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Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Review

This plush queen stands out for its mega cushioned underfoot protection that'll last you for miles upon miles
Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
Photo: HOKA ONE ONE
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Price:  $145 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Very responsive and plush cushioning, excellent protection, bomber traction, decent stability
Cons:  Expensive, uncomfortable tongue, the size takes some breaking in
Manufacturer:   HOKA ONE ONE
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2021
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 17
  • Foot Protection - 25% 9
  • Traction - 20% 8
  • Sensitivity - 15% 3
  • Stability - 15% 4
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 9
  • Weight - 10% 5

Our Verdict

If you delight in cushioned comfort, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is one to consider. Don't let the "boaty" look of this shoe fool you. It's built for comfort that'll perform on the 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, and the shoe is flexible, so it moves with your body. If you seek a cushioned trail runner that'll perform over most surfaces, this is one to seriously consider. Just know that it takes a little getting used to.

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Pros Very responsive and plush cushioning, excellent protection, bomber traction, decent stabilitySuperior comfort, light on foot, protective cushioning, stable architecture, breathable upperLightweight and streamlined, durable elements, very sensitive, precise fit, protective upper, stable on technical terrain, fun color optionsProtective, comfortable, wider toe box, excellent beefy traction for soft surfaces, huge valueSticky traction, protective, rainbow design is fun, great value, all surface capabilities
Cons Expensive, uncomfortable tongue, the size takes some breaking inLace pocket is difficult to use, tight collar can bite into the ankleExpensive, no extra room in the toe box, tongue requires readjustment, zero drop design is best for only someNot ideal for roads, huge sizingLess stable than most, harder midsole is less comfortable, narrower fit
Bottom Line This plush queen stands out for its mega cushioned underfoot protection that'll last you for miles upon milesOur favorite shoe offers a well-balanced ride with one of the stickiest and most confidence-inspiring outsoles we've ever seenOur favorite for its low profile and zero-drop design that feels like an extension of the body, ready to tackle technical terrainA great all-around trail shoe with high value that's superb traction on soft surfacesThis rainbow contender has the ability to tackle all kinds of trail with excellent protection and sticky traction
Rating Categories Hoka One One Speedg... Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Inov-8 Terraultra G270 Salomon Supercross... Merrell Antora 2
Foot Protection (25%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
3.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (15%)
4.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (15%)
9.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (10%)
5.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Hoka One One Speedg... Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3 Inov-8 Terraultra G270 Salomon Supercross... Merrell Antora 2
Measured Weight (per shoe, size 9) 10.2 oz 9.8 oz 8.3 oz 10.5 oz 9.6 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm 8.6 mm 0 mm 10 mm 8.5 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) Not disclosed 26.8 mm, 18.2 mm 12 mm, 12 mm 29.3 mm, 19.3 mm 28.5 mm, 20 mm
Upper Mesh with 3D print overlays Textile/synthetic Mesh and TPU Continuous ripstop nylon Mesh and TPU
Midsole Lightweight foam Energy Cell, polyurethane foam Powerflow Max EVA Foam EVA
Outsole Vibram MegaGrip Rubber Graphene Grip Contragrip TD Vibram TC5+ rubber sole
Rock Plate? None Not disclosed Not disclosed N/A Yes
Wide Version Available? Yes No No No Yes
Sizes Available 5 - 11 4 - 13 5.5 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated Hoka One One Speedgoat 4
Every year this shoe sees an update. This is how the most current update is different from the previous version:
  • New upper (fewer 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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

The Speedgoat 4 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 shoe may be exactly what you've been looking for.

Performance Comparison


We enjoy a 13-mile training run in this excellent cushioned...
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.
Photo: Amber King

Foot Protection


In addition to a solid upper, this contenders' protection mostly comes in the form of ample cushioning underfoot. The super springy midsole provides an even ride, even on technical or rocky 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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

The upper has a tightknit construction that'll keep out even the finest particles of clay and sand. The 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. That said, while water beads up on the textile, 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...
The outsole is pumped full of responsive cushioning that'll keep your feet protected on the trail.
Photo: Amber King

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

Traction


We love it. Over the last 200 miles, the outsole has done an impeccable job at holding onto some of the sloppiest surfaces. It features 5mm lugs that are soft and aggressive. This Hoka model is a more aggressive trail runner than others tested in this review.

A look at the aggressive outsole that sheds mud and sticks to most...
A look at the aggressive outsole that sheds mud and sticks to most surfaces.
Photo: Amber King


The lugs are also 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 though, so it's not as sturdy as some.

A look at the depth of the lugs.
A look at the depth of the lugs.
Photo: Amber King

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

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 on the trail, beginners using it might find themselves actually tripping. However, this is won't be true for everyone.

Stability


The Speedgoat 4 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 shoes (it has a broad landing platform), this isn't one we'd recommend if you tend to roll ankles. While Hoka One One has done much over the years to improve stability, this is one of the least stable in our lineup compared to the rest. If you go over, the stack height makes the roll a little harder.

Here we compare the Speedcross 4 toe box (right) to a very wide...
Here we compare the Speedcross 4 toe box (right) to a very wide toebox on another shoe (left). As you can see, the toe box is narrower, fitting those with regular to narrow feet best.
Photo: Amber King


Comfort and Fit


This trail runner is comfortable. 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...
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.
Photo: Amber King

The body of the shoe has 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 narrow. It tapers towards the front, which some love, but squishes the toes of others. 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...
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.
Photo: Amber King


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, sporting ankle-high socks, this was an immediate annoyance. We hope that Hoka fixes this issue for the future.

The tongue is regrettable thin and digs into the ankle while running.
The tongue is regrettable thin and digs into the ankle while running.
Photo: Amber King

Weight


This trail runner weighs 10.2 oz per shoe, which puts it 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 decently high. With its niche performance, those that absolutely require excellent protection and cushioning underfoot will see the value. However, it's not for everybody. After 200 miles in this trail shoe, we see a little wear on the upper but the cushioning is still going strong. We expect at least 400 miles of wear on it for our main tester. We live in a dry environment where dusty and rocky trails abound.

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 for distance running but can easily be used as daily walkers or an everyday runner. While it does look a little silly it is difficult to match the amount of cushioning and protection you'll get running on technical surfaces.

Enjoy this cushioned contender while running out flats, treading...
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.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King