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Hoka Speedgoat 5 review

Is the Hoka Speedgoat 5 one of the best trail running shoes on the market? Editor Helen Webster puts it to the test to find out

Our rating 
4.8 out of 5 star rating 4.8
£130
Hoka Speedgoat 5 running shoe

One of the classics in the Hoka range, the Speedgoat is now in its fifth iteration, a sure sign that a brand has found a design that works.

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The Speedgoat actually gets its name after Karl ‘Speedgoat’ Meltzer, who was the first Hoka-sponsored runner. He’s won more 100-mile trail races than you’ve had hot dinners and set the speed record for the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 2016.

So with such heritage behind it, there was no pressure to perform again with this version, right…? Well…

Hoka Speedgoat 5 review

We last saw the Speedgoat with version 4 in our May 2020 issue where it scored 92%, a hard act to beat. So what’s new? Well, the overall weight of the shoe has been reduced (Hoka quote by 15g for the men’s and 21g for the women’s versions) and this has been achieved through fewer overlays and more flexible fabrics, including in the tongue and ankle area.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 ride

Having chosen Hoka trail shoes for a good few years now – this tester previously ran in the Torrent and the now-discontinued EVO Mafate as well as earlier Speedgoats – the feel of these was familiar, but they have certainly avoided the sometimes rigid feeling of the materials used in many trail shoes and they did feel very light.

We felt this was an exceptionally soft and comfortable shoe, but the fit was still snug and supportive enough to make us feel secure on the trails, reflected by the fact Hoka describe the Speedgoat as a ‘balanced’ shoe, sitting in the middle of the range between responsive and plush.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 materials and fit

In other good news, the Speedgoat 5 uses more recycled materials than previously and for this tester, the choice of two widths was welcome, as we found our previous standard-fit Hokas a little narrow. Those flexible textiles (also seen on the EVO Mafate) also allow for foot-swell which, on long, hot days on the trails, were very much appreciated.

We tested these shoes over a three-month period towards the end of summer, on routes up to 16km taking in hilly loose trails with a mix of loose dirt and stones, as well as crossings over fields and short periods of road. It’s here that the shoe’s features really come into their own.

The shoe is neutral, which would always be this tester’s pick for trail shoes anyway. That’s because the constantly changing surfaces mean you’re not repetitively pounding at the same angle (as you would be on a road), so we don’t feel the need for stability or pronation correction.

Hoka Speedgoat 5 traction

The other change in the Speedgoat 5 compared to its predecessors is in the choice of Vibram technology in the sole. Vibram Megagrip with Traction Lug aims to give the best traction and on our test runs we felt secure and stable, event while descending steeper sections which were loose underfoot, while the sole still gave enough cushioning and bounce to give a comfortable experience on short tarmac road sections.

The only surface the shoe didn’t feel 100% grippy on was smooth concrete or metal elements (like drain covers!), but that’s usual for trail shoes so we haven’t marked them down for it – just something to be aware of.

Thanks to a very hot, dry 2022 we didn’t have the opportunity to test these in very wet conditions or thick mud, but based on the performance of previous trail Hokas we don’t predict any problems.

Finally we covered around 100km in our original test period without seeing any wear to the uppers on these shoes, which bodes well for their longevity. Five colourways are available for men and four for women.

Verdict: Immediately comfortable, grippy and easy to run in. Fans of the Speedgoat, breathe a sigh of relief!

Score: 95%

Pair these with…

Darn Tough Run No-Show Tab Cushion Ultralight

It’s no good investing in a decent pair of trail running shoes if you’re going to wear them with a rubbish pair of socks. Our recommendation? The Darn Tough Run No-Show Tab Cushion Ultralight socks.

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Despite the long, wordy name, there’s nothing complex about these socks. They’re just a pleasure to run in, with decent cushioning, a heel tab that helps them stay in place and a good balance of durability, comfort, support and anti-odour properties thanks to the material utilising a mix of nylon, Merino wool and lycra.