The Hoka One One Speedgoat is a fast, yet beefy running shoe. It is the only lightweight, max-cushioned, and responsive trail running shoe on the market.
The Speedgoat has an uncomfortable upper, but if the shoe fits you well, then it has a lot to offer.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole gives you the grip to tackle almost any terrain, and the voluminous midsole gives you the comfort to tackle any distance. The technology used in this shoe is game changing, but it was not necessarily executed perfectly by Hoka.
The Speedgoat has a complicated and uncomfortable upper. The upper is essentially made of a heavily perforated, rough mesh material, covered with large overlays, connecting the laces to the midsole.
This material is very breathable, but not very comfortable on the foot. The holes in the upper were too large; they allowed too much dust and debris to enter the shoe.
The Speedgoat uses a technology called ‘side walls’ which means that midsole is built high around the foot. This technology gives the shoe much-added stability. There is a one-inch-wide plastic overlay that circumnavigates the shoe just above the end of the side walls.
The side walls and this overlay cause the shoe to be resistant to any shallow puddles. Water will only enter the shoe in puddles deeper than the top of this overlay.
When the shoe does get wet during a river crossing, the same technology that keeps water out, hold water in. It takes a long time for the water to drain out of this shoe.
The toe bumper is a strip of a canvas like material. This toe bumper did a fine job at deflecting little pebbles, but it did not stand a chance at protecting the foot from large rocks. The first few times that I wore the shoe, the toe bumper’s color leaked into my socks turning them red.
The Speedgoat has a thin, double layer tongue. The top layer is a piece of synthetic weather resistant material. The inner layer is a thin piece of cushioning, made from the same cushioning material used in the heel collar.
The tongue is pretty comfortable. It is thin to keep the weight down and cushioned to prevent any pressure points from the laces.
The Speedgoat does not have a plastic heel cup. The heel cup is constructed from the same mesh used on the upper, covered with a thick plastic overlay.
The low profile heel counter did not provide much support, which was not a problem due to the other support features in the shoe.
The heel collar has a large amount of plush cushioning. My heel is comfortable when I tie the laces of the speedgoat very tight. There is a tab on the outside of the heel collar that really helps with putting on the shoe without tying the laces.
The fit of this shoe is its biggest weakness. The shoe only has five lace holes on each side, which is fewer than the standard shoe. The fit is less secure because of this.
The shoe has a narrow, curved platform. My feet had all sorts of issues with this shape. The toe bumper rubbed against my pinky toe, ripped all of its skin (more red socks).
The narrow toe box was very uncomfortable, especially for my big toe. The poor lockdown also turned some of my toenails black.
Almost all Hoka shoes have a cushion built up underneath the arch of the foot. Since the fit was not very secure in the Speedgoat, my arch rubbed against this cushion and developed severe blisters.
Overall, the fit was very bad.
The Speedgoat has a very thick and responsive piece of midsole foam underneath a Strobel board. The amount of cushion on the Speedgoat is what sets it apart.
The Speedgoat is the only lightweight, max-cushioned trail shoe on the market, which is why I bought a pair for an upcoming ultramarathon. The midsole lives up to its promises on being max-cushioned.
Hoka claims that the Speedgoat is a responsive shoe. I agree that the Speedgoat is both responsive and cushioned. The responsiveness comes from many aspects of the midsole.
These aspects are the Meta Rocker, the stiffness, the Strobel board and the foam density.
Oversized midsoles cannot be very flexible. Stiff shoes are naturally more responsive.
All shoes are forced to flex a little bit during the push off part of the gait cycle. Stiffer shoes recoil with more force just before you take off, giving you a responsive, ‘pop’.
Meta Rocker Design
Hoka’s Meta Rocker design means that the shoe is shaped like a semicircle. This allows the foot to rapidly roll through the ground contact phase. The decreased ground contact time gives a responsive feeling.
A Strobel board is a hard piece of material underneath the sockliner. Due to the Strobel board in the Speedgoat, your foot does not sink into the midsole.
The epicenter of the midsole compression is at the contact point between the shoe and the ground, not where your foot meets the shoe.
This makes your stride faster and more efficient by forcing you to engage more of your foot and lower leg muscles, despite the cushioning. The faster, more efficient stride gives the shoe a more responsive feeling.
Finally, the foam is a little bit more dense than standard EVA, which causes it to be more responsive. Overall, the Speedgoat is both very cushioned, and very responsive.
The Speedgoat has five millimeter drop. Generally, this is a comfortable amount of drop for a forefoot striker and not for a heel striker, however, the Speedgoat felt good while both forefoot striking, and heel striking.
The Meta Rocker design helps heel strikers rapidly roll through the ground contact portion of their cadence. The massive amounts of cushion make heel striking very comfortable.
The Speedgoat has a Vibram Megagrip outsole. The outsole is made of many, four millimeter, bird shaped lugs, that are widely spaced apart.
The wide spacing makes the speedgoat good at gripping loose terrain. It also makes the Speedgoat quite uncomfortable on roads.
The Vibram rubber is very sticky. I had very good traction on all surfaces apart from ice. The lugs wear down quite quickly. Therefore, the Speedgoat will only last around 400 miles, depending on how it is used.
There is no rock plate in the midsole of the Speedgoat. This is not a problem because rocks sink into the oversized midsole and do not upset your balance.
There are four flex grooves cut into the midsole to give the shoe a little bit of flexibility. There is also a hole in the rear of the outsole to cut down on weight.
I used this shoe on trails, and roads covered with snow. I used it primarily during long runs, recovery runs, and ultramarathon trail races.
When I was injured, I preferred the highly cushioned shoes. I found that due to the responsive nature of the Speedgoat, I could do some uptempo trail running in it.
Overall, I recommend this shoe to anyone who wants a lightweight, max-cushioned trail running shoe, as long as it fits your feet well. This shoe is also good as a primary shoe for any trail runner who is nursing minor injuries.
-0.5 indicates that you should buy 0.5 sizes smaller in a different shoe; -1 indicates that you should buy 1 size smaller in a different shoe.
Hoka One One Speedgoat vs. Brooks Caldera
The Caldera has a much wider, straighter, and in general more comfortable fit. The Caldera is 0.5oz heavier than the Speedgoat.
The Speedgoat feels much softer than the Caldera because the midsole of the Caldera is much denser. The Caldera has the most heavy duty plastic toe cap out of any trail shoe, compared to the dinky piece of canvas on the Speedgoat.
The Caldera has a four-millimeter drop, similar to the five millimeters in the Speedgoat. The tread is much less aggressive on the Caldera. Buy a ½ size up in the Caldera.
Hoka One One Speedgoat vs. Hoka One One Challenger ATR3
The Challenger is the shoe that most closely resembles the Speedgoat. The two shoes have the same weight and same offset. The tread is less aggressive in the Challenger, due to the large amounts of exposed midsole.
The midsole of the Challenger is much denser than that of the Speedgoat, therefore, the Challenger feels much less cushioned than the Speedgoat. The fit of the challenger is much more comfortable.
Hoka One One Speedgoat vs. Altra Olympus 2.0
The Olympus is 2.5 ounces heavier than the Speedgoat. It also has slightly more cushioned than the Speedgoat. The Olympus is a much wider shoe in the midfoot and forefoot areas.
Both shoes have Vibram Megagrip outsoles, however, the Olympus’s outsole is much less aggressive. The Olympus has a zero millimeter offset, which makes it exclusively for forefoot strikers. Both have the same sizing.
Hoka One One Speedgoat vs. Hoka One One Stinson ATR
The Stinson is the twelve ounce giant of Hoka trail family. Volume wise, there is more cushion in the Stinson, however, the cushion in the Stinson is so firm that the two shoes feel like they are equally cushioned.
The Stinson has a six millimeter drop. The Stinson has a less aggressive outsole and a more heavy duty toe cap.
Hoka One One Speedgoat vs. Nike Zoom Wildhorse 4
The Wildhorse is not a max cushioned shoe like the Speedgoat, but it does have a good amount of soft cushioning. The Wildhorse has a more comfortable and practical upper, a less aggressive tread, a more heavy duty toe bumper, and an 8 millimeter drop.
The Wildhorse is an ounce heavier than the Speedgoat. The Wildhorse also has a rock plate, unlike the Speedgoat. Buy a half size up in the Wildhorse.
I have mixed feelings about the Speedgoat. The Speedgoat has such a desirable underfoot feeling, but the upper causes so many problems for my feet.
I deducted three points for the toe bumper, three points for the insecure lacing, five points for the upper material and six points for the poor shape. Therefore, my total score is considered ok, but not that great score for a running shoe.
The technology used for the midsole and outsole are truly game changing.
I hope that Hoka will fix the problems with the upper for future iterations of the Speedgoat. The Speedgoat has the potential to become a spectacular trail running shoe.