If you appreciate maximalist cushioning with a preference for a narrow, neutral fit, the HOKA One One Speedgoat 3 is not to be missed. It features a beefy, bomber outsole that performs well on all trail surfaces. It also boasts responsive cushioning that'll have you bouncing to your next destination. Unfortunately, the stability of this shoe takes a little getting used to as it's higher than most trail runners, and thus we recommend it for situations where balance isn't super key. Aside from that, we love this maximalist contender and awarded it a Top Pick.
The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 3 is a maximalist shoe that offers superb protection and traction over most surfaces. Its design takes a little getting used to and isn't the most inherently stable trail shoe out there. It is a top choice amongst ultra-runners for its fantastic cushioning and overall comfort.
Offering burly protection in the form of maximalist cushioning, this behemoth will keep your feet well protected. HOKA One One stacks 28 mm of responsive cushioning in the heel with 23 mm in the forefoot. Upon take-off and landing, you'll notice the springy nature of this maximalist shoe that HOKA users have come to love.
The upper is breathable and quick to dry when it encounters wet weather.
This, in addition to the rugged outsole, provides all the protection you need from direct blows underfoot. The toe cap is surprisingly hard, with a breathable mesh overlay that is double layered for protection from debris.
A look at the amount of cushioning that ultimately provides the bulk of protection underfoot.
Unfortunately, with this amount of cushioning, it's hard to feel much on the trail. Underfoot, you won't feel direct blows, branches, or the like. However, you can note a slight presence of them.
Unfortunately, given the underfoot cushioning, this isn't the most sensitive shoe out there, yet you can still detect undulations and trail hazards underfoot. You simply won't feel them.
Traction on this shoe is excellent. The outsole uses a Vibram Megagrip sole that is quite sticky and trustworthy on both wet and dry rocks.
A look at the outsole and the relative lug depth.
The outsole has multidirectional lugs that are placed a good distance apart for decent mud shed while avoiding debris that gets stuck in cracks and crevices.
While testing it on steep slopes and flat terrain, it had the affinity to grab and bite down, in both wet and dry conditions. It has excellent traction that surpasses that of the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5 but is not as bomber as the Salomon Speedcross 5, our Top Pick for Sloppy Surfaces.
A comparison of the Challenger ATR 5 (bottom) and the Speedgoat (top). The Speedgoat has a stickier outsole that does better on steep slopes and more technical terrain.
While it's a decent performer for that of a maximalist contender, the stability is sub-par. The narrow and tapered fit at the top of the shoe doesn't allow for much toe splay, which makes balance a little difficult. With our foot nestled inside, we felt like we were riding high; thus, the platform width to height ratio is a little off.
A look at the harness system that attaches to the lacing system to add stability by wrapping the foot. Unfortunately, because the stack height is tall and the width is quite narrow, this shoe doesn't have the best stability on the trail.
On the trail, the shoe keeps you upright. The midsole offers a little flexibility that wraps itself around rocks, but not terrain where rocks are large and might be fixed. This shoe is more rigid and provides a low profile feel across a broader platform. As a result, we'd recommend this shoe specifically for more non-technical terrain or where balance isn't much of an issue.
Comfort & Fit
We adore the comfort elements of this shoe. Commonly used in ultra distances, it offers more shock absorbance and cushioning for the long haul. The fit is a little more specific, doing best for those with narrow feet.
The Speedgoat has a more narrow fit that tapers towards the top, unlike the Challenger ATR 5 that is a little wider (with a wide fit option). We wish the Speedgoat had the option for a wider toe box!
Unlike the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5, it is only offered in one width, with the toe box tapering to a point, that doesn't allow much toe splay. The lacing system does a great job to lock down the heel to avoid lateral and front to back movement, which adds to the excellent comfort of this shoe.
A look at the plush yet minimalistic cushioning that adds comfort that'll keep you happy for many miles.
By in large, this Speedgoat 3 is a lightweight shoe, even for the bulky looking design. It weighs 9.4 oz for a size nine; however, it's not as lightweight as the HOKA One One Challenger 5.
The weight of one size nine Speedgoat 3.
The HOKA One One Speedgoat 3 is commonly found lurking around ultra-distance races because of its comfortable maximalist cushioning that absorbs impact on the trail. While it can absolutely perform in technical terrain (once you've gotten used to them), we preferred them for trails with fewer hazards simply because of stability. They breathe well and can be used for water crossings or wet weather.
Running on a single track is one of our favorite places for this shoe. While it can tackle difficult terrain (once you've mastered and gotten used to this shoe) we appreciated it for rolling hills and other types of less technical trails.
Retailing for $140, you may find them too expensive for your needs. However, the price may be worth it if you're seeking maximalist cushioning and great performance.
The HOKA One One Speedgoat 3 stands out for its maximalist design and narrow fit. It performs well on most surfaces, but it should be noted that stability does take a little getting used to. With popular utility in ultra-races, this shoe is best for those looking to minimize the impacts that trail running may have on the body.
A look at this beefy yet surprisingly lightweight trail runner that performs over a diversity of surfaces.