Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Review Facts
Hoka fans have been long awaiting the 2nd version of the Hoka One One Speedgoat, set to hit retailers in July of 2017. I was lucky to score a pair of the Speedgoat 2 early this year for testing, which has been updated to accommodate a wider toe box and forefoot, a new upper mesh design and new midfoot cage construction. I’ll confess that I’m not inherently a big fan of the highly stable class of shoes, particularly for trails, and this was my first pair of Hokas that I trained consistently on trails. So, the company had its work cut out in terms of winning me over! What was my final verdict? Read on for a completely unbiased, honest review of the new Hoka One One Speedgoat 2.
Hoka One One’s outsole uses a new Vibram Mega Grip technology that features thick 5mm lugs to handle an assortment of tame to wild trail terrain. I thought that the outsole also did surprisingly well when transitioning to pavement or tightly packed conditions, even though it’s designed for trail use
. This is definitely a plus when you find yourself training or racing in varied conditions. The lugs are 1mm thicker than the Speedgoat’s predecessor. The lugs are also multi-directional and accompanied by shallow flex grooves that help to dissipate the build-up of gunk around the shoe base.
The midsole is Hoka One One’s bread and butter hallmark design
across their line of both road and trail shoes
. Featuring meta-rocker geometry or “the rocking chair,” the toe and heel are angled slightly to assist with forwarding propulsion. This provides for a smooth rolling fluidity from initial contact to toe-off.
I was a little apprehensive about this design compared to my usual minimalistic styles but was pleasantly surprised at how natural it felt right away. The midsole is described as a “marshmallow” design because it is extra thick, extra light and extra wide. The foot frame is deep which provides a nice rearfoot cup for the heel and translates to extra built-in stability while still having minimal ankle support from superficial materials. Hoka One One designers claim that this feature is adaptable to a variety of anatomy and running styles. The midsole material is injected EVA, like Speedgoat version one, but reviewers feel like the shoe has been fine-tuned so that it’s less bouncy than the original version.
The upper has been redesigned from the first Speedgoat in terms of both style and functionality. The toe and rear of the shoe are reinforced with extra material for durability and protection. The body has patches of triangular and rectangular mesh interlaced with “speed strips” and waterproofing to create a breathable and weather-resistant combo that is one of the best I’ve found in terms of trail shoes
. The upper is also above the curve in terms of its quick-drying capabilities, an important factor in training for rainy Seattle winters. The tongue is thin and comfortable and the laces do their job well without any concerns on my behalf. I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the upper.
This shoe is comparable in weight to version one (I believe it’s within 0.1 ounces). The women's shoe averages in at 8.2 ounces (233 grams) and the men's shoe weight 9.8 ounces (278 grams) on average. This is excellent for a durable pair of trail shoes that provide so much stability and comfort. Typically, I expect my lightest shoes to be lacking in full protection, waterproofing and long distance
comfort (the trade-off conundrum with trail shoes) but the Speedgoat 2 has the best of both worlds. It could be that I tested this shoe right after covering many miles in the La Sportiva Crossover 2.0, which weighs in at 4-5 ounces heavier, but I felt like an agile and sure-footed velociraptor in my new Hoka One One shoes!
Read also about best vintage running shoes.
These shoes were mainly tested outdoors on wet trails, and I noticed that their breathability seemed superior to my other shoes. One surprising bonus was that they lacked the odor that typically builds up when training in damp winter conditions. I certainly didn't have an overheating issue, but also felt sufficient protection from the wind when training in 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit. I give these shoes an all-around solid performance in breathability.
I finally understand what Hoka One One fans
are raving about now. These shoes sweep away the field of trail runners in terms of comfort. Whether it be 2 miles on the greenbelt or all-day training in the mountains, my usual aches and pains from my feet to my hips melted away as I trained in these shoes. I felt no rocks, no sign of jarring impact while running stairs, logs, bridges, crossover pavement pounding, steep hills, rolling trails, muddy embankments, leaping over small dogs, and more.
I actually intentionally tried to find a place where I could abuse my body and feel more impact with them but was not able to find such terrain. I noted no rubbing or hot spots, and after two months I realized that I had forgotten to replace the thin Hoka One One lining with my Superfeet inserts (which is usually the first thing I do with my trail shoes, once I start to feel the impact). Well done, Hoka One One!
I added this category because one of the first things I noticed about the Speedgoat 2’s was how they facilitated a faster-running speed
, most likely due to their rocker design. I noticed this right away and was surprised to find that for the same running effort, I was consistently clocking 30-60 seconds faster per mile on trails and roads. This stayed constant across several months of use. I will definitely use these as a racing shoe later on this season.
I like the style of the Speedgoat 2. These shoes will definitely be turning some heads. While the forefoot is wider in this version, the material panels look more streamlined and help the shoe to appear less bulky/wide visually. The rear of the shoe has reflective tabs behind the heel and also on the circular strap that serves as a grab spot for when you’re putting the shoes on and removing them, in addition to being a nice safety feature
. To my knowledge, the Speedgoat 2 features 3 different color schemes:
• Red body and laces, black waterproofing, and yellow accents
• Black body, light blue laces, and pink accents
• Yellow body with some blue and teal, red laces, and grey waterproofing
I honestly like them all and would have a hard time choosing when ordering. Although the black and red would probably look cleaner after use, the yellow body is bright and fun!
Durability was a concern with some reviewers of the first version of the Speedgoat. The manufacturer claims that this factor is greatly improved in version two. I found noticeable lug wear-down after 6 weeks to 2 months on the trails with this shoe, but I did not notice a dramatic difference in shoe performance, and the shock absorption felt the same to me all along when compared to day one. That’s hard to find with trail shoes! I had no issue with the outer material breaking down over time, despite a lot of exposure to water and mud.
I would rate the shoe well in terms of protection. The lugs on the forefoot area of the shoe were the first to wear down for me, but only slightly and not to the point of altering the performance. The sole protection is excellent, and as I mentioned before the shoes did well with the upper material despite cold and rainy conditions
. I was not able to test these shoes in the snow, so I cannot attest to their performance or warmth on slick or icy conditions.
I was curious how the “rocking chair” design would do on trails. The Speedgoat 2 is a very responsive shoe for both ascending and descending trails. I enjoyed feeling an appreciable lightness and slight bounce in my step but did not feel like they altered my running mechanics to the point of having too much vertical motion. The multi-directional lugs are a great feature to ensure good traction performance on the trails. They responded well on every type of trail and crossover terrain I could find. They responded well across the longer distances, although as a disclaimer I have yet to log more than 20 miles at a time with them.
The design of the deeper heel cup midsole to provide more natural support is a great feature that makes these shoes more stable on trails compared to some negative feedback about the first Speedgoat. As mentioned. I had no need to add any of my usual arch or heel cup support with my Superfeet inserts
. These shoes are designed to provide that support inherently. I felt well covered from a medio-lateral perspective despite no extra material reinforcement in this area.
Barring testing on snow and ice, these shoes handled every terrain I could find/think of with ease. I had one particularly deeper than normal mud run and they proved superior to some of my other trail shoes when running through deep mud. They did well on loose and hard packed trail conditions and I felt more stable/controlled than normal when running on soft trail edges.
The manufacturer value for the new Hoka One One Speedgoat 2’s is labeled at around $140, which is the same price as its predecessor. In my experience, that’s around average for a name brand trail shoe. For me, a quality shoe is worth every penny. I felt like this shoe is an investment in your longevity as a runner.
Most agree that this shoe is stiff in your hands and moderately flexible in motion. The materials are designed for maximal control on a variety of trail terrain, and the shoe flexibility is aligned with this goal.
Don’t let the maximalistic
reputation prevent you from trying these out if you generally tend to lean toward the other end of the spectrum, like me. While certain aspects of the Speedgoat 2 offer more control, other features like the shoe’s drop (see below) enable flexibility in terms of your running mechanics. The Speedgoat 2 is a stable option for trail running while still allowing for some “wiggle room” in terms of your running style, terrain, and training needs.
I enjoyed the stack of 32 mm/27.5mm which equates to a 4.5mm drop. (Version one of the Speedgoat was at a similar 5mm drop). The stack height seemed extra tall to me for the first 2 or 3 runs, especially considering I’m used to thinner trail shoes, but I quickly adjusted to this feature and grew to love it.
• Updated outsole design offering more durability and longevity
• Great traction and multi-directional lugs
• Re-designed upper features for breathability and protection
• Extra midsole features for supreme comfort
• Ample space for toe splay compared to the first version
The Bottom Line
Why the “Speedgoat”?! Karl Meltzer is an accomplished ultra-runner and race director of the “Speedgoat” 50k, a gnarly race at one of Utah’s most beautiful ski resorts. These signature shoes were appropriately named in honor of the legendary athlete and race, and I can totally envision myself gliding around the terrain at Snowbird (my old stomping grounds!) with ease in these shoes.
The Speedgoat 2 is a finely crafted trail shoe that has taken Speedgoat version one advice to heart in order to tailor this shoe to dynamic distance trail running athletes. Reviewers agree that this shoe is light during a race while providing ample cushioning for the end of a long distance
challenge. The redesigned outsole, beautifully engineered midsole, superior comfort, traction, and style make this new shoe a more stable and more foot-conforming one that will surely top the best-seller list.
As a wise man (my boyfriend) described Hoka One One brand comfort, “Hokas’ shoes make me think of the big picture, of how I want to treat my body now so that I’m still running into my later years.” I suppose that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it! Well, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 surely has me convinced, converted and floating around the trails with more spring in my step. Mark your calendars for their release in July of this year!