Shoe of the Week: HOKA One One Speedgoat 4
Big wheels keep on turning with HOKA’s “hold my beer” trail plow, which now fits better and rolls smoother.
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HOKA One One Speedgoat 4 Review
Weight: 10.8oz M, 9.2oz W
Offset: 4mm (30mm heel, 26mm forefoot)
Price: $145 (GTX $160 and Mid-GTX $170)
As expected from HOKA’s maximalist approach and the Speedgoat name, this big yet light shoe rolls right over trail obstacles with a cushioned and aggressively-tractioned platform that accommodates wide feet.
Version 4 boasts a more responsive midsole and firmer ride, wider forefoot fit, printed upper overlays for added durability, support and security, and a gusseted, thinner tongue for breathability.
This is the shoe for you if…
You aren’t the lightest on your feet, especially towards the end of a long trail run when you want the comfort of being able to confront rocks, roots and slop with confidence and cushion.
Testers were baffled by HOKA’s ability to put so much into a shoe while keeping it so light. They commented that it was the “ultimate ultra maximalist cruiser,” “technical trail ready,” “like with most HOKAs, the spring in your step was obvious,” “never feeling as though you had the extra amount of shoe,” and “like I was running on a full-suspension 29er mountain bike with wide, big-lugged tires that allowed me to roll over anything and everything.”
The wider forefoot was a welcome change for this fourth version, resulting in a notably more stable, better fit. Some testers, especially women, had problems with the new gusseted tongue, which was either difficult to maneuver for foot entry, especially in the Gore-Tex versions, or was abrasive where the material rubbed the upper foot or lower ankle. Otherwise the revised 3D-printed upper overlays impressed with their durability and secure lockdown.
The new, firmer midsole foam was deemed more responsive than the Speedgoat 3. If you think of the sole as an ice cream sandwich, if feels like HOKA froze the middle layer a little more to stiffen the ride, compared to previous versions of the shoe which had more of a melted, squishy feel. This was a welcome change for testers who had difficulty with proprioception and balance in the softer previous versions. The Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole, with 5mm lugs and zonal rubber placement, was stout and provided wet and dry traction, but tended to retain mud.
One veteran of previous versions of the model said the 4 was “a great fit for my feet and definitely an upgrade from the previous models.” Another also praised the wider fit, and said of the cushioning, “The new midsole foam improves on the last version, which had a wet diaper feel to it. The roll-through of the midsole flows nicely from heel to toe and, despite so much cushioning, the dampening didn’t deaden the performance.”