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Hoka Speedgoat review

JKozak-FarmersPond-8277 Testing out the Speedgoat.

The Hoka Speedgoat has been available since last summer and was the highly anticipated shoe designed with a lot of input from its trail-nickname namesake, Karl Meltzer (a.k.a. "The Speedgoat), who has as much technical mountain running experience as anyone. And that is exactly where this shoe excels...on steep, uneven terrain where bomber grip is essential.

Thanks to an injected EVA midsole the Speedgoat has a firmer, more responsive ride than some of the softer Hoka models (like the Stinson ATR) and with 4mm Vibram rubber lugs on the outsole, this shoe has mad grip. It's so grippy in fact that the shoe doesn't work well when having to transition to pavement for any length of time. It has the feel of actually "sticking" to the pavement, almost like tires on a vehicle when in 4WD on dry pavement.

The Speedgoat is light (9.7oz) for so much shoe and the rocker is more subtle than in other Hoka models. With a ground rubber toecap for increased forefoot/toe protection, this shoe is meant for moving quickly over technical and steep trails, like those found in the Eastern Sierra backcountry or on the Speedgoat 50K course in the Wasatch of Utah, a race put on by The Speedgoat himself.

I don't run very frequently in maximum cushion shoes but all in all, I like this shoe as much as any other Hoka I've worn. My only 2 issues with the Speedgoat are the following: narrow toebox and upper stability. The first issue (too narrow of a toebox) is a chronic problem with many Hoka models for many runners, including myself. I would probably take my Speedgoats out for much longer runs if the toebox was a bit wider.

Although Hoka claims the upper of the Speedgoat is designed to be supportive my foot did not feel stable in the shoe on steep descents. This sensation of insecurity on top of a 33mm heel and 28mm forefoot did not lend confidence to steep, technical descents, but in all fairness to the shoe, I am used to using models like the Brooks Cascadia in technical terrain. On a 3 day fastpack through northern Yosemite last August my friend and Hoka athlete, Chris Price ('Prizzle'), wore the Speedgoats and loved how they felt and performed over the course of nearly 100 miles of singletrack while wearing a 20-25lb pack and one summit of The Matterhorn on the Sawtooth Ridge from the head of Matterhorn Canyon.

My Speedgoat's after a few runs. My Speedgoat's after a few runs.

In summary, I think the Speedgoat is overall a great shoe and a solid choice for anyone who loves plenty of cushion and protection underfoot without sacrificing performance/ride and who will be running virtually zero pavement. The shoe runs fine on dirt roads and groomed trails but really excels when the terrain gets steep and rough and demands grip. And, according to Prizzle it made an excellent fastpacking shoe choice.

If you end up purchasing this shoe but are more comfortable buying through amazon use this link.  Thanks!  Hoka One One Men's M Speedgoat Bright Red/Black Running Shoe 10 Men US

 

Speedgoat specs:

9.7oz

33mm heel/28mm forefoot (5mm drop)

4mm Vibram rubber outsole lugs (grippy!)

injected EVA midsole

substantial toecap

subtle rocker

neutral/lightweight/responsive

narrow toebox

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