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Since carbon-plated shoes were introduced, countless world, national, and personal records have fallen. But most pairs are helpful for only a certain group of runners: the rigid carbon-fiber plate combined with a soft foam favors those with efficient strides over those with less-than-perfect form. The new Hoka Tecton X ($200), one of the few carbon-plated trail kicks on the market, defies that pattern. This is a high-tech shoe for all abilities. “It’s one of the few carbon-plated shoes that I—a not-fast runner with poor form—can actually appreciate,” noted one tester. What’s the secret sauce here that makes everyday athletes feel like superstars? For starters, designers ditched the standard single carbon plate in favor of two parallel ones positioned next to each other. These plates move independently, producing a more forgiving, flexible ride. Then there’s the dual-density midsole: Hoka’s most responsive, energetic EVA topped with a layer of softer foam directly underfoot.“The shoe is poppy without being stiff,” remarked one tester. “It’s hard not to feel energized,” said another. Underfoot, tightly spaced four-millimeter lugs offered what another tester described as “enough of what you need, none of what you don’t.” The result is a grippy yet sensitive ride on everything from gravel roads to dusty, winding singletrack. All in all, the result delivers supershoe benefits to FKT chasers and weekend warriors alike. 8.5 oz (men’s) / 6.9 oz (women’s); 4mm drop