HOKA Speedgoat 4 Review | Great Technical Trail Shoe
A highly cushioned, technical running shoe with a medium-tall stack and aggressive lugs
Named for Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoats are a time and trail tested model now in their fourth iteration. This is a narrow to medium-width ultra-padded shoe that features a heavily cushioned midsole and a deeply lugged, Vibram Megagrip outsole. The Speedgoat 4 shoes offer plenty of protection from rocky, rough trail, and solid wet and dry traction for steep ups and downs. This is a shoe for going the distance—an all-around model with proven durability, protection during long days on the trail, and all-around comfort and traction. Plus, they come in some of the best colorways on the market.
I field-tested the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoats right out of the box on the 223-mile Ouachita Trail in Oklahoma and Arkansas. The trail was non-technical, but the tread was quite challenging. Much of the trail was covered in deep layers of slippery leaves, and there was a 40-mile section with angled rocks and slick, untamed trail. The weather varied from 60 degrees and sunny to 40 degrees and rainy, with much of the trail wet and chilly. I was doing between 18 and 23 miles per day for 11 days in a row.
Key Specs | HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4
Design: Low-rise, cushioned trail running / hiking shoe. These specs are for the non-waterproof version
Features: Aggressive outsole, updated mesh upper, maximum cushioning through the midsole, secure mid-range fit, 4mm heel-to-toe drop.
Weight: 10.8 ounces (Men’s 9) | 9.6 ounces (Women’s 8)
Type: Trail runner, low-rise hiking shoe
Stack Height Heel: 32mm (Men’s)
Stack Height Toe: 28mm (Men’s)
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
Outsole: Vibram Megagrip
Overview of the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4
The Speedgoat 4 is the newest iteration of one of HOKA ONE ONE’s most popular trail shoe. This is a do-it-all shoe with a snug, secure fit, deep lugs for loose and muddy trails, and the extreme cushioning that HOKA shoes are known for. The ultra-cushioned midsole helps protect from the uneven, rocky ground. The shoes have a 4mm heel-to-toe drop. Though they look almost absurdly tall, the midsole rise is actually higher than your foot sits, so your feet are sitting lower in the shoes than it appears from the outside. The update also has a wider forefoot. The shoe felt somewhat narrow when I first tried it on, but the flexibility increased after a day or two of wear and it ended up feeling secure, but not constricting.
Might Feel Somewhat Narrow:
The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 shoes have a tall stack height and are somewhat narrow. Some hikers might be prone to rolling an ankle as they get used to the feel of these shoes, coming from something with less cushioning. They might not be ideal for people with a wider foot, or someone who likes to allow their feet to spread out with a wider toe box during a long day of hiking. HOKA offers wider models like the Challenger ATR.
Tongue Cutouts Might Not Work for You:
The cutouts in the tongue fit against my ankle well without rubbing, but I’ve seen other users have issues with the cutouts not sitting right. They worked for me, but this is something to be aware of.
Compared to the Competition
Shoes for Hiking & Backpacking
The field of highly padded, thick midsole, aggressively-lugged trail running shoes is quite competitive with many options. That being said Hoka was one of the fist to enter/create this category of trail shoe and they have a number of strong offerings including the Speedgoat. And again, we find that light, low top trail runners make the best shoes for backpacking and hiking.
Conclusion | HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4
The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4’s are an excellent all-around trail shoe that excel in loose muddy conditions. Comfortable for extended days on the trail, these shoes provide cushioning, support, and traction on a variety of terrain and tread. Updates to the mesh upper offer a more breathable, faster-drying shoe, and the new midsole is more responsive than other iterations. While the stack height might look extreme, your foot is sitting lower in the shoe than the midsole makes it look, so you feel protected from the ground without losing stability on a tall shoe.
We’ve also been testing the HOKA ONE ONE Challengers, and we’ll be reviewing those next, then publishing a comparison post between the two models.