Verdict from 5 experts and 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Traction: It grips "great" on rocks, roots, ice, and snow. Runners find it the "defining characteristic" of the Mafate. 
  • Durability: After clocking 80 miles, experts claim that the shoe is still holding up very well. 
  • Protection: Because of the shoe's maximalist build, it offers all-day protection. The cushion is very effective in muting sharp ground elements. 
  • Ride: It's smooth, snappy, fast, and lively. So much so that athletes state it's easy to do speed runs in the shoe. 
  • Toe box: For reference, it's roomier than the Speedgoat 4. It has more than enough space for toe splay and foot swelling. 
  • Gusseted tongue: It stays in place and contributes to the shoe's lockdown.  
  • Breathability: The Mafate Speed 3's upper is very "airy." 

5 reasons not to buy

  • Unstable: Unlike the Torrent 2, the shoe doesn't have a precision fit. Many find it too roomy, causing too much midfoot movement. 
  • Heel slippage: A lot of testers had to adjust the laces mid-run to really lock the heel in place. 
  • Lace bite: When cinched down, the laces cause pressure on the foot. This is because the tongue is not padded enough.
  • Lengthy break-in period: It takes about 50-70 miles before the midsole adapts to the foot. It's stiff, which can be uncomfortable for some. 
  • Bulky: It's "pretty dang heavy!" 

Bottom line

Designed as a trail tank that can handle any terrain at any distance and pace, the Mafate Speed 3 from Hoka really lives up to its name. Despite its weight, you can definitely do speed runs in the Mafate 3. And if you're training or racing ultras, it has all the making of a reliable ultrarunning shoe.

It's a near-perfect shoe if only it didn't struggle in technical trails, given its limitations on fit. 

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Hoka One One Mafate Speed 3: An all-rounder trail beast

Whether you want to run easy or at speed, you can trust the Hoka Mafate Speed 3. Just like the rest of the Mafates, it's built "rugged and tough," giving you all the protection you need. Add in its snappy and grippy performance, you can do almost everything on the trails with this shoe. 

To find out the anatomy behind the Mafate Speed 3's ride, let's break down its composition: 

  • Protection: The Mafate Speed 3 is a maximalist running shoe, and thanks to its copious cushioning, your foot is kept protected from any abrasive and hazardous ground elements. 
  • Responsiveness: With the combination of the shoe's Meta-Rocker (responsible for the shoe's seamless heel-to-toe transition) and the foam's stiffness, a springy ride is created. This also helps drive the runner forward. 
  • Grip: Equipped with a Vibram outsole, the shoe bites well on loose, rocky, wet, and hard-packed surfaces. 

Hoka One One Mafate Speed 3 vs. 2: "Small but necessary" changes

The Mafate Speed 3 only features upper upgrades which create more protection and support. To do so, more overlays are added to lock the foot in place. On top of that, a sustainably made, dual-layered mesh upper takes over the old versions' Matryx material for better breathability and protection. Lastly, there's more room in the toe box for toe splay. 

Just like any upgrade, this implies some positives and some negatives. Among the drawbacks are: (1) too much room in the midfoot, sacrificing stability, and (2) weight gain of 0.7 oz/20 grams in men's US 10.

What is it for?

If you're looking for a shoe that can handle the following, considering the Hoka One One Mafate Speed 3 is a wise choice: 

  • Ultrarunning
  • Mountain running 
  • Daily trail running 

On paper and in reality, the Mafate Speed 3 is a versatile trail shoe that can perform on just about any terrain. Where it shines, however, is in ultra distances. Be warned, it's NOT snug enough for highly technical conditions. 

Rankings

How Hoka One One Mafate Speed 3 ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 45% trail running shoes
All trail running shoes
Bottom 20% Hoka One One running shoes
All Hoka One One running shoes
Bottom 24% maximalist running shoes
All maximalist running shoes

Popularity

The current trend of Hoka One One Mafate Speed 3.
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Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.