Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 Review - Completely Revamped, Hoka Nailed It!

by Jeff Valliere

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
9.8 oz./278 g US Mens Size 9/8.2 oz./232 g US Womens Size 8
(my US Size 10 pair weighs 10 3/8 oz. or 295 grams)
32mm heel/27.5mm forefoot/4.5mm drop
MSRP $140, Available June, 2017

In all of my time reviewing and testing shoes, there were few shoes where I was as excited as I was for the original Speedgoat 1.  Super light, lots of cushion and great traction!  I patiently waited and I was eventually able to snag a pair from the test shelf that was a size too small and then went to great lengths to find the correct size at a running shop an hour away who would trade me out.  I was sure that this was going to be my magic bullet shoe for the Pikes Peak Marathon and had very high expectations.
Unfortunately, I was quite let down, as not only did the Speedgoat 1 give me amazing blisters on my pinky toes, I found them to be incredibly unstable, to the point where I actually fell several times during the course of my (short) test period, as the last narrowed such at the forefoot and combined with the high stack, my foot just had trouble staying on top of the shoe in technical terrain. (Editor's Note: I concur with Jeff. The Speedgoat 1 was unstable towards the front of the shoe on technical terrain due to a poor mid foot wrap and thin sock liner. Substituting a more substantial sock liner helped). I am a big fan of Hoka, but the first version of this shoe just did not work for me and was a disappointment.

The Speedgoat 2 however has been completely redesigned from the ground up.  From the best I can tell, the only thing in common with the first version is the name and super cool Speedgoat logo.  Is version 2 an improvement? (OK, my title might give a hint).


The upper is completely revamped, such that the Speedgoat 2 has a much less tapered and more generous fit in the forefoot (on top of an entirely new and wider last).  The Speedgoat 2 has an engineered 3D Puff Print mesh upper with midfoot cage construction and speed frame overlays to provide significantly improved support.  The word "improved" here is an understatement, as foothold from heel to toe is absolutely locked in and dialed, performance oriented, yet comfortable without feeling the least bit constraining.  I have not yet experienced such a high level of performance fit, comfort or stability in a Hoka shoe.

The toe bumper is on the thin side and semi flexible, but since it sits on top of so much foam, a serious toe stub seems a bit less likely than your average shoe.  There is not a lot of open mesh on this shoe and what little there is, it is not particularly airy.  I have only run in temperatures nearing 80 degrees with the Speedgoat 2 and while I found them to be reasonably comfortable at that temperature, I wonder how they will fare when summer hits and it is 90+ degrees.

In the shots below, the change to a wider, more stable and more accommodating forefoot is not quite as obvious from above, but in person it is evident.
Speedgoat 2
Speedgoat 1 PC:HokaOneOne

You can see the difference a little better when comparing the outsole.
Speedgoat 2

Speedgoat 1 PC:HokaOneOne
The heel collar is well padded and a perfect height.  The heel counter is semi flexible, yet very secure, stable and protective.

The tongue is well padded and quite comfortable.  Though I generally prefer a gusseted tongue (if only for fit and ease), the tongue in the Speedgoat 2 is not gusseted, but stays in place nicely with a lace guide on the top of the tongue to keep it well positioned.  I would not have known the difference, had I not looked closely.

The Speedgoat 2 fits true to size and my size 10 is consistent in length with the Challenger ATR 3, the Speed Instinct, Bondi and Stinson.  Though wider in the forefoot with a more "normal" shape than the original Speedgoat, the Speedgoat 2 is by no means a wide shoe.  The Speedgoat 2 has a more precise fitting and structured upper that some might find slightly less roomy than the Challenger 3 or the Speed Instinct.  I find the more precise fit to be an asset in regards to performance, but if I am running longer distances at slower speeds, I may loosen the laces some to allow for a bit more comfort.  I find that this method is adequate to allow for more room for splay and swelling, without compromising much in the way of security and stability.  This is definitely not a shoe that will be the Hoka model for Altra fans, but as always, I suggest trying on shoes before buying, or if buying online, buy from a online retailer with a liberal return policy just in case.


Equally impressive is the massively stacked EVA midsole.  This midsole seems to be a bit more firm and stable than the first version, while still maintaining the plush and well cushioned feel one might expect from a Hoka.  For such a generously cushioned shoe, the Speedgoat 2 is surprisingly responsive and fast.

The midsole looks large, but as is the case with the majority of Hokas, the foot sits much deeper within the shoe than the sidewall height suggests, enhancing stability due to the Active Foot Frame technology.  The Speedgoat 2 runs like a much slimmer shoe, more like a shoe with ~10 less millimeters of stack height, as it is impressively agile and nimble.

PC: Hoka One One
The Meta Rocker is quite pronounced in the Speedgoat 2 and really tilts the shoe forward such that you almost have to run.  If just standing around casually on a flat surface, I have on multiple occasions caught myself pitching forward and needed to catch my balance.  Not ideal for casual use, but is an asset when running on the trails.

Speedgoat 1 PC:HokaOneOne

The Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole (along with the upper and the midsole) is one of the best aspects of the Speedgoat 2.  The lugs are deep and arranged such that they provide excellent traction in a wide variety of conditions.  With the Megagrip sticky rubber compound, the Speedgoat 2 grabs well on dry rock, wet rock, snow, mud, off trail, loose dirt and just about anything else you can step on.

The Speedgoat 2 has a very effective multi directional lug pattern that digs in very well on loose terrain.

There is some foam in not so critical areas to save some weight, but does not take away from the durability of the outsole.  With 60 rough test miles on my Speedgoat 2, resistance to wear is quite impressive, with only some very minor wear visible on the lugs and some chaffing/scuffing of the foam.


The Speedgoat 2 rips!  Plain and simple.  This is the best performing maximal shoe I have yet to run in and even out performs the Challenger ATR 3, which I have been storing under lock and key for the Pikes Peak Marathon in August (which I will be replacing with the Speedgoat 2).  Though the Speedgoat 2 is on the large side, both in stack height and width, it runs like a much smaller shoe, feeling very fast, light, responsive and nimble.

Ground feel is a bit muted, as one might expect with a shoe with so much cushion, but I have not found it to ever be a problem, as I find myself skipping rock to rock with ease and the rest of the terrain between the rocks, I hardly need to feel, as I am just steamrolling over it.  The Speedgoat 2 is notably wide and combined with such a locked in and performance oriented upper, stability is remarkable, even when pushing hard in rocky, technical terrain.  Flexibility is good enough for contouring over rocks and obstacles, with no feeling of tippyness.  I tried the Speedgoat 2 out on the roads and they performed reasonably well, but overall, I found the lugs to be a bit large and sticky and thus hampering efficiency some. The plush cushion is well suited for road/sidewalk use, but this is a pure trail shoe.

My Speedgoat 2, US size 10 weighs in at 10 3/8 oz. (295 grams)

The Challenger ATR 3 is just slightly lighter.


This is an any distance, any terrain, any pace shoe for racing or training.  With the maximal cushion, the Speedgoat 2 is certainly most ideally suited to be an all day ultra distance shoe.  Combined with superb traction and excellent durability, the Speedgoat 2 would be great for races like Hardrock or any other long distance, tough race or challenge in the mountains, but I would also not hesitate to pick this shoe for trail races as short as 5k or any distance in between.


Front to back:  Speedgoat 2, Challenger ATR 3, Salomon Sense Pro Max, New Balance Leadville v3, early generation Stinson ATR.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 vs. Salomon Sense Pro Max (RTR Review here):
The Speedgoat has more cushion, is lighter, more stable and dare I say it, a more secure and more comfortable upper. Grip is also better with the Speedgoat 2, with more pronounced lugs that are easily as sticky, yet more durable.  The Speedgoat 2 is also faster feeling, more agile and more responsive.  The Pro Max performs better on pavement and would probably make a better door to trail shoe.
I found the Pro Max to be somewhat wide feeling and stable, but the picture below illustrates how much wider the Speedgoat 2 is.  This added width is appreciated at high speeds in rough terrain.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 vs. Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 (RTR Review here):
The Speedgoat 2 weighs just a smidge more (3/10th of an ounce), but I think that added weight is worth it for a more secure upper, greater stability and most importantly for me considering the rocky terrain I frequent, a much more durable outsole with better traction.  The Challenger would likely be a better choice though for more mellow trails, door to trail use and if more breathability is desired.  Response is quite similar.

Compared side by side with the Challenger ATR, the added width of the Speedgoat 2 is significant.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 vs. Hoka One One Stinson ATR:  The Stinson ATR is about the most maximal shoe I own (I only have the 1st generation).  I like them and even used them to set my Pikes Peak Marathon PR, but they are a tad heavy (~12 oz. for my size 10) not particularly responsive and traction is only OK.  Tread wear is average to below.  The Stinson has a slightly wider heel, but the Speedgoat 2 is even wider in the forefoot.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 vs. New Balance Leadville v3 (RTR review here):
The Speedgoat 2 is a little bit lighter, with better traction and more cushion.  Both are very well cushioned and protective, but the Speedgoat 2 has an edge when it comes to performance, as it is more responsive and quick feeling.

Jeff's Score:  9.9/10
-.01 for breathability concerns

MSRP $140, Available June, 2017

Jeff Valliere's Run Bio
Jeff is a former pro cyclist who now runs and climbs the mountains of Colorado. He has been top 5 Masters, top 25 overall, at the Pike's Peak Marathon several times, finishing 3d Masters this year. Jeff loves vertical accumulating more than 500,000 vertical feet per year, has climbed all the 14's and 200 of the 13's and has held FKT on several.  He often runs and climbs at night. Passionate about the sport but also the gear he has reviewed hundred of shoes for various magazines and sites and participated in product testing for many brands.  Formerly a bike mechanic he has recently worked in Satellite Imagery. He has twin 6 year old daughters who keep him ever busier yet.

The Speedgoat was provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.
Photo Credits: Jeff Valliere unless otherwise noted

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Anonymous said...

How would they compare to the s-lab ultra?

Jeff Valliere said...

I debated including the S Lab Ultra in my comparisons, but just decided to stick with maximal comparisons. The S Lab Ultra has a good bit less cushion (26/18 vs. 32/27.5), so would probably be more suited for 100k vs. 100 milers. I think the S Lab Ultra has better grip on a wider variety of surfaces (wet/wet rock), a slightly better upper, though retails for $40 more than the Speedgoat 2. Hard to pass up so much cushion though in the Speedgoat 2 at nearly the same weight. It depends on preference I guess.

David Lee said...

Thanks for this review, I've been waiting for this shoe too! How does the width compare to the SLAB Sense Ultra? Not just the outsole comparison, but when you wear them, how do they differ? That is my main concern...

Jeff Valliere said...

Hi David, fit is similar, both uppers are fairly low volume and performance oriented. I can easily run 5 hours in the Sense Ultra and not even think about the upper and never make an adjustment, despite the precise fit. The SG 2, though not really more roomy, it seems like with the conventional laces and not being Endofit, there is a bit more leeway and a bit more room for expansion depending on how much you cinch the laces.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reply, I really want the wet rock grip and the locked fit of the salomon but not the high drop and price.

Jeff Valliere said...

Anonymous, have you considered the La Sportiva Akasha? Gobs of cushion, performance, locked in upper and very good traction and reasonably priced at $140. I reviewed it here:

Was my favorite shoe of 2016.

Gordon said...

This is exciting. I just sent a pair of Speedgoat 1 back to the store for the same issues you had, blistery toes and they were just unstable. The version 1 ran so narrow that i ordered up a half size, which led to too much room and bad fit. This seems like a great improvement. Couple of questions: the version 1 had a really pronounced arch support. Same in ver 2? and when you say true to size, I've always had to order .5 size up Hoka in all models. so by true to size does that mean true to Hoka sizing?

Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Gordon, I don't remember the arch in the SG 1 being notably pronounced, but that was 2 years ago and I gave up on it quite quickly (not to mention, I was preoccupied with the blisters on my toes and falling down). Definitely not pronounced though with the SG 2.

As far as sizing, I have found Hoka shoe to fit generally in line with other brands, such that I am always a size 10, just a little extra room in the toe. I actually measure just between 9.5 and 10 and can occasionally go 9.5 depending on the brand/model, but given the choice, I always go 10. The only big curve ball from Hoka in regards to sizing, has been the Huaka, where I had both a 9 and a 9.5 and both were good depending on the terrain I was running.

Gordon said...

Thanks Jeff. Excited for this shoe. I've been in Challenger 3's and they work fine, but the speedgoat has always been a dream shoe for me, especially with the technical trail around here.

Joel said...

Great review, as always. I'm encouraged to hear that it has a locked in fit. I'm still leaning towards the Salomon Ultra since I have such narrow feet but this does sound like a great 100 mile shoe option.

Jeff Johanson said...

I've been eagerly waiting for this shoe. It was supposed to be July before it was available so how in the world did you land a pair? So jealous but sooooo happy to see the really positive review. You never know with a completely new revamp. I tested the Tor Speed 2 Mid which is the really the Speedgoat 1 in a mid version. Loved the shoe actually hiking in the White Mountains except for the very narrow toe box. The grip was off the charts good enabling me to do stupid stuff. And yes it had a pronounced arch which I personally loved. 1st shoe I haven't needed an aftermarket footbed with. Cushion was exceptional and really a mid you could run in. Very rare.

So I have a Salomon S-Lab Ultra ordered for training and will go with that until this Speedgoat becomes available. I've got a date to run the 32 mile, 10,000 foot elevation gain Pemigewasset Loop in the White mountains to celebrate my 60th birthday in July. How do you think this shoe will handle that type of technical terrain and compared to the Salomon Ultra also in that environment.

Jeez, June is to far away but the Salomon will be great I'm sure.

Jeff in MA

Jeff Johanson said...

So something interesting I stumbled upon. Hoka Mafate Speed 2 which for some reason is not available in the US.
How does this shoe compare to the new Speedgoat 2 and why isn't it available in the US. Easily ordered from Europe though.

Jeff in MA

sam winebaum said...

Hi Jeff, Thanks for commenting. I have not run the SpeedGoat 2 but did the SpeedGoat 1. I found that without changing out the stock insole the SG1 was not great on technical trails, agreeing with Jeff although loved the ride and grip. Front of the foot tended to rotated as upper didn't hold it well as mid foot on rougher trails. I could see how the Tor Mid might resolve some of those issues. Did you run them there as well? The only shoe in recent years I would dare run the Whites in that isn't a boot, the S-Lab Wings. From Jeff review's I am betting the SG2 will be a very good lighter option for the Whites. As to why no Mafate Speed 2 in the US not sure, maybe a question of focusing on shelf space at retail for a more limited range in the US? It was the same story with the great Huaka, A version 2 was available in Europe well after v1 disappeared here. As to how RoadTrailRun gets early samples. We work hard at it and try to deliver the earliest in-depth reviews on key models from many brands. We go way back with Hoka. I wrote about the original Mafate after taking them trekking around the Mt Blanc. The locals thought I was crazy not to be in boots!
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run.! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews, Sam, Editor

Jon Murchinson said...

Thanks for the detailed and thorough review, Jeff. You wrote the "...Speedgoat 2 has a more precise fitting and structured upper that some might find slightly less roomy than the Challenger 3..." although your side-by-side photo shows the Speedgoat 2 to be significantly wider. Which shoe has a wider forefoot?

Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Jeff, though I am from NH, I have not run the Pemi loop (I left there before I began really trail running as I do now). I think the S Lab Ultra would be a great shoe though for just about anything, particularly good in the wet, great control, so stable on rocks, roots etc... I suspect the SG2 would be good too. Sam covered everything else well. Not familiar with the Mafate Speed 2 really, just have seen some on a friend who is sponsored by Hoka, but I don't think they are as light and agile as the SG2.

Jon, the platform of the SG2 is much wider, but the actual upper has a more precise fit, perhaps not any more narrow, but the materials/overlays are more structured and there is less vertical volume in the SG2.

Kurt Perham said...

i tried the 1st Speedgoat. they "chassis" was really odd and my foot didnt feel as if it "sat down into the shoe" has this been fixed? (as an FYI the speed instinct fits me perfect)

Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Kurt, yep, absolutely fixed, the 2nd version is a different shoe entirely, I highly recommend!