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HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX Review

This ultralight boot is best for fastpacking missions where every ounce counts
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Price:  $170 List | $169.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Unbelievably lightweight, plush comfort on smooth trails
Cons:  Marginal support for heavy loads, soft sole lets rocks poke through
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 21, 2020
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 16
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Stability - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 10
  • Water Resistance - 15% 5
  • Durability - 10% 4

Our Verdict

When we first received our pair of Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX boots, we were afraid that they had forgotten to put any boots in the box. This pair of hiking boots is that light. These boots are well worth a hard look if your biggest priority is shedding pounds from your feet. This could be considered a mid-cut hiking shoe, or a low-cut hiking boot, but regardless of how you choose to describe the Speedgoat Mid, it features the same luxurious cloud-like sole as other popular Hoka models. We recommend them for fast and light missions but are far from our first choice when carrying a significant load on our backs.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

Hoka ONE ONE is known primarily for their running shoes, though their foray into hiking shoes in recent year has turned heads and made some converts. By combining their well-known cushioned midsoles with attributes like a Vibram sole and a waterproof bootie, Hoka has made the Speedgoat Mid 2 into an ultralight, mid-cut fast hiker that will not slow you down when going for a long hike, an FKT, or anything in between.

Performance Comparison


Putting down some long miles above Death Valley  we love the Speedgoats for their low weight and comfort.
Putting down some long miles above Death Valley, we love the Speedgoats for their low weight and comfort.

Comfort


We often say that comfort is king when it comes to hiking boots, and if that is the case then Hoka deserves the crown. No matter what the model is, we have found that walking on a Hoka sole is like walking on a cloud. After securing the traditional lacing system, the molded collar wraps snugly around the lower ankle, and you can appreciate how plush the sole feels.

The plush foam midsole helps protect the foot when on firm trails like this one.
The plush foam midsole helps protect the foot when on firm trails like this one.

Waterproof boots use a membrane to ensure that wetness stays on the outside, not on the inside, and the Gore-Tex waterproof bootie incorporated into the Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX works like a charm. We hiked on low-elevation, humid Pacific Northwest trails and did not have any issue with moisture control in these boots, nor did we experience overly sweaty feet while walking around in desert environments that do not always call for a waterproof liner.

The soft upper does not always want to let our foot slide in easily  so it helps to use the pull tab.
The soft upper does not always want to let our foot slide in easily, so it helps to use the pull tab.

While we found that the thick sole is an overall benefit to the boot, the sole is not a uniform thickness. Instead, there are some cut-outs that likely exist to shave weight, though these make it easier for sharp rocks and other objects to poke into the footbed. This was most noticeable on rocky trails. We also notice the sharpness of the tongue at times, it is made from a stiff fabric and with thin socks can begin to dig into the ankle. It is a bit snug to get the foot into, as well, and at times we really have to pull hard on the rear loop to get our foot to slide in easily.

Stability


The Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat 2 is the lightest-duty hiking boot in this review, and while that weight loss pays dividends when putting down challenging miles, there are some drawbacks. The upper has relatively little stability on its own, in contrast to a leather boot, so these boots should be laced snugly to utilize the natural structure of the foot itself, otherwise, they feel soft and sloppy.

It is not the most robust upper  but the mid-cut does give decent lateral stability when laced up fully.
It is not the most robust upper, but the mid-cut does give decent lateral stability when laced up fully.

Traction


As with another Hoka ONE ONE model in this review, the Speedgoat Mid 2 uses an aggressive Vibram lug pattern that is not incredibly deep when compared with models with heavy set lugs but performs admirably in a range of conditions. We tested these on dry and dusty trails, on muddy and wet surfaces and even on short stretches of firm snow and were not let down. Only in instances where edging ability is required do they show some deficiencies. The wide 4.75" forefoot gives a stable platform in general, though it has a tendency to roll when edging on less than half of the width of the boot.

Light scrambling is about as technical is you will want to get with these boots - the wide forefoot just doesn't want to edge that well  but the sole is quite grippy on trail.
Light scrambling is about as technical is you will want to get with these boots - the wide forefoot just doesn't want to edge that well, but the sole is quite grippy on trail.

Weight


We verified the weight of the Speedgoat Mid WP at 1.74 pounds per pair in a size 11. This is remarkably light, and it really is noticeable.


This low weight translates into less fatigue at the end of a long day of hiking. These boots do fast and light better than most any boot out there.

On a long walk in the local hills  having less weight on your feet is instantly noticeable.
On a long walk in the local hills, having less weight on your feet is instantly noticeable.

Water Resistance


These boots have an integrated Gore-Tex waterproof bootie, making them very capable in wet weather. They resisted water seepage during our 5-minute submersion test, thanks to this waterproof/breathable inner bootie. This full wrap-around liner keeps water out while still allowing perspiration to pass through, making it a great choice for hikes that might see some wet conditions as well as high-output exertion.

As long as you stay under the top of the laces  these boots will keep out the water (even as your foot gets cold in the snowmelt-fed creek!)
As long as you stay under the top of the laces, these boots will keep out the water (even as your foot gets cold in the snowmelt-fed creek!)

While the Speedgoats repel water with ease, they have a short 4.5" flood height when compared to many other models. These are meant for incidental water contact, not fording deep creeks on a regular basis.

Durability


Light is right, as the saying goes, but how light can a hiking boot while still being right? Less than a pound per foot, apparently, though we feel that for a hiking boot this is approaching the cusp, especially as it relates to durability. With such lightweight materials used, especially in the sole, we found that a month of heavy use was enough to show some significant wear. A single long-distance hike on rough ground such as a John Muir Trail or a Long Trail would likely dramatically reduce these boot's lifespan. The upper material has certainly seen an upgrade from the prior version, and is made from more durable material and has a harder faced mesh that should resist abrasion a bit better over the long haul.

The foam started to get worn a bit from walking on rocky trails  but we did not have any major mesh blowouts during our testing period.
The foam started to get worn a bit from walking on rocky trails, but we did not have any major mesh blowouts during our testing period.

Value


Considering the amount of technology that went into this boot to make it as light as it is, we feel that it is a good value.

Conclusion


The Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX is a fast hiker that blurs the line between a trail runner and hiking boot. We hesitate to put it in a narrow category because it was used as both. This is a piece of performance footwear that will not weigh you down as you put mile after mile on them, though it is not to be confused with a durable, more traditional hiking boot that can be used with heavy pack weight.

Ryan Huetter