My Hoka One One Speedgoat 2s have finally reached the end of their life after carrying me over 400 miles of trails. I was so pleased with their performance, I decided to upgrade to the Speedgoat 3s. Before I retired the 2s, I decided to write a review of them to showcase their strengths and drawbacks and compare them alongside the newer model.
About 75 percent of the miles on my Speedgoat 2s were from trail running and 25 percent from hiking and backpacking.
Most of the trails I ran were on the east side of Tucson, the Santa Catalina Mountains, and Saguaro National Park East.
I also wore them on two backpacking trips. One was a 105 mile loop in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the other was a 30 miler in Aravaipa Canyon.
They excel as a trail runner but were not quite supportive enough for backpacking. I still haven’t found a trail runner I can do > 50 mile backpacking trips in without getting blisters. May the search continue!
Hoka One Ones are known for their plush midsole cushioning combined with a lightweight profile. The Speedgoat 2s are no exception to this. Mine are a men’s size 10.5 and weigh 11 oz each. Heel-to-toe drop is 4.5mm, which is considered minimalist and promotes a natural mid-foot strike.
A lot of the trails I run are technical, combining steep rocky inclines with frequent elevation changes. The Speedgoat 2s, apropos of their name, are well suited to this type of terrain.
Speedgoat 2 vs. Salomon Speedcross 4
Before I got Speedgoat 2s, I was running in a pair of Salomon Speedcross 4s. Although they also performed well in rough terrain, I found the Speedgoat 2s to be superior for three reasons:
- They have a wider platform, which provides more stability on descents. A bad ankle roll seems less likely in the Speedgoats.
- The oversized EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole in the Speedgoats result in more foot protection and greater durability – the Speedgoats took me 100 more miles than the Speedcross 4s before breaking down.
- The third reason I prefer my Speedgoats is not a reflection of the Speedcross 4s as much as it is my changing preferences. My Salomons were the waterproof GTX model, which I’ve since decided is unnecessary. Most water crossings I deal with go over the ankle anyway, meaning any waterproofing is useless.
The Speedgoat 2s are equipped with a Vibram MegaGrip hi-traction outsole. It has multi-directional 5mm lugs that provide plenty of traction. The biggest drawback here is that the material is somewhat soft. I’m guessing this is to save weight and keep your foot-strike well cushioned, but the outsole lugs on mine got chewed up on a scree slope scramble in the Sierras.
Comfort and Fit
While the Speedgoat 2s are marketed as having a wider toe-box to allow for a natural footfall when running, they were not overly spacious. They are more narrow than the Altra Lone Peaks, to give one example. I found them just right for my average width feet.
For the most part, the Speegoat 2s have made me a satisfied Hoka One One customer. They excel at what they were designed for, which is trail running. Their main limitations were discovered when backpacking, where they caused me blisters and foot soreness.
I wish the outsole lugs were made of a stiffer material. Also, the shoelaces that come with Speedgoat 2s are delicate and prone to twisting, although I am happy to report that these issues have been fixed with the Speedgoat 3s!
By the way, I’ll be posting first impressions of my new Speedgoat 3s soon.
The Speedgoat 2s are one of the most popular trail running shoes around, and I can now understand why. For what I put them through, I’m blown away that they lasted 400 miles as well as they did.