The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 Review

The ultimate queen when it comes to responsive and protective underfoot cushioning.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $145 List | $144.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super responsive and plush cushioning, fantastic protection, excellent traction, decent stability.
Cons:  Expensive, uncomfortable tongue, takes getting used to.
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 18, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Foot protection - 20% 9
  • Sensitivity - 20% 5
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Stability - 15% 5
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 9
  • Weight - 15% 5

Our Verdict

If you delight in cushioned comfort, the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 is one of our top recommendations. Don't let the "boaty" look of this shoe fool you! It's built for comfort that'll perform throughout your most technical or longest of runs. The underfoot cushioning is characteristically responsive, blasting you forward with each step. The outsole is aggressive, offering purchase on even the steepest or sloppiest of trails. The shoe is flexible, so it moves with your body, but offers a surprising level of stability for its height. If you seek a cushioned trail runner that'll perform over most surfaces, this is one to seriously consider.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4
Every year this shoe sees an update. This is how most current update is different from the previous version:
  • New upper (less holes than the previous version)
  • New tongue (which we don't love)
  • More stable base
  • A few ounces heavier

A comparison of the newest version (left) and the older version (right). Every year HOKA ONE ONE makes updates. This one feels more stable  but is heavier and has a less comfortable tongue.
A comparison of the newest version (left) and the older version (right). Every year HOKA ONE ONE makes updates. This one feels more stable, but is heavier and has a less comfortable tongue.

The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 is a cushioned contender that offers a responsive and cushioned ride. The toe box is a little narrow and will fit those with a narrow to regular foot best. If you love to run long trails and appreciate protective cushioning underfoot, this silly looking shoe may be exactly what you've been looking for.

Performance Comparison


We enjoy a 13-mile training run in this excellent cushioned contender. Not only is it an excellent choice for roads and flats  but it can take on technical trails. It just takes some getting used to.
We enjoy a 13-mile training run in this excellent cushioned contender. Not only is it an excellent choice for roads and flats, but it can take on technical trails. It just takes some getting used to.

Foot Protection


In addition to a solid upper, this cushioned contenders' protection mostly comes in the form of amply cushioning underfoot. The super springy midsole provides an even ride, even on super daunting and technical terrain. When it touches down, the foam wraps around the object underfoot, so you don't feel more than a small touch of pressure as you lift off.

The upper offers great breathability and protects well from small and pesky particulates. The mud bumper wicks it away while the toe cap is hard.
The upper offers great breathability and protects well from small and pesky particulates. The mud bumper wicks it away while the toe cap is hard.

The upper has a tightknit construction that'll keep out even the finest particles of clay and sand. Its welded uppers offer great protection from water, with an overlayed textile that repels water. We ran this shoe through slush and mud, and our socks stayed quite dry. Water beads up on the textile, but with heavy rain, it will get saturated. There is no drainage system in this shoe, but the mesh does dry out quickly.

The outsole is pumped full of responsive cushioning that'll keep your feet protected on the trail.
The outsole is pumped full of responsive cushioning that'll keep your feet protected on the trail.

Need a waterproof shoe?
If you run in the rain or wet grass all the time, the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 GTX is a waterproof option. We didn't test it out, but it looks pretty sweet!

Sensitivity


It's not surprising that with such a thick midsole, the sensitivity is below average. If you have a midfoot to forefoot gait, you'll notice more sensitivity underfoot than if you strike with your heel. While the cushioning wraps and protects from underfoot hazards, all it does is give you the sense that there's something there.

This shoe offers enough sensitivity underfoot to adjust to the trail  but it is one of the least sensitive shoes we've tested overall.
This shoe offers enough sensitivity underfoot to adjust to the trail, but it is one of the least sensitive shoes we've tested overall.

For some, this shoe takes getting used to because of the lack of sensitivity. The huge midsole will make you pick up your feet more than a traditional shoe, and because you can't feel every single undulation of the trail, beginners using it might find themselves actually tripping. However, this is the truth for only some.

Traction


We love it! Over the last 60 miles (and we're still testing), the outsole did an impeccable job at holding onto some of the sloppiest surfaces.

A look at the aggressive outsole that sheds mud and sticks to most surfaces.
A look at the aggressive outsole that sheds mud and sticks to most surfaces.


The lugs offer an average depth and are well spaced out. We tested it on sloppy surfaces like mud and snow where it held tough, even on steep wintery single track trails. It does well on dry trails with kitty litter, rocks, and technical surfaces also. This is an all-terrain shoe that'd we'd trust in most places. The body of it is quite flexible, so it's not a sturdy as some.

A look at the depth of the lugs.
A look at the depth of the lugs.

Stability


Running over snow and slush is a great way to test stability. In addition  we ran over rocky surfaces on single track terrain. We appreciate that the outsole squishes laterally to offer support and protection from rolled ankles. Just know it takes a while to get used to walking and running in it.
Running over snow and slush is a great way to test stability. In addition, we ran over rocky surfaces on single track terrain. We appreciate that the outsole squishes laterally to offer support and protection from rolled ankles. Just know it takes a while to get used to walking and running in it.

The shoe sits high and the toe box (in the version we tested) has a regular width. The outsole offers stability by spreading out its wide base in the heel, which translates to better lateral protection and support. Even though we're surprised at the level of stability it provides for such cushioned shoe, this isn't one we'd recommend if you have trouble with lateral support in your ankles. While HOKA ONE ONE has done much over the years to improve stability, this is one of the least stable in comparison to the rest.

Here we compare the HOKA ONE ONE Speedcross 4 toe box to that of one of the widest (on the left). As you can see  the toe box is relatively more narrow  fitting those with regular to narrow feet best.
Here we compare the HOKA ONE ONE Speedcross 4 toe box to that of one of the widest (on the left). As you can see, the toe box is relatively more narrow, fitting those with regular to narrow feet best.


Comfort and Fit


This trail runner is comfortable with one big caveat. The infused outsole has a ton of cushioning, which makes it suited for mega long distances. It is comfortable, springing you forward with every step. The heel cup doesn't pinch or squeeze, while the body of the shoe wraps around the foot with a tiny bit of arch support.

The upper does a great job wrapping the foot up like a burrito. You have many lacing options  with enough room to really cinch the shoe down or keep it nice and open.
The upper does a great job wrapping the foot up like a burrito. You have many lacing options, with enough room to really cinch the shoe down or keep it nice and open.

The body of the shoe sports quite a bit of room from top to bottom, so your foot doesn't feel confined. It also comes with the option for a wide fit. We tested the regular fit and found the toe box to be a little confining. It narrows towards the front, which some ladies love, and those with wide feet don't. Our main tester is used to a super-wide shoe, so this toe box feels a bit confining (she has a regular width foot).

The heel collar is nice and thin. It doesn't pinch at the Achilles  with a nice pull-on loop to help get your shoes on and off every day.
The heel collar is nice and thin. It doesn't pinch at the Achilles, with a nice pull-on loop to help get your shoes on and off every day.


One feature we don't like about the newest update is the tongue. We typically wear socks that come up over our ankles (especially in winter), so we didn't notice the thin tongue digging into the ankles when running in this weather. However, when we wore it while at the gym and sporting ankle-high socks, this was an immediate annoyance. We hope that HOKA ONE ONE fixes this issue for the future.

The tongue is regrettable thin and digs into the ankle while running. We hope HOKA ONE ONE fixes this!
The tongue is regrettable thin and digs into the ankle while running. We hope HOKA ONE ONE fixes this!

Weight


This trail runner weighs 10.2 oz, which puts in the "regular to heavier" trail shoe category. For the amount of material it uses, it is still surprisingly light. It is designed for taking on ultradistances, and while it might be a half to full ounce heavier than others, it still functions well for long days on the trail.


Value


The price of this shoe is quite high and an investment. With its niche performance, those that absolutely require excellent protection and cushioning underfoot will see the value. However, it's not for everybody. We have only run 60 miles in this trail shoe (and still testing) so we don't know about the specific durability of this contender. However, if it's anything like the previous version, you can expect to get 400 - 500 miles (depending on your weight, gait, and use) out of it before replacement.

Enjoy this cushioned contender while running out flats  treading over technical terrain  and for everything in between. It's best for those seeking a heavily cushioned shoe with great protection and support.
Enjoy this cushioned contender while running out flats, treading over technical terrain, and for everything in between. It's best for those seeking a heavily cushioned shoe with great protection and support.

Conclusion


The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 is a heavily cushioned trail running shoe that offers impeccable foot protection, traction, and comfort. It is built as a shoe for ultra running but can be used as daily walkers, a training shoe, and more. While it does look a little silly, it has become a staple for some, boasting a great value, even though the price is high.

This heavily cushioned shoe is built for those who appreciate amazing underfoot protection and a springy ride for mile upon mile.
This heavily cushioned shoe is built for those who appreciate amazing underfoot protection and a springy ride for mile upon mile.


Amber King