Finally I feel like it’s the time to do the review for the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2’s I’ve had for a few weeks now! During these two weeks I haven’t run in anything else except for the 5k race that I did in my New Balances. Even though I pretty much fell in love with the shoes straight away, there are a couple things I don’t love about them quite as much. Reviewing shoes is a bit difficult since it’s always going to go down to everyone’s personal preference so as a disclaimer: all the things I’ll mention here are my own opinions based on my experience in these shoes!
Starting off with the looks: I think they look pretty sick in the black and pink that mine are. The model comes in a good variety of colors for men and women. Hats off to the Hoka design team because all their shoes look pretty rad in my opinion. Now I know the Hokas have been called the ridiculous looking clown shoes for their thick outsoles but I personally can’t see them that way.
The Speedgoat is inspired by Karl Meltzer who holds the record for the most 100 mile race wins as well as the record time for finishing the Appalachian Trail (which is 2 190 miles long…!) just to mention a few of his achievements. Back in the day when Hoka was in the beginning of its journey, Meltzer actually became so convinced with their shoes that he dropped his then- sponsor La Sportiva to team up with Hoka One One. This is how the shoe is described by Hoka itself:
’’ This shoe is designed to attack all breeds of technical trail. And with this bold, fully redesigned iteration, we’ve improved fit, stability, and durability. Built on a new last, the wider midsole creates a more stable platform for the foot and offers a wider toe box with reinforced areas where your feet need them. The outsole features deeper, more aggressive Vibram lugs which hold up to all kinds of rugged terrain, while the more forgiving upper offers improved comfort up top. The SPEEDGOAT 2 means business. This is one fast, tough trail running shoe.’’
So far I feel like all this is pretty accurate. The original Speedgoats had people criticizing them for many things such as ankle instability and a narrow toebox. Hoka claims the second iteration to be fully redesigned and they have widened the toebox as well as the midsole to compensate the ankle stress the thick cushioning causes.
I’ve tried to run on as many kinds of different terrain as I’ve been able to find and I’ve been very happy with overall stability of the shoe itself as well as the Vibram MegaGrip outsoles which mean serious business. I’ve deliberately ran on the slipperiest footing I’ve found (wet, mossy duckboards) and never felt even close to slipping so in that sense, the grip and stability are insane.
However, I can definitely see why some say Hoka runners don’t value their ankles because it’s relatively easy to roll an ankle in these if you go recklessly. It’s by no means a deal breaker for me because I’m fine with just being more careful over super technical trails. I also feel like I need the heavy cushioning anyway so there’s not really much that can be done about that. Overall, I feel like the wide midsole and the Vibram outsole as well as the slight rigidness of the shoes compensate well for this ”flaw”.
As for the cushioning, it’s pretty good to say the least. Very much like my NB Vongo’s just roll along the road, the Speedgoats float over roots and rocks. Even on the pointiest rocks the ride is as smooth as ever. This aspect is another huge divider between runners but especially for the beginners (like me) a more cushioned shoe is more forgiving.
As I’ve mentioned before, my feet overpronate slightly. The Speedgoats aren’t necessarily designed to specifically help with this but I’ve noticed no ankle or knee pain despite this. The thing is, overpronation isn’t such a problematic issue on the trails as it is on the road. However if your overpronation is strong, a shoe designed for overpronators might be worth trying first. But like I said, I’ve been doing my longest runs so far in the Speedgoats and I’ve had no problems.
Even if Hoka claims to have widened the toebox I can imagine it still being too narrow for many people. My feet aren’t the narrowest (due to a history of slightly flat feet caused by the overpronation) and I’ll admit that this worried me somewhat when I ordered the shoes without actually trying them on. They are a bit snug but just so that I feel like it adds to the stability so I was lucky there. Do as I say, not as I do and try them on before buying because shoes too narrow will cause you a ton of problems pretty quick.
In conclusion, here are my pros and cons:
+They look sick and come in many colors
+The wide midsole and Vibram MegaGrip outsole provide reliable grip and stability
+They’re reasonably light for the amount of cushioning they have
+Cushioning makes the ride smooth regardless of the terrain
+Good protection for the feet against rocks and such
-With thick cushioning comes more stack height and less ankle stability
-Widened toebox is still quite narrow
-Cushioning makes the shoes a bit stiff
And there you have it, probably the millionth review for the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2! While these are by far my favorite shoes and I can see myself sticking to Hokas in the future I can easily see where the common points of criticism come from. It’s funny how much personal preference affects how different shoes feel for different people. Someone might have the exact same feet as I do and still hate the Speedgoats. I hope you could take something out from this post if you read this far! As for me, I’m off to get my hill workout done. I’m going to start with six 60- second intervals to see where I’m at with my fitness and I hope I won’t die 🙂