Hoka Skyward X review: reaching new heights

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Soar through your runs with Hoka's ultimate cushioned companion

Hoka Skyward X review
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
T3 Verdict

Hoka's Skyward X is a high-stack, max-cushioned running shoe with an innovative design. Featuring a unique carbon plate and plush upper, it offers comfort and propulsion for long-distance runners. Slightly heavy but efficient, it suits those aiming to improve speed in marathon training. Consider trying it if seeking enhanced performance and comfort.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Innovative design with a unique carbon plate for propulsion

  • +

    Plush and supportive upper with ample padding

  • +

    Offers a balance between cushioning and responsiveness

  • +

    Ideal for runners aiming to improve speed and performance in marathon training

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Slightly heavy compared to daily trainers

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    The weight and bulkiness might affect the perception of energy return

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People love their Hokas these days. The company has been paying close attention to feedback and going out of its way to innovate, and it shows. It feels like nothing is ever good enough for Hoka (in the best possible way).

The Skyward X, Hoka's latest creation, is a testament to their innovative spirit. Coming up with a high-stack, max-cushioned running shoe concept by a company already famous for its high-stack, max-cushioned shoes must not have been easy.

Yet here we are! The Skyward X is taller and more cushioned than the Bondi 8 and chunkier than the Mach X; It truly is a beast of a running trainer. I had the shoes for less than a week, so this is more of a hands-on test report than a full review.

That said, even after just a few runs, I have a good sense of what the Skyward X has to offer. Let’s go!

Hoka Skyward X review

Price and availability

Hoka Skyward X review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Hoka Skyward X was launched in April 2024 and is available to buy now at Hoka UK for a recommended price of £185. The shoes are also available at third-party retailers such as SportsShoes.com and others. Hoka’s US page lists the shoes for $225, but it says they are ‘coming soon’, so they aren’t available to buy just yet. AU price and availability TBC. 


Hoka Skyward X review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
  • Best for: Long runs (HOKA’s most cushioned shoe to date)
  • Tested weight: 12.6oz/ 357g (men’s US 11.5D/ UK 11)
  • Drop: 5 mm
  • Stack height: 46mm/ 41mm (W8), 48 mm/ 43mm (M10)
  • Cushioning: PEBA & SCF EVA midsole
  • Sustainability: no information available

Design and materials

Hoka Skyward X review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Hoka says they “threw out the rulebook” when designing the Skyward X. Makes sense, as they look almost like basketball shoes with all that foam underfoot. The way it curves around the foot further reinforces this sensation.

Hoka calls this Deep Active Foot Frame, and it really is a cradle, hugging your foot all the way around. This not only makes the shoes even more chunky but provides excellent support when cornering at higher speeds.

The midsole is made from PEBA midsole foam, a soft but stable compound. A big chunk of the foam has been carved out underneath to reduce weight; however, the Skyward X is pretty hefty, weighing 357 grams in a UK men’s size 11.

The cutaway section reveals a section of the carbon plate. The positioning and the shape of the plate are completely new to Hoka. It sits right at the top of the foam, very close to your foot, and has a convex shape, making it spring back with each step.

The upper is a flat knit material with ‘zonal engineering’. As expected for a knitted upper, it has a sock-like fit, and as expected from a max-cushioned shoe, it also has a ton of padding around the ankles. The heels also flare up to support the Achilles tendon. The shoes are plush all around.

The outsole is applied strategically and in ample quantities to ensure durability and traction.

Performance and comfort

Hoka Skyward X review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Hoka says the Skyward X is designed for “roadrunners who don’t want to compromise between performance and comfort.” As such, I expected a plush but peppy ride from the shoes, which they delivered.

Thanks to the responsive foam, the convex carbon plate and the Hoka-signature Super-critical Eva Rocker Frame, the Skyward X rolls well and pushes you forward efficiently.

The plate is positioned close to the sole of your foot, so it almost feels harder to bend it. However, it snaps better, if that makes sense, although the massive amount of foam underfoot mutes some of this effect.

The sizing is interesting. I used to hover between sizes 10 and 10.5 in Hoka, but recently, I went as far as opting for size 10.5 wide models (where available). The Skyward only comes in one width setting, so I tried the size 11, and it fits more or less perfectly.

Hoka Skyward X review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

There might be an ever-so-slight vertical travel at the rear, but the padding definitely helps keep my heels in check. Like most Hokas, the Skyward X feels slightly narrow for someone with wider feet. Evidently, going half a size up helps alleviate this issue.

I couldn’t detect any rubbing issues or hotspots; the upper feels just the right tightness. Better still, the reinforced areas didn’t feel restricting, either, which is always a boon. I particularly enjoyed the Achilles support, especially after running a marathon a week prior to testing the Skyward X.

The shoes are pretty sizeable and heavy, which makes it slightly harder to judge the efficiency of the plate and the energy return of the foam. The Skyward X behaves similarly to max-cushioned responsive shoes from other brands, such as Asics’ Superblast and Saucony’s Endorphin Shift 2.

Hoka’s own Bondi franchise, beloved by ultra runners, is also a competition, although it doesn’t have a carbon plate. The Skyward X provides more propulsion, which means it’s better suited for pick-up-style long runs, where you run faster for a prolonged period of time, preceded and followed by slower-pace blocks.


Hoka Skyward X review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Do you need the Hoka Skyward X in your rotation? If you’re a long-distance runner and want to improve your speed or want to make sure you’re body is used to running at half marathon/marathon pace, it’s well worth considering.

For the same reason, the Skyward X can be considered a bit of niche footwear. However, since more and more people are running long-distance races, one can only assume the number of people wanting to get a better time at their next race has also increased, which means more people might want to train in shoes like the Skyward X.

I would suggest trying them on before buying in a running speciality store to ensure you pick the size that’s right for you. Otherwise, if the concept of the Hoka Skyward X sounds appealing to you, you should 100 per cent give them a try.

Also consider

Looking for something a bit tamer? The Hoka Mach X is a versatile running shoe with high-rebound cushioning and a Pebax nylon plate for pace-pushing performance. It has a comfortable fit with classic Hoka features. Suitable for tempo sessions and daily runs, it offers a similar experience to pricier super trainers at a more budget-friendly price. Read my full Hoka Mach X review.

Still too fast? The Hoka Bondi 8 features new Glide+ foam for enhanced cushioning, a tighter upper, and extended heel geometry for smooth transitions. Despite a snug fit, it offers plush comfort and stability. However, alternatives may provide a plusher ride or more comfortable uppers at a similar price point. Read my full Hoka Bondi 8 review.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.