HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat ReviewPrice: $140 List | $139.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Wicked cushioning, sticky outsole, lightweight construct, super breathable, great colors
Cons: More unstable than contenders, little toe splay, not debris-proof
Bottom line: The super plush cushion underfoot that will keep you running for tens of miles!
Named after the "Speedgoat" Karl Meltzer - a badass runner and director of the famous Speedgoat ultra trail race, the Speedgoat was developed with his input and meant for distances up to and exceeding 100 miles over technical terrain. The ample cushioning protects from trail obstacles while the 4 mm Vibram lugs easily grab hard surfaces. The midsole is actually fairly flexible which adds to what the Speedgoat truly stands out for - comfort! We were able to run for miles without any pain or discomfort. We also loved its breathable overlay. That said, it is best for those with a narrow foot as foot splay is near to impossible with its streamlined fit. Overall, a great maximalist option that is mountain ready.
RELATED REVIEW: Best Trail Running Shoes for Women of 2018
Our Analysis and Test Results
New Colors — January 2017
While no longer available in the bright pink we tested, the Speedgoat is now available in two new fun colors: Astral Aura/Neon Pink, left, and Plum/Fuschia/Acid, right.
Our Top Pick for Comfort features a whole lotta cushion and comfort. We loved its aggressive outsole and breathable upper. It's a great option for ultra marathon distances and training around town.
Earning a seven out of ten in this category, the Speedgoat features many elements that protect the feet during long days on the trail. The rubberized toe cap is hard, with an additional protective guard on the upper to keep out debris.
The large amount of foam that separates the foot from the trail does an unbelievable job at protecting from sharp rocks and other potential trail hazards. It doesn't feature a rock plate, but because of its 31 mm of padding - it really doesn't need it. Even on the super rocky trails of the San Juans, we didn't feel any rocks penetrate or poke through the thick stack of cushion. Even though the mesh provides protection from the outside world, the mesh pores are large enough to see right through, which is why this shoe scored one point less than the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 4 (Our Top for Comfort).
Unlike other shoes that have multiple layers of mesh to prevent fine particulate from penetrating the shoe, this has only one layer. As a result, fine sand and dirt were able to get inside easily. Even though its uppers aren't as protective as the Salomon Speedcross 4 - Women's, it does a great job at keeping your feet happy on the trail. In addition, the mesh wicks away water and dries out quickly making it a great option for some puddle jumping and river crossings.
Purchase a pair of trail gaiters for the Speedgoats if you plan on running on sandy trails! This will help keep out annoying debris and sand.
Earning a seven out of ten for traction, this is one of the best features this shoe has to offer. Made from a sticky and durable Vibram rubber, the outsole features 4 mm multi-directional lugs that grab all kinds of surfaces. The traction is superior to the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 4 but not nearly as good as our Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces - the Salomon Speedcross 4. Of all the HOKA ONE ONE shoes we've tested thus far, this is the best outsole we've seen! We are confident on steep switchbacks and while hiking through snowy patches in the upper altitudes.
Earning a low scored in this metric (four out of ten), the high stack height: width ratio makes stability less awesome than other contenders. The height of the shoe is the tallest tested in our review with 31 mm of cushioning in the heel. We liked that the midsole foot bed is a little wider than the upper, and the grooved outsole wraps around the trail, but we felt a little unstable on super rocky or rutted surfaces.
If you're looking for a maximalist option with a little more stability, check out the HOKA ATR Challenger 4 instead. Instead of 31 mm of cushion, it has only 28 mm, with a slightly wider forefoot. The newest version of the Challenger is more stable then its ever been!
Comfort & Fit
If we had to use one adjective to sum up this shoe, it'd be "plush". Wearing the Speedgoat is a lot like running on clouds - the puffiest clouds that you could ever imagine! The 31 mm of cushioning is soft and super responsive conforming to the trail and soaking up any major obstacle. As a result, this is one of the most comfortable rides we experienced on the trail - next to the Challenger ATR 4. Both of these options earned a solid ten out of ten for comfort; however, the Challenger ATR 4 won our Top Pick for Comfort for its lighter weight and lower profile. In addition to the uber amounts of cushion, we love the meta-rocker technology propels you forward with every step. In addition, we loved the breathability of the outsole as the pores in the mesh makes them nice to wear on a hot day, but not the best for cold winter mornings. Our only caveat in the area of comfort is the lacing system. We'd like to see more lace eyelets for better lacing options that could accommodate different sizes of feet.
With a neutral fit, this low profile (4 mm drop) maximalist shoe has a foot box that is a little more narrow then the new Challenger ATR 4. However, because of the narrow design, it is best suited for medium to narrow feet. The no-sew speed frame wraps around the foot keeping it in place while moving up and down steep slopes, making it a great choice for technical, steep slopes.
This shoe is best for those with narrow footed runners. If you have wide feet, consider the Altra Lone Peak 3 - Women's instead (Our Top Pick for Wide Feet).
Scoring seven out of ten in this category, this shoe is made from lightweight materials. Weighing in at just 9.65 oz, this behemoth is actually lighter than our Editors' Choice winner - the inov-8 Roclite 305 GTX - Women's.
The upper does a good job at wicking water, and when totally immersed, it only holds 3.8 oz. This isn't much! We also noticed that it dried quickly when wet. As a result, we can recommend it for wet weather or for the occasional stream crossing. Overall, we are happy with this lightweight maximalist shoe.
As a trade off for fantastic underfoot protection and ample cushioning, this shoe is the least sensitive of all tested (hence its four out of ten). For such a thick shoe, we were surprised to learn that we could still feel undulations of the trail underfoot, but not on the same level as other contenders. If you're looking for a shoe with the best sensitivity, check out the Salming Elements, a lightweight and less protective shoe that allows you to feel everything underfoot. Or look for something in between. The Saucony Peregrine 7 - Women's provides great sensitivity and comfort!
This shoe is built to log hundreds of miles. Its comfortable, durable, and does well on all surfaces. We also liked it for running around town. The lugs aren't too long that you can't cross over from the pavement to single track. That said, if you're in the market for a great maximalist shoe built to log the miles - this is a great option!
With an expensive sticker price of $140, this shoe is not cheap. During our testing period, we didn't notice any serious durability issues; however, online polls lead us to believe that the midsoles can pack in after a few hundred miles. That's not very different from most trail shoes. That said, this isn't the highest value shoe, and if you're looking for something a tiny bit cheaper, check out the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 4 instead for only $130. If you're looking for something even more affordable, take a gander at our Best Buy award winner, the Saucony Peregrine 7.
The HOKA Speedgoat is a comfortable trail cruiser. It brings together an eclectic blend of high-performance positives. If you're in the market for a maximalist shoe with a bomber outsole suited for a narrow fit - this is truly your best choice!
— Amber King
You Might Also Like
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 26, 2017
Summary of All Ratings
OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:
Average Customer Rating:
Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...