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Trail Running Shoes • June 24, 2024

Hoka Tecton X 2.5 Review: Glass Half Full of Awesomeness

hoka tecton x 2.5 - feature

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What You Need To Know


9.1 oz. (258 g) for a US M9

Stack Height/Drop

44 mm in heel, 39 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Best For

Trail racing, road to trail

Key Features

Lightweight, parallel carbon fiber plates, dual PEBA midsole, Vibram Megagrip w/ Litebase outsole, Matryx upper w/ built-in gaiter

On The Run
Quick and responsive Excellent for both road and trail PEBA is balanced out by plates

$300 (if you can get it)

Intro to the Hoka Tecton X 2.5

THOMAS: I can’t help but get excited about good collaborations or limited-edition shoes. I mean, they’re limited and they’re shoes, what else would you expect? As you can imagine, I was pretty pumped when Hoka told us we were getting one of the one hundred pairs of the Tecton X 2.5. Our trail team has reviewed and heaped praise on the first two versions of the Tecton X– a race ready trail shoe with parallel carbon fiber plates and a comfortable-yet-stable midsole. And the third version is coming soon.

hoka tecton x 2.5 - both lean
hoka tecton x 2.5 - medial vert

However, this particular version– the Tecton X 2.5– is the exact shoe that Jim Walmsley was wearing when he claimed the coveted UTMB crown in 2023. Typically, this shoe would go to our lead trail reviewer, Taylor Bodin, but when we need the shoes to come to the HQ for special treatment, photos, videos, etc., I get to put my feet in them for testing. I may be more of a road runner now, but the trails consumed a large portion of my running in the past. I watched from the sidelines while Taylor swooned over the Tecton X and Tecton X 2, and I wondered if the shoe could be that good. In this case, Taylor’s misfortune turned out to be my pleasure, as you’ll see soon enough.

As for this version of the shoe, the changes make a great shoe even greater– the shoe’s base is wider, the foams are more advanced (dual-layer PEBA), and the built-in gaiter was added to the Matryx upper. With all these updates, the shoe only gained around 6 grams.

hoka tecton x 2.5 - outsole

What We Like About the Hoka Tecton X 2.5

THOMAS: One of my all-time favorite uppers on a running shoe was on the Nike Lunar Epic. I’m a sucker for an upper with a hightop. If it’s done correctly, the upper disappears, and it feels like the midsole is stuck to the bottom of your foot, as if it’s a part of your natural body. The hightop gaiter also keeps debris out of the shoe. On this shoe, the premium Matryx upper does the trick. It is lightweight, breathable, hydrophobic, and practically bulletproof. Stream crossings proved that the shoe sheds water quickly. The fit was true to size, if not slightly roomy. I thought I was over black shoes, but these guys had me back in love with the stealthy look.

To add more stability, Hoka widened the midsole. The Tecton X 2.5 can roll over anything, and the soft foam protects the foot over all terrain and has a bounce to propel you through your gait. The new PEBA foam may have been too soft if not for the two parallel plates sandwiched into the midsole. The ride is as fun as any road or trail shoe road on the market. That’s right– this thing swings both ways. You get the soft landing, energy return, and a little pop from the plates. With a stack height of 44 mm in the heel and 39 mm in the forefoot (5 mm drop), your foot is protected on any surface. The chef’s kiss is the gooey Vibram outsole with 5 mm lugs, deep enough to bite the trail but tame enough to handle paved sections comfortably.

The Bad

THOMAS: With my narrow foot, I had a small amount of play in the upper. Taking corners and steep downhills revealed the extra space in the shoe’s fit. I would recommend something other than the Tecton X 2.5 for runners looking for a stable trail shoe. I felt the medial side collapse more than a couple of times, and I am a neutral runner.

Also, be careful of sharp rocks, which might be obvious when you’re talking about exposed PEBA. I was hitting some granite while out in California and it sliced deep into the PEBA, almost separating a sizable chunk of the midsole. In that scenario, something like a cordura wrap found in the Nike Ultrafly would’ve gone a long way for protection (but would add some weight). Will have to repair it with some Shoe Goo.

Finally, the sticker shock may electrocute you– owning this gem will cost you $300.

hoka tecton x 2.5 - both shoes vert
hoka tecton x 2.5 - outsole fine

Hoka Tecton X 2.5 Conclusion

THOMAS: I don’t get too excited about trail shoes; however, the Tecton X 2.5 had me yearning for dirt. I can’t remember a trail shoe that’s been as fun to run in as the Tecton X 2.5. I tested the shoes on trails in Patapsco State Park and Loch Raven, here in Maryland. Both locations offer technical single-track, fire roads, stream crossings, steep climbs and descents, and paved sections. I felt confident in the shoe, and my legs felt fresh post miles. The Tecton X 2.5 is one of those shoes that make running fun. So, why does it matter that there are only 100 pairs of these? It probably doesn’t, unless you want bragging rights. The Tecton X 3 is coming relatively soon, with nearly identical specs (midsole, outsole and upper material are all the same). The Tecton X 3 will also cost $25 less.

The only way to get this shoe is to know one of the athletes running Western States this weekend, who received an email with a unique link. Once you reserve your pair, you must get to Western States and purchase them from Fleet Feet in the Western States start village. Good luck and godspeed.

hoka tecton x 2.5 - medial landscape

Probably not best for snow, but looks good for photos


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Fabiano says:

    outsole pattern on the 3 will be more aggressive, so no it wont be the same, the outsole was for me a major reason why I didn’t like the 2, the 3 looks awesome, the 2.5 looks like the 2 with the 3 upper and it is disappointing

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Thomas Neuberger
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As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’s goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be. 

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