Friday, August 11, 2017

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Review



Hoka One One was the first company to release an oversized foam midsole running shoe in 2010 and the trend has been gaining popularity ever since.  Now most companies have some variation of a highly cushioned shoe.  The founders of Hoka One One wanted to create a larger sweet spot, much like on oversized tennis racquets or skies.  There have been statements both for and against these highly cushioned shoes. 

While they might not be for everyone, there some benefits that the shoe companies are claiming.  They claim that the extra cushion provides a softer ride, which you cannot disagree with.  They also claim that the extra cushion lessens the impact on your joints and can reduce the amount of recovery time needed after long or higher intensity runs.  Another claim is that the extra cushion provides an increased energy return, meaning that the shoes will provide more of a spring than lesser cushioned shoes. 

I have reviewed several shoes from Hoka One One in the past.  Click the links below to read my reviews.

Hoka One One has been winning awards for many of their shoes.  The original Clifton won multiple awards while the Clifton 2 won the Summer 2015 “Editor’s Choice for Best Ride” from Competitor.com.  The Clayton won the September 2016 “Editor’s Choice” award from Runner’s World and the Clifton 3 won the 2016 “Best Update” award from Competitor.com.  Hoka One One has proven that they know how to make some killer shoes so I branched out and tested one of their trail shoes earlier this year, a month before my first 50k.  I wanted to see how they stacked up.  I loved the Challenger ATR 3’s so much that I’ve since run all three of my ultra-races this year with them.  The ATR3’s had the perfect mix of cushion, comfort, responsiveness, and they drain moisture better than any shoe I have run in.  This is important for trail races. 


I just finished testing my second trail shoe from Hoka One One, the Speedgoat 2, named after the master of 100-mile trail races (with the most wins at the 100 mile distance) Karl Meltzer.   Hoka One One designed this shoe to handle all types of technical trails and made huge improvements from the first version of the Speedgoat, which had some major flaws.  The new version saw improvements in fit, stability, and durability.  It’s built on a completely new last with a wider midsole, which I love, that helps create a more stable shoe.  Let’s get into the specs.


The Speedgoat 2 weighs in at 9.8 ounces in a men’s size 9 (8.2 ounces in a women’s size 8).  It has a 32mm stack height in the heel and 27.5 mm height in the forefoot giving it a 4.5mm heel drop, which is nice.  These shoes might look like your foot is really high off the ground, but your foot actually sits down inside the midsole rather than on top of it.  Why is this good you might ask?  You get a shoe with more stability for all types of runners without adding weight to try and stabilize your foot like some shoes that completely sit on top of the midsole.  I felt like I was able to really bomb down hills with more confidence and stability than with many other trail shoes that I have tested. 

Since I love the Challenger ATR 3 so much, I wanted to compare the specs with the Speedgoat 2.


Weight
9.5 ounces
9.8 ounces
Stack Height
29mm heel/24mm forefoot (5mm drop)
32mm heel/27.5mm forefoot (4.5mm drop)
Outsole
Rubber and exposed midsole
Vibram® MegaGrip
Lugs
4mm rubber tipped lugs
5mm multi-directional lugs
Stability
Neutral
Moderate (more stable than ATR3)
Cushion
Balanced (between responsive & Plush)
Balanced (between responsive & Plush)
Midsole
Oversized EVA
Oversized EVA
Drainage
Best draining trail shoe
Ok draining
Upper
breathable
Not as breathable as the ATR3
Cost
$130
$140

Challenger ATR3

Speedgoat 2


Both shoes include an Early Stage Meta-Rocker that is made to propel you forward while promoting a natural gait.  Your foot rolls smoothly from impact to off.  They both are well cushioned, have great traction and feel great mile after mile.  Areas where the Challenger ATR 3 excel are its excellent breathability and drainage, which I found particularly useful right after creek crossings and running through puddles.  They are also a little lighter than the Speedgoat 2 and are made to run both on the road and trail.  The Speedgoat 2 on the other hand have better traction, more cushion, and just feel a little faster and more stable than the Challenger ATR 3.  Different people will prefer one of these shoes over the other for their own personal reasons.  I think they are both really great shoes.


Pros:
Stable and fast ride on any terrain
Excellent grip with a Vibram® MegaGrip outsole
5mm multi-directional lugs
Plenty of cushion for all types of runs and distances
4.5mm heel drop
Very light 9.8 ounces
Great price ($140 Hoka One One website)

Cons:
Get a full size larger (fits small)

Hoka One One Social Media Links:

I was really pleased with the Speedgoat 2, especially after reading reviews of the original Speedgoat.  I have wider feet and having a shoe with a wide enough forefoot area is very important to me.  This was not a problem at all in the Speedgoat 2, although I had to get a size 11 (a full size up from my normal shoe) because of the length and fear of the dreaded “black toenails.”  I usually don’t run very fast downhill, mainly due to confidence in the grip of shoes and stability.  Both of those issues were non-existent in the Speedgoat 2 and it allowed me to really take on the downhills with confidence.  Check them out at your local running store (click here for locations), at the Hoka One One website, or at your favorite online retailer.  They are worth checking out and I would love to know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Review



I started running in Altra shoes about a three years ago.  I wrote several reviews during my ”Week of Altra,” a few months back.  I just got the latest in the Lone Peak line of shoes, the Lone Peak 3.5.  I’ve written reviews for several Altra shoes in the past.  Click the links to read my past reviews:

As with all of Altra’s shoes, the Lone Peak 3.5 has the FootShape™ toebox, which allows your toes to spread out.  It helps eliminate issues resulting from compressing your feet/toes.  This is a common issue with most other company’s shoes because of their narrower toe box.  Altra’s zero heel drop (meaning that the heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground) promotes proper form, provides better propulsion, aligns your feet, back, and body, and is not weighted more heavily in the heel (like most shoes) which promotes heel striking.


The Lone Peak 2.5 is one of my favorite trail shoes.  It’s extremely responsive and comfortable while providing just the right amount of protection and cushion.  There have been some really nice improvements in the Lone Peak 3.5. Here’s a comparison of the two shoes.


Weight
10.6 ounces
9.7 ounces
Stack Height
25mm
25mm
Outsole
Sticky-Rubber TrailClaw™
MaxTrac™ Rubber with TrailClaw™
Cushioning Level
Moderate
Moderate
Midsole
Dual Layer EVA with A-Bound Top Layer
Dual Layer EVA with A-Bound
Insole
5 mm Contour Footbed
5 mm Contour Footbed
Upper
Quick-Dry Trail Mesh
Quick-Dry Air Mesh
Cost
$120 (on sale for $84, select sizes)
$120

LP2.5 Pic

LP3.5 Pic

The Lone Peak 3.5 is 0.9 ounces lighter than its predecessor even though it has the same stack height.  This could be due to different types of rubber used in the outsole and different mesh materials used in the uppers.  Other than that, the shoes are fairly similar in terms of specs.  One thing I really like about the design of the Lone Peak 3.5 is that the area around the ankles are cutout to prevent rubbing of the ankles. 

The Lone Peak 3.5 also added drainage holes to keep your feet dry.  This was probably my biggest issue with the previous versions in the Lone Peak series.  I really like to run through creeks, especially when it’s hot out.  There’s no better way to cool down than to just take a seat in a cold creek.  Most trail shoes don’t drain well enough for my taste.  I end up sloshing through miles before my feet dry out, but not with the Lone Peak 3.5.  The drainage holes do an excellent job and I couldn’t be happier with them. 

The upper material also got an overhaul to an upgraded mesh upper that is more durable and breathable.  The upper really looks great with the overlays and of course the mountain design on the side. 

The outsole uses TrailClaw lugs, which is a unique tread pattern, beneath your metatarsals for superior traction.  They are a hexagonal shape that does a really good job of gripping while not retaining that mud in your tread.  The rubber material is made of a compound, MaxTrac, which provides a great amount of grip, no matter what type of terrain you run on.  Granite outcroppings, muddy single-tracks, and gravel fire roads are no match for these shoes.

Another new feature of the Lone Peak 3.5 is the new 4-point gaiter system that expands on Altra’s awesome GaiterTrap on previous versions.  In addition to the hook and loop tab on the back of the shoe, there is now a loop at the front of the laces and points on each side (inside and outside) of the shoe to secure the gaiters and prevent even more debris from getting in your shoes.  Altra will be coming out with their 4 point gaiters later this year.


I have put about 60 miles on the Lone Peak 3.5’s and really like how they perform.  I feel confident going on technical trails and steep downhills with shoe’s great traction and there’s enough cushion to prevent bone bruises from rocks and roots.  This is one of my most used trail shoes recently and I think you will like it.

Pros:
Zero heel drop
Wide toe box.
Extremely comfortable
Decent amount of cushion
Lightweight at 9.7 ounces
Decent price ($120 on sale at Altra.com)
4 point gaiter trap

Cons:
The 4 point gaiters from Altra will not be available until later this fall.

Altra’s Social Media Links:

The Lone Peak 3.5 is an amazing trail beast!  While I really liked the previous versions, the Lone Peak 3.5 is really awesome with its improved outsole, mesh upper, 4-point gaiter, and lighter weight.  You can get the Lone Peak 3.5 for $120 on the Altra website.   Please let me know what you think of Altra or if you plan on getting a pair to try out.  I would love to hear what you think.  It has really helped my running and I am becoming more injury-free as a result of running in Altra shoes.  Don’t just take my word for it, hit the trails and look around.  I’ll bet you see a lot of people running in Altra shoes.  There is a reason why. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.