We spent 8.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • Some runners mentioned that the shoe was comfortable enough for trail running.
  • A small number of runners mentioned that the Hoka One One Speed Instinct has good traction even on technical terrain and wet conditions.
  • The firmer forefoot cushioning and softer cushioning in the heel area gained positive feedback from users since it promotes a more responsive ride.
  • Many testers mentioned that the shoe feels light and fast.
  • Available in different color options.
  • True to size.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners note that the upper is not breathable especially when running on hot temperature.
  • Many runners noticed that the upper web material wore out quickly after several uses.
  • According to some user reviews, the shoe too tight and narrow for their liking.

Bottom line

The Hoka One One Speed Instinct is a lightweight shoe designed for trail running. It provides runners a good combination of comfort, cushioning and traction. Those who tried the shoe found satisfaction in its performance. The Speed Instinct is best for long and higher tempo runs.


Update: Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2
Terrain: Trail
Arch support: Neutral
Weight: Men: 8.4oz | Women: 7.5oz
Heel to toe drop: Men: 3mm | Women: 3mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation
Arch type: High arch
Material: Vegan
Strike Pattern: Forefoot strike
Distance: Competition
Heel height: Men: 22mm | Women: 23mm
Forefoot height: Men: 19mm | Women: 20mm
Brand: Hoka One One
Type: Low drop
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Price: $130
Colorways: Blue, Green, Grey, Multi, Pink, Red
Small True to size Large
See more facts

Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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86 / 100 based on 19 expert reviews

  • 92 / 100 | Nicole Pritikin

    Review of Hoka One One Speed Instinct

    More photos

    If life takes you running through slush, ice, dirt roads, trails, mixed terrain, then the Hoka One One Speed Instinct is for you! 

    But don’t discount them as a super light pair of race day shoes on asphalt either.



    The Speed Instinct doesn’t look like the traditional Hoka shoe with the huge padded sole. Instead, it has a much lower profile, not a bad thing.

    You can wear this shoe without it screaming HOKA or screaming running shoe as many of the other Hokas do.

    It is a nice looking shoe with 5 color options for both men and women. At first glance, it would look like a bright low cut hiking shoe rather the speedy, padded running shoe it is.

    Fit, Comfort

    Where I have had issues with other Hokas not being true to size and having to size down or issues with the toe box, I have no such issues with the Speed Instinct. They are true to size and comfortable.

    These feel like what a running shoe is supposed to feel like. You put your foot in and it is soft, you can splay your toes, and nothing is pinching, poking or irritating.

    The toe box is ample and truly comfortable. There is no break-in period. They feel comfortable right out of the box. These shoes have never caused bruised toes or blisters.

    The upper is breathable and lightweight. The tongue is padded but not overly so. Laces stay tied.


    For an incredibly light shoe, Hoka has managed to pack this shoe with cushioning in the heel and forefoot.

    The shoe is not plush/maximalist by any means but for a lightweight trail shoe, it feels great. Looking at this shoe, it doesn’t look like a typical Hoka shoe with the huge super padded sole.



    However, there is still plenty of cushioning there and it maintains the meta rocker design Hoka is known for that propels you forward. I tend to get knee or back pain from shoes with less padding, yet I can wear these for 6-13 mile runs and no pain.

    If you need the maximalist padding Hoka is known for, this may not be the shoe for you.


    The Speed Instinct feels light and fast. I have worn this shoe for several 10k's and two half marathons.

    While I will not wear it for a marathon because it lacks sufficient cushioning, for any shorter races, it is perfect. The women’s version weighs less than 8 ounces and men’s less than 9!

    I have consistently run faster in this shoe than any other pair in my closet. It is the kind of shoe that you can forget you are wearing because they are so light.


    Traction is where this shoe excels.

    I have tried this shoe on wet dirt roads, wet asphalt, slush, ice, gravel and it can handle it all with ease.



    I am not a trail runner so I can’t report how well this shoe can handle technical terrain but the backroads of Vermont in all season were handled with ease. 

    The prominent lugs on the bottom provide excellent traction and are spaced far enough apart that small stones and dirt are not getting trapped.

    I have not had to clean out the bottoms of my shoes even after running through wet dirt roads during mud season.



    If the roads here are at all gunky (technical term), such as after a recent snowstorm that got cleared but left sludge on the shoulder or that leftover level of permafrost ice/snow mix on dirt roads present most of the winter, these are the shoes I reach for again and again.

    The picture below shows my driveway in late January- a solid sheet of ice with a sprinkling of gravel and sand. 

    These shoes handled the terrain with ease.



    I have run 130 miles on my Hoka One One Speed Instinct. I see absolutely no signs of wear or degradation of the padding.

    This is in complete contrast to all of the other Hokas I have ever owned where I can feel the padding degrading even after 100 miles. Right now, these shoes feel the same as they did on day one.

    There is also no flaking of the overlay or any visible signs of wear on the upper. I’m impressed.

    Overall, a great shoe to have in your arsenal.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • 82 / 100 | The Ginger Runner | | Level 5 expert

    Since receiving this shoe, it has become my go-to trail runner and I really am liking it. Great for faster, long hauls as it tends to gravitate more towards a traditional running shoe form. But there is no lack of cushioning here.

  • 88 / 100 | Dustin Branton | Level 1 expert

    It's like running on a cloud and people say that all the time, but truly it's a very soft ride and I think it's what I need for recovery.

  • 94 / 100 | Road Trail Run | | Level 5 expert

    The Speed Instinct is a very worthy lightweight, long distance trainer/racer, most at home on smoother trails, but can handle more difficult terrain when needed

  • 82 / 100 | Running Competitor | | Level 5 expert

    It's the firs trail shoe to utilize Hoka's new dual-density midsole that has a softer feel in the heel and firmer, more responsive sensation in the forefoot.

Become an expert

  • The Hoka One One Speed Instinct uses the new PRO2Lite +10 midsole technology that is designed to give a softer cushioning in the heel and firmer cushioning in the forefoot. This Pro2Lite +10 EVA cushioning is strategically created to deliver a more responsive ride.
  • The upper of the Speed Instinct comes with a seamless air mesh upper that has Zonal 3D print. It is designed to breathability and added support.
  • The outsole unit of the shoe is built with extreme durability and reliable grip through the high-abrasion rubber placed in the entire sole unit and the multidirectional lugs designed for technical terrains.

When it comes to sizing, the Speed Instinct has a standard size. It has an accommodating and snug fit that delivers comfort on both downhills and uphill runs. The toe box is roomy enough for toe splay. This shoe is best for runners with medium foot measurements. Sizes available are 5 to 11 for women and 7 to 14 for men.

The outsole of the Speed Instinct features the full length high abrasion rubber that is gives durability and reliable traction. This perfectly matched to the low profile multidirectional lugs that deliver enough traction on varied terrains. The low profile lugs work perfectly on smoother trail and even on the road. Some runners might pick the Merrell Trail Glove 5 as an alternate shoe to wear between runs, as it presents the same function as the Speed Instinct.

The shoe uses the new Pro2Lite +10 EVA cushioning that is strategically placed to provide a responsive ride. The heel has a softer cushioning while the forefoot has a firmer cushioning. This technology in the midsole provides a great balance of protection and propulsion. This works well with the Early-Stage Meta-Rocker that is designed for a fast forefoot transition and smoother ride. The Hoka One One Arahi 2 also has this same feature.

The upper of the Hoka One One Speed Instinct is seamless and lightweight. The air mesh upper is designed for breathability, added support and secure lockdown. It also comes with a thin toe bumper that is also flexible and the wide toe box creates a more comfortable ride.

The non-gusseted tongue and the heel collar are padded to give added comfort and support. The laces are a bit wider than the usual laces and these provide a snug and secure fit.


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.