The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat gets its name from Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, a legendary ultrarunner for winning hundos, snatching FKTs and other speed records, and for directing the Speedgoat 50K in Utah each summer.
I’m not saying wearing his namesake shoe will transform you into an epic trail runner. You’ll still have to put in the work to get there. But I’ve worn and loved HOKA ONE ONE shoes for many years now and the Speedgoats, now in their 4th version, have a lot going for them.
I’ll start with the grip, because that’s key in a trail shoe, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The Speedgoats boast 5mm “stepped” lugs across the Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsole, for exceptional hold on both wet and dry terrain. Although the Hagg Lake Mud Runs are behind us for the year, there’s still plenty of mud to be found in the area to put these to the test.
HOKA is known for their excellent cushioning, of course, and the Speedgoats features a newer, more lightweight, midsole foam. The result is a slightly lighter shoe without compromising cushioning underfoot. We hear the word “responsive” and it’s hard to explain what that means in a shoe, but is equates to the recovery of the cushioning from your stride with each step. You don’t want your shoes to weigh your foot down, or give the impression that they are, so the materials technology helps you feel, literally, a spring in your step.
The Speedgoat 4s continue the drop and stackheight specs from the 3s at 4mm drop and 32mm heel and 28mm forefoot stackheight.
The Speedgoat uppers are mesh, again, allowing for breathability and drainage (must haves for PNW running) and have 3D printed overlays for additional support and stability across the foot, but also less stretch. This is my only reservation with these shoes – as someone who typically gravitates toward a wider toebox – is that the Speedgoats felt narrow as a result of the overlays. Also, protruding down from the laces is a rubber hexagonal support piece that I also found stiffened the shoe. What these features are faulted for in comfort, they enhance in support and stability, so it just comes down to personal preference and a bit of “getting used to” here. The Speedgoats are designed for a more technical trail, where stability makes all the difference, so there’s your tradeoff.
The Speedgoats have your other standard and expected features of trail shoes: toe bumpers, cushioned but locking heel, durable laces (with a bit of extra length, allowing for customizable lacing techniques), and, always important, come in both loud and muted color options.
These shoes look bulkier and heavier than they are; don’t let that book cover cloud your judgment. There’s a reason you see so many Speedgoats at trail run starting lines.
Specs (from the website):
- Weight: 9.2 oz
- Heel-to-toe drop: 4mm
- Updated mesh upper provides breathability
- 3D printed overlays provide additional midfoot support and lockdown for a more secure feel
- Gusseted tongue features strategic cutouts for breathability
- Lacing eye-rows contain a small winged component to ensure a secure fit
- Midsole features a new lightweight foam for a more responsive ride
- Wider forefoot offers a more stable ride and accommodating fit
- Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsole provides grip in wet and dry conditions
- 5mm “stepped” lugs offer additional support and stability
- Zonal rubber placement adds support and stability
More about HOKA ONE ONE:
At HOKA ONE ONE, our mission is to deliver the best product, defy convention, innovate fearlessly, operate thoughtfully and inspire people to move. And we are fortunate to have a parent company, Deckers Brands, that shares our dedication to operating thoughtfully – in regard to human rights, sustainability, and giving back – as we deliver premium footwear.
Thank you to HOKA ONE ONE for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.