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  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  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.

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

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.

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)

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.

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