The 2024 Hardrock 100 is history! Check out our in-depth results article for the full race story, as well as our interviews with champions Courtney Dauwalter and Ludovic Pommeret.

‘What’s That Shoe?!:’ HOKA Tecton X 2.5 Full Reveal

Introducing the hyper-limited edition HOKA Tecton X 2.5, the shoe Jim Walmsley wore to win the 2023 UTMB, the shoe he’ll probably wear at the 2024 Western States 100, and the shoe a select few trail runners now have access to.

By on June 19, 2024

Hoka logo - 2024 yellow“What’s that shoe?!” A passerby asked as we ran in this shoe for the first time.

This was the same question that thousands of fans had while watching HOKA athlete Jim Walmsley win the 2023 UTMB in a pair of mystery black shoes. Advertisement

We get it. The Jim Walmsley 2023 UTMB shoe had a fascinating appearance. And so does HOKA Tecton X 2.5, which is now available to purchase in hyper-limited quantities.

A gaiter and a giant midsole made with a different foam than other shoes in the Tecton X lineage give this shoe a much different look and feel. Oh, and how about the simple, two-tone colorway on the X 2.5, which deviates significantly from HOKA’s typical rainbow color palette?

Jim Walmsley - 2023 UTMB champion - wearing mystery Hoka Tecton X shoes

Jim Walmsley winning the 2023 UTMB wearing a mysterious pair of black HOKA shoes. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

In the X 2.5, Tecton X model fans should recognize the Matryx upper and Vibram Megagrip Litebase outsole with its significant and strategic cutouts as both nearly identical to the X 2.

While we may never know the full details of what went into the Jim Walmsley 2023 UTMB shoe, one thing is for sure: The HOKA Tecton X 2.5 is definitely its sibling — maybe even a fraternal twin.

Jim Walmsley - 2023 UTMB - mystery Hoka Tecton X shoes close-up

A close-up view of Jim Walmsley’s 2023 UTMB shoes. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

The HOKA Tecton X Lineage

The original HOKA Tecton X debuted in the summer of 2022 as an early adopter of carbon plates in trail shoes. It was an excellent shoe that, along with a couple of others, helped to spark the carbon revolution in trail running, leading to every major brand coming out with its own carbon trail shoe.

The HOKA Tecton X 2, released in 2023, is the model’s current version. With the X 2, the brand introduced the popular Matryx upper material and added some upper overlays that helped the shoe lock down better. Thus, the X 2 presents itself as a more refined version of the Tecton X.

To date, iRunFar Editor-in-Chief Meghan Hicks wears the Tecton X 2 for her speed workouts and any other runs for which she cares about performance and pace. iRunFar Managing Affiliate Editor Nathan Allen says, “Overall, of the higher-end trail racing super shoes I’ve tested, the Tecton X 2 is probably top one or two for me. They’re very fast, responsive, and efficient.” The iRunFar team so loves the Tecton X 2 that it appears in two of our category-level guides: best cushioned trail running shoes and best lightweight trail running shoes.

Hoka Tecton X 2.5

Introducing the HOKA Tecton X 2.5. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Since the iRunFar team is a fan of the Tecton X, our interest, like that of so many others, was piqued during the 2023 UTMB by Jim Walmsley’s shoes, which looked to us like offspring of the HOKA Tecton X 2 and HOKA Rocket X 2 — the brand’s carbon plated road racing shoe. But mum was mostly the word on the shoe, and no one, including iRunFar, was able to learn too much more.

Fast forward to The Running Event trade show in late 2023, and runners were treated to a peek at the newest in the Tecton X line, the HOKA Tecton X 3, on its way to market in the second half of 2024. While the Tecton X 3 contained lots of changes from the X and X 2, making it look quite different, it also looked immediately familiar: This was going to be the commercial version of the Jim Walmsley 2023 UTMB shoe.

Hoka Tecton X 2.5 - running 2

The HOKA Tecton X 2.5 in the wild. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Introducing the HOKA Tecton X 2.5

Now, fast forward another half a year to the present and the arrival of the special edition HOKA Tecton X 2.5.

This model is now available for purchase, and you’ll have to pick it up in person and before the 2024 Western States 100 in California. This is a few months before the promised full release of the HOKA Tecton X 3 later this year. It’s reasonable for us to suspect that this will also be Jim Walmsley’s shoe at the upcoming 2024 Western States 100.

Hoka Tecton X 2.5 - lateral view

A lateral view of the HOKA Tecton X 2.5 shows how prominently the dual-layer PEBA foam features in the shoe’s aesthetic. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Here are the specifications we’ve been able to gather on this elusive HOKA Tecton X 2.5:

  • Actual Weight: 9.3 ounces (264 grams) for a U.S. men’s 9
  • Total Stack Height: 44 millimeters at the heel, 39 millimeters at the toe
  • Upper: Matryx material with a gaiter and speedlaces
  • Midsole: Dual-layer PEBA foam with two parallel carbon fiber plates inserted between the foam layers
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip Litebase with 5-millimeter lugs
  • Price: $300
Hoka Tecton X 2.5 - medial view

The gaiter and speedlaces are noticeable in a medial view of the HOKA Tecton X 2.5. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Comparing the HOKA Tecton X 2 and X 2.5

How do the HOKA Tecton X 2 and X 2.5 compare?

  • Weight: The X 2.5 comes in at 6 grams heavier than the X 2 in the U.S. men’s 9.
  • Upper: The now-popular Matryx upper material was introduced in the X 2, and it carries into the X 2.5, though there’s a dramatic shift in form and orientation of the overlays. The significant change to the upper, though, is the addition of the gaiter to the X 2.5, which will also feature in the X 3. We also note that the speedlaces are present only on the X 2.5. They aren’t on the X 2, won’t be on the X 3, and weren’t on the Jim Walmsley 2023 UTMB shoe either.
  • Midsole: The X 2.5’s midsole is a two-layer PEBA foam known as super-shoe foam with its presence in the top road racing shoes. PEBA foam has a great reputation for its cushion and responsiveness. This midsole is way softer than the X 2’s two-layer EVA foam midsole, which has one softer EVA layer on top of a firmer layer. Both the X 2.5 and X 2 midsoles are made of two layers, and two parallel carbon plates are inserted between them. This whole construction package is what HOKA calls ProFlyX.  Giving credence to our earlier speculation that the Jim Walmsley 2023 UTMB shoe was a Tecton X 2/Rocket X 2 mashup, the durometer on this midsole feels sneakily like that of the HOKA Rocket X 2, which also has dual-layer PEBA foam.
  • Outsole: The X 2 and X 2.5’s outsoles are nearly identical. Both use the trustworthy Vibram Megagrip Litebase material with strategic coverage and exposed midsole that endeavors to balance traction with weight savings. The lugs on the X 2.5 are 5 millimeters tall, which is 1 millimeter more than those of the X 2.
Hoka Tecton X 2.5 - outsole

The HOKA Tecton X 2.5 outsole, which is very similar to both of the prior editions of this model, the HOKA Tecton X and X 2. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

How to Purchase the HOKA Tecton X 2.5

So here’s where things get interesting: The HOKA Tecton X 2.5 has hyper-limited availability.

Just 100 pairs are being offered for reservation exclusively to athletes, friends, and family of the 2024 Western States 100. You can now reserve your own pair.

Hoka Tecton X 2.5 - running

The iRunFar team testing the the HOKA Tecton X 2.5. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

An inevitable result of the special edition HOKA Tecton X 2.5 at the 2024 Western States 100 is that the question, “What’s that shoe?!” is not going away anytime soon.

[Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by HOKA. Thank you to HOKA for its sponsorship of iRunFar, which helps to make iRunFar happen and free for all to enjoy. Learn more about our sponsored articles.]

Hoka Tecton X 2.5 - casual

The gaiter and speedlaces are noticeable parts of the HOKA Tecton X 2.5’s upper. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Tagged: ,
Sponsored Post
Sponsored articles are a collaboration between iRunFar and a partner to help tell the stories of our sport's people, places, and products. These collaborations help to make iRunFar happen and free for all to enjoy. Learn more.