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Hoka and Nike Have New Shoes for Avid Runners

Hoka One One will put its latest running shoe, the Carbon X 2, to the ultimate test later this month.

On Jan. 23, Project Carbon X 2 will gather more than three dozen runners, all wearing the Deckers Brands label’s latest kicks, in an attempt to break the 100K (62.2-mile) world record. Participants will be split between two races, one in Chiba, Japan, and the other in Phoenix, Ariz. Hoka One One will stream both attempts online.

Japan’s Nao Kazami set the current men’s 100K world record, 6:09:14, in 2018 and Japan’s Tomoe Abe set the women’s record, 6:33:11, in 2000. Hoka One One’s Project Carbon X unsuccessfully attempted to break these records with the original Carbon X in May 2019.

Compared to its predecessor, the Carbon X 2 sports a simplified upper material, making for “a lightweight and breathable fit,” Hoka One One said. The shoe’s bonded tongue, also new, provides a more secure wrap of the foot, it added.

Jim Walmsley is one of more than three dozen runners participating in Hoka One One's Project Carbon X 2
Jim Walmsley is one of more than three dozen runners participating in Hoka One One’s Project Carbon X 2. Hoka One One

The Carbon X 2, like the original Carbon X, features a carbon fiber plate embedded in its midsole. This plate, Hoka One One said, is “designed to provide a smooth and propulsive ride through the gait cycle for an efficient stride over many miles.”

The new running shoe, with a rubberized EVA outside and “some of Hoka’s softest, lightest foams to date,” is designed to provide a blend of soft protection and energetic response, the brand said. The sneaker weighs 8.4 ounces and has a 5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop.

The Carbon X 2 is available on Hoka One One’s website and at select retailers for $180.

The Hoka One One release arrives days ahead of two new running shoes from Nike. The Nike React Infinity Run 2 and Nike ZoomX Invincible Run, both set to debut Thursday, “continue the mission from Nike Running to crack the injury-prevention code,” the footwear giant said.

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The React Infinity Run 2 features an updated Flyknit upper, providing more breathability and promoting strength and support in the toe, eye-stay and foxing, Nike said. The design also adds Nike Flywire cables throughout the upper to help increase support and updates the collar to feel plushier without adding weight or bulk.

Nike will release two new running shoes this week, the Nike React Infinity Run 2 and Nike ZoomX Invincible Run
Nike React Infinity Run 2 Nike

Designed for long training runs, the ZoomX Invincible Run features more responsive foam in the midsole than the Infinity, “creating a soft ride while returning more energy for improved running economy,” Nike said. The rocker geometry and wider nets in the forefoot, it added, help create a more fluid stride transition compared to the springier transition of plated running footwear.

Although the NPD Group reported a low-single-digit dip in running shoes sales in the third quarter, Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor, sports, said this represented “the best quarterly performance in some time.” Looking past the pandemic, Powell predicted performance running and hiking footwear would outperform the market.

For its part, Hoka One One has seen a considerable jump in sales as pandemic consumers have turned to running. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Deckers Brands said the division’s net sales leaped 83.2 percent compared to the prior-year period. This increase helped drive a 15 percent year-over-year net sales bump for the company overall.