Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Review
Cons: Expensive, uncomfortable tongue, the size takes some breaking in
Manufacturer: HOKA ONE ONE
Our Analysis and Test Results
Every year this shoe sees an update. This is how the most current update is different from the previous version:
- New upper (fewer holes than the previous version)
- New tongue (which we don't love)
- More stable base
- A few ounces heavier
The Speedgoat 4 offers a responsive and cushioned ride. The toe box is a little narrow and will fit those with a narrow to regular foot best. If you love to run long trails and appreciate protective cushioning underfoot, this shoe may be exactly what you've been looking for.
In addition to a solid upper, this contenders' protection mostly comes in the form of ample cushioning underfoot. The super springy midsole provides an even ride, even on technical or rocky terrain. When it touches down, the foam wraps around the object underfoot, so you don't feel more than a small touch of pressure as you lift off.
The upper has a tightknit construction that'll keep out even the finest particles of clay and sand. The welded uppers offer great protection from water, with an overlayed textile that repels water. We ran this shoe through slush and mud, and our socks stayed quite dry. That said, while water beads up on the textile, with heavy rain, it will get saturated. There is no drainage system in this shoe, but the mesh does dry out quickly.
If you run in the rain or wet grass all the time, the Speedgoat 4 GTX is a waterproof option. We didn't test it out, but it looks pretty sweet!
We love it. Over the last 200 miles, the outsole has done an impeccable job at holding onto some of the sloppiest surfaces. It features 5mm lugs that are soft and aggressive. This Hoka model is a more aggressive trail runner than others tested in this review.
The lugs are also well spaced out. We tested it on sloppy surfaces like mud and snow where it held tough, even on steep wintery single-track trails. It does well on dry trails with kitty litter, rocks, and technical surfaces also. This is an all-terrain shoe that'd we'd trust in most places. The body of it is quite flexible though, so it's not as sturdy as some.
It's not surprising that with such a thick midsole, the sensitivity is below average. If you have a midfoot to forefoot gait, you'll notice more sensitivity underfoot than if you strike with your heel. While the cushioning wraps and protects from underfoot hazards, all it does is give you the sense that there's something there.
For some, this shoe takes getting used to because of the lack of sensitivity. The huge midsole will make you pick up your feet more than a traditional shoe, and because you can't feel every single undulation on the trail, beginners using it might find themselves actually tripping. However, this is won't be true for everyone.
The Speedgoat 4 sits high and the toe box (in the version we tested) has a regular width. The outsole offers stability by spreading out its wide base in the heel, which translates to better lateral protection and support. Even though we're surprised at the level of stability it provides for such cushioned shoes (it has a broad landing platform), this isn't one we'd recommend if you tend to roll ankles. While Hoka One One has done much over the years to improve stability, this is one of the least stable in our lineup compared to the rest. If you go over, the stack height makes the roll a little harder.
Comfort and Fit
This trail runner is comfortable. The infused outsole has a ton of cushioning, which makes it suited for mega long distances. It is comfortable, springing you forward with every step. The heel cup doesn't pinch or squeeze, while the body of the shoe wraps around the foot with a tiny bit of arch support.
The body of the shoe has quite a bit of room from top to bottom, so your foot doesn't feel confined. It also comes with the option for a wide fit. We tested the regular fit and found the toe box to be a little narrow. It tapers towards the front, which some love, but squishes the toes of others. Our main tester is used to a super-wide shoe, so this toe box feels a bit confining (she has a regular width foot).
One feature we don't like about the newest update is the tongue. We typically wear socks that come up over our ankles (especially in winter), so we didn't notice the thin tongue digging into the ankles when running in this weather. However, when we wore it while at the gym, sporting ankle-high socks, this was an immediate annoyance. We hope that Hoka fixes this issue for the future.
This trail runner weighs 10.2 oz per shoe, which puts it in the "regular to heavier" trail shoe category. For the amount of material it uses, it is still surprisingly light. It is designed for taking on ultradistances, and while it might be a half to full ounce heavier than others, it still functions well for long days on the trail.
The price of this shoe is decently high. With its niche performance, those that absolutely require excellent protection and cushioning underfoot will see the value. However, it's not for everybody. After 200 miles in this trail shoe, we see a little wear on the upper but the cushioning is still going strong. We expect at least 400 miles of wear on it for our main tester. We live in a dry environment where dusty and rocky trails abound.
The Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is a heavily cushioned trail running shoe that offers impeccable foot protection, traction, and comfort. It is built for distance running but can easily be used as daily walkers or an everyday runner. While it does look a little silly it is difficult to match the amount of cushioning and protection you'll get running on technical surfaces.
— Amber King
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