If you’ve ever worn a Hoka One One shoe then you understand that these “maximal” style shoes are designed for epic cushioning which protects well over distances and feels like a dream on recovery days.
The Speedgoat 2 incorporates all of those hallmark features, but is truly designed to be a do everything trail running shoe.
While the stack height of the Speedgoat 2 may sound intimidating at 31 mm, it is important to realize that the foot sits deep inside the shoe and the cushioning acts as a sort of cradle for the foot.
While I have felt too unstable in past Hoka models, the Speedgoat 2 really feels secure and I didn’t experience any issues with ankle rolling.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 General Info
I was very much looking forward to this updated Speedgoat model as I had a love hate relationship with the first edition of this shoe.
While I loved the traction of the first edition, I felt that the upper was somewhat sloppy and the shoe had a very tapered forefoot feel which irritated both sides of my feet.
The Speedgoat 2 is a completely redefined shoe rather than a simple update, and this second iteration is certainly worthy of it’s namesake, Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the winningest 100 mile ultra-runner in history.
The Speedgoat 2 sits in the middle of Hoka’s trail running line, and it is important to remember that all Hoka trail running shoes are very well cushioned.
The Speedgoat is very similar to the Challenger ATR 3 in the Hoka trail line (with the exact same weight and only a 1mm stack height difference).
However, the Speedgoat 2’s midsole feels a bit more responsive and was certainly designed to tackle technical and rocky trails.
My first impressions of the Speedgoat 2 were both positive and negative. On one hand, I was absolutely floored by the midsole which was filled with responsive cushioning.
On the other hand, I was worried that the tapered toe box would be a cause for concern and become an issue over ultra distances.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Sole Unit
The midsole of the Speedgoat 2 is simply outstanding. Redesigned with input from Karl Meltzer, I think this updated midsole feels softer, yet quicker and more responsive, than the original Speedgoat or the Challenger ATR 3.
The injected EVA midsole seems to be holding up very well as I have approximately 250 miles on the shoe and I’ve run as far as 30 miles in the shoe at a time.
Hoka also employs their MetaRocker technology which lends to a nice transition during the running stride. While I wouldn’t necessarily choose this shoe for a fast 10k, the ride feels smooth and quick enough for longer efforts.
Initially, I thought that the stack height was closer to 6mm as the actual 4.5 mm stack height didn’t bother me.
The Vibram MegaGrip outsole of the Speedgoat 2 has proven very durable, and the 5mm lugs on my pair show very little wear.
This sticky rubber had traction on every surface I ran on including dry rock, wet rock, sandy trails, and even some mud.
I wore the Speedgoat 2 for the last thirty miles of the Bighorn 100, which was a mudfest, and I was surprised at how little mud accumulated on the outsole.
The wide base of the Speedgoat 2 feels very secure on technical terrain and the midsole/ outsole combo on this shoe is able to tackle any and all surfaces, even feeling pretty smooth on the road.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Upper Info
While I absolutely love the materials used in the upper of the Speedgoat 2, this is the one area where I have some complaints. Hoka One One has been known for narrow and tapered toe boxes.
While the Speedgoat 2 toe box is less tapered than the original version, it still ends up feeling pretty hemmed in.
I like the feeling of being able to wiggle my toes a bit on a run, and this is fairly difficult in the Speedgoat 2 and it causes me to wear the thinnest socks I own.
Another trouble area is the tongue of the shoe which feels too short, especially when using the extra heel lock lacing hole. During my first run in the shoe I felt that the heel was slipping quite a bit while going uphill.
This short tongue didn’t necessarily bother me, but I have talked to other runners who experience the tongue moving and irritating the tops of their feet.
The rest of the upper is very nicely constructed with a seamless interior that didn’t cause me any hotspots. There are welded overlays are mostly used to reinforce the rand of the shoe along the bottom to protect against punctures.
A minimal, but effective toecap protected my toes from rocks, and elasticized wide laces kept pressure off the top of my foot.
I did find the upper of the Speedgoat 2 to be very durable, but a little hot.
My feet sweat through the upper on every run, and while I didn’t necessarily mind this given the level of protection, the thicker mesh could be oppressive for runners who are bothered by this.
Additionally, the upper doesn’t drain very well and in high humidity the shoe took some time to dry out.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Conclusions
The Hoka Speedgoat 2 is about 90% perfect in my opinion. The midsole and outsole really are the best on the market given the relatively lightweight nature of the shoe.
There isn’t any sloppiness in the midsole and the rockered midsole and low stack height make these shoes a pleasure to run in.
Unfortunately, the 10% that needs work could be a deal breaker for runners looking for a wider toe box. Hoka finally widened the forefoot on the new Stinson ATR 4, and my hope is that more Hoka models follow suit.
If the Speedgoat 2 toe box was a tad wider I would have a difficult time reaching for any other trail shoe on the market.
For runners with narrow feet, the Speedgoat 2 is a must try shoe in my opinion.
At 9.5 ounces (men’s size 9), and maximal cushioning that feels agile and protective on super technical terrain, it is hard to compare the Speedgoat 2 to any other shoe besides Hoka’s own Challenger ATR 3.
However, the addition of a Vibram outsole, better lugging, and a midsole that doesn’t seem to compress with high mileage, the Speedgoat 2 is a clear winner.
We purchased a pair of Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat 2 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.