HOKA ONE ONE EVO Speedgoat Review
MATT: Lord knows I have a long history with the Speedgoat, starting with the pretty disappointing Speedgoat 1, and then killing it with the Speedgoat 2 and Speedgoat 3, both of which I loved. I’ve used the Speedgoat 3 a lot in my 100-miler training this summer, so I was stoked when I got the EVO Speedgoat. The short of it—I’m a big fan.
ERIN: Sometimes, when I see that I’ve been assigned a particular shoe to review, I get really, really excited. This is one of those times. GUYS. It’s a speedier Speedgoat! Not only that, rumor has it that the EVO Speedgoat has actual room in the toebox.
MATT: Let’s start from the bottom. The EVO Speedgoat outsole is the same as the Speedgoat 3, which is still super solid: fantastic grip on dry and wet, versatile lug design that handles technical terrain well, and supreme durability (I’m over 300 miles on my Speedgoat 3 and the outsole is still great).
The EVO Speedgoat midsole uses the same CMEVA foam used in the Speedgoat 3. It’s supremely comfortable at both easy and fast paces, and I don’t feel I’m sinking into it too much. Thanks to the bathtub design, it’s stable on easy and technical trails alike. It’s all-day comfort that can also get up and go.
As with Erin, I find that the MATRYX upper is mostly great. I especially like the Lycra vamp that extends from the midfoot to the forefoot, as it does a good job of providing space for the toes and allows the upper to stretch a little as the foot.
The toe box does feel a touch longer, so I can wear a slightly thicker sock than with the Speedgoat 3. I have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel, and overall, I think the toe box width of the of EVO Speedgoat works really well, with one issue (see below).
The thin MATRYX upper is pretty friggin’ cool. It locks down very well in the midfoot, does a good job of repelling moisture, and drained very well. My first run in these was during an incredibly humid 24-mile day of mountain repeats (basically grinding up and down the same mountain for hours on end). I was really impressed with how comfortable and relatively dry they stayed, despite the liters of sweat I was dripping on them.
A nice addition to this upper is the stretchy, partial gussets on the tongue, which help further lock the foot in place and prevent the tongue from slipping sideways.
One small but much-appreciated touch is the slightly stretchy laces, which are thinner than the thick, rigid laces of the Speedgoat 3. I liked them so much that I actually swapped them into a Speedgoat 3 for a subsequent run, and found that I could dial them in better, with more tension up and down the foot.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the weight of the EVO Speedgoat (9.3 oz. for a US M9), which is ridiculously light for this much cushioning, and about half an ounce lighter than the already light Speedgoat 3. It feels both super fast and super comfortable, so I found myself reaching for it on long days, easy shorter runs, and workouts alike.
The EVO Speedgoat was designed to be the racing version of the Speedgoat 3 and it shows, but I still find it comfortable for daily runs, even shorter ones. Lastly, I’m also digging the electric bumblebee design vibes. It looks as fast as it feels.
ERIN: Back in the spring, I reviewed the Speedgoat 3, a shoe that, despite my initial skepticism (re: stack height), has joined my regular trail shoe rotation. My only real issue with the Speedgoat 3 was that there wasn’t enough room in the forefoot for both my foot and a sock to fit comfortably, which is unfortunate. I’m not a sockless type, so I made it work as best as I could with some ultra-thin Drymax jobs.
I’m happy to report that the EVO Speedgoat has the same midsole and outsole as the Speedgoat 3, but with more space and a distinctly different upper. The EVO is lighter (7.9 ounces in a women’s 7), owing entirely to the MATRYX upper, which is a non-wicking material interwoven with Kevlar. It’s great at repelling moisture (unless you get water inside, obviously), and the Kevlar gives the upper some structure and makes the shoe feel pretty secure.
If you haven’t run in any version of the Speedgoat, I would highly recommend it. I just love how it feels underfoot; I’ll forgive the lack of ground feel in favor of the MetaRocker design. If you’ve run in the HOKA Clifton, the Speedgoat is basically a Clifton for trails, and both of these shoes are amazing. They’re bouncy, soft but not too soft, and it feels like they’re doing the work for you.
Like the midsole, the outsole of the EVO Speedgoat is the same as the Speedgoat 3. It has 5 mm multidirectional lugs made of Vibram MegaGrip, and the traction is superior.
These shoes also look fast. You can act like you don’t care about that and continue to show up in your non-EVO Speedgoat shoes like a clown, but that’d be a real dumb idea.
MATT: The MATRYX upper is both a gift and a curse for me. The upper is very close fitting, which is generally great, but it can feel a bit claustrophobic by the toes. Even with the Lycra vamp to allow for some expansion, the feeling is much more of a race fit (I know, duh, it’s a racing shoe) and at times the toe box height can feel a bit shallow.
I don’t mind a performance fit upper, and maybe I notice the toe box a bit more because of all the claims that it’s much wider than the Speedgoat 3. While it is wider, It’s also shallower, so it’s a bit of a tradeoff for me.
The other imbalance in the upper for me is the heel lockdown. The heel fits well and there’s no rubbing, but it’s just not as good as the Speedgoat 3. In the end, I feel a bit less stable in technical terrain with the EVO Speedgoat than with the Speedgoat 3. It’s still very good in technical terrain, but not quite as dependable for me as the Speedgoat 3.
Some of this comes down to preference, and I tend to like an upper that really locks my foot onto the midsole. The MATRYX upper and gusseted tongue do a good job of this from the midfoot forward; it’s just the heel that I find a touch less dialed in.
ERIN: I seem to be the only one who thinks this, but in my opinion, the EVO runs a half size large. I wear an 8.5 in almost all running shoes, and when I get another pair of these, I’m going to get an 8. The sizing of these actually reminded me of the Cavu 2, which I also felt ran a bit long.
I probably should have exchanged this pair but I was too excited to run in them and didn’t want to wait. I’ve paid for that by catching my toe quite a few times, and now I have a bruise covering my left shin. And my right hip. Broke my shades, too. Is it more embarrassing to trip over a root so small you can barely see it, or a legit downed tree that’s a foot in diameter? Asking for a friend.
While the MATRYX upper is water repellent, I would not recommend wearing this shoe for situations where you know you’ll have a knee-deep water crossing, because they don’t drain very well in my experience.
MATT: I think HOKA ONE ONE did a really great job of differentiating the EVO Speedgoat from the already venerable Speedgoat 3, a shoe I love. I’d probably reach for it over the Speedgoat 3 on trails with lots of water crossings, or on hot and humid days.
For really technical trails, I might stick to the Speedgoat 3, but overall, the EVO Speedgoat is hard to beat, with its all-day comfort, best-in-class weight, and solid durability. It may be marketed as the race-day version of the Speedgoat 3, but I think it’s a solid option for just about anything you can throw at it.
ERIN: If you are a trail runner, and you have a fall race with PR potential coming up, it’d be a good idea to check out the EVO Speedgoat. You can pick it up at Running Warehouse for $160 using the shop link below.Shop HOKA EVO Speedgoat
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