- Type: Trail
- Price: £130
- Heel-toe drop: 4mm
- Weight: 271g (men), 234g (women)
Some runners are almost obsessional about Hoka One One Speedgoats, buying multiple pairs every new release as they know how dependable, robust and comfortable they are over long distance on the trails. So the arrival of the latest update is big news for many.
Named after Karl Meltzer, the American ultra-runner who has won the Hard Rock 100 five times, as well being the former record holder for running the Appalachian Trail in 45 days, 22hrs, 38mins in 2016, these shoes are designed to be workhorses, carrying you over long distances in comfort while also aiding your movement up and down hilly terrain.
So if you're looking for a pair of new trail shoes, how did the latest version – the Hoka Speedgoat 5 – do under testing conditions?
Lace-up the new Speedgoat 5s and, like most Hoka shoes, they fit true to size and feel snug and almost slipper-like on your feet. The mesh upper is built to be more breathable than previous versions. Admittedly, we’ve never noticed a problem with overheating in previous iterations of the shoe, but extra breathability is always welcome. What’s noticeable on slipping your feet into the shoes for the first time is the pure comfort. You could happily wear these as slippers around the house (pre-mudfest).
They wrap tightly around your feet via the fabric that hugs the foot to keep it stable and in place. The tongue is gusseted and increases the sock-like fit, and the extended heel tab makes it easier to slide your foot in and out of the shoe. The toe box features extra protection to protect your feet from rocks and debris without feeling too ‘solid’. We found no rubbing or blisters over initial test runs.
The Hoka effect
On our first warm-up trot in them we immediately felt the trademark soft ride – nothing that blew our minds, just superbly cushioned, as you come to expect from the brand. Along roads, pavements and hard-packed trail surfaces, it’s pillowy soft, with enough bounce to keep your legs feeling fresh and full of life.
Take them on to more demanding terrain, though, and they come alive on your feet. That new lightweight foam midsole – which Hoka claims is more cushioned than its predecessor, and it certainly felt softer – combined with the grippy outsole provides a mystical combination that you can trust to carry you over any type of surface with speed.
You don’t notice erroneous roots or sharp rocks – the Speedgoats carry you over them with aplomb. After 15K of trails, our legs remained energised, and you can feel that some of that is down to Hoka’s late stage meta-rocker aiding propulsion – these will ably see you through any distance trail run, from shorter 10K or half marathons, but they truly step up performance marathon distance or above.
For the Hoka Speedgoat 5, grip and traction are improved via the reworked Vibram with Megagrip outsole. They are built for technical trails – the 5mm multi-directional lugs provide stability and sure-footedness on sketchy trails, ie when you need it most. When climbing, we noticed the overall lightness of the shoe combined with the grip provided the ability to move, well, like a goat: off-road hill repeats were transformed into – dare we say it? – a joy.
Descending was a revelation: not only do they lessen the impact on tired joints but they also gave us the confidence to place our foot at speed – be it loose gravel, small pebbles or disconcerting rocks – and we felt like it would stay in place. In summary, they provided confidence to up speed while putting a big grin on our face.
Like previous versions, they’re durable – we’ve got 1,000-plus miles out of old Speedgoats, and these feel no different. The Speedgoat 5 sprinkles a little magic on your trail runs to elevate the experience. Highly recommended.
The Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 is out now.