After putting the Mafate Speed 2 to the test, it certainly earns its namesake from the Cirque de Mafate on Reunion Island. This shoe is as rugged as the volcanic landscape it boasts the name of.
The first thing I noticed and liked about the Mafate was the “glove-like” fit. This shoe feels perfectly sculpted for the human foot (or at least mine). That said, it is not overly tight fitting either.
I like a wider toe box and am often critical of the lack of this feature. The Mafate Speed 2 does not have a super wide toe box like its cousin the Stinson ATR 4 but it does have enough room for freedom of movement.
The Active Foot frame cradles the foot nicely, giving a comfortably snug fit around the midfoot.
The Mafate Speed 2 has a 33mm stack height at the heel and while this is at the higher end of the spectrum the shoe didn’t give me the “tippy” feel that other maximal models have on technical terrain. This shoe felt good right out of the box and didn’t require the breaking in those other models or brands feel like they need.
The Mafate speed 2’s were christened in mud on their first run out of the box. After 8 miles of pouring rain on muddy western Montana single track trails, these shoes were showing no signs of giving up.
I really like the 5mm lugs on the sole. The extra traction really helps on loosely packed technical terrain and sloppy trails. The lugs are positioned mindfully so that mud clumping up between them was not an issue for me.
I’ve run this shoe on some sloppy, gritty and wet trails. The Monomesh Debris Screen was exceptional at keeping the trail on the trail and not between my foot and the shoe. The upper material did not waterlog when in wet conditions.
Since trail shoes are invariably a bit heavier this is a feature that is important since no one wants to carry an extra 6oz of water weight for the last few miles of their run. One thing I would have liked to see is a gusseted tongue like on some other Hoka models. I simply like the way it prevents tongue float to one side or the other.
You obviously can’t talk about Hoka shoes without talking about the cushion. The Mafate Speed 2 is listed as the moderate cushion by Hoka and this seems fitting. The Mafate is definitely not plush, however, there is just enough cushion to make the shoe a great candidate for longer distances.
My biggest test of these shoes was two back to back 20+ mile days in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. These runs were back to back on extremely rugged trails and the Mafate’s level of the cushion was perfect. They were even comfortable on the 8-mile backpack out after the 2 days of running.
From early on, my outdoor mind has imprinted on Vibram being the industry standard for soles. From hiking boots to hiking shoes and now to running shoes the Vibram name has always been synonymous with quality.
I was excited to see the Vibram sole on the Mafate and it has not disappointed. With a little over 120 miles on this shoe, there is little to no visible wear on the sole. The CMEVA foam is holding its loft nicely and even feels cushioned the day after a long run.
The uppers are well constructed and extremely durable. I’ve tested these on some demanding trails and they seem to say that they are going to be around for a while. I imagine that the upper will outlast the mileage cap that I put on most of my shoes.
The Mafate is strategically reinforced in some well thought out key spots like the heel.
The toe area is an obvious high impact area. While it’s nice that Hoka though to reinforce it, it would have been nicer to see a more seamless integration with the rubber. Ultimately, my foot felt well protected, even when running on rugged alpine trails.
I really like this shoe. I am likely going to run part of my first 100K in it this fall. The combination of protection, modest weight, cushion, and burly sole make it a great choice for any trail runner.
With all of that said, the $170.00 price tag was tough to swallow. It is hands down the most expensive running shoe I have ever bought. While there are lots of nice features that make the shoe worth its price for a serious trail runner, the shoe might not be the best choice if you’re only planning on buying one pair of shoes for the season.
Good to know
- The mesh design has been redesigned to make it more breathable and comfortable against the skin.
- The Full Ground Contact System of the Mafate 2 heightens the efficiency of the shoe by allowing it to be used to its maximum potential. Also, the outsole is slightly more flexible, which means that the shoe is enabled to perform better when changing between various running positions.
- This newer version of Mafate Speed comes with a pair of extra laces and lace holders to enable users to tie their laces in whatever fashion they prefer.
This pair of neutral trail running shoe comes in the standard length and is available in the standard medium width of D and B for men and women, respectively. The shoe has a comparatively narrower toe-box and therefore, it is advisable to try the shoe first.
The outsole utilizes the High-Abrasion Rubber which is not only very resistant to shock and impact forces but is also very lightweight. The rubber disperses the force at a single point over the whole surface area, thereby creating an effective buffer system for the runner.
The outsole also features lugs on its surface for increased traction on various trail types. The efficient design of lugs enables the shoe to maintain a firm grip on very challenging surfaces where slippages are otherwise likely.
The Full Ground Contact increases the efficiency of the shoe and ensures a smooth heel to toe transition for the user. The design allows the pair of running shoes to adapt itself to the movements of the foot during running.
The shoe uses the HIP CMEVA top midsole whose cushioning Hoka One One claims to be among the top in the industry. The material is responsible for the much sought-after bouncy feel in the midsole and the high comfortability. It is also very effective in dispersing impact loads over larger surface areas which ensures protection for the underfoot and increases the durability of the shoe.
RMAT midsole ensures additional protection and comfort for the user. The material has excellent shock dispersion characteristics, even on challenging rocks, sharp cuts or steep slopes.
The Hoka One One Mafate Speed 2 makes use of the Engineered Oversized Midsole, which the company claims to offer almost thrice more cushioning and steadiness as the conventional midsole.
The Active Foot Frame enables the foot to comfortably adjust in the midsole. It also prepares the runner for forward-propulsion at the same time. The technology maintains the kind of responsive environment inside the shoe that motivates the individual to keep running without getting much tired at the end of the day.
The Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry is a special kind of midsole geometry designed with a low drop and a rocker-shaped outsole for a fulcrum effect. This design promotes natural gait for the runners and ensures a smooth transition between landing and toe-off position while running. This feature can also be seen in the Hoka One One Bondi 6.
The Air Mesh is breathable and lightweight. It promotes a healthy inflow and outflow of air through the upper, thereby maintaining a very comfortable and dry atmosphere for the users inside the shoe while running.
The External Monomesh Debris Screen is for keeping dirt and other small rocks from entering the shoe’s interior foot-chamber.
The upper also utilizes the No Sew Construction for a seamless feel against the skin. The soft material reduces the likelihood of chafing or irritation.
The TPU Support Strapping is added for flexibility and protection. It also reinforces the structure of the upper and ensures a secure fit for the user.
In the Mafate Speed 2, a Race-Lace System is used. Its elastic nature makes quick to adjust with only a single-handed pull. Hoka One One uses a lacing system provides a feeling of customized fit to the users. Also, the shoe comes with the extra laces in the box which could be exchanged with the standard race laces and the lace holders which allow the individuals to lace their shoes in a manner they prefer.
The Reinforced toe cap protects the forefoot from small rocks and debris, thereby providing good resistance to shock.
The upper boasts the Strobel Last, which is attached with the EVA foam for a smooth and silken finish, as well as additional underfoot cushioning.