HOKA’s Speedgoat trail runners have been around since 2017. Will this be our staff runners’ favorite version yet?
Last week, HOKA launched a new shoe — and while not every new shoe merits an immediate writeup, the iconic HOKA Speedgoat does. With a new outsole, midsole, and upper, nearly every component of this shoe has been improved for better traction, better fit, and a lighter weight than the previous model (the Speedgoat 4).
This isn’t a full review, but given the popularity of the Speedgoat line, we wanted to share our initial testing feedback of the new Speedgoat 5 as soon as possible.
Our take: The new shoe has a lot of positive similarities to the old, with one exception: I definitely noticed the difference in the outsole and traction. And especially for trail runners like me who tackle varying, loose, and rocky terrain, the fact that HOKA improved on this is awesome.
First Look: HOKA Speedgoat 5
In just one week of testing, I took the HOKA Speedgoat 5 on one hike and three trail runs. I made sure to test them on trails of varying type, terrain, and steepness to get a broader feel for how the Speedgoat 5 will perform.
On the first few times out, I was more focused on the comfort and performance of the shoe, rather than comparisons — it’s still a Speedgoat, after all. Beyond that, and on slightly more technical trails, I tried to pay closer attention to the elements of the shoe that had changed.
Speedgoat 5 Outsole and Midsole
The new and improved elements throughout the shoe — specifically, the outsole and midsole — caught my attention.
The lightweight midsole — the same midsole formula you might recognize from the EVO Speedgoat — is everything you could want in a trail shoe: lightweight, supportive, and responsive. This midsole is bouncy and was comfortable running on all sorts of terrain.
For the outsole, the Speedgoat 5 got new multidirectional lugs with what HOKA hoped would deliver both more traction across the surface area of the shoe and better traction overall. In both cases, I enjoyed the improvements. The grip on the Speedgoat 5s is stellar.
Running up sloping, rocky, uphill terrain, the shoe was grippy and quick. Running downhill on both softer dirt and looser gravel, the outsole also held its ground.
Up, down, and sideways, this shoe is pretty darn stable. I will note that HOKA slightly changed the design of the toebox — I think to accommodate more foot shapes — and my narrower-than-average feet still felt snug and protected. Though, the new mesh upper also lends itself to a better fit (more on that below).
Speedgoat 5 Upper
The lacing system and tongue on this shoe felt very similar to the 4, and I didn’t experience any hotspots while running/jogging/hiking in the Speedgoat 5, so I’ll keep my focus on the general construction of the uppers.
I can sum up the new upper on the Speedgoat 5 in two words: fewer overlays.
In essence, more mesh — more flexibility and more breathability. In fact, there are almost zero overlays on the upper, with the exception of the protection around the forefront of the shoe. Naturally, more breathable mesh usually means less waterproofing, though I have yet to run in the rain or through any puddles.
In terms of breathability, the upper definitely feels lighter. I also wore this shoe with three different types of fairly light socks. My foot was never hot or stuffy, but the warmest weather I had was only in the low 50s. Once it gets into the 80s, I’ll report back.
A smaller change not noticeable to all runners at a glance, but definitely noticeable once you try on the shoe, is HOKA’s switch from a heel loop (loop of fabric to help pull on the shoe) to a flared heel tail at the back. Less fabric, and honestly a better way for slipping on/off shoes. Thank you, HOKA.
HOKA Speedgoat 5 Specs
- Details: new mesh upper design, Vibram Grip outsole with Traction Lug, lighter midsole compound
- Drop: 4mm
- Claimed weight: 8.5 oz. per shoe (10.3 oz. per men’s shoe)
- Verified weight: 8.6 oz. per shoe (women’s size 7.5)
- Price: $155
Initial Feedback and Conclusion
So far, the Speedgoat 5 has proven its staying power on various dirt, gravel, and rocky trails here in Colorado. The improved traction is stellar, and while I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference side by side, the fit, cushion, and comfort of the 5 compared to the Speedgoat 4 were great, too.
It’s almost a blend of the Speedgoat 4 and the EVO Speedgoat. And as soon as the temps get hotter, I’ll be watching the mesh upper to see if HOKA indeed made strides with this shoe’s breathability too.
Only time will tell whether it will live up to the other Speedgoats in its lineage.