HOKA ONE ONE SPEEDGOAT
Earlier this year, Hoka One One, the French/US company released the Speedgoat. This shoe was co-designed by Karl Meltzer, one of the great US runners over the past decade. Meltzer has won dozens of 100 mile races in the US. His favorite shoe was the Hoka One One Rapa Nui. I too, am a fan of the Rapa Nui and have been looking forward to trying this shoe on my local trails of Mt. Diablo in Northern California.
Like the Rapa Nui, the Speedgoat does not have the huge midsole of the Stinson, Bondi and other Hoka One One shoes. Runners with poor form and who don’t have normal to high arches should not buy this shoe because it is not a stability shoe, although it is stiffer than the Rapa Nui. Some runners who supinate have stated in their reviews that the midsole was too soft on the outside of the foot resulting in a noticeable lean to the outside. For myself this wasn’t an issue. I would suspect that lighter runners would be less likely to experience this than heavier runners.
There are two big differences between this shoe and the Rapa Nui. First, the toe box of the Speedgoat is noticeably narrower than the Rapa Nui. For myself, I liked not having my does slide around, especially when I was running through rock gardens. I normally wear a thick Drymax sock, but, for those runners who find the toebox narrow, I would recommend switching to the Drymax thin socks.
Second, the vibram sole has nobs that are huge. I loved the sole, going uphill with these was like having 4 wheel drive. The shoes gripped the loose sand stone on the trail which made for a much more efficient stride which of course equals more speed with less effort. But, it was on the downhills where I noticed a big difference between the Speedgoats and the Rapa Nui’s and Solomon shoes I used to wear. The sole gripped the rocks and loose sand stone soil and I was much more confident and was able to relax and run downhill much faster.
I give this shoe a grade of 4 and a half stars. I took off a half a star because the colors are a bit clownish. That said, I would recommend this shoe to most runners.