Gear Review: Hoka Speedgoats


img_6099-1In February I reviewed the Hoka Clifton 2 shoe and only a few months later I have gotten round to my next review which is the Hoka Speedgoats. Disclaimer time: I have recently been signed up to the Hoka Flyer scheme and whilst it will have no bearing on my views on this post, I’d rather call this out now.

Still here? Good…

Ahead of this review I have worn the Speedgoats 4 times. My first run was an easy 10k trail run, followed by 60k on trails and then a couple of shorter trail runs. The shoes are made in conjunction with the legendary 100 mile runner Karl “Speedgoat” Melzer. He’s won more 100 mile races than any runner in history and recently made it something like 15 or 16 years in a row of 100 mile wins, and is currently on 37 (I believe). In short, he knows his onions.

Feel
Up to now I hadn’t considered the Speedgoats. I’d heard about the tight fit around the forefoot and my winter training was pretty much all road, which meant and aggressive and grippy trail shoe was just not something I needed. The opportunity came up to try these and I decided to give it a go. Like all my other Hokas, I have gone 0.5 up in sizing, (UK 8.5 v 8 in normal shoes) and these fit fine. I haven’t found the forefoot too tight and having done 60k in them on my second run (with 6000 feet of gain and descent) I’d say they have been given a good test on this front. However, they are tighter than the Challenger ATRs.

For a shoe with such an prominent sole they are surprisingly light and agile. They look stiff but play very agile. The upper is reminiscent of the Rapa Nui shoe and is the main reason for the light feel.

Sole
There is a 4mm heel to toe drop. The sole is the big difference from other Hokas. It has a Vibram rubber sole (not to be confused with the Beatles album of nearly the same name), and is wider than even the Cliftons. The grip is what makes the shoe stand out for me. Up until these I would alwayswear my Inov8 Race Ultras on trails for hill work and races but the Hoka Speedgoat has even more grip and the extra cushioning certainly adds a ton of confidence on the downhills.

Speedgoats grips

So what?
I didn’t expect to like these as much as I did. I found the Cliftons tight initially and had figured that the Speedgoats would be tighter still but that was not the case at all. I was especially pleased with the grip and performance on the trails and the downhills. I should note, due to Scotland being in the midst of the longest summer since records began, I haven’t had the chance to test them in the wet and will update this when so. Other reviews in wet conditions appear favourable and this is to be expected given the Vibram sole. The best feedback I can give is that I will be pulling these shoes on during the WHW race from Glencoe to Fort William as I feel they will perform really well on that particular section.

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