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 an ultralight, mid-cut fast hiker that will not slow you down when going for a long hike, an FKT, or anything in between.
The Speedgoat Mid performing at its best on a quick section hike along the John Muir Trail.
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.
Waterproof boots use a membrane to ensure that wetness stays on the outside, not on the inside, and the Skyshell waterproof bootie incorporated into the Speedgoat Mid WP 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.
The thick and cushioned sole gives a unique look, but try these on and you'll be amazed by how comfortable they are.
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.
The Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat 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 biggest of those is the loss of stability that results from the lower cut and the lighter material used in the upper. The upper has relatively little stability on its own, in contrast to a leather boot like the Keen Targhee II, so they should be laced snugly to utilize the natural structure of the foot itself, otherwise, they feel very soft and sloppy.
Because these soles are soft, and the stability is somewhat lacking, these boots are best worn for on-trail endeavors.
As with the other Hoka ONE ONE model in this review, the Sky Kaha, the Speedgoat uses an aggressive Vibram lug pattern that is not incredibly deep when compared with the heavy set lugs like found on the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX, 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 has a tendency to roll when edging on less than half of the width of the boot.
Unlike the Tor Ultra Hi, these boots have a cutout sole. This lightens them up but makes them vulnerable to pointy objects on the trail.
We verified the weight of the Speedgoat Mid WP at 1.68 pounds per pair in a size 11. This is remarkably light, and shaves a third of a pound off each foot when compared with the next lightest boot in this review, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX.
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.
These boots are a phenomenal choice on lightweight missions, shaving noticeable ounces off each foot.
The "WP" in Speedgoat Mid WP stands for waterproof, and we couldn't agree more. They resisted water seepage during our 5-minute submersion test, thanks to an innovative Skyshell 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.
The Skyshell waterproof inner liner held up surprisingly well to submersion up to 4" deep.
While the Speedgoats repel water with ease, they have a short 4" flood height when compared to many other models. These are meant for incidental water contact, not fording deep creeks on a regular basis.
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.
This is a niche boot, best used by day hikers who want the amazing comfort Hoka ONE ONE is known for, by fastpackers who favor ultralight gear and who carry minimal less weight on their backs, and for shoulder season trail runners who want the extra protection of a fully waterproof shoe.
Looking for a product that's sometimes a boot, sometimes a trail runner? The Speedgoat Mid straddles that gap.
The Speedgoat Mid WP retails for $160, and 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.
The Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid WP 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.