Hoka has taken a risk in making substantial changes to the popular Speedgoat with a fifth edition, but it has paid off. The Speedgoat 5 is a comfortable and versatile shoe that’s built to handle anything the trails throw at you.
- Lighter than predecessor
- Smooth and comfortable ride
- Grips on almost any terrain
- There are lighter options from other brands
- And better options for all-out speed
- Toe box is narrow
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The Hoka Speedgoat is a favourite of the ultra-marathon community because of its comfortable ride, which protects your feet from the rigours of multiple terrains and massive mileage, though it’s also a popular shoe among trail runners too.
As such it was a surprise to see Hoka change the upper, midsole and outsole of the shoe on the Speedgoat 5 – but the changes are for the better, making the newest Speedgoat lighter, bouncier and more comfortable than its predecessors. This is one of the best trail running shoes, no matter what kind of off-road runner you are.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 Review: Price And Availability
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 costs £130 and launched on 15th March 2022, though it is yet to be available via the Hoka site. You can select your size and register for updates on when it comes into stock.
Buy men’s from Hoka | Buy women’s from Hoka | £130
Design And Fit
The changes to the Hoka Speedgoat 5 start with the upper, which is made from a new mesh that is partially recycled. The mesh has more give in it than on previous versions of the shoe, partly because there are fewer overlays on the upper. This reduces weight and creates a less restrictive feel to the fit.
That said, the toe box tapers dramatically to a point at the front, and you may experience rubbing around the toes as a result. I have a narrow foot and found my normal size to be just right, but those with a wide forefoot in particular may find it tight around the toes, especially if planning to head out for an ultra-marathon.
I found that the upper holds the foot securely and comfortably, so you don’t get lateral movement of the foot when jinking down narrow descents or running on cambered trails.
Stack height: 33mm (men)
Weight: 299g (UK 9)
The midsole has been updated with a lighter EVA compound that’s also springier than the foams used on the Speedgoat 4. It’s still as cushioned and protective as past Speedgoats, though, deadening the impact of long runs on hard trails.
As with many Hoka shoes, the Speedgoat 5 has a rocker design to move you smoothly through your footstrike. The shoe has a 4mm drop, with a 33mm heel stack height on the men’s shoe, and a 31mm heel stack height on the women’s. My UK size 9 weighs 299g.
Hoka has improved the outsole using new 5mm traction lugs that are stepped and have little spikes on them to bite into the ground. The lugs are made from durable Vibram Megagrip rubber and offer reliable grip on pretty much any surface, while still being comfortable to use on roads and flat, hard trails.
How I Tested The Hoka Speedgoat 5
I admit I was not able to run any ultra-marathons during my testing of the Speedgoat 5: they’re tricky to fit into a regular training plan while also testing other shoes. I did get out for a 24km run in the woods, and a couple of other 15km trail runs, along with a shorter run along a canal towpath where I did speedwork to see how the shoe lived up to the first half of its name.
The stand-out run I did in the Hoka Speedgoat 5 was the 24km Sunday long run. This was the morning after a rare night out, so I was not only hungover but also suffering the effects of having little sleep because of the clocks going forwards. I was not excited about running 24km, especially since the plan was to progress the pace from easy to steady and finish strong.
It turned out to be one of my most enjoyable runs in a long time (and I enjoy nearly all my runs), and while I can’t put it all down to the Speedgoat, it was a major factor. The shoe was comfortable and smooth to run in early on, then felt light and speedy as I moved through the gears late on to finish around a pace of 3min 40sec/km.
Over the course of the run I covered a range of terrain, including muddy sections, stints on the road and sharp descents on uneven, hard ground, and the Speedgoat cruised through it all. It offers fantastic grip on any surface and the cushioning protects the body from the impact of running. Those who like to feel the ground beneath them might even find the ride too deadened, but for longer runs it’s just what I’m looking for.
I had a similarly joyful experience in the Speedgoat on other long runs where I stuck to easy and steady paces. It is a shoe that will help you roll all day at a good pace.
When I pushed to faster speeds at around my 10K or half marathon race pace on flat canal paths it was less impressive, feeling large on the foot – but that’s not really what the Speedgoat 5 is for. It’s designed to be a shoe that can carry you a long way at a good pace on varied terrain, and it excels at that.
Is The Hoka Speedgoat 5 Worth It?
There’s little to fault the Speedgoat 5 on and if you find the fit around the toe box comfortable I would recommend it as one of the best trail running shoes. That’s particularly true for ultra-marathon runners looking for a protective shoe that can handle a variety of terrains, but even those who stick to shorter trail runs will enjoy the smooth ride and exceptional grip.
Hoka also has the Torrent 2 in its range, which is lighter and speedier on short, fast runs, but the outsole is not as impressive as on the Speedgoat 5 and I prefer the ride of the latter. I also rate the Adidas Terrex Speed Ultra as a lightweight, long-distance trail-racing shoe, but the Speedgoat 5 is more comfortable on harder ground.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.