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REVIEW: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 – long-distance trail shoe with superb comfort

REVIEW: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 – long-distance trail shoe with superb comfort

Se Laura Nijhuis' profil
 By Laura Nijhuis

 

With its thick midsole, One One Speedgoat 4 sets itself apart from other trail running shoes. Nevertheless this trail shoe offers max. comfort and the best of cushioning. Read the review of Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 here.

  

Hoka One One Speedgoat is named after the American ultra runner Karl Meltzer with the characteristic nickname Speedgoat. He is the most succesful 100-mile ultra runner ever, and Hoka’s Speedgoat is therefore a celebration of him and extra motivation for the runner who is passionate about trail running at medium - and long distances.  

  

HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 VS. SPEEDGOAT 3

- Thinner and more breathable upper 

- Extra room in toe box 

- Less padded heel cap 

- Lighter and more responsive EVA-foam in midsole 

- Extended durability

- Improved grip

 

HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 - FIT

Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 was already a great shoe. It was loved by many and was hardly ever critisized. Nevertheless the team behind Hoka One One has been responsive to calls for updates which means that the 4th version of Speedgoat is sharper than ever!

One of the few points of criticism was that the toe box was too narrow for runners with normal - as well as wide feet. Therefore the toe box in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 has been widened so you will find extra space for your toes. It provides more freedom of movement and during my test it helped me to avoid my toes going numb after a couple of miles. 

     

  

Thanks to the extra space around your toes, Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 fits more different foot shapes so it now appeals to a wider section of runners. 

Speedgoat 4 is, however, still tight around the widest section of the forefoot. Personally I like it like that - especially when it comes to trail running where I go for a snug fit.  

But if you have a wide foot or actually use WIDE-models in other running shoes, Speedgoat 4 will probably be too narrow for you. 

Otherwise the shoe has a normal fit, so you can select the shoe size, you normally wear in Hoka One One running shoes. And if you haven´t tried Hoka One One running shoes before, then you can find your size here.

  

HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 - UPPER

The material is still mesh but compared to Speedgoat 3, the material in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is both more dense - and thin. This has made the upper more breathable which is an advantage if you also wants to use Speedgoat during the summer.  

Speedgoat 4 is not waterproof but the density of the fabric ensures that you don´t get drenched if you run into a shower. 

 

hoka one one speedgoat 4

The cool speed stripes along the toe box, forefoot and around the midfoot helps strengthen the upper against wear and tear and provides a better foothold. 

 

In addition to the reinforcements, I use the laces to stabilize my feet in the shoes.  The tongue (the part beneath the laces) in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is thinner than in Speedgoat 3. I prefer it like that because it gives me the option to tighten the shoe but I am sure its a matter of personal preference from runner to runner. In any case I like that my running shoes have a tight fit when I am on the trail as it provides more control in rugged terrain. 

 

hoka one one speedgoat 4

The heel cap has less padding, but still fits well so all in all the upper closes in more around the foot. 

  

HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 – MIDSOLE

Like the upper, the midsole in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 has also been updated. The EVA-foam is lighter and extra foam has been added to the heel for an even softer landing. 

That said, Hoka One One Speedgoat is already a really soft and cushioning trail running shoe compared to most other trails shoes in the market. 

The midsole has no rock plate which you otherwise often find in trail shoes. Thats because the midsole in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is so thick that you don´t need extra protection against rocks and roots in rugged terrain. There is enough "touch" with the surface that you can feel if you step on something. But at the same time, the protection is enough for you not to notice if you step on something hard or sharp. 

 

hoka one one speedgoat 4

 

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 has a heel drop of 4 mm, which for some people may sound low. And usually you only find such low drops in competition-shoes. But when it comes to Hoka-models, this is normal as the stack height (the amount of foam under ýour foot) is significatnly higher than in most other running shoes. You will therefore not feel any discomfort in your shins or your calf despte the low drop.

  

HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 - OUTSOLE

The outsole is usually not the part in a running shoe that people get most excited about. UNLESS we are dealing with a trail running shoe. 

The outsoles in trail differ in the shape, length, direction and position of the lugs and there is indeed a lot of action under a trail running shoe. 

hoka one one speedgoat 4

 

The outsole in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is produced in the special Vibram Megagrip material, ensuring an extraordinary grip. The 5 mm long lugs provide a terrific grip in technically challenging terrain, including mud, unsteady surfaces in the woods, snow, etc.. 

Still, the lugs are soft enough to allow me to do stretches on solid surfaces without generating any discomfort. But after all, Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is a trail shoe and it performs best on that surface. 

The direction and the position of the lugs have been slightly modified to provide an even better grip and slip resistance - which you feel especially going up- or downhill.  

 

TAKING HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4 FOR A SPIN

Running in Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 feels so easy. And that says quite a lot as I have had high expectations for this shoe after using the high-mileage training shoe Hoka One One Bondi (version 6 and 7). 

Speedgoat 4 is not a disappointment in any way. The comfort is soft and flexible to provide a smooth landing. Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is softer than most trail shoes but still more solid than Hoka One One Bondi among others. That also means that Speedgoat 4 does not feel quite as voluminous as it looks at first sight. 

 

hoka one one speedgoat 4

 

Even though the shoe feels light, its not responsive enough to be used in intervals or competitions. For that purpose I would recommend Hoka One One Torrent 2. You can read the review of Torrent 2 here.

After testing Speedgoat 4, its obvious that the superb cushioning works best at a slow - moderate pace and on long runs where you are just cruising. The more more you use it, the more it gives back to you compared to other trail shoes I´ve tried. 

Still, Speedgoat 4 can also be used for shorter runs for the runner who more than anything wants excellent cushioning. I would also claim that Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is one of the most protective trail running shoes, I have tried. 

I am amazed by the great comfort which Speedgoat 4 offers on asphalt roads to and from the woods. It delivers a great sensation all round and I am convinced that Speedgoat 4 for that reason will encourage me to do more trail running in the future. 

 

REASONS FOR CHOOSING HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT 4

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is through its reference for the ultra runner Karl Meltzer intended for long trail runs and ultra running. The sole is soft and comfortable and developed to provide gentle protection mile after mile. Thanks to its lack of weight you will also avoid deadweight in the shoe as running starts to take its toll after a lot of miles. 

 

hoka one one speedgoat 4

 

Still, Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 can without any problems be used for shorter distances. The shock absorption is not a hindrance for racing unless you want to improve your speed or take part in trail competitions. In that case Hoka One One Torrent 2 will be a better choice.

The relatively deep lugs are ideal for loose and muddy terrain, where its vital to have great grip. The lugs make sure that you have a strong foothold and don´t waste energy during your run. Speedgoat 4 can also be used on solid surfaces like a solid path in the woods or rocks as the midsole provides a very gentle landing. 

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 can actually also be an option for a beginner´s trail shoe. If you are not used to trail running, you will probably feel sore afterwards as it is much more challenging for your muscles and your running style. In this case Speedgoat 4 can provide a more gentle workout thanks to its superb comfort, so you will be able to recover more quickly. 

Buy Hoka Speedgoat 4 here 

 

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