Hoka Cielo X1 Stands as the Super Shoe

Hoka Cielo X1 toebox

The Hoka Cielo X1 represents the pinnacle of Hoka running shoes, boasting an exceptionally aggressive design and embodying the essence of Hoka's DNA. It stands as the super shoe that Hoka should have introduced years ago, surpassing the three iterations of the Carbon X line, which fell short of true super shoe status.

I appreciate Hoka's decision to introduce the Cielo X1 alongside its existing racing shoe, the Rocket X 2. This provides Hoka athletes and fans with more choices on race day. For most runners, the bouncy yet traditional feel of the Rocket X 2 will be the top choice.

However, the Cielo X1 appeals to runners who seek a shoe that allows them to get up on their toes and move swiftly, all while turning heads with its unique construction.

Hoka Cielo X1 sole units

The Hoka Cielo X1 incorporates a range of distinctive features that epitomize its identity.

This begins with vibrant, daring colors. Similar to previous Clifton launches, these hues are intended to captivate. The trend will persist beyond the initial launch colorway of the Hoka Cielo X1, with the next one set to debut on March 1st in various vibrant shades of orange. These color schemes are tailored to attract Hoka enthusiasts and individuals fond of lively colors.

Additionally enticing Hoka fans is the design of the dual-layer Peba midsole. The contours at the forefoot and heel are intended to maximize the shoe's rolling motion (similar to Skechers Shape Ups). Walking in the Cielo X1 is an unusual sensation as the heel feels sculpted away, propelling the foot fiercely from midfoot to toe.

However, that very shape proved immensely beneficial during a challenging hill workout. The sensation of being propelled towards my toes was ideal for conquering a lengthy, grueling incline.

Hoka Cielo X1 upper

The Cielo X1 proved to be an ideal choice when I participated in a 5k race in Orlando, following the US Olympic Marathon Trials. Despite fatigue from cheering on runners the day before, I managed a commendable performance, thanks in part to the Cielo X1. Its design encouraged proper 5k form, which I leveraged to my advantage.

The Cielo X1's forward-pushing design may suit races like 5k, 10k, or half marathons, but for a full marathon, it may pose challenges. As fatigue sets in, my tendency to revert to a heel-centric footstrike could lead to discomfort or irritation in areas like the Achilles, ankles, or heels, impacting my performance negatively.

As an illustration, after my initial run in the Hoka Cielo X1, I experienced some ankle discomfort, likely due to fatigue from a previous workout. For runners like me, the benefits of the Cielo X1 may diminish as mileage and fatigue accumulate. Nonetheless, if you consistently run on your toes, this shoe offers excellent support for maintaining proper running form.

Absolutely, the Hoka Cielo X1 is indeed wide foot friendly. It offers ample room in the forefoot, midfoot, and heel areas, making it a versatile choice for a variety of foot shapes.

Additionally, the knit upper provides some flexibility, offering even more comfort for wider feet. This is particularly significant as wider-footed individuals often face limited options in the realm of super shoes, making the expansion of choices a welcome development.

The knit upper and gusseted knit tongue offer the flexibility to snugly fit narrow feet without causing any uncomfortable creasing. However, both wide and narrow-footed individuals might prefer to swap out the laces for more pliable options to fine-tune the fit more easily, as the included laces can be somewhat stiff and require significant adjustments for minor changes.

Hoka Cielo X1 side overlays

Determining whether the Hoka Cielo X1 is worth its $275 price tag is a complex matter. However, the advanced technology incorporated into the shoe, such as the peba midsole, winged carbon plate, and knit upper, could validate the price for dedicated Hoka enthusiasts seeking top-notch race day performance.

It's uncertain whether runners outside the Hoka loyalists will find ample reason to choose the Hoka Cielo X1 over competitors like the Saucony Endorphin Elite and the Nike Alphafly 3. Priced similarly at $275-$285, these alternatives offer forgiveness when form deteriorates while maintaining exceptional speed.

The Puma Fast-R 2 shares a similar aggressive design to the Hoka Cielo X1, pushing runners onto their toes and performing better at faster speeds. Priced at $260, it sits between the Rocket X 2 and more versatile competitors. Similarly, the Hoka Cielo X1 could find its sweet spot at this price point, offering extra technology without directly competing with more well-rounded options.

The Hoka Cielo X1 is designed for runners seeking speed and toe-off power. With its rocker and midsole construction, it propels runners onto their toes for a forceful push-off.

Although the Cielo X1 may be heavy for smaller runners and has subpar laces, it will attract loyal Hoka fans, wide-footed individuals seeking a well-fitting race-day shoe, and those who desire a shoe that propels them onto their forefeet for faster running.

  • Price: $275
  • Style & Color:
    • 1147910-ENN: Evening Sky/Lettuce
  • Usage:
    • Racing
    • 5k~10k long distance running
    • half marathon
  • Constructions & Features:
    • maximum cushioning
    • Weight: 9.0 oz 255 grams
    • Heel-drop: 7mm (46mm/39mm)
    • 2 Layers of PEBA foam cushioning
    • Winged Carbon Fiber Plate
    • Premium Sockliner
    • Engineered Knit Upper
    • Asymmetrical Gusseted Knit Tongue
Hoka Cielo X1 midsole