In this Hoka Speedgoat 5 review, we'll be looking at how this latest incarnation of Hoka’s most popular trail running shoe compares to the previous Speedgoat 4 and taking it for a ride on the trails to see how the knitted upper, lighter midsole and enhanced grip performs for real on the trails.
Straight out of the box I was impressed with its comfort and in particular the energetic rebound I felt from the midsole which seemed to actively propel me forward more than I’ve felt before in both the previous Speedgoat 4 and many of the other trail running shoes I’m currently testing.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole too felt brilliant on all the different surfaces I tested it on, with the Traction Lugs digging into mud, clinging on to rocks, stabilising me on slippery grass and eating up Tarmac with no problems.
However, for me personally the Speedgoat 5 has one quite major downside that just tips it from the position of a new favourite shoe – but it’s something that might not even affect you. Read on to find out more.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Price, availability and specs
In Australia, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is available to buy through Hoka's official distributor The Athlete's Foot for AU$280.
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 has a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop.
Available colourways include:
Women’s – Blue graphite, Blue coral, Purple Impression; Men’s – Blue coral, Outer space.
Fit: True to size, snug toe box
Characteristics: Cushioned, neutral, bouncy, good grip and traction
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: What's new?
First off, the Speedgoat 5 is lighter than its little brother the Speedgoat 4, but only by 21g in the women’s and 15g in the men’s. You can’t tell when you first put them on, but it’s a marginal gain you’ll be thankful for after 50 miles on the trails – every little helps!
The new version has a new knitted upper made in part using recycled polyester for a comfortable, flexible fit with more room for your feet inside. It also boasts increased bounce thanks to a new, lighter midsole compound, and even more grip with the addition of the Traction Lug version of the Vibram Megagrip outsole. Sounds fresh from Jurassic Park, doesn’t it? Let’s see how the shoe performed on the trails.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Fit and sizing
The fit of the Speedgoat 5 is true to size and feels comfortable and snug straight from the box. The slimline, welded-seam (ie no stitching) fish-tail-shaped tongue fits nicely around the ankle area and you can draw the laces in easily for a very comfortable, snug fit. The toebox, I would describe as snug or narrow.
The sock-like upper does have a good bit of give in it for your little toe if you’re a bit of a Hobbit in the foot department, but I still think the toe box isn’t as wide as it should be for trail and ultra running where your feet are likely to swell and widen. It does puzzle me as to why Hoka have listed the Speedgoat 5 in its ‘Browse Our Wide Fit Range’ webpage. It is definitely not wide…
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Upper and lacing
The upper material is a really comfortable, flexible, knitted, sock-like fabric with a tough rubber rand at the front for extra protection from rocks and kicked-up trail grit. The upper is also made from recycled polyester and it’s really good to see Hoka joining so many outdoor brands right now in stepping up to ease our impact on the planet and the wild places we love to run in. One thing that sets the Speedgoat 5 shoe apart from most other trail running shoes on the market is the extended, semi-rigid tab to help you get the shoe on and off easily, which is a nice touch and works well.
The laces have a noticeable amount of stretch in them which gives the shoe a little extra flexibility for foot swell and to flex and move. I prefer a static lace that you just do up and they stay put. With these stretchy laces, I end up pulling the laces harder, accidentally over-tightening them and then having to loosen and re-tie them to avoid a hot spot on the top of my right foot close to the ankle. They might suit you, but if not you can easily re-lace the Speedgoat 5’s with the laces of your choice, it’s no biggie.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Midsole bounce
The main weight saving (a nice, light 497g per pair UK size 6.5) is from the new, lighter midsole that delivers in my opinion, a superior rebound that sets the Speedgoat 5 apart from many other cushioned trail running shoes, including its predecessor the Speedgoat 4.
Yes, most trail shoes are now very comfy straight from the box, but I’ve tried many cushioned trainers that feel more like padded slippers; comfy, but not bouncy. The Speedgoat 5 actively propels you forward and has one of the best feelings of rebound that I’ve tried in a trail shoe. Hoka refers to this as their Late Stage Meta-Rocker. In layman’s terms - extra-zing. Like it!
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Outsole grip and traction
Love a good bit of tech speak, so the Speedgoat 5’s Vibram Megagrip (yup, still a kind of dinosaur in my book) with Traction Lug sole doesn’t fail to impress in both name and performance on the trails. It's designed to provide more surface contact and traction, and I really enjoyed this feature of the shoe.
They grip well on all surfaces from pavement to grass to rock and mud, with deep enough lugs to cope well with the sloppy ground but combined with enough protection and cushioning from the sole and midsole to be comfortable on roads too. Vibram is always a fantastic choice and this Megagrip sole gets the roar of approval from me.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Colours and aesthetics
These are a thing of beauty and will make you stand out from the crowd but in a good way. Available in four colours for men and women, Hoka is definitely displaying love for a grad - a gradual change from one colour to another. Seen on the outside of the midsole, the colour changes from heel to toe, from orange to red or lime green to blue; and the knitted upper echoes the colour palette in a pattern of radiating stripes.
It’s all very pleasing. Of course, we don’t choose shoes solely on what they look like (ahem…) – comfort and performance come first, but these cool colours and designs from Hoka go a long way to nudging us to part with our cash.
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Verdict
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is quite frankly delicious both to look at and to wear. It combines unrivalled bounce, extreme comfort and excellent grip into one helluva trail running shoe that’s hard to beat if….and here’s the biggie…you have narrow ends to your feet.
If your toes spread out a lot, especially during long-distance runs and ultra-marathons, you may – like me – wish that Hoka made a wider-fit version of this shoe. If they did, it would instantly become one of my favourite trail running shoes, especially on mixed terrain and muddy trails. I envy you, slim-toed people.
Recommended for: multi-terrain, middle distance trail runners
Hoka Speedgoat 5 review: Also consider
The Hoka Speedgoat 4 is still very much alive and kicking and has many similar features to the Speedgoat 5 as discussed above, but will now obviously be much reduced in price. Wonderful! Grab yourself a bargainous trail running shoe with almost the same features as the awesome Speedgoat 5, what could be better?
The Inov-8 Parkclaw G 280 is another very comfy, cushioned and bouncy shoe with a wider toebox and fantastic grip for a multitude of different surfaces from road to trail. It also boasts the prestigious G meaning Graphene Grip, Inov-8’s unique grip that they say is tougher and lasts longer than any other.