Our verdict

The Hoka Mafate Speed 4, emerging as a lighter successor to its predecessor, truly impressed us in our lab. This versatile shoe adeptly navigates through a variety of trails, from rapid descents to long-distance gravel paths, thanks to its Traction Lugs and Vibram outsole. We discovered during our testing that it shines in responsiveness, grip, and comfort, making it well-suited for both training sessions and competitive trail races. However, we did notice a design flaw: the ankle collar tends to let debris into the shoe, which might be an issue for some. Despite this, we think that the Mafate Speed 4 stands out for its balanced blend of cushioning and agility.

Pros

  • Cushioned and comfortable
  • Excellent grip across diverse terrains
  • Outstanding Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Noticeably lighter than previous models
  • Robust and long-lasting upper
  • Delivers a responsive and impressively stable ride
  • Adaptable to multiple paces
  • 100% ready for ultras
  • Enhanced flexibility compared to previous versions

Cons

  • Ankle collar design favors debris intrusion
  • Excessive foam exposure might be a concern

Audience verdict

87
Great!

Who should buy

We believe the Hoka Mafate 4 is an outstanding pick for:

  • Trail enthusiasts seeking a reliable and durable all-terrain shoe.
  • Devotees of Hoka's road shoes looking for a cushioned trail companion.
  • Ultrarunners who need a versatile, high-mileage workhorse for their training and racing.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

Who should NOT buy

If you're often tackling terrain with small rocks and debris, the Mafate Speed 4 might not be your best bet. Its heel design tends to attract and trap debris, potentially disrupting your runs. Instead, opt for a model without this design flaw, such as the Nike Wildhorse 8 or the Saucony Peregrine 13.

Additionally, for runners seeking pure speed on flat trails, we believe the Mafate's 4-mm lugs and average-at-best energy return may not be the best choice. In these scenarios, we think you're likely to benefit more from a trail shoe with shorter lugs, Pebax midsole technology, and a carbon plate. Options like the Nike Ultrafly or the Saucony Endorphin Edge could better meet your needs.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

Breathability

The upper of this Hoka doesn't immediately strike us as highly breathable, but we're here to test, not just speculate. So we hooked up our smoke-pumping machine to the Mafate Speed 4 to assess its actual breathability.

Our testing led us to a score of 3 out of 5, which is average but respectable for a trail shoe. Remember that excessive airflow can compromise comfort in colder conditions, which is when these shoes are often used.

Shining a light through the upper revealed Hoka's design strategy. The shoe has a base layer of thin mesh, with large overlays across the instep and added midfoot reinforcement for stability—factors contributing to its average breathability score.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 microscope

Under the microscope, we found that Hoka opted for an engineered mesh without ventilation holes, clearly prioritizing durability above all.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 microscope

The upper offers some flexibility and decent padding, concealing all stitches under fabric for enhanced comfort.

We were impressed with its performance and achieving a 3 out of 5 without any ventilation holes is commendable.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 3
Average 3.3
Compared to 83 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Upon closely inspecting the shoe, we noticed that Hoka prioritized protecting the upper with multiple layers, even if it meant sacrificing a bit of airflow, as we previously observed.

This strategy proved fruitful. As evident in the comparison picture below against the UA Charged Assert 10, the Mafate 4 stands out impressively after the Dremel test. We awarded it a solid 4 out of 5 for its robust design and effective protection.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Toebox durability
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 4
Average 3.1
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The heel padding of the Mafate Speed 4 performed exceptionally well in our Dremel test, which was a pleasant surprise.

Just a few days earlier, we had tested the Tecton X 2 in the lab, where it scored the lowest, a mere 1 out of 5. However, the Mafate Speed 4 impressively earned a 4 out of 5, a truly fantastic score!

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Heel padding durability
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 4
Average 2.9
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

In the outsole, we discovered the famed Vibram Megagrip Litebase rubber, which delivered a hardness of 85.8 HC.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 outsole

Teaming up with Vibram often proves to be a wise decision. During our test runs, we noticed that the outsole grips exceptionally well.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Outsole hardness
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 85.8 HC
Average 85.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

But there's always the question of whether it will provide sufficient durability.

Luckily, after our rigorous Dremel test in the lab, we observed only a 0.9-mm indentation, suggesting that the shoe won't face significant durability issues. However, we also believe it's not among the most durable outsoles on the trail running market.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Outsole durability
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Wrapping up our discussion on the outsole for now, we measured its thickness at 2.1 mm. While some runners might favor a thicker outsole for added durability, we believe this thickness is a wise choice.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

A thicker layer of rubber can mute the midsole's feel and create a firmer sensation underfoot while running, which isn't typically what Hoka aims to deliver.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Outsole thickness
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 2.1 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

The Mafate Speed 4 is designed as a cushioned trail shoe, which naturally means it can't be as ultra-lightweight as the featherlike Hoka Zinal 2.

Yet, it doesn't feel heavy and just slightly exceeds the 10-oz mark, weighing in at 10.3 oz (293g). This is a good result, especially considering its huge stack height.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Weight
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 10.34 oz (293g)
Average 10.30 oz (292g)
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

We just touched on the stack height, and now it's time to check its measurements in the lab.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 ProFly+

Standing tall at 38.0 mm, if you're in search of a cushioned trail shoe, your search ends with the Mafate Speed 4. This shoe boasts a generous amount of foam underfoot, making it an excellent option for heel strikers who need ample cushioning.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Heel stack
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 38.0 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot also exceeds the 30-mm mark, measuring at 30.8 mm. This means that ground feel probably won't be present in this shoe, even for forefoot strikers.

This is also why Hoka chose to omit a rock plate in this shoe—there's enough foam to provide sufficient foot protection.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Forefoot stack
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 30.8 mm
Average 24.5 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

By subtracting the forefoot measurement from the heel, we got a real 7.2-mm heel-to-toe drop.

While most Hokas feature low-drop geometries, we're pleased with this number for the Mafate. It successfully caters to a broad spectrum of runners, accommodating all footstrikes in one shoe.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Drop
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 7.2 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 105 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is a bit thinner than usual at 3.3 mm, but it's not a cause for concern at all. Given the substantial amount of foam in the shoe, you're unlikely to notice the slight difference of a millimeter or two in the insole.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Insole thickness
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 3.3 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Shifting our focus to the ProFly+ midsole, we anticipated the classic plush feel characteristic of Hoka, and we found some of it.

The primary foam, located closer to the foot, measured at 17.5 HA, providing that distinct softness underfoot. And this sensation is further enhanced by the thin insole.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Midsole softness
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 17.5 HA
Average 22.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Secondary foam softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Like many Hoka models nowadays, the Mafate Speed 4 boasts a dual-density midsole. In this case, the denser, notably-firmer foam is placed closer to the ground, enhancing stability.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 foam

We measured this secondary foam at 28.0 HA, which is quite firm and definitely noticeable while running.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Secondary foam softness
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 28.0 HA
Average 24.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Midsole softness in cold

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

When it gets colder, the midsole becomes a bit firmer, but the difference isn't drastic.

To determine the precise change, we put the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes and then remeasured it. The new measurement came out to be 22.8 HA.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 22.8 HA
Average 28.2 HA
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
11.8 HA
Midsole softness in cold (soft to firm)
48.4 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

The 30.3% difference aligns with the average, which didn't surprise us given the midsole's it's made with compression-molded EVA.

For a shoe priced close to $200, experiencing a more advanced superfoam, at least in the primary layer, would be a reasonable expectation.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 30.3%
Average 26.4%
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

We previously mentioned that certain aspects of the shoe are designed with stability in mind, and indeed, we experienced a reassuring sense of stability in the Mafate Speed 4, even while running downhill!

Torsional rigidity

A significant portion of this stability is due to the shoe's substantial torsional rigidity, which we rated 4 out of 5.

This limited flexibility can be attributed to the shoe's large midsole and the denser secondary foam.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

However, we were quite surprised to discover a fairly flexible heel counter, which we rated only 2 out of 5.

This relatively low score might be due to the shoe's construction, as it extends high into the Achilles area for support. Therefore, it doesn't need excessive stiffness to stabilize that area and prevent heel slippage.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 2
Average 3.2
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

In the forefoot, we measured 115.8 mm, which is slightly wider than the average shoe. This design is intentionally aimed at providing stability, especially for forefoot and midfoot strikers.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 115.8 mm
Average 112.1 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Upon taking this measurement in the lab, we instantly understood why we felt so assured while running downhill.

With a massive width of 101.1 mm, the Mafate Speed 4 truly excels in heel landings, providing remarkable stability and confidence!

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 101.1 mm
Average 89.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

While the Mafate Speed 4 is quite stiff torsionally, it's much more flexible longitudinally, which is a feature we appreciated. This flexibility makes it suitable for walking or hiking. 

In our 90-degree bend test, we only needed to apply 24.5N of force.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 24.5N
Average 28.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Stiffness in cold

After placing the shoe in the freezer again to simulate cold conditions, we repeated the stiffness test. The force required this time increased to 31.8N.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 31.8N
Average 38.0N
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
11.9N
Stiffness in cold
92.1N

Difference in stiffness in cold

This reflects a 29.8% increase, aligning with the change observed in softness. It correlates well with the performance we tipically observe in CMEVA foams, which is the type used in this shoe.

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 29.8%
Average 35.1%
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

The Mafate Speed 4 is specifically designed for technical and loose terrains, which explains the 4 mm lugs on its outsole. Anything shorter would compromise the shoe's intended purpose.

For less demanding trails, Hoka offers alternatives like the Speedgoat 5, which features shorter, 3-mm lugs.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 lugs

Equally noteworthy is the variety in the shapes and textures of the Hoka's Traction Lugs. We observed a dominance of chevron-style shapes in the heel and sides for enhanced traction on both downhills and uphills, complemented by rectangular lugs in the center of the forefoot.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Lug depth
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 3.9 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Hoka typically designs narrow, performance-focused toeboxes, and the Mafate Speed 4 follows suit. We measured its widest part at 97.9 mm, accommodating those with normal-width feet and even moderately narrow or wide feet comfortably.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

But why doesn't Hoka opt for wider toeboxes? Here at RunRepeat's Lab, we believe it's a matter of stability.

Combining a narrow upper with a wide midsole results in a stable shoe without the need for additional medial posts or other intrusive support features. This approach is also becoming increasingly popular in road running shoes.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 97.9 mm
Average 98.8 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Upon measuring the big toe area, we found it to be 75.3 mm, indicating limited wiggle room for your toes. If ample space for toe splay is a priority, you might want to check out less tapered alternatives like the New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro V7.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 75.3 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 68 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

Hoka has a clear preference for semi-gusseted tongues, as evidenced by this model—the gusset is black, but it's there—and we're happy with that decision, as they strike a nice balance between ensuring a secure lockdown and keeping the weight low.

However, for shoes designed for rugged terrain, we generally lean towards fully gusseted tongues for enhanced security and comfort.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue is impressively padded at 7.5 mm, exceeding our expectations.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4

It features a thick, plush layer of foam that works wonderfully in preventing any discomfort in the instep area.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Tongue padding
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 7.5 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

The heel features a finger-loop tab, which appears to serve more as a style element than a functional one.

But there's a downside to this area we need to mention—the design of the ankle collar acts like a funnel, constantly allowing debris to enter the shoe, which can be quite bothersome.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Heel tab
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 Finger loop

Removable insole

Removing the insole was hassle-free as it's not glued, but be wary that some OTC orthotics or insoles from other shoes might not fit well due to the shoe's narrow last.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Removable insole
Test results
Mafate Speed 4 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Here in the lab, we're big fans of reflective elements on trail running shoes. Luckily, the Mafate Speed 4 didn't disappoint us in this department!

Test results
Mafate Speed 4 Yes