this point whether this is just due to v1 shoes having several hundred miles on them, or whether Hoka has tweaked the foam composition.  Sole molds appear to be completely unchanged.   Similarly, while I couldn’t tell the difference on foot, I found the v2 felt stiffer when hand-flexing the shoes.  Again, this may just be due to many hard miles logged on the original shoes.

Dom:  Other minor items to note about the new upper:  The lacing on the original Tecton X extended unusually far forward on the vamp, past the toe crease (“ghillie lacing”).  Lacing in version 2 reverts to a more conventional configuration.  

Version 2 ventilation is exceptionally good.  It is possible to see straight through the shoe.  The original Tecton drained and dried out very rapidly after water crossings: version 2 promises to be better still.

Jeff V:  Out of the box the Tecton X 2 presents a very similar vibe to the 1st version, although with a completely new Matryx upper.  I liked the previous version of the shoe just fine, but will admit that I struggled a bit with the upper, where I had to really choke up on the laces to get a proper foothold, but yet in doing so was creating some bunching of the upper just forward of the lowest eyelet.  There simultaneously seemed to be too much upper, yet not enough, or at least not in the right configuration.  

Additionally, with v1, there are a lot of eyelets, 6 total (7 if you count the extra secondary one at the top), which are too many in my opinion and run too far down the shoe.  While I have a thin, low volume foot and put a high value on foothold and security, I found the fit of the v1 to be somewhat confining and after two or so hours could not wait to take them off.  

With v2, my concerns of the previous version have been addressed by reducing the amount of eyelets to 5, adjusting the volume of the upper such that I have no more bunching, or that confined feeling. They just feel “normal”.  

The Matryx upper, while not stretchy, has just that right amount of give to be a bit more accommodating.  

The heel is secure and the collar adequately padded.  

The tongue is thin as in the previous version and not padded, though sturdy enough to prevent any lace bite or discomfort.  

As Dom mentioned, the toe bumper has been reconfigured a little, which for me has not made a difference, but I can see the new design being better if you had any rubbing as Dom mentioned he had during longer races.

I find overall performance of the upper to be very good, secure and comfortable no matter the terrain or speed and without feeling confining.  Breathability is good, though I have not run them in temps much higher than the high 70’s yet.

Mike P: The Tecton X was my trail shoe of the year for 2022 - and deservedly so as I rode them to wins at Standhope 100M and IMTUF 100M. It’s an amazing shoe in that it has all the stack height and protection that you need for a long ultra, yet maintains an amazingly low weight for all that stack and protection underfoot. The shoe was great for me last season, the only quibble I had was that it seemed like the upper could be dialed in a bit. V2 addresses that, as Dom and Jeff have described above.