HOKA: Introduce yourself! What do you do for HOKA, and what does your day-to-day look like?

Valerie: Hello there! My name’s Valerie and I’ve been with HOKA for a little more than two years now. At HOKA, the day-in and day-out is always fresh and exciting. Our product team never stops looking ahead to the future and to find ways to improve our footwear and what’s in the market. We are constantly researching, tinkering, ideating, and talking with consumers and our sponsored athletes to keep momentum and ultimately keep them smiling.

HOKA: What goes into updating a shoe with such legacy as the Carbon X series? How long does the process take?

Valerie: With any legacy shoe it’s a fine balance of keeping what is working well while pushing the shoe into the future needs of runners. As our racing line is growing, we looked to differentiate the Carbon X 2 from the 3 with a fresh bold aesthetic and more engineered streamlined technologies.

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HOKA: Tell us about the Carbon X 3.

Valerie: A lot of our focus was on the upper for this update. We wanted a comfortable, sock-like fit, without the sloppiness some people get in knit constructions. So we added stronger monofilament yarns in the knit to make sure runners get great lockdown and feet stay secure on the platform. We also made sure the eyestay was streamlined and staggered to accommodate many foot types while keeping a solid hold at fast speeds.

The midsole is based on the design of the Carbon X 2, with a significant twist: we used a Super Critical Foam on the top stack to increase the resiliency and bounce and maintain a crazy-light weight. A smooth rocker, wide base, 27mm/32mm stack heights, and a balanced light weight (at X ounces) are still there from the previous version, and absolutely supercharged with the new foam.

HOKA: What are the key differences between the 2 and the 3?

Valerie: The updated Super Critical Foam with the extra bounce, and a seamless, sock-fit upper are what runners should immediately notice when comparing the Carbon X 2 and Carbon X 3.

HOKA: What are you most proud of in the Carbon X 3? 

Valerie: I’m most proud of pushing the visual and not being afraid to create an unexpected asymmetrical design. Knit upper constructions often get a bad rap for not being ideal for racing or performance, but it’s all in how you engineer it and the yarn types you choose. In the Carbon X 3, we’ve dialed in the details of stretch, breathability, and structure to give a “speed suit”-like fit. The updates on the foam on an already successful midsole design (shout out to our Design team) makes the Carbon X 3 a perfect evolution from the previous models.

HOKA: Who is the shoe for? 

Valerie: The Carbon X 3 hits such a cool sweet spot: it’s light enough to train or race in, is supportive and efficient enough to be a long-distance racer for our ultra and multisport athletes, and bouncy and snappy enough to feel fast and efficient at whatever distance and pace you want to go. It really is the embodiment of #TimeToFly!

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Shop the new Carbon X 3 HERE.