Monday, February 03, 2020

Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 Review - Waterproof, Warm and Well Cushioned Winter Protection

Article by Jeff Valliere and Canice Harte

Hoka ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 ($170)
Weight: 320 g | 11.3 oz. (Size US 7W), 374 g | 13.2 oz (Size US 9M)
US Men’s Size 10: 13.6 oz./385g
Stack Height: 33mm / 29mm (4mm drop)
Available: Now  MSRP: $170

Jeff V:  The Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 has an improved upper over version 1, revised and streamlined, now with a Gore-Tex membrane replacing the former eVent membrane WP (waterproof) upper.  Midsole and Outsole are essentially the same, save for VERY subtle differences in the outsole. Performance is equally good, fit is the same, though more difficult to slide on and they do gain some weight primarily due to the more substantial ankle collar.

Tester Profiles
Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other Ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as traditional road races and triathlons.
Jeff  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder, Colorado often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Jeff V:  Warm, protective, waterproof, comfortable, traction, security, cushion, smooth ride, reasonably light and responsive feel despite being a heavier 13+ oz. shoe 
Canice: Comfortable, waterproof and great cushioning

Jeff V:  Difficult to slip on, almost need a shoe horn, despite high top snow builds in collar requiring gaiter in deep snow.  Weight gain.
Canice: This really depends on how and where you use them. In the snow they could use more traction, in rough terrain they could be more durable, for snowshoeing the heel is wide, etc., but generally speaking they really don’t have much in the way of glaring negatives.

First Impressions and Fit
Jeff V:  My hunter orange test pair is LOUD and attention getting, but I was pleased to find out they offer a graphite color option for those looking to blend in.  The SG Mid GTX 2 is a large “looking” shoe, but like the previous version this is a bit deceptive, as it feels lighter on the foot and is more responsive, quick and agile than one would otherwise predict although at 13.6 oz / 385 g in my US Size 10, it does gain weight over its predecessor which came in at 12.6 oz / 357 g in the same size.  Fit is excellent, true to size and even with a mid-thick wool sock, I do not feel the need to size up (though if you wear very thick socks in winter, you may want to consider). Inserting your foot into this shoe is a proper challenge, despite the addition of a heel loop to grab. It is difficult in the comfort of my warm kitchen, but really hard in the car or at the trailhead when cold, so plan accordingly.

Canice: I agree with Jeff’s summary. The shoes feel light and very flexible. The obvious concern one might have when considering purchasing a pair of Hoka Speedgoat Mid GTX 2’s to run in is will they be restrictive and/or heavy?  In truth I pulled these out of the box and took them on a 22 mile snowshoe / run and they were great. They were comfortable, warm and kept my feet dry, yet I felt like I was in a pair of running shoes and could move as freely as I wished.

The length is accurate and the shoe has a medium width fit. 

The toe bumper is sturdy and substantial

Jeff V:  The new Gore Tex upper has a more refined and streamlined appearance and is ever so slightly more secure, but this is really splitting hairs.  The Gore Tex membrane works wonderfully at keeping my feet dry in snow, slush and creek crossings, without ever feeling clammy or overheated, even on warmer days in the 50’s, they regulate very well.

The lacing is very secure.  The tongue is thin and not padded like the previous version, but is comfortable and protects from the laces well. 
Canice: The upper is flexible and very breathable. The gusseted tongue which functions great is also what makes getting into the shoe challenging. You’ll also notice the padded midtop (ankles). This is not a negative as you don’t notice them when you’re running unless you whack an ankle with your foot and then you’ll be very appreciative of them.

Jeff: Another view of the tongue, as well as the well padded and high heel collar.  
The tall heel collar is great to add padding/protection from Microspikes and snowshoes, rocks, cold, etc… but does nothing to keep out the snow if breaking trail or off trail, so a gaiter is quite helpful.  Without a gaiter, snow slowly gets in the collar and forms ice balls that get uncomfortable on the ankle bone. As mentioned earlier, step in is very difficult and definitely not a shoe to slip on for a dog walk or fetching the mail.  Fortunately there is a durable pull loop on the heel which is essential here.

Jeff V:  From best I can tell, the midsole is the same as in the previous version and Speedgoat 3.  Hoka tells us it is not the new slightly wider geometry of the Speedgoat 4. The midsole looks large (and is 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 through what Hoka calls  Active Foot Frame technology. For such a big running shoe, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 feels reasonably light and agile, especially for a fully featured and protected Winter running shoe. Cushioning is plush as you would expect from a maximal Hoka and I find the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 to be the same, also relatively quick and responsive for such a maximal cushioned shoe.  The Speedgoat midsole is ideal for hard surfaces and all day jaunts no matter what is underfoot. Additionally, the added cushioning helps insulate the foot from the cold ground and snow.

Canice: Jeff’s description is spot on. If you already run in Speedgoats you’ll feel right at home and if this is your first time in a Speedgoat, these shoes have plenty of cushion yet remain responsive in feel. The midsole has proven to be very durable and handles mixed terrain quite well.

Jeff V:  Having put many hundreds of miles in all previous/other versions of the Speedgoat, I can attest to the top notch performance and longevity of the Vibram Speedgoat outsole.  The lugs are deep, numerous, well spaced and uniquely shaped to provide very good traction on a wide variety of surfaces, wet or dry, snowy, icy, on trail and off.
Jeff V:  The slow wear rate on the Vibram Speedgoat outsole is very impressive, even on the rocky, technical trails that I frequent.  My most beat up pair of Speedgoats have over 200 miles and I don’t think I have even worn down ⅓ of the tread, most of the wear showing at the toe/forefoot from steep and rocky climbs.

Being a dedicated snow/wet weather shoe, I would love to see deeper, more pronounced lugs, but that is a very minor complaint given the overall versatility of this outsole and I am often quite likely to be wearing Microspikes with this shoe anyways if I feel like I need more traction.  Not to mention, running on snow nearly eliminates tread wear.

Canice: Generally speaking everything about the outsole is great with the exception being use specific. Meaning, if I am running in snow I would like deeper lugs and possibly some spikes, but really, the outsole handles most anything you can throw at it.

Jeff V:  Classic smooth Speedgoat performance, quick transition and all day cushioning.

Canice: Lots of cushion with a nice pop off the forefoot which gives spring to your step. The “ride” is well suited for technical terrain and can handle any ultra you give it.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Jeff V:   Again, there are no big surprises here with the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2, it is everything you love and would expect from the previous version and now with a waterproof/breathable Gore Tex upper and padded, over the ankle cuff. I really appreciate the well rounded protection offered up by the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2, forthe wet and cold with the Gore upper, over the ankle protection for the unpredictability of running fast through snow and with unstable footsteps (especially with Microspikes on your feet) and the protection provided from the maximal cushion underneath and not just cushioning from hard and rocky/rooty surfaces, but also the added insulation from cold the midsole provides.  

The Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 is a very versatile winter all rounder that is just as much at home on snowy, slushy wet streets as it is on steep, technical mountain trails, with or without snow.  If you are looking for a warm, waterproof, protective, versatile, maximal winter trail running (any running) shoe, this is one of my top picks/first recommendations and has earned a spot at the very top of my winter rotation of shoes.

Jeff’s Score: 9.4/10
Ride:9.5 (30%) Fit:9.5 (30%) Value: 9(10%) Style:8(5%) Traction:9.5(15%) Rock Protect:9.5(10%)
Areas of improvement might be a thinner heel collar, easier step in and perhaps an integrated gaiter to keep snow out of cuff.

Canice: If you’re looking for a waterproof mid top shoe to run, hike and possibly snowshoe in, the Speedgoat Mid GTX2 is a great choice. The shoe fits a medium width foot with plenty of room in the toe box yet remains responsive and secure. The Speedgoat Mid GTX2 can handle most anything you throw at it and keep you dry and comfortable while doing so.
Canice’s Score 9.6/10
Ride:10 (30%) Fit:9.5 (30%) Value: 9(10%) Style:8.5(5%) Traction:9.5(15%) Rock Protect:10 (10%)

Comparisons  Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Speedgoat Mid WP (RTR Review)
Jeff V:  Very similar in feel/performance. V1 has a lower collar, is easier to get on and has a Skyshell eVent upper vs. the Gore Tex now featured in V2 (I honestly have not noticed a difference in my use).  I do however appreciate the more secure lacing of V2. If you can find a closeout on V1, I would probably buy that just to save money or if the v1’s lower weight by an ~ounce is a factor for you, but they are both excellent shoes that I highly recommend.
The red shoe on the left is the Speedgoat Mid GTX and the orange shoe on the right is the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2

The red shoe on the left is the Speedgoat Mid GTX and the orange shoe on the right is the Speedgoat Mid GTX 
The red shoe on the left is the Speedgoat Mid GTX and the orange shoe on the right is the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2
Blue and yellow outsole is the Speedgoat Mid GTX and the blue and orange outsole is the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2

Salomon Snowspike 5 CSWP (RTR Review

Jeff V:  Close in weight, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 feels lighter, more responsive and more stable, a touch warmer too.  The Snowspike is much easier to put on, a pleasure really, with quicklace, sturdy built in gaiter and large top snap.  The primary advantage to the Snowspike is the outsole, featuring deep and aggressive 6mm lugs, 12 of which are topped off by carbide tipped studs.

La Sportiva Blizzard  (RTR Review)
Jeff V:  The Blizzard is lighter, more agile, easier to put on, has a built in gaiter, but not nearly as cushioned or as warm.  Traction is the name of the game with the Blizzard, as it features deep lugs and 9 carbide studs, although the Blizzard is pricey($200)  vs. $170 here and in my opinion, requires another set of $50 Sportiva hobnails to be really effective on steeps with hard ice. 

Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 is available now at the stores below!

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Jeff Valliere said...


Bobcat said...

Strange choice to use the Speedgoat base for snow running, meanwhile the torrent tread is great on snow. Also there is less need for cushioning on snow.

Sam Winebaum said...

All very true Bobcat! One must realize though that while it is winter the Mid GTX 2 is not just a trail runner of winter sorts but also sold as a light fast hiker for year round use. For example a great choice for the White Mountains on NH and my daughter took them for a trek across the Swiss Alps lower off glacier type stuff
Sam, Editor

Jeff Valliere said...

I find the Speedgoat tread to perform quite well on snow, but of course there comes a point for any shoe where supplemental traction will be needed. When I add Microspikes for example, I appreciate that added cushion, as the Microspikes are hardly noticeable. Then of course there is the added insulation that the thicker midsole provides, which I appreciate.

Sam Winebaum said...

HI Dav,
I would lean towards the Speedgoat Mid for your use. In second place the Kaha. See review here: Now if you wanted more flexibility than those two the Toa as it is considerably more flexible than either of the others.
Sam, Editor