I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone wearing Hokas. It was a few years ago and I thought some crazy person was wearing those shape-up shoes on a technical trail. “Do those people actually think that running in those shoes will make their butt look better?” When I learned that they were actually Hokas I thought, “They seem dangerous with their high profile and rocker sole. I am pretty sure I’d fall flat on my face in those in about five seconds. Also, their untraditional designs are not very stylish.”
Friends began and continued to sing Hoka praises, but I remained skeptical…until now.
I was super excited when first I opened the box. I love Peacoat/Ceramic color scheme (teal, navy, and pink). Darker colored shoes always look great covered in mud. I got a size 8.5, which is my typical running shoe size. When I first tried the shoes on, I immediately noticed how cushy they were. It felt like a hybrid of a memory foam mattress and a magical dream cloud was strapped to my feet. I was a little concerned, however, about the lateral parts of my feet because the toe box initially seemed a bit narrow. I prefer a wider toe box as my pinky toes like to spread out, especially during longer runs.
These shoes weigh in at 8.2 ounces and have a 4.5 mm heel drop. They are little bit heavier, bulkier, and less flexible than my typical go-to minimalistic trail shoes. During my first run in these shoes I thought to myself, “I can’t believe they call these shoes Speedgoats. I feel so slow in them”. But it didn’t take me long to realize the appeal of these shoes. On my first hill ascent I immediately fell in love with the forefoot cushioning. My feet felt like they were being pampered at a spa, not running over uneven, rocky terrain. It was amazing. I oftentimes avoid rocky trails in my minimalist shoes because I hate feeling every rock jabbing into the bottom of my foot. These shoes allowed me to enjoy those trails again without any issues.
My feet felt like they were being pampered at a spa, not running over uneven, rocky terrain. It was amazing.
The traction and stability of the Speedgoat 2 are some of the best I’ve experienced. I’m super clumsy and tend to fall a lot on trail, so good grip is important to me. The shoe has a Vibram MegaGrip sole that will is both sticky and durable. As a bonus, this sole also has 5 mm lugs that are angled to support both uphill and downhill motions. I took these shoes on a variety of adventures, including rocky trail runs, longer runs on a hilly dirt roads, and shorter jaunts through the snowy forest. The soles kept me feeling confident, even on the most technical and slippery terrain. The rocker that I once worried about felt surprisingly stable thanks the lugs and the wide base.
Hoka skeptics–I was once one of you. If your feet aren’t super wide, give these shoes a try. You won’t believe the winning combo of traction, stability, and cushioning that you’ll find in the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2. These shoes are ideal for long trail runs, ultra marathons, and recovery days. You’re not going to feel fast in them over shorter distances, but you’ll always feel secure and comfortable.
BUY NOW: $140
I was a HOKA skeptic too — until I developed trench foot (Non-Freezing Cold Injury) on a backpacking trip in Colorado this summer. My much beloved Sauconys suddenly felt thin & totally inadequate with the pain & burning of my damaged feet. So I could get back to running as soon as possible, in desperation, I tried HOKAs (Clifton 4 for road, Speedgoat 2 for trail). My intent was to use them while my feet healed, but I haven’t gone back to my old shoes. Everything you said about the Speedgoats has been true for me on trail — they are quite remarkable (although I do wish the toebox was a tad wider, but haven’t experienced any blistering or discomfort). The Cliftons have made road running so pain free that I even did a downhill road half marathon recently, something I seriously doubt I would have done pre-HOKA. I’m not much of a road gal, but I actually enjoyed that race!