HOKA TECTON X
£175 Hoka’s first-ever carbon-plated trail shoe
VERDICT THE ULTIMATE ALL-ROUNDER; GRIPPY, LIGHT AND PROPULSIVE
The new Tecton X is Hoka’s first carbon-plated trail shoe and is one of only a few on the market today. This neutral shoe has a jacquard mesh upper and an extralong lacing system. These translate to a decent level of breathability and flex, while the gusseted tongue and laces provide that locked-in feel.
Meanwhile, the ProflyX midsole has a dual-density construction that combines a softer upper section (to absorb impact and cushion the foot) with a firmer base (which maintains stability and responsiveness). Tucked within the midsole sit two carbon plates that run parallel to each other along the length of the shoe. Inspired by the earth’s tectonic plates, the unique design aims to improve lateral stability while maintaining powerful propulsion when in motion.
Hard-packed trail is where the Tecton X really excels; the plate protects from jagged rocks and roots, while the curvature from the Meta-Rocker helps to maintain energy for any distance from 5km to
50km ultras, as well as encouraging a smooth motion from foot strike to toe-off. The 4mm multidirectional lugs do a great job of maintaining traction on a range of terrain, including stretches of road, but struggle a little in very soft mud.
There’s plenty of room for foot swelling in the toe box, yet we’d have preferred slightly more protection from the slim toe bumper. Having said that, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lighter trail shoe (210g per shoe, size 5.5) with the same cushioning and tech.
Each 50g serving of this recovery powder from Applied Nutrition delivers 24g carbohydrates, 21g protein and 7g of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). Simply mix a spoonful with 400-500ml water – we’d go for 400ml as 500ml felt too loose – and consume the moderate strawberry taste. That is, if you’re exercising under two hours. For more than two hours Applied Nutrition recommends doubling or even tripling the scoops. That’s arguably overkill if you follow a one-scoop shake soon after with a high carbprotein meal, which is preferred.
The protein comes via plant sources, more specifically a blend of soy protein isolate, rice protein and pea protein. Whey protein is generally perceived as better to stimulate muscle protein synthesis but Applied Nutrition’s tried to counter that by adding those BCAAs. These are claimed to perform myriad functions from enhanced muscle protein synthesis to decreased muscle breakdown, protection of the immune system, increased fat oxidation and decreased muscle soreness. Typically, evidence is equivocal of its benefits with mooted improvements often not transferring from work in the labs to humans in the real world.
That said, if you’re to benefit from BCAAs, doubling up for a 14g hit’s the way ahead. But that then cuts the value of the tub in two. Speaking of which, it’s £29.99 for a 1.5kg tub, which equals 30 servings, but that’ll drop to 15 servings if you’re doubling scoops. Around 1,500mg electrolytes, including 850mg sodium, is generous and should help to replenish what you’ve burnt through during training.
VERDICT A SOLID ENOUGH OFFERING BUT THERE’S BETTER OUT THERE