hoka speedgoat 5 cover 2
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HOKA Speedgoat 5 Review: Still the GOAT

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.3 oz. (291 g.) for a US M9 / 8.5 oz. (242 g.) for a US W7.5
  • We’re in love from top to bottom
  • The jacquard mesh upper feels like a hug in all the right ways
  • This version puts the GOAT in Speedgoat
  • Available for $145 on March 15, 2022

TAYLOR: It’s my genuine hope that what I’m about to say won’t destroy my reputation as a trail reviewer. Alright, here goes. I had never run in the HOKA Speedgoat. There, I said it. However, the Speedgoat remains the shoe I’m asked the most questions about by far — even more than the Speedland SL:PDX.

After all, HOKA has built quite the legacy of this marquis trail shoe. The Speedgoat has a lot of promising aspects, like a high stack for cushion, a slightly different midsole durometer, off-road grip, and a locked-in fit. It also has plenty of range, as we often see HOKA pros using it for anything from Western States and UTMB to the Speedgoat 50k.

Coming off of my latest HOKA Tecton X review, I had some high expectations. The testimonials I’ve heard about previous models and the sheer number of questions I’ve been asked led me to think there has to be something here. I usually try to avoid hype and expectations, but something about the Speedgoat 5 made me bite. I went into the review with the mentality that I would pick apart HOKA’s flaws, kinda felt like Principal Rooney trying to catch Ferris Bueller slippin’ up. It was time to put the ‘goat through all types of terrain to see what makes it tick.

MATT: The Speedgoat is trail royalty amongst us dirtbag runners. No matter the event, no matter the distance, you’re guaranteed to see the Speedgoat among the top three choices on feet these days.

However, with the introduction of some hot new competition on the trail scene (Speedland, Norda) and the retirement of the Speedgoat’s racing cousin, the Speedgoat EVO, there was some speculation whether or not HOKA would do enough in 2022 to keep its hallmark trail shoe on the podium.

Having just wrapped up my review of the HOKA Tecton X, my excitement to get my hands on the Speedgoat 5 was sky-high. HOKA had hit a home run with the design and construction of its new carbon-plated trail shoe, and if that was any indication of what the ‘goat had in store, HOKA might have a hit on its hands.

ALEX: The HOKA Speedgoat 4 and Speedgoat Evo have been my go-to trail shoes for the past two years. They’re versatile, highly-protective shoes that allow me to run comfortably for hours and excel on technical terrain. The ride is responsive and secure, and the shoe is built to last.

One of the main complaints of the Speedgoat 4 is the rigid upper and the flex-point rubbing that it can cause on the top of the toes. Then came the Speedgoat Evo, a lighter version that replaced the stiff upper with a more forgiving mesh and swapped out the rigid piece on the top of the toe box with a stretchy panel to accommodate more foot shapes.

Now, enter Speedgoat 5. The latest iteration blends everything great about both of its predecessors, ditches the problem areas, and adds elements that maintain the status of this shoe as the GOAT.

hoka speedgoat 5 cover 1

The Good

TAYLOR: Without giving away the whole bag of tricks right away, good things are going on here. There’s a reason the HOKA Speedgoat 5 has been so highly anticipated. Some reviewers predict that it will sell out, which wouldn’t surprise me given the global supply chain mess. Keep reading my thoughts, and take a quick look to see if you can pre-order the shoe to guarantee your pair.

Other than the midsole, this is an entirely new shoe — and that’s not a bad thing. An enhanced fit and better grip are part of the already tried and true package.

One of the glaringly obvious changes to the 5 is the upper. The flared heel collar, multiple layers of jacquard mesh, and nearly zero overlays offer a performance-ready and comfort-oriented feel. HOKA shows that comfort and performance don’t have to be separate endeavors.

As for fit, the Speedgoat 5 hugs comfortably from heel to toe. From what I’ve heard, the Speedgoat needed this treatment. The new mesh has a pretty perfect balance of stretch and structure that we also experienced in the Merrell Moab Flight and Hoka Tecton X. Even with the narrower toe box (more to come on this point), the mesh hugged my forefoot rather than cramming it into place, creating some excellent lockdown. Working toward the heel, padding increases to match the same comfortable, secure sensation as the forefoot. Even the elf-heel did its part in both departments. Finally, it’s all wrapped up with a thin, gusseted, racer-style tongue that lays nicely on foot. I can easily see myself taking the Speedgoat 5 on ultra-distance races and adventures just because of the upper.

But wait, there’s more. Another big-ish change comes underfoot. A newly configured Vibram Megagrip outsole helps trim the weight and boost the grip. HOKA’s lug depth remains at 5mm, but the pattern, lug type, and textured lugs are where the true grip comes from. Lugs of various sizes are clustered at the forefoot and the perimeter of the midfoot and heel. Many of the lugs are “stair-stepped,” which creates more surface area for the lug to grab onto surfaces without sacrificing weight. I had no issues on mud-laden gravel roads, snow, pavement, dry trail, wet trail, or just about anything in between. In fact, it felt almost as much at home on roads as it did on trails.

Let’s swing back around to the midsole because this is one of the main reasons for this shoe’s wild popularity. This EVA-based midsole is very HOKA in terms of its higher stack (39.5mm to 35.5mm / 4mm drop) and meta-rocker that guides your foot to strike closer to midfoot and transition smoothly through toe-off. All told, the ride is pretty buttery on a variety of surfaces.

What’s different about the Speedgoat series is the midsole’s durometer. It’s neither pillowy like the HOKA Challenger and Salomon Ultra Glide, nor is it a brick like the Adidas Terrex Agravic Ultra. Instead, it falls somewhere right in the middle. Personally, it’s a two-thumbs-up situation for me. The EVA-based foam gives both the sensation of ample underfoot protection while retaining some responsiveness. You’re not getting lost in the clouds with this one. Add that aforementioned smooth roll, and BAM! It’s as tasty of a combo as Emeril’s famous gumbo.

Also, for those going longer, the medial arch seemed to be slightly more firm to give subtle support. I don’t typically seek support, but it was appreciated on my longer runs.

Overall, this package is as protective and secure as something like the Dynafit Ultra 100 and as runnable as the Asics Fuji Lyte 2. The Speedgoat 5 is also a decently light shoe for what it’s made of (11 oz for a men’s 10.5). This is one of the most versatile trail shoes, maybe ever. I’m having a hard time thinking of something on the same level in all areas.

hoka speedgoat 5 lace detail

MATT: There’s a laundry list of things to call out in this section — an optimal situation if you came here to read this review before purchasing a pair.

To start, HOKA gave the Speedgoat a total overhaul instead of a few key tweaks. The majority of the shoe, minus the midsole, is brand-new for version 5. When a company makes drastic changes to a fan favorite, it can make people nervous, but I’m here to dispel those fears. To put it plainly, this shoe is fantastic.

Let’s go top to bottom — the upper is entirely new for the HOKA Speedgoat 5. Like the Tecton X, the move to a stretchy and comfortable mesh upper and elimination of all the overlays results in a great overall fit and also contributes to the trimmed-down weight of the shoe. The tongue is thin yet cushioned enough to cradle the laces, and it is V-shaped at the top to rest nicely against the top of the foot.

The Speedgoat has made a name for itself in the last few years, driven heavily by the quality of the midsole and overall ride. The EVA midsole retains the familiar dimensions, with thicc boi status intact (33mm/29 mm & 4mm drop). It also keeps its meta rocker design to support that smooth roll and turnover. The ride of the midsole is what brings it all together. In my opinion, it delivers a close to perfect combination of cushion and ground feel. There is ample cush underfoot to keep the legs and joints feeling fresh over the long haul, but not to the extent that all ground feel is lost.

The outsole might look unchanged at a glance, but there are a few really cool changes at work here. HOKA kept its highly effective Vibram Megagrip outsole, topped with 5mm lugs, but underneath the surface, there are some enhancements. The lug pattern has changed, now utilizing Vibram’s Traction Lugs. These lugs are designed in a stepped shape with extra prickly barbs surrounding the perimeter. This change means more traction due to the increased surface size of the lugs, and it helps contribute to that overall weight reduction.

The ride with this new outsole configuration is pretty amazing. The shoe can handle pretty much everything I tossed at it. Firm single-track was a dream, but it equally navigated muddy, snowy, and sloppy trails, while also not feeling out of place on stretches of pavement.

I’ve mentioned that the Speedgoat 5 has slimmed down a bit — my US M10 is an ounce lighter than the Speedgoat 4, coming in at close to 10.5 oz. For a shoe with this much cushion, that’s pretty remarkable.

Cushioned, comfortable, responsive, protective, and at home in any terrain. This shoe is way closer to Macgyver than it is to MacGruber.

hoka speedgoat 5 on post

ALEX: The Hoka Speedgoat is my soulmate (hello, solemate). After a lifetime of searching for THE ONE, I’ve found it. I trust that it’ll last, that it’ll provide unconditional support, and that I can rely on it to be protective and secure while simultaneously adjusting to my needs. It gives me the confidence and motivation to keep doing what I love. Most importantly, it listened to my concerns and made the necessary changes to keep our bond strong.

The vegan upper on the HOKA Speedgoat 5 features a double-layer jacquard recycled mesh that is flexible, lightweight, and breathable. The only overlay on the upper is the protective toe rand. HOKA’s stretchy patch at the end of the tongue covering the forefoot provides a forgiving and accommodating fit. Also, the women’s Blue Coral/Camellia colorway is beautiful.

My only complaint about the SG4 was the rigid plastic tongue design — the position and material caused painful rubbing on the front of my ankle, and I learned the hard way that every pair would require tongue surgery before use. Once slightly split down the middle, I had no trouble. The Speedgoat 5’s partially gusseted tongue has a wholly redesigned butterfly shape that sits at just the right spot and causes no issues.

The heel collar is also perfectly designed. It’s softly padded and flares out away from your Achilles tendon.

Dear Every Shoe Company,

DO THIS.

Sincerely, my Achilles tendon.

The Speedgoat 5 maintains the same 4mm drop with a 31mm heel and 27mm forefoot (as opposed to a 33mm heel/29mm forefoot for men). The meta-rocker profile is also back and provides a noticeably fast, smooth toe-off to propel you forward.

The midsole is made of a lighter-weight compound that is even heartier than its predecessors. For context on longevity, I can put 400-plus miles on each Speedgoat and have no issues. The midsole feels amazing and is one of my favorite parts of this shoe. Combined with the Vibram Megagrip outsole, this shoe provides all the underfoot protection you need to move with confidence through your long runs over the most technical terrain. It also moves smoothly and effortlessly on a buffed-out trail. The newly designed 5mm traction lugs improve the Speedgoat’s superb traction.

This beautifully crafted work of art weighs in at 8.5 oz., trimming half an ounce off its previous weight.

Shop HOKA Speedgoat – Men Shop HOKA Speedgoat – Women

hoka speedgoat 5 heel

The Bad

TAYLOR: As I said before, I was ready to be pretty critical of the Speedgoat from the get-go. I tried a lot of things to debunk some of the hype. In the end, I couldn’t find much outside of the typical yearnings that I’ve heard from others.

The Speedgoat can feel more like a speedboat to some. One of the ways HOKA achieves its nice, secure fit is with a rather pointy toebox. It seriously mirrors that of a speedboat. I’ve never experienced a shoe that is quite this triangular. Thankfully, the supreme mesh upper doesn’t squeeze the forefoot too much, so I didn’t feel any discomfort from the toe box shape. Based on my longest run in the shoe, I could envision some hot spots forming on the outside of the pinky toes in the heat of summer. If you have a wider foot, it might be best to try these on in-store.

MATT: Bueller? Bueller? I got nothing. I really don’t. I always try to nit-pick even when I love a shoe, but I’m really not sure there’s anything bad to say about the HOKA Speedgoat 5.

I will call out that if you like a tight and locked-in fit, you may need to thread the laces through that pesky top hole. I didn’t do so for my initial test run, but the fit was perfect once I adjusted, and my heel locked in place.

ALEX: I refuse to acknowledge that this section even exists regarding this shoe.

Ok, fine, in all fairness, if you prefer or need an Altra-style toe box, you might need a little more space than this one has to offer. However, I’m not entirely convinced — I know some wide-foot runners whose toes were right at home in the stretchy, forgiving toe box of the Speedgoat Evo.

The Speedgoat 5 will also come in wide sizes, so that should cover those of you in the #WideFootFam.

Shop HOKA Speedgoat – Men Shop HOKA Speedgoat – Women

hoka speedgoat 5 outsole

HOKA Speedgoat 5 Conclusion

TAYLOR: We might as well name this one Jack. The HOKA Speedgoat 5 can dip its toe into any realm of the trail world and put up a good fight. It’s one of the very few high-stack shoes that can run moderate and technical terrain without worrying about blowing one’s ankle to bits.

This shoe is a lot like the Tecton X in the fact that it’s racking up high marks across the board. Comfort and performance both come to life in the HOKA Speedgoat 5. Where these two shoes differ is that the ‘goat is going to be much more proficient once the trail starts to get gnarly.

Since the only limiter is the toe box shape, I’d get on this one quickly. The HOKA Speedgoat 5 will bring you a locked-in and comfortable fit, a smooth ride, and a protected experience. This thing will handle any of your daily miles just as nicely as it will handle a mountainous 100 miler.

The HOKA Speedgoat 5 will retail for $145. That’s a steal, in my opinion. I’m a believer now.

MATT: This could very well be the trail shoe for 2022. I also loved the Tecton X and think HOKA is knocking it out of the park on the trail scene this year. It may be a close competition between those two shoes, but if given the ability to purchase just one, I’d recommend the Speedgoat 5. You can throw pretty much any terrain, distance, or conditions at the shoe, and it will perform well. It can also absorb the big miles and volume and serve as a trainer and race day shoe.

For all the Speedgoat EVO fans that have been searching for their next shoe, I’ll make it simple for you, go grab a pair of the Speedgoat 5, and you can thank me later!

ALEX: My love and devotion to the HOKA Speedgoat have only been strengthened with the Speedgoat 5. It is a work of art.

If you want a go-to trail shoe that moves effortlessly from training to racing and provides a lightweight, protective, responsive ride that will endure hundreds of miles over any terrain, this is your shoe. This one will make you excited to get back out on your double days and eager to stay out on your long-run days.

You can pick up the HOKA Speedgoat 5 on March 15, 2022, for $145 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop HOKA Speedgoat – Men Shop HOKA Speedgoat – Women

hoka speedgoat 5 top and bottom

11 Comments

  1. I will keep an open mind, but should a satisfied Speed Goat EVO customer be happy that their shoe was retired in favor of a completely redesigned Speed Goat 5 that is heavier with a narrower toe box?

  2. In the article you guys mention the potential option to pre-order the shoe somewhere? Is that feasible at X retailer? I don’t see that being an option anywhere?

    Shane

  3. Still not seeing it on Running Warehouse (or Hoka or REI). Could you double check with your source on launch date?

    1. Yeah, we emailed them this morning, haven’t heard back. Would say that any date you see just push it back by at least a month, perpetually. Every shoe company is delaying things for the foreseeable future.

  4. Upgraded from the speedboat 4 to the 5 and ran in them over the weekend. HUGE blisters on the tops of my big toes from the large flared tongue that lays on the top of my feet. Why wasn’t this trimmed ????

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