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Trail Running Shoes • April 26, 2024

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Review: Must We Demote The Goat?

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What You Need To Know


9.8 oz. (278 g) for a US M10,

8.2 oz. (232 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

Men: 40 mm in heel, 35 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 38 mm in heel, 33 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Best For

Crushing trails all day long

Key Features

Lightweight CMEVA midsole, Vibram Megagrip outsole, Woven upper, Gusseted tongue

On The Run
Much-improved durability Hoka's new CMEVA feels lighter underfoot Needs a bit more of that special sauce
Price / Availability

June 2024 for $155

Introduction to the Hoka Speedgoat 6

TAYLOR: Nearly a decade has gone by since the first iteration of the beloved Hoka Speedgoat was released. Even though Hoka’s Mafate was the original high-stack trail shoe, it was the Speedgoat that took trail running to the next level. Think of it as the Gravedigger of the trail running world… the more I think about it, there may be enough similarities between the two to constitute a black, green, and headstone colorway.

It’s a little bit of a surprise to me that the original Speedgoat didn’t get immediate fame. It did gain intrigue, for sure. The combination of high-stack cushion and solid grip accompanied by a secure fit had yet to be developed. When version two came around, the formula had been tweaked enough to shake up our modern trail running market. Believe it or not, this is the reason why the Hoka Speedgoat is considered the GOAT; a self-fulfilling prophecy from a shoe named after Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer.

Skipping forward a few iterations, the Hoka Speedgoat Evo and Speedgoat 4 took the shoe’s GOAT status to a whole new level. A scrounging eBay and stuffing mattresses type of cult formed. The Speedgoat 5 was a long-awaited overhaul, and our initial miles provided the trail crack that everyone loved. In our experience, the high was short-lived. The Speedgoat 5 started to stretch up top, and the midsole lost luster down somewhere between 50 and 100 miles. Disappointment quickly morphed into outrage by the Speedgoat groupies. Sure, the Speedgoat 5 is still a pretty decent shoe, but it certainly didn’t perform how runners have come to expect after the initial miles.

We’re digging deep into the history of the goat, but this jaunt down memory lane is necessary to truly understand the Hoka Speedgoat 6. This version was very deliberate in righting its wrongs. Even though the silhouette of the Speedgoat 6 is nearly identical to the 5, a lot of effort was poured directly into the upper and midsole. With tenacity in mind, the upper was swapped for an engineered woven material. The midsole became lighter and, supposedly, more resilient. The question is, are these updates enough to regain traction within the trail running world as one of the best in the biz?

What we like about the Hoka Speedgoat 6

TAYLOR: What the heck has always set this shoe apart from others? As mentioned, there are three obvious aspects that carry over to the Hoka Speedgoat 6.

I’m going to give it to you straight. Yes, Hoka faced the music and remedied the upper. A Matryx-like mesh ensures that there’s no stretch to the upper this time around. There’s also an inner “cage” of reinforcements through the midfoot. Because of the narrow shape of the Speedgoat, Hoka has a softer mesh vamp area that allows for a little bit of play in the forefoot. I wouldn’t worry about this area overstretching, though.

Such engineered meshes can be worrisome in the heat, but this one seems to hold up alright. Now, I wasn’t running in anything blistering, but I didn’t notice any overheating on the run. What I did notice was that the material did egress water nicely and dried quickly. If anything, those aspects will only help with heat management.

Step 1 of the Hoka Speedgoat improvement plan: Complete.

The second gripe about the Speedgoat 5 came with the durability of its midsole. So, what did Hoka do? They gave us a new formulation in the Speedgoat 6. It’s still a compression-molded EVA (just one of the many ways to bring the EVA materials together). I didn’t notice a huge difference with the initial step in feel; besides that, it does feel slightly lighter.

As I put miles on the Hoka Speedgoat 6, I noticed that the broken-in foam holds up much better than before. It’s positively protective and is slightly firmer than the previous iteration. It actually reminds me of the Dynafit Ultra 100 a bit. Overall, this version of the Speedgoat will last longer than the previous one, but I’ll give more details on the midsole in the following section.

Let’s honor an often unsung hero of the Speedgoat family line: Stability. Just like the Brooks Cascadia has always pulled in runners, the Speedgoat 6 does really well at keeping runners upright and confident on their feet.

It’s such an integral ingredient of this recipe. This version, perhaps because of the slightly firmer midsole, has a moderately pronounced arch and semi-posted feel on the medial side. Honestly, it was a little annoying on smooth terrain like roads and gravel paths. I had the same experience in the Brooks Caldera 7.

The beauty of this design is that the stability components really blend in while on the trail. It’s that hidden governor that makes mild corrections for you. This is a big reason why folks can go forever in the Speedgoat and approach decently technical terrain too.

Like most of its predecessors, a slimmer fit makes way for performance on just about any trail. Whether it was technical or mostly smooth, I felt the heavily padded heel collar, secure midfoot, and slim forefoot allowed for confidence. My foot stayed connected to the stable footbed, especially after using the runner’s loop lacing technique.

Also, like those that came before, the Speedgoat 6 outsole is top-notch. Vibram has always been part of the equation, and it should never stop. The 5 mm multi-directional and multi-shaped lugs gripped really well in a variety of conditions and terrain. The Vibram Megagrip itself is one component that doesn’t have a comparable experience.

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What we don’t like about the Hoka Speedgoat 6

TAYLOR: Just about everything that’s good about the Hoka Speedgoat 6 also comes with a downside. Perhaps it’s because there are many really good shoes in the same category nowadays so we have plenty to compare to. Off the top of my head, the Topo Athletic MTN Racer 3, VJ Maxx 2, Merrell Agility Peak 5, The North Face Altamesa 300, Brooks Caldera 7, Salomon Genesis, and Saucony Xodus Ultra 2 all fall into the same family tree as Hoka’s latest Speedgoat.

It’s hard to admit, but maybe the Speedgoat isn’t that “special” anymore.

As mentioned, the fit is very secure and confidence-inducing, but for me, it did come with some cost.

Take the narrow fit that’s reminiscent of past models. The long and narrow toe box feels a whole lot pinchier than the VJ Maxx 2, Salomon Genesis, and Nnormal Tomir 2, which all have more fitted toe boxes and similar stacks. Narrow can be okay, even for average-footed folk like me, but pinchy is never a great feeling. The Speedgoat is shaped similarly to a speedboat in the forefoot and that caused irritation on the pinky toes and simply felt crunched across the bridge of my forefoot.

The midfoot was a place where I thought fit really well; it just needs some grit because I had the gusseted wings tear away from the tongue. Apparently, they don’t do all that much besides keep the tongue in its place because my foot was secure enough without them. However, the wings floated around and bunched up in the medial arch. This could be down to my particular sample, or it could be the overall build quality. I hope it’s the first.

Even the well-padded heel had mild slippage that bothered me enough to implement some lacing strategies to secure my foot. This did work for security purposes, but it did not work in terms of comfort.

As soon as I took the laces through the top eyelet, the short tongue that many had issues with in the Speedgoat 5 all of a sudden came to life again. I always wear crew-length socks, so this didn’t bother me incredibly, but the laces were certainly noticed as they rubbed the front of my ankle where it had no padding. An hourlong run was fine in this state. This could be a very problematic area over hours of running, though.

As for the midsole, well, it is certainly more durable and slightly firmer. There really isn’t any character to it. Nor is there any true comfort factor that we are used to from high-stack shoes, especially Hoka. I mean, yes it still remained protective and medium firm, but I think anyone new to the Speedgoat series would expect more in terms of comfort.

Even the outsole had a little bit of trouble. The Vibram outsole shed mud nicely, but it got stuck in the pocket right under the heel. Adding weight and messing with gait are two things you never want from a midsole.

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Final thoughts on the Hoka Speedgoat 6

TAYLOR: The big question to be answered is, “Is the Speedgoat still on top?” Well, while I do think it’s a good shoe and improved what it needed to, it’s now just one among many within the category it created.

The Hoka Speedgoat 6 retains many of the desired components. The runner who will love this shoe is someone who wants protection and stability for the long haul. Think of the classics like a narrow but secure fit, durable ingredients, great grip, and high stack all prove to be positive points. It can still tread upon the heights and handle a wide range of conditions. The Speedgoat 6 really should last longer than the previous iteration from the top down.

However, if true cushion is what you’re looking for, there are other options to consider in this category nowadays.

You can pick up the Hoka Speedgoat 6 for $155 in June 2024 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.

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Taylor Bodin
Lead Trail Reviewer
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Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultra runner living in Estes Park, Colo., with his wife and daughters. Trail running is pretty much the only hobby he can manage right now and loves it. Every so often, he will pop off a race or FKT attempt because competition is pure and the original motivator for him getting into running anyways. When not running, Taylor is a 1st grade teacher, running coach (track & field, Cross Country, and Trail/Ultra athletes), and volunteers at his church.

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