It was a few years ago when Hoka One One started to create waves around the running scene. Traditionally the ultra and trail running segment of the scene seems to be more open to new ideas and equipment approaches. Especially the grueling long-distance ultra part of the running scene was the start point for the two Hoka founders Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard. One of the most succesfull athletes in this genre was and still is American runner Karl Meltzer. Meltzer until today has the most wins at ultra distance races and an incredible five wins at the iconic Hardrock 100 under his belt. He was one of the first people that provided the two Frenchmens with input on their crazy idea of high stacked running shoes. In homage to Meltzer’s nickname one of the first models was christened „Speedgoat“. Just now Hoka One One released the fourth update to one of their oldest models range.
Frontline – The Speedgoat in the 4th version is first update to this trail classic that received a major update to nearly every part of the shoe. While it is insignificantly heavier, a major benefit is the better durability and, quite essential for a shoe that should be used off-roads, the grip of the sole.
New heights – the pure stack height of the Hoka One One shoes has been the centre of many discussions. Especially while running on technical trails and off trail, every runner has his personal favor. The feeling for the ground and therefore reaction to what’s coming is quite essential in trail running. The Speedgoat now comes in with a stack height of 28mm. Compared to other trail running models, this is significant higher. While the cushion in itself provides some sort of protection against possible stones or sharp underfoot challenges, a Rockplate has been added to protect the runner from whatever is waiting on the trail.
Inside the ride – A view at the well-balanced cushioning of the shoe and the 4mm Heel-Toe drop that the Speedgoat provides. The new EVA midsole design comes up with a new lightweight foam to enhance a more responsive ride.
Another detailed look at the backend of the shoe and the unique design of the outsole.
Back – a view at the 32 mm high heel with the prominent Logo of the original Speedgoat and godfather of this shoe, Karl Meltzer. Karl rotated 18 pairs of Speedgoats while he was setting the FKT on the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 45 days, 22 hours and 38 minutes a few years ago. The Speedgoat was the only shoe he used to do so.
And a close-up for better measures.
While you are running on the trails, it is important to have a sole that you can rely on. Usually it takes me several runs with trail shoe to get this trust. As mentioned before, the stack height initially did not provide much secure to my stride but that was gone after just a few runs around different sets of trails and weather conditions. Hoka introduced the Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole and paired it with 5mm lugs to offer proper stabilty. Also important to me is that the mud does not stick to the sole, this has never been the case.
Close up with the Vibram outsole.
Style is to everyone self to judge. I like the large Hoka branding on the site and the fresh look of the 4th version of the Speedgoat. Pictures is the Gold Fusion / Black Iris colouring of the shoe. At least until it is covered with mud after a journey through its natural habitat.
A major change to the upper has been carried out. Comparing this version to the older models, it feels way more breathable and not as rigid as before. To my foot it had a more adaptable and snug fit and generally very comfortable. Paired with a roomier toe box, this provides a lot of comfort especially during longer offroad outings.
Despite a decent stack height the Speedgoat felt amazingly direct and under control on the trails. I never had the feeling to not „feel“ the ground. This, for me is essential when running off-road. Especially on tricky downhills I enjoyed the grip of this neutral running shoe and the protection the Speedgoat provides, even during top speed. Having ran all the other previous models of this product line, I can see a clear update in overall performance and reliability.
Tune of the day: ovrkast. – Try Again