Verdict from 9 experts and 77 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Fast: Several races applaud the Hoka Carbon X-SPE for its efficient energy return. 
  • Breathable: All reviewers agree that the upper of the shoe maximizes airflow. 
  • Stable: Various buyers commend the runner for its supportive makeup which eliminated unnecessary foot movements. 
  • Snug: Many reviewers hail the running shoe for its lockdown fit. 
  • Durable: Runners claim that the platform does not show any wear even after several uses.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Stiff: A lot of critics find the carbon-plated shoe's underfoot quite rigid. 
  • Heavy: Multiple users are not fans of the model's added bulk. 
  • Slick: On wet surfaces, many athletes have found themselves slipping.

Bottom line

A special-edition model of the loved Hoka Carbon X, the X-SPE fills the gap between race-day shoes and training models. Although almost completely the same as the original Hoka Carbon X, this version features a more breathable, street-style construction. If you're looking for a maximalist runner that encourages constant forward motion and speed, the Hoka One One Carbon X-SPE is an excellent choice.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Video reviews

Hoka One One Carbon X-SPE: A fast and versatile race shoe 

Contrary to its parent model, the Carbon X-SPE from Hoka One One offers runners multi-purpose functions. It is a reliable option both for race day and long-range, fast-paced runs. Revamped with performance in mind, you can expect maximum responsiveness from the Hoka One One Carbon X-SPE. 

What is it for? 

  • Long runs
  • Tempo runs 
  • Half-marathons 
  • Marathons 

Carbon X-SPE vs. Carbon X: Not totally different     

Although this is a special-edition version of the Hoka Carbon X, the Carbon X-SPE features minimal tweaks only. These changes are mostly found in the upper, and here are what they indicate: 

More ventilation. The new and improved upper of the Hoka One One Carbon X-SPE allows more airflow into the foot chamber. This leaves the foot feeling cool and dry, even under humid conditions. 

Heavier. Despite being tagged as a lightweight racer, the Carbon X-SPE (8.8 oz) is heftier than its predecessor (8.7 oz). Although just a tad bit heavier, it is still a significant change for a racing shoe. This has also been attributed to the rubberized heel counter of the shoe. 

Better lockdown. This is the plus side of the mentioned update is that it locks the foot in place better than the flexible makeup of the previous iteration.

How Carbon X-SPE compares

This shoe: 86
All shoes average: 82
56 95
This shoe: £190
All shoes average: £120
£40 £290
This shoe: 249g
All shoes average: 270g
100g 437g
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.