Hoka Cielo X1 VS Kawana: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka Cielo X1 and Kawana represent two different approaches to running shoe design from the maximalist specialists at Hoka. The Cielo X1 prioritizes a fast, propulsive ride with its energetic foam and carbon fiber plate. Meanwhile, the Kawana focuses more on all-around cushioning and support for recovery runs, gym sessions, and moderate workouts.

While both provide the signature pillow-soft Hoka cushioning, the Cielo X1 is best for runners seeking a responsive, well-cushioned speedster. The Kawana appeals more to those wanting maximum comfort for casual running and cross-training. Read on to see how they compare across various features.

Similarities And Differences Between Hoka Cielo X1 and Kawana:

FeatureHoka Cielo X1Hoka Kawana
Launched In20242022
StabilityNeutralModerate Stability
FlexibilityStiffModerate
SizingTrue to sizeRuns small, size up 0.5
Weight9.3 oz10.6 oz (M)
CushionPlush, SoftMaximum Cushion
OutsoleRubber LugsRubber Lugs
MidsolePROFLY X Foam, Carbon PlateCMEVA Foam
UpperEngineered MeshEngineered Mesh
Retail Price$275$140

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Cielo X1 uses a premium lightweight PROFLY X foam midsole paired beautifully with a curved and propulsive carbon fiber plate for highly energetic responsiveness during each stride.

The breathable and flexible engineered mesh upper provides a fantastically secure and foot-hugging fit. The high-abrasion and durable rubber outsole includes strategically placed multi-directional lugs for incredible traction across varied surfaces.

Hoka Cielo X1
CIELO X1

HOKA KAWANA
KAWANA

The Kawana features an ultra-plush and shock-absorbing CMEVA foam midsole and no plate. The engineered mesh upper focuses more on all-around comfort and flexibility rather than an excessively locked-in feel. The hardy rubber outsole has thoughtfully designed multi-directional lugs ideal for dynamic movements in every direction.

Durability:

Testers found the Cielo X1’s outsole rubber and responsive foam midsole to be quite impressively durable for a high-mileage daily training companion. The smooth upper mesh may be prone to some minor creasing with regular use over time. But the shoe should easily last for many miles of running.

The Kawana also provides great durability thanks to the hardy CMEVA foam and rugged rubber outsole built to last through training cycle after training cycle. The flexible upper may show some early signs of wear but lasts exceptionally well even under heavy high-mileage use. These shoes can tackle any workout or run you throw at them.

Fit:

The Cielo X1 fits true to size for most runners according to online reviews, but some found the thin engineered mesh upper to be moderately tricky to get on at the first try. Cranking up the laces to tighten the upper helps achieve a comfortably dialed-in fit for secure midfoot lockdown.

Hoka Cielo X1 TOP VIEW
CIELO X1 TOP VIEW

HOKA KAWANA TOP VIEW
KAWANA TOP VIEW

The Kawana runs small by about a half size according to wear testers, so sizing up half a size is recommended. The roomy toe box provides a fantastically comfortable fit suitable for wider feet needing some extra wiggle room. The flexible mesh upper also nicely accommodates swelling and is easy to slide on and off before or after a tough workout or sweaty summertime run.

Stability:

As a trusted neutral shoe, the Cielo X1 provides little inherent stability by design to encourage a natural running gait. But the curved carbon plate helps wonderfully guide foot motion through the entire stride while allowing a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

The Kawana delivers moderate stability from its wide stable base and sturdy foam sidewalls. A purposeful stiffness through the supportive midfoot prevents excessive rolling for mild overpronators requiring a touch of stability in their daily trainer. The shoe provides just enough support while still allowing flexibility.

Cushioning:

Runners widely praise the Cielo X1 for its soft, bouncy cushioning generated from the energetic PROFLY X foam and curved carbon fiber plate. The high stack height provides continuous pillow-like comfort underfoot without ever feeling mushy or bogged down even on longer runs.

The Kawana features maximum plush cushioning from the soft and responsive CMEVA foam that compresses easily underfoot before springing back with energetic responsiveness. Testers note impressive shock absorption and energy return on longer runs when abundant cushioning matters most to keep legs fresher.

Value:

The Cielo X1 carries a premium $275 price tag typical of carbon fiber-plated running shoes featuring advanced technology. But the sleek performance and highly responsive energetic ride merit the price for runners seeking a speedy daily trainer.

With a budget-friendly $140 price tag, the Kawana packs impressive plush cushioning and versatility at a fraction of the cost of competing models. The value and performance are hard to beat for this well-cushioned shoe suitable for anything from easy jogs to gym sessions.

Performance Comparision:

For Walking:

The Cielo X1’s energetic carbon plate and exceptionally firm heel feel somewhat awkward and rigid for leisurely walking. The inflexible forefoot also unnaturally reduces natural foot bending and flexion.

The Kawana provides plush all-day cushioning and a flexible forefoot ideal for comfortable walking. The easy-sliding breathable upper and roomy toe box add to the effortless walking comfort.

For Running:

Runners looking for speed will greatly appreciate the Cielo X1’s propulsive and responsive carbon plate and springy PROFLY X foam. The shoe excels wonderfully at tempo runs and faster high-intensity workout sessions.

The Kawana has abundant cushioning for easy daily miles but lacks the snappy energetic response for faster uphill paces. It shines brightly more in recovery runs and long slow distance training.

For Plantar Fasciitis:

The Cielo X1 offers ample cushioning but its overly stiff inflexible build does not provide the flexibility desperately needed to accommodate plantar fasciitis and foot pain.

The Kawana’s plush shock-absorbing CMEVA foam cushioning and flexible forefoot help tremendously reduce pain associated with plantar fasciitis inflammation.

For Standing All Day:

The rigid inflexible Cielo X1 feels much too stiff for all-day standing comfort and support. Testers report foot fatigue after long extended periods of prolonged standing use.

With its easy-sliding breathable upper and ultra-plush cushioned midsole, the Kawana makes standing for extended periods much more comfortable and fatigue-free.

Final verdict:

For runners seeking a responsive, propulsive carbon-plated shoe, the Hoka Cielo X1 delivers an energetic ride perfect for speedwork and race day. Just be prepared for a snug upper and stiffer feel.


If you prioritize cushioning and versatility for casual running, gym sessions, and all-day wear, the Hoka Kawana is a top choice with its plush foam, breathable upper, and budget price.

Analyze your priorities and running needs to decide if the sleek Cielo X1 or cushioned Kawana is the best match. Either way, you’ll enjoy the signature pillow-like Hoka ride.

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