Hoka One One Speedgoat ReviewOctober 9, 2015
- Excellent ventilation in upper
- Smooth midfoot to forefoot transition
- Strong outsole traction in all conditions
- Thin mesh ventilation lets in grit
- Foot last has fit issues
- Cushioning feels bouncy
The Hoka One One Speedgoat is designed for aggressive trail running, and has the outsole and midsole to back it up. Unfortunately the last and upper presented significant fit issues for a number of our testers.
The Speedgoat is a completely revamped (and renamed) version of Hoka’s original Rapa Nui trail racing shoe, made in collaboration with Speedgoat Karl Meltzer, one of the most dominant athletes in ultrarunning. It has a remodeled last and upper as well as a more aggressive outsole than the Rapa Nui, but retains the thick but lightweight midsole foam for a smoothly cushioned ride.
Several testers described this shoe as sloppy in the forefoot region due to excessive width, while others had problems at the front end with an excessively pointy toe box. Locking down the midfoot tension proved difficult with the Speedgoat’s minimalist lacing system, with only four lace crossings. Fit in the rearfoot area was secure.
Thin, airy mesh uppers are great at providing ventilation on hot days and dry rapidly when wet. However, they also let in an excessive amount of grit, which will grind your toes as the miles get longer. Underfoot comfort is outstanding thanks to the max cushioning platform that virtually eliminates impact forces on technical terrain.
The Speedgoat is the first Hoka shoe to use Vibram rubber on its outsole, and the result is outstanding grip in a variety of conditions. Traction proved very strong on wet, rocky, or technical trails, and the 5mm lugs provide extra grip on loose gravelly terrain.
The midsole of the Speedgoat is shaped with a balanced meta-rocker geometry, which is a fancy way of saying it’s slightly convex to allow a smooth transition from midfoot to forefoot. The shoe does indeed roll well, but the lightweight EVA lacks in energy return, and felt excessively spongy or bouncy to some of our testers.
Speed and Agility
This is one of the lighter max-cushioning shoes you’ll find and the combination of thick cushioning and strong outsole traction enable you to bomb your descents without fear. On the other hand, the fit issues proved so challenging for some of our testers that they couldn’t find a secure enough fit to fully take advantage of the underfoot structure.