Hoka Carbon X 3 vs. Rocket X (2022)
The Hoka Carbon X 3 is the latest in the carbon-fiber plate shoe collection of the brand. On the other hand, the Rocket X is starting to get old since it was released in 2020. We don’t know if Hoka has a Rocket X 2 in the cards!
Two years is an eternity in the world of running shoes, and logically the Carbon X 3 displays a more modern configuration with a supercritical foam in the midsole. Simply put, it’s a manufacturing process that gives a more bouncy and lighter texture than more traditional processes.
Both shoes feature the same sole height (32 mm stack in the heel) and a low drop of 5 mm. They have a rocker for a smoother rolling motion while running and better propulsion.
The Rocket X is, according to Hoka, intended for the marathon, while the Carbon X is for even longer distances. In practice, it’s not so evident as they are very similar.
The main difference is their weight: the Carbon X 3 is 30 g/1.1 oz heavier, which starts to be noticeable.
Carbon X or Rocket X: Which One to Choose?
Unless you’re a Hoka fan, these two shoes struggle to convince and suffer from comparing with other carbon plate shoes like the Nike Vaporfly or the Adidas Adios Pro.
For the rest, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Overall, runners liked the Carbon X 3’s cushioning better for its comfort.
Smooth and stable ride
Effective grip on the road
Fairly durable shoe
Well-designed upper that offers a perfect lockdown
Discreet carbon plate under the foot
Good stability for a carbon-plated racer
Good overall durability
Meta-Rocker is not very effective
Lack of versatility (shoe mainly recommended for forefoot strikers)
Hoka Carbon X 3
Hoka Rocket X
|Drop||5 mm||5 mm|
|Heel stack height||32 mm||32 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||27 mm||27 mm|
|Weight (men)||242 g/8.5 oz||210 g/7.4 oz|
|Weight (women)||214 g/7.55 oz||210 g/7.4 oz|
|Features||Rocker, Carbon plate||Carbon plate, Unisex|
|Athletes||Jim Walmsley||Jim Walmsley|
|Outsole||Rubberized foam||Zonal Rubber|
|Midsole||Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry, PROFLY X||CMEVA, carbon fiber plate, Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry|
|Upper||Engineered mesh||Engineered mesh with open texture, anatomical tongue|
|Softness (1-5)||2 – Firm||2 – Firm|
|Bounce (1-5)||4 – Bouncy||3 – Moderate|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon||Short, mid, 5k, 10k, half marathon|
|Workout||Competition, daily runs||Competition|