Apologies if this review lacks objectivity but, to quote Will Ferrell’s character in Elf: “I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it.”
I’m also on my fourth pair of HOKA Speedgoats and have collectively put nearly 2000 miles on the French brand’s trail runners/hovercrafts, which have been painstakingly designed to devour long distances the way that, er, goats devour grass. Inspired by old school ultra runner Karl Meltzer (and his trail name: Speedgoat) – who set the FKT (fastest known time) on the Appalachian Trail and has won more 100 mile ultramarathons than any endurance runner on the planet – the Speedgoat 5 is protective enough to keep your feet happy on never-ending excursions, yet so helium light that you’ll never feel bogged down.
I’ve used HOKA Speedgoats for pretty much every iteration of trail. I initially picked up a pair for some of my longer off-road runs but found that they make excellent hikers and have deployed them on 100-mile treks such as the West Highland Way and Cumbria Way. When wearing Gore-Tex footwear in places like Scotland and Wales, moisture soaks through the plastic liner booty in hours. They then take forever to dry, if they ever do. The Speedgoats have served me well as an ultralight, fast-drying alternative.
You can also count on them to provide just the right amount of grip in sticky situations that involve ample vert. I spent a summer running the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the uber technical trails of Acadia National Park in Maine, and the limestone peaks of the Dolomites in Italy, and never felt unsteady in the Speedgoats. The newest iteration seems to be stickier than ever, beefed up with Vibram® Megagrip sole with traction lugs that brake just as well on slippery granite as they do on loose gravel. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re going to be mountain running extensively, there are 100% better shoes for it. That being said, the Speedgoat Vs are more than cut out for the job.
Running an ultra distance? I’ve yet to try another shoe that does it better. I’ve fastpacked both the Snowdonia Slate Trail and Hadrian’s Wall (both circa 80 miles) and made it to the other side without blisters or hostpots. And, the current iteration is even lighter than the last, coming in at a slender 15 grams below. For anyone looking for a pair of trail runners that are adaptable as they are ready to go the distance, we can’t recommend the Speedgoat Vs enough.