Friday, May 10, 2024

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Review: 7 Comparisons

Article by Jeff Valliere

Hoka Speedgoat 6 ($155)


Introduction


After ~2 years, Hoka has released their long anticipated update to the ever so popular Speedgoat which is their all around most versatile trail shoe. It has been  equally at home on technical mountain ridges and steep loose rocky trails as it is going fast on smooth singletrack or door to trail.  If you are the one shoe quiver type, the Speedgoat has long been a front runner choice.  


New in the Speedgoat 6 

  • new lighter and more resilient CMEVA midsole foam, resulting in an 11g/ 0.39 oz weight reduction, 
  • revamped textile upper which also contributes to the weight drop
  • revised pattern Vibram Meggrip outsole now with Traction Lug mini side lugs. 

If you liked the previous version, then you should really love the improvements, I did! Please read on for all the details and 7 comparisons.


Pros: Lighter and more responsive, fit/security,reasonable forefoot space, protection, comfort,  traction, stability, versatility, durability

Cons: Short tongue, stiff heel collar requiring break in, styling


Most Comparable Shoes
Salomon Genesis
Merrell Agility Peak 5
Topo MTN Racer 3

Stats

Spec Weight: US men's 10 - 9.8oz / 278g

  Sample Weight: US men’s 10 -  9.9oz / 281g 

Previous Version Weight US men’s 10: 10.25 oz  /  292 g

Official Full Stack Height 40mm heel / 35mm forefoot

Prior Full Stack Height: men’s  40 mm heel /  35 mm forefoot

Platform Width: 98mm heel / 87mm midfoot / 125mm forefoot 

Previous Version Platform Width: 102mm heel/90mm midfoot/125mm forefoot

$155. Available June 2024.

First Impressions, Fit and Upper


Whoa, the Speedgoat just keeps getting better and lighter!  It is immediately evident that the Speedgoat has lost some weight, 11g/ 0.39 oz  in my US10 to come in at   9.9oz / 281g which is remarkable light for a shoe with a 40 mm heel 35 mm forefoot big stack height.  We are confirming with Hoka but our best information so far indicates that the stack height has also increased slightly over the prior Goat, about 3.5mm at the heel and 2.5 mm at the forefoot and lots of Vibram Megagrip outsole coverage.

The woven textile upper is very well structured, comfortable, secure and durable, providing a similar feel to the Speedgoat 5, though feeling just slightly less breathable.  The temperature here in Boulder has not gotten hot enough yet to truly confirm this, but they feel slightly less airy and warmer on cold mornings than version 5.  I will have to test this further as the weather warms and will update here as I can.


Fit is true to size in my usual size 10, with a secure heel (more secure than the 5, where I had to utilize the extra eyelets), with a very secure midfoot with positive lacing and overall a secure forefoot.  One frequent complaint I hear about the Speedgoat is a narrow toe box, but it feels as though the 6 has just slightly more wiggle room than the 5.


Security is very good, where I felt confident and in control no matter how technical the terrain, steep rocky trails, steep off trail, sidehilling, etc….

The SG 6 has a bit more space between the lace eyelets (a wider throat), as can be seen easily in the photo above which contributes to a slightly more accommodating fit and will likely satisfy a wider range of foot shapes and preferences. A wider version is offered if you really need more room.

The vamp is slightly reconfigured as well, just a little bit longer and slightly narrower, though I have not noticed a difference there.  I also note a square of stitching on either side of the vamp, which I assume is to add some durability and prevent the vamp from separating from the rest of the upper.


The pronounced pointed flare off the back of the heel collar has been toned down a bit, which is great, as I found that to be a bit extreme and unnecessary in the 5.  A heel loop has also been added, which is handy (but not really necessary) when sliding the shoe on.  

The heel counter/collar is quite similar to the 5, comfortable, protective and even better held.  I did find that the collar felt a bit stiff at first, even painfully so on steep downhills and off camber terrain. I learned to mitigate this some by  getting the lacing dialed in. Ultimately, it just took me a few runs to break them in.

The protective toe rand is somewhat thin, minimal and flexible, but adequate to ward off minor dings (though I find that given the maximal height/shape/design of the SG, I never bump my toes).


The tongue is gusseted and the same design as the 5, but with a good bit more padding where the laces interface and the same V shape design to contour around the flex point of your foot.  

As mentioned before, the tongue feels a bit short and I feel like I am always trying to pull it up just a little bit more.  Ultimately, this is not an issue (unless you feel the need to use the extra eyelets, then you will get lace bite).



Above you can see the newly added padding to the tongue, a nice touch for a softer feel where the laces interface.


Midsole & Platform

The CMEVA midsole foam is lighter than the previous version and noticeably more firm underfoot, most obvious when running, but also somewhat also upon initial step in and wearing side by side with a quite well worn 5.  I really liked the CMEVA midsole foam in version 5 and found it to be very responsive, soft-ish but stable and predictable and all of that holds true here.  

The new foam in the 6 is definitely more responsive and the firmness is welcome, providing a predictable ride that is stable and supportive, while still feeling deeply cushioned as you would expect from a Speedgoat. 


 In addition to a performance boost, I think that the new midsole will prove to be more resilient over time than the previous softer midsole, time will tell.  The late stage Meta-Rocker is still present and assists in forward motion and helps inspire a quick toe off.


Outsole

The Speedgoat 6 retains the same effective 5mm main lugs with Traction Lug (small additional lugs on the sides of each lug which are claimed to increase double digits)  as the previous version.  

Hoka reconfigured the outsole just slightly.  They modified the lug pattern as well as the location  of exposed foam underneath by having a more continuous longitudinal openareasup front which I think is to increase flexibility.  

There has also been a slight decrease in overall platform width at the midfoot (-3mm) and heel (-4mm).  

Either way, the pattern combined with Vibram Megagrip rubber compound is one of the more effective outsoles on the market, providing excellent grip on just about any surface.  


I have run the Speedgoat 6 hard on rocky technical trails, scrambled up and down slabs, run on frozen snow, slushy snow, steep loose off trail, wet, dry, tricky creek crossings, limited mud and have never had so much as a slip.  

The lug pattern is such that they also run well on hard surfaces as well as pavement, without the lugs feeling noticeable or in the way.


Durability has been great with the SG5 and so far I am seeing the same with the 6.


Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations


The ride of the Speedgoat 6 is amazing and an improvement over the 5.  They are smooth and well cushioned as the SG5 was, although now a little firmed up.  The firmer midsole is an asset, providing better response, is less prone to compression over time, more stable and offers better support without compromising comfort and cushion. They have an excellent transition thanks to the Late stage Meta Rocker, flexibility and to the more responsive new CMEVA midsole.  While ground feel is muted, I do not find that to be a liability in the Speedgoat, as I expect this going in and select this shoe for maximum protection and cushion for longer duration runs.


While the Speedgoat 6 is not a revolutionary overhaul, it is a very nice incremental upgrade over the 5.  In addition to the midsole upgrade, they also offer improved fit, a more padded tongue, are lighter weight and perhaps slightly more agile, in part due to the slight decrease in overall outsole width in the midfoot (-3mm) and heel (-4mm).  


As was the case with the previous version, I find them to be quite versatile and adept on just about any run, from shorter distances, long distance, door to trail, any trail, off trail, high mountains and above treeline, slow running, fast running, training, racing, snow, mud, wet, etc…  


If you are looking for a do it all shoe, then this is it. Is the Speedgoat 6 worth the upgrade?  It is for sure a better shoe overall than the 5, but if you can get a closeout on the 5, then I would recommend that, but if you are looking for lighter weight and better fit, then absolutely go for the 6!


Jeff V’s Score:  9.7/10

Ride: 10 - Smooth, well cushioned, more responsive

Fit: 9.5 - These fit my narrower foot perfectly, with a bit of give for comfort, yet still secure.

Value: 10 - For all that the Speedgoat 6 offers in regards to performance and longevity/durability (especially the outsole), these are worth every penny.

Style: 8.5 - a bit of a regression in style, at least my sample colorway and the other I have seen, but hopefully they will have some better colorways.  No matter the looks, I will not hesitate to rock the Speedgoat!

Traction: 10 - Exceptional grip on all surfaces, I never want for more, exceptionally versatile.

Rock Protection: 9.5 - I would give this a 10 if not for the exposed foam at the center of the heel, where I occasionally take a surprise zinger.

😊😊😊😊😊


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE  


Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)

Compared throughout, but just in case you missed it, the 6 is lighter, has a new more responsive and slightly more supportive and firmer midsole, and a slightly roomier relieved (wider lace throat) upper.


Merrell Agility Peak 5 (RTR Review)

A very close comparison, as both have a maximal and well cushioned but light agile feel, top notch traction, secure uppers that have comparable fit, a rockered design and  are versatile and fun to run.  The SG6 is  perhaps a bit more performance oriented than the Peak 5, due to being lighter and also having a more responsive midsole.


Salomon Genesis (RTR Review)

Both are very well cushioned and adept on technical terrain,are  great for long distances.  Both are durable and  top picks for tackling just about any trail.  They are both very close in weight.  Fit is comparable too.  I would give the edge to the Speedgoat for faster running/racing, but both are amazing all around all day trainers for any terrain.


Hoka Mafate Speed 4 (RTR Review)

The Speedgoat is over an ounce lighter, but feels even lighter than that in comparison on the run. It  is much more stable, responsive, secure and fun to run in, whereas I found the Mafate Speed 4 to be a little tippy, not so secure (at least for the stack height) and a bit heavy feeling.  If all of that is not reason enough to pick the SG6, they are also $30 less.


Brooks Cascadia 17 (RTR Review)

Both shoes are max cushion and very protective,  quite comfortable and well suited for long days over just about any terrain.  Fit is comparable, although the Cascadia upper is a little more spacious and there is more padding around the heel and tongue.  The Cascadia however is 12oz in my US men’s 10 and this alone nudges it more into the hiking realm for me, or at least less spirited running, whereas the SG6 is much lighter, faster, more responsive and is just as at home hiking all day as it is racing just about any course.  Cascadia has good traction, but the SG’s is better.


Topo MTN Racer 3 (RTR Review)

The Speedgoat has a comparable stack, but is lighter and more responsive.  Both shoes are overall lively and versatile and have excellent durability and longevity.  I think the fit is the biggest determining factor here, with the Speedgoat being narrower (and better in technical terrain), whereas the MTN Racer 3 is wider, more accommodating and for most this would be a determining factor for longer days.  MTN Racer 3 is also a bit more flexible and contours better over terrain.


Inov 8 Trailfly (RTR Review)

The Speedgoat has a higher stack yet  is lighter and more responsive.  Both shoes are lively and versatile, with excellent durability and longevity.  As with  the Topo, fit is a determining factor here, with the Speedgoat being narrower, where as the Trailfly has a wider “foot shape” design, something new from Inov-8.  The Trailfly is also a bit more flexible and contours better over terrain while the  SG has better  overall  traction.


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 ski (all forms) 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.


Speedgoat 6 Available June 2024.

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7 comments:

Jeff Valliere said...

Following

Anonymous said...

Confused and concerned about this update. The SG5 has been my all time favourite trail shoe and worried the SG6 is going to be a downgrade, despite Jeff's positive assessment.

Firstly, the official stack-height of the SG5 was 33mm(heel)/29mm (forefoot), which makes the 40mm/35mm listing of the SG6 confusing. Have they actually added stack? If so, that's disappointing because the 33mm/29mm design was perfect for providing good cushioning while remaining stable and providing some degree ground-feel. The SG5 definitely didn't need more stack-height.

Secondly, the listed stack-height of the SG6 suggests they have shifted from a 4mm drop to a 5mm drop, which I am very disappointed by. The 4mm drop of the SG5 was PERFECT: why would Hoka mess with this?

Some might assume that the difference between 4mm and 5mm is insignificant, but I can guarantee that the 4mm drop of previous iterations of the SG was a key reason why the shoe has been so popular: when it comes to drop, ever mm is significant, and I believe a 4mm drop is the sweet-spot for a shoe providing a stable, natural running experience on technical terrain. 5mm is, IMO, the beginning of too much drop for this kind of shoe (hope someone at Topo is reading this...).

Hoka, PLEASE bring back the 4mm drop. I know there are lots of other SG users who will find that a 5mm drop doesn't work quite as well for them.

Jeff Valliere said...

Anon, we are a bit confused too and working to clarify with Hoka, as that does not seem right. Comparing side by side, it is possible the 6 has 2 or 3 more mm of stack, but given the 5 has softer foam and I have worn them more and compressed them, it is not an apples to apples comparison. Will keep you posted. As far a stack differential, 4 vs 5, this is definitely not something I could decipher, as I run on technical trails and picking out a 1mm difference is beyond my level of consciousness. We will update as we can. Ultimately, they may have gone from 33 to 36, but definitely not 33 to 40. Thanks for reading.

Sam Winebaum said...

@unknown Thanks for your comment. The official SG6 spec sheet has 40/35. In the past I am almost certain Hoka did not include the sockliner in their specs and now they do and thus their official spec sheet had 33/29 for SG5. Running Warehouse measured SG5 at 36.5/32.5 which makes more sense as the full stack height. We have requested clarification as to the fulll stack height of the SG5 from Hoka and await this.
Sam, Editor

Scott said...

SG 2-4 was a perfect shoe for my narrow feet. I could never get the 5 locked down in the heel well enough and it just felt slightly sloppy compared to previous versions. Maybe the upper to blame? Anyway the 6 has me hopeful based on this review that once again the SG will be my go to. Thanks for all the great reviews!

Joseph said...

Thoughts vs something like a Tomir 2 for long miles on technical ground?

Thoughts on why it didn't get the dual density midsole of the Mach 6 - maybe to enable them to differentiate the Mafate 5 or SG 6?

Joseph said...

Similarly, interested to see if the change in outsole makes a difference to durability. The Vibram on the bottom had basically totally peeled off of mine after about 300km (70kg runner).