The details: I’ve been wanting to get into the Hoka One One Speed Goats since early November but hadn’t been able to because of other obligations. Finally, the schedule is clear and I can talk about the Hoka Speed Goats. The Speedgoat feels like a cross between the Rapa Nui and the Mafate trail. In fact it is an updated Rapa Nui and was redesigned to tackle technical terrain with ease. The weather is perfect now for technical running. Slippery, wet, muddy and grim.
So, with the Speedgoats the best features of the Rapa Nui were kept while they also added a few new enhancements. The front of the shoe now has a ground-rubber toecap that provides increased protection while the shoe has a slightly softer EVA midsole and 4mm Vibramrubber lugs. Ultra runner Karl Meltzer was the inspiration behind these road hugging shoes.
The name ‘goats’ says it all. We’re talking about shoes that can take on technical trails. My usual place to run is the Bull Run Conservancy. The park doesn’t cover as many acres as my old stomping grounds, Rancho San Antonio in California, but it has enough trail to make it interesting. The shoe provides enough cushion and traction for those fast descents over root and rock, wet and sloppy and more technical scree and stones.
For newbies, the Hoka running shoe brand will take a while to get used to. Most people going from a regular running shoe and into an ultrasupportive shoe have a difficult time trying to find the good balance between cushioning and stability. All the Hoka models are best for ultramarathoning and not all for racing but I think the Speedgoats can be quite good for going fast over tricky terrain. Once you get into Hokas you might not try anything else. I wasn’t always a fan of Hokas. But not every brand can please a customer. I think they did a good job here.
People who like to jog or run on trail will be pleased with this shoe. The ‘Goats’ are a compromise between the thicker-soled Hoka shoes and any thinner trail shoe; with their 4mm heel-to-toe drop it will aid you in foreword propulsion and not feel clumsy. You’ll also be helped along by the firmer midsole and 4mm Vibram rubber lugs to get you off of tough terrain.
Comfort: The Goat is a good, lightweight shoe. Hoka makes great shoes for runners who want to put the miles on their feet. The Goat is no different from the rest of the Hoka line-up. Hokas are made for comfort. With the Speedgoats, you won’t notice sharp rocks or debris beneath your feet as you run. The tongue has just enough padding to keep it from rubbing. It also has some stitching on it to keep it in place while keeping debris out. One thing I noticed is the shoes are a bit narrow and the light-upper a bit sloppy. The sloppiness can be corrected by cinching down the regular laces properly. The colors are also a bit loud and not to everyone’s taste although I like this brighter colors. The mesh upper is seamless to ensure a good fit and to reduce hotspots. The weight is about 10 ounces for a size 9 shoe.
Cushioning: One of the problems when running with thicker soled shoes is the issue of foot placement. The stack height of the shoe is thicker than most trail shoes, however the Goat gives you enough cushioning, while not being too clunky and cumbersome when placing your foot down on trails. Again, first time users of Hokas should take it easy to ensure they don’t roll an ankle using these things. Once you build your ankle strenght and confidence with the Goats, the world is your domain. Yes, there is a thick stack height. This is not a lean shoe like the Nike Pegasus so expect less spring back for speed. However, the rocker platform does encourage forward motion.
Size The narrowness and pointiness of the shoe and the roomy toe box can cause slippage for those with really narrow feet but this can be corrected by wearing thicker socks. However a smaller shoe will cause you pain for a long time; cramping, blisters and a lot of other issues. I’d go with a size larger. I have wide, flat feet and so the narrow shoe gave me a snug feel that doesn’t lend itself well to my little toes. I recommend going a 1/2 size up if your feet are anyhting like mine but I am very pleased with the Speedgaots.
Overall this is a great shoe by Hoka and can easily be a standout shoe for them. I think they’ve built a great shoe for confidence-inspiring traction and stability on the trail.
Ultra-Lightweight No-Sew SpeedFrame Construction
Welded Synthetic Overlays Provide Support
Welded microfiber underlays provide lightweight comfort
Durable, Injection Molded EVA
Balanced Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
Vibram® MegaGrip Hi-Traction Outsole with 5mm Lugs
Cost: 4/5 $140.00
Disclosure of Material Connection: I did not purchase HOKA Speedgoats as part of an ambassador program, or from Hoka. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.