What we know about Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 is that it has been redesigned to offer a trail shoe that can handle even more varied terrain and the toe-box provides a little more room for those of us that have issues with narrower toe boxes.
The base of the shoe is wider than the previous version to provide more stability but this shoe is still considered a neutral trail shoe. The 8.20 oz weight of the shoe mimics the lightweight feel that some runners seek in a training or race shoe.
One feature of this trail shoe is the heel-to-toe drop of 4.5 mm, this promotes a forefoot or mid-foot strike which makes the run feel so smooth. The price point for these trail shoes is $140.
I have been running in the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 for the past four weeks. I was hesitant at first to run in these shoes because it is A LOT of shoe compared to what I normally run in. I never know how my feet will respond especially my right foot where I have five mini screws that helped repair a plantar plate rupture years ago. I did some research and the first thing I noticed was the tagline “Like the man who inspired it. Badass.” It caught my attention, so I learned more about the man behind the shoe, Karl Meltzer and decided to give the shoes a go.
When the shoes arrived, I hurriedly opened them up and took them out of the box and of course I was taken aback by how much shoe they actually were. But I also was surprised to see how light they felt compared to my current training trail and yes even my road shoes. They arrived just in time for a 22-miler that I had scheduled that weekend. So, I decided to take them with me along with the current training trail shoe to my training run.
Government Canyon State Natural Area terrain varies from dirt path to rock and root paths with some elevation gain/loss. The first few steps took some getting used to because my foot felt fully encased in the shoes limiting the mobility of my feet. Once I got used to that initial response, I had a great run experience. The first 7-mile loop is a single-track dirt path with some rocks and roots to navigate, some mild climbing and the shoes weren’t even an afterthought. Once we were about to transition to another part of the trail, we had about a quarter mile of road and that is when I noticed the tackiness of the tread. I felt like I had to peel my feet off the road with each step. It was still early in the run so it didn’t tire me out at this point.
The next part of the trail is a steady incline with rocks and the terrain is not as smooth and my feet just went right over the rocks, uneven terrain without any give on my ankles. I should note I have had three grade 3 ankle sprains in my left ankle, so my ankle is kind of like Gumby. It was nice to be unaware of what my feet were going over and not being so overprotective of rolling an ankle. In my current training shoe, I can feel pretty much everything and worry about my footing as I cruise over the terrain. The shoe provided a nice ride up to 16 miles. Yes, I decided to switch out trail shoes at this point just in case I started to experience discomfort for the final miles.
We have had unseasonable weather here in San Antonio — about six weeks of rain — so it has made running trail pretty non-existent. I had to take the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 out on some pretty wet, slippery and muddy trails. I had a solid run, kept upright, and these shoes definitely are for the long run on any type of terrain and environment.
Now there are several things that I did notice when running longer in the shoe. I would get unique pain sensations that wouldn’t last too long and then go away during the latter part of my runs. I alluded to this earlier about how encased the foot is inside the shoe, so I feel it had to do with my foot and ankle having less freedom of movement that was creating this sensation. Secondly, the more times I ran in the shoe I began to develop blisters around the toe box area.
These shoes handled the terrain extremely well due to the Vibram®MegaGrip hi-traction outsole with 5 mm multidirectional lugs. I eased through the rugged terrain with mud, water and slippery rocks.
It also has reinforced SpeedFrame that helps you glide over the trails providing the durability you are looking for on those long runs. I didn’t miss a step on any of the trails systems that I ran on.
The wider platform design provided with the open engineered mesh cradle the feet as you went over big rocks, little rocks, roots of varying sizes, and uneven terrain.
Responsiveness & Speed
These shoes delivered in this area weighing in at 8.20 oz. The lightweight EVA and CMEVA foam midsole made me feel like I could pick up the speed and effort without having a shoe that weighed me down especially in those final miles of the long run.
I never felt like my feet were sticking to the muddy trails or that my shoes would get stuck in the mud like I have had happen in different trail shoes. Whether I ran through mud, water, rocks, or roots these shoes were freaking awesome. I was so impressed by how well they held up on one run when I was not 100 percent confident that I would stay on two feet because of the trail conditions but nope these shoes held their own and not one fall.
Comfort and Fit
My current trail shoes are a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop so I couldn’t even feel the difference from 4 to 4.5 mm. These shoes provided enough cushion and arch support that my feel never felt tired.
There are points during a run I can feel where I had the surgery on my right foot and I did not experience that sensation with the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2. Now my left foot has the bunion and every once in a while, I would feel a little bit of pressure but not enough to create pain or discomfort.
From a non-believer to a believer! The Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 lives up to its name and tagline, “Like the man who inspired it. Badass.” It is very rare that you can take a shoe right out of the box and go and do a run, especially a 16-mile trail run in a brand-new shoe you have never tried and not experience any hot spots, blisters, niggles or pains.
The shoe provided a cushioned, smooth, and fast ride along the trail. The second outing really drove in the ability of these shoes to tackle the most difficult trail conditions. The trails were a muddy mess with slick rock and not once did I lose footing or traction. These shoes gained BIG points after that run.
Overall Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 looks like A LOT of shoe, but it rides like a light weight minimalist trail shoe with cushion and stability that can take you on a long run with wide-ranging terrain.
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.