A few days ago, I wrote an article detailing the benefits of trail running and some techniques and tips for making the most of your time on the trail. One of the things I mentioned in that article was the need for quality trail running shoes. You do not want to just go out on a trail with basic running shoes; instead, you need shoes with proper reinforcements, support, and sole lugs in order to maximize stability, foot protection, and traction.
I recently received my newest addition to my trail running gear bag – The SPEEDGOAT by HOKA ONE ONE and wanted to provide a write up on my thoughts.
HOKA ONE ONE is a company of runners committed to creating the best-engineered running shoes for the world’s toughest terrain and races. By focusing on stability, cushioning, and shaping, they create shoes that are comfortable and stable, maximizing your running experience.
The SPEEDGOAT is built on an injected EVA midsole that is much thicker than your usual trail shoe. This aids in cushioning when your foot stakes a hard, uneven surface. When a surface is flat, a little cushioning goes a long way; however, when you are running over rocks, bumps, and branches, the extra padding is necessary for preventing injury. The midsole on the SPEEDGOAT is comfortable and functional; it is a good balance between being too firm and feeling like you are running on a down pillow. It also incorporates HOKA ONE ONE’s active frame midsole geometry which allows the foot to sit deeply inside the midsole for a cup-like fit for your foot; this serves to further the comfort of the shoe. From the first time I put the shoes on, they were comfortable and had a secure, snug fit.
The shape of the midsole is designed with a low heel-toe differential and a sculpted outsole in the heel and toe. This means that it is designed to support a runner’s natural form while encouraging an efficient, smooth roll across the entire foot striking process. This makes running in these shoes very comfortable over long periods of time as the impact to your feet and legs in minimized.
The SPEEDGOAT uses 4mm Vibram® rubber lugs that grip rocks very well. The lugs are pronounced and defined which gives them superior traction. However, due to the style of the lugs, running on any hard surface (like pavement or a sidewalk) could lead to wearing the lugs down to the point that they will lose their effectiveness on the trail. With sole lugs like these, these shoes are dedicated trail shoes.
The upper provides support all the way through the forefoot, incorporating a one piece tongue that runs all the way down to the toe of the shoes. This allows for consistent support all the way around the shoe. What I did notice is that the upper is thinner than most trail shoes that I have worn. This is not a deal-breaker, but if you are hard on shoes it might mean that these shoes will not last as long. However, if you take care of them, they will be just fine.
The toe cap is reinforced with a groundrubber panel which ensures durability when you short-change your step into a rough surface. Toe caps are one of the first areas to wear out on trail shoes so having a durable reinforcement up front is an absolute must if you spend any amount of time on the trails.
I have been impressed with these shoes. They are comfortable, lightweight, and very easy to run in. The SPEEDGOAT is aptly named due to the impressive traction on uneven surfaces. I will be wearing these when I compete in Train to Hunt next month in Arizona and will be wearing them on the trail all summer as I prepare for my hunts this fall.
If you are interested in the shoes from HOKA ONE ONE, they offer a great guarantee: If you are not completely satisfied, you can return or exchange your product within 30 days of the original purchase. No questions! You really have nothing to lose at that point. Give a pair a try! If you don’t like them, return them, no questions asked. If you love them, then keep enjoying them.
If you want to check out the SPEEDGOAT (or any of the other offerings from HOKA ONE ONE) check it out here: HOKAONEONE.com