Hoka just launched new Skyward X — and they’re so cushioned they’re illegal for racing

the bottom half of a male running in the Hoka Skyward X running shoe
(Image credit: Hoka)

Hoka, the popular running shoe brand celebrated by many for its production of maximum cushioned and high stack shoes, has recently unveiled (April 25, 2024) its newest super-cushioned model. This shoe boasts a stack height so high that it technically breaches regulations, deeming it illegal for road racing.

Since 2009, Hoka has crafted countless running shoes in efforts to make running more approachable for all runners, emphasizing comfort and cushioning. Its latest shoe the Carbon Skyward X features a 48mm stack height, which exceeds the World Athletics road race limits by 8mm and therefore finds itself on the banned list for racing in.

You're probably wondering why a brand like Hoka who features in our best carbon plate running shoe guide has created a shoe with a carbon design that can't be raced in. It's a very good question.

Well, the shoe wasn't designed for bagging personal bests in your next road race. Hoka is bringing popular elite running shoe features to a shoe that can be worn by all runners in their everyday miles.

"We increased the stack height and completely reimagined our use of elements like PEBA foam and carbon fiber plates, typically associated with race day products, to create a super running shoe that provides core runners with a supremely plush experience for their daily miles," said Colin Ingram, Vice President of Product and Apparel at HOKA. 

Hoka Skyward X: $225 at Hoka

Hoka Skyward X: $225 at Hoka
With its soft PEBA foam and stable EVA frame, the Skyward X is perfect for runners looking to maximize comfort and performance during their training sessions. Featuring a unique suspension system with a convex carbon fiber plate, the shoe is designed to provide an exceptionally smooth and lively ride for daily runs. Just don't go entering any races wearing these or the stack height police will come find you.

The Skyward X is available to buy now at Hoka for $225/£185. It's available in both men and women's sizes with a slight difference in colorway between the male and female designs. 

The shoe weighs in at 9.20 oz which is on the heavier end of most carbon plated running trainers, but it's not a big surprise considering the notably high stack height on the Skyward X.

With its blend of race day features integrated into an everyday trainer, one wonders if runners will become so enamored with the shoe during training that they may hesitate to switch to a different shoe specifically for race days. 

There is only one way to find this out — stay tuned for a full review on Tom's Guide of the Hoka Skyward X running shoe.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.