Thursday, January 19, 2023

Hoka Speedgoat 5 Gore-Tex Spike Multi Tester Review: The Dream Shoe for Any Icy Trail (or Road) Winter Throws Your Way! 7 Comparisons

Article by Jacob Brady and Jeff Valliere

Hoka Speedgoat 5 Gore-Tex Spike ($185) 


Jacob: The Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX is notable as it is the first version of the Speedgoat that is designed for winter running with built-in tungsten carbide traction spikes. It also has a waterproof Gore-Tex upper with ample warmth from the upper for cold temperatures—a feature it shares with the non-spiked Speedgoat 5 GTX. 

I have liked every shoe I’ve run in the Speedgoat line as they have great foothold and stability for technical trails as well a balanced level of cushioning and smooth ride for runs of any distance. The most significant component and what made me excited to test is the traction spikes. I rely on an insulated shoe with metal traction throughout the winter in New England as there is typically a lot of ice and plenty of cold. I prefer built-in spikes over external traction as they are lighter and run smoother on a broader range of terrain which is important for me since most of my runs are door to trail and rarely all snow/ice. 


Waterproof, insulated upper keeps my feet warm and dry Jacob/Jeff

High-quality construction Jacob/Jeff

Spikes along with a grippy outsole rubber and well-designed tread pattern lead to fantastic all-around winter traction on mixed snow/dirt/ice Jacob/Jeff

Smooth, protected, stable, and lightly energetic versatile ride —runs well on highly technical terrain as well as on smooth terrain (even short road sections) Jacob/Jeff


Heel collar is unusually low Jacob

Volume overall is on the low side, maybe due to the Gore-Tex bootie Jacob

It would be so nice to have a light, thin, streamlined built in gaiter instead of having to add on gaiters Jeff/Jacob


Estimated Weight: men's 12 oz  / 340g (US9) 

Sample Weights: men’s  13.3 oz  /  378 g (US 12), men’s  12.5 oz  /  353 g (US 10)

Stack Height: men’s 32mm heel / 28mm forefoot : women’s  30mm heel / 26mm forefoot

$185 Available soon.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Jacob: The Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX is a subtly styled, performant looking shoe. With a black and gray waterproof upper, moderate midsole stack, and rugged Vibram outsole, finished off with traction spikes, it is a sleek and powerful winter trail running shoe

The upper uses a Gore-Tex inner bootie (rather than a Invisible Fit laminated layer) which I prefer for increased warmth and possibly durability. The tongue is gusseted and soft, the laces are easy to pull and hold tension, and the rand provides good protection for the toes. 

The weight is reasonable for all the features, coming in a few grams lighter than the Speedgoat 4 GTX (without spikes) at 13.3 oz / 378 g in my US Men’s 12. Though not dramatically different, it is the second lightest out of the six waterproof trail shoes I have recorded weights for. 

On foot, my excitement was lessened as it felt oddly low volume, especially in the heel where it seemed like the heel collar padding was hitting my ankle notably lower than it should. 

Volume overall is on the low side as with the Speedgoat line in general, which helps with security on technical terrain. Perhaps the Gore-Tex liner decreases the volume even more than the standard model. 

I used the heel loop lock lacing technique to keep my heel down in the shoe—I also left the forefoot laces loose to have enough stretch for my toes to splay comfortably. 

After the first run, I switched out the stock sockliner for a thinner one for more space, which made a great difference in a more relaxed and comfortable fit with my heel sitting more naturally in the heel cup.

However, after a handful more runs, I felt like the upper started to break in a bit and become less stiff, so I switched back to the stock sockliner and have found the fit acceptable, though I’m still using the heel loop lock technique. Overall, the fit is performance first with volume on the lower side, though it's not particularly narrow. With good lacing and sock choice, it fits fairly comfortably and my foot is totally locked in. I find it nearing uncomfortably snug for walking though.

Underfoot, it is firmer than I expected, especially with a thinner sockliner, as the stock sockliner adds a lot of squish. It’s a medium feel underfoot in terms of cushion depth and firmness, though feels like there is a good depth of foam and great protection on all surfaces, so it’s has a good balance.

Jeff V:  A studded, Gore Tex Speedgoat 5 is for me is dream shoe this time of year.  The trails here around Boulder can be tricky to get your traction game just right, given wide variations of conditions on any given trail ranging from bulletproof “death ice”, long stretches of dry, rocky trail, slush, mud, packed snow, deep powder, etc….  And this can all change in character depending on the day or time of day.  

Outside of having fresh snow, or the days immediately after a significant snowfall, I rarely wear Microspikes because a) It is often overkill and b)t they do not grab on ice as well as studs and if there are sections of hard ice, then there are also sections of bare ground, so you either run across rock (dulling them and making them now even less effective on ice or frozen snow), or take them off and put them back on (a pain).  

Thus, studs are the way to go 90% of the time.  I personally use Kahtoola EXOspikes a lot because they are one of the (if not the) most effective traction solutions out there and because I like that I can put them on any shoe I choose.  Having built in studs is nice, but they have not always been attached to the ideal shoe.  

The Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX however is a rare shoe that defies all of that, providing amazing spiked traction on an amazing shoe, a killer combination!  

The SG 5 Spike very much resembles the SG5, but of course has a Gore upper.  This upper (and also the outsole) of course adds some weight (2.25 oz. in my US Men’s 10) which is noticeable both in the hand and on the foot when compared to the SG5, but it by no means feels heavy.  

The upper is very secure like the non spiked version, but unlike Jacob, I never found it to be overly low volume or confining for my low volume, somewhat narrow foot, even with a medium thickness wool sock.  When wearing  them side by side with the non spike SG5, I note that the Gore upper is more dense and less stretchy/flexible and has a little less ceiling height in the toe box, but again, it is not at all confining to me and did loosen up somewhat over the course of a few runs.  Security is at least as good as the non spiked version, if not better.  

Overall I would say that if the fit of the SG5 works for you, then the SG5 spike will be perfect and both are true to size.  I never found the collar to be notably low and is again the same as the SG5, a design that has worked very well for me.  I will also say that this Gore upper is exceptionally waterproof, as I have sloshed for miles in saturated over the ankle snow, as well as sloppy slush and puddles and never got wet at all (with gaiters on of course).


Jacob: The midsole is a single slab of compression-molded EVA (CMEVA) foam which has a classic EVA feel though I think it has above average energy return for a traditional-leaning foam. The midsole has some light flexibility, and runs relatively quickly for a robust shoe while also providing  forgiving cushion and very good protection. As with all Speedgoats, it has a wide stable platform and the edges of the midsole rise up to hug the foot for stability. 

Jeff V:  Jacob describes the midsole well and from the best I can tell it is the same as the SG5.  It provides exceptional cushioning, predictable stability and a good responsive feel.  

The Gore upper, 2+ oz weight gain and the spikes on the outsole do alter the ride just a bit and the spiked version does not feel quite as light and peppy as the SG5.  Despite that though, I have been able to push the SG5 Spike quite hard on some really difficult terrain in tough conditions and have been exceptionally impressed at how well they perform.


Jacob: The outsole is where the Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX differs from all previous Speedgoat models by including twelve embedded tungsten carbide traction spikes per shoe. Interestingly, the spikes are rounded/convex, maybe to increase durability, as a concave spike (e.g. Kahtoola EXOspikes) has sharper edges and more bite. I noted the Salomon Spikecross 5 also has convex spikes. 

In addition to the spikes, as with other shoes in the Speedgoat line, the outsole rubber is nearly full coverage Vibram MegaGrip with aggressive stepped lugs with texture even on the sides of the lugs, Vibram’s Traction Lug tech said to increase traction yet more. There is some segmentation in the outsole for flexibility, weight savings, and I think comfort (sink-in softness) and propulsion, due to a shallow cutout beneath the heel.

I have found the traction to be fantastic on everything I’ve run it on. Traction on packed snow is incredible. It’s solid on glare ice even at fast paces, though I do run carefully on large ice sheets. I am cautious with foot placement on dry rock due to the spikes, but haven’t had any slips. I am used to the Salomon Spikecross 5 for mixed snow/ice/dirt winter running and find the traction of the Speedgoat 5 Spike to be notably better overall. For a comparison to external traction: on solid ice, it isn’t as good as Kahtoola EXOspikes, but is still usable (and more versatile). Durability appears average to great so far—I am always impressed how minimal wear the tungsten-carbide spikes show even after running on rock. 

Jeff V:  Jacob nails it on all fronts.  The outsole is nearly the same as the SG5, except of course there are 12 studs on each shoe and the lugs on which the studs are mounted are wider and more beefy to better anchor the studs.  

Of all studded shoes I have tested, the SG5 Spike is among the best for traction on ice because there are 12 studs on each shoe instead of 10 or even 8 as on some others, although Ice Bug put as many as 19 on each shoe!  

The studs are also very pronounced/prominent, well positioned and bite into ice well.  I have run on all surfaces and am impressed how well they hook up on moderately hard ice, at least on moderate to semi steep grades, though like Jacob, on large stretches of sheet ice, especially if very steep and the ice is particularly hard, I will slow a bit and be slightly cautious, but can still move safe and efficiently.  

The studs and super effective lugs also grab amazingly well on packed snow, loose dirt, off trail duff and pine needles, just about anything they stick like velcro.  Of course with metal studs on the outsole, performance and smearing on rocks and slab is not the best, a bit scratchy, but can handle just enough and is much less of an annoyance than having any sort of supplemental traction on your feet (Nano/EXO/Microspikes).  

Typical January trail ice.

An exemplary section of Green Mountain “death ice”


Jacob: The ride is versatile and refined. It has top of the line stability and ample protection for any terrain, but is not over-built. It remains smooth and lightly energetic overall leading to excellent versatility. The Speedgoat has generally been a technical-trail focused shoe and as expected, the Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX is excellent in rugged conditions with uneven surfaces and sharp turns. The stable platform and stiff flexibility with the medium stack height give a balance of ground feel and ability to conform to the terrain while retaining enough protection to cruise over anything. The generally snug performance fit allows for precise foot placement and the outsole and spikes give confidence that my foot will hold where I put it.

In addition, and more so than previous models I’ve tested, the Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX runs well on smooth terrain, even short road sections (yes, even with the spikes). It is firmer than expected and though not bouncy is quick to respond and keeps me moving along. Though still far from a modern superfoam, it has a notable energy return. Overall, the ride is perfect for a do-it-all winter trail shoe. 

Though the spikes are noisy when running on pavement and rocks (and I worry about wearing them out, though they are—as with most carbide spikes—extremely durable), they don’t have a noticeable impact on the ride or traction. This is a great aspect of the Speedgoat 5 Spike as where I live in Portland, ME, USA, the conditions are often highly variable with sheets of ice, packed snow, and dry dirt and rock, and clear paved trail links all in one run. For these conditions the Speedgoat 5 Spike is much more convenient than external traction (e.g. Kahtoola EXOspikes) which I would have to take on/off too often most days, or deal with a more awkward ride on some sections and unnecessary wear to the spikes and carrier. 

Jeff V:  I echo every single word Jacob states above, a perfect description.  I will note that I am very appreciative to have a studded shoe that is not too heavy and runs even lighter, is quick, responsive, agile, stable, secure and runs incredibly well on all terrain, be it hard ice, bare ground, off trail or like Jacob mentions, short bits of road if need be.  

Many previous studded shoes I own can feel a bit thin and abusive under foot and perhaps are exacerbated by, counter intuitively,  midsole foams that hardens in cold weather.  The SG5 Spike however is plush, substantial and provides a super well cushioned ride.  I often find a spiked shoe to be most advantageous when conditions are most challenging and with the hard ice, frozen ground, exposed rock, every foot strike can feel like a hard landing and abusively pounding, but the SG5 Spike really helps lessen that impact.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jacob: The Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX is an excellent dedicated winter shoe with built-in metal (tungsten-carbide) traction spikes. Nearly all aspects of it are well-executed leading to a warm, secure, stable, performant shoe with fantastic traction on all terrain. The only weakness for me is fit, being lower volume than I prefer and having a low-feeling heel collar, though it is secure and not problematic. I am really glad that Hoka released a shoe with built-in spikes—I ran it six runs in a row in testing and expect to wear it every time the suburban trail conditions are snowy or icy but there may also be some dry or paved sections.

I recommend the Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX for runners looking for a locked in robust, versatile winter trail running shoe with a precise fit. Even if you have an external traction device, having a shoe with built-in spikes is very convenient if the conditions are mixed or unknown, or for snowy/icy roads.

Jacob’s Score: 9.35 / 10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 8.5 (30%) Value: 10 (10%)  Style 9 (5%) Traction: 10 (15%)  Rock Protection: 10 (10%)


Jeff V:  The Speedgoat 5 Spike is overall the best studded winter shoe I have worn, with incredible all around grip on any level of frozen terrain and any other tricky terrain, is quick, nimble, warm, waterproof, secure, comfortable, well cushioned and durable.  As I mentioned before, the only thing I could think of that would improve the SG5 Spike would be a lightweight, thin gaiter, but that is splitting hairs.

Jeff V’s Score: 9.7 / 10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 10 (10%)  Style 9.5 (5%) Traction: 10 (15%)  Rock Protection: 10 (10%)


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Hoka Speedgoat 4 GTX (RTR Review)

Jacob: The Speedgoat 5 Spike GTX is similar overall to the SG 4 GTX with a few refinements that make it clearly better for me. The differences are slight, but the SG 5 Spike GTX is a tiny bit lighter than the SG 4 GTX, has a bit more room in the toebox, has a bit smoother and more natural ride, and has better traction. The SG 4 GTX upper is stiffer and a bit less comfortable—I have issues with pressure on my little toes which is not noticed as much in the SG 5 Spike GTX. I also find the SG 5 Spike GTX ride to be slightly quicker moving with more rebound whereas the SG 4 GTX is more plain. 

Salomon Spikecross 5/Snowspike CSWP (RTR Review)

Jacob: The Spikecross 5 was my go-to winter shoe for the past two seasons and is extremely useful and performant. However, the SG 5 Spike GTX may completely replace it for me as I vastly prefer the ride. The fit of the Spikecross 5 is more secure and is easier to lace up (well-implemented quick-lace) with a more round and higher volume toebox. It is locked-in but also comfortable.

However, underfoot, I never have been a fan of the Spikecross 5 feel or ride. I think it is too firm, high drop, and the heel feels blocky and stiff. It is borderline harsh on road and is lacking the cruise-along, forgiving cushioned feel of the SG 5 Spike GTX. Additionally, the SG 5 Spike GTX feels faster and is less work to run. I find traction on mixed terrain is also notably better in  the SG 5 Spike GTX.

Jeff V:  Agreed with Jacob.  I like that the Salomons have the easy quicklace, and the Snowspike a built in gaiter, but I was never impressed with the prominence/effectiveness of the studs on these Salomons (which is a big step down from their now discontinued Speedspike).  Like Jacob mentions, these Salomons have big blocky heels, contributing to major instability when running in uneven snowy terrain or anything technical and a firm ride (though they are very good for hiking/walking).  

Norda 001 G+ Spike (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Probably the closest comparison here, as they are similar in build, design and style.  The Norda however is 2oz lighter and more snappy/quick/responsive and better for more race type efforts.  That said, the SG5 Spike is still really quick and competent in all regards, plus the SG5 Spike is waterproof and has a little better traction.  The SG5 Spike is also nearly half the price.

La Sportiva Blizzard  (RTR Review)

Jeff V: The Blizzard is heavier, but has a built in gaiter.  The Blizzard has a Gore upper and is also studded, but only has 8 studs and they are not particularly pronounced, so the SG5 Spike has much better traction.  The Blizzard has a very precise fit and is more narrow than the SG5 Spike both in fit and outsole, so the SG5 Spike is a bit more stable.  The SG5 Spike has far superior cushioning and is $55 less.

Scarpa Ribelle Kalibra G  (RTR Review)

Jeff V: The Kalibra is more expensive, heavier, and not studded but has a built in gaiter and BOA Fit System.  The upper is PolarTec Windbloc, warm and water resistant, but is not as waterproof as the Gore upper of the Speedgoat  I would say the Kalibra is better for colder temps and more casual running, where the SG5 Spike is lighter, faster and more nimble and quick, with better traction for icy terrain.

VJ Ice Hero  (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Ice Hero is fast and light, but very firm underfoot with not a lot of cushion or give.  They are studded as well, but the studs are not as aggressive or effective.  Fit is exceptionally dialed in and race like, but not as waterproof.  The SG5 Spike has much better traction, better cushioning underfoot, and more stability and overall comfort.

Tester Profiles

Jeff Valliere loves to run and explore the mountains of Colorado, the steeper and more technical the better. He has summited all of the 14ers in the state and can be found on mountain trails daily, no matter the weather, season, conditions or whether there is daylight or not.  On the side he loves to bike and hike, often with his family, as he introduces his 12 year old daughters to the outdoors. Jeff was born and raised in New Hampshire, but has called Colorado home for over 25 years. He is 5’9” and 145 lbs.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over four years and averages around 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50k. He has a recent PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), and nordic skiing. He is 27 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

The Speedgoat 5 Gore-Tex Spike will be available soon

Please Check out all our 2023 Road and Trail Run Shoe Previews HERE

15 Brands, Dozens of New Models

Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

RoadTrailRun may receive a commission on purchases at the stores linked in this article. 
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun and are much appreciated. Thanks!

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE
  • 10% Savings Every Day*  5% Back in Rewards Cash
  • Test Run Shoes 90 Days Worry Free
  • Crazy Fast, FREE Shipping

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun


Jeff Valliere said...


UltraJuan said...

Excellent publication! I wanted to know if you tried different types of leggings and which were the best for this model. Thanks!!!