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Hoka One One's Speedgoat: built for speed

by Editor
Wednesday 14th October 2015
Tags  HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat   |   Hoka One One   |   Speedgoat   |   Deckers   |   Majell Backhausen   |   Britta Sendlhofer

Product review: Run247 contributor Majell Backhausen and editor Britta Sendlhofer report back after taking the Hoka Speedgoats on an adventure in the French alps

The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat

Britta Sendlhofer

Recovering from years of achilles injury troubles, Britta completed the 2015 OCC in the Hoka Speedgoats:

Hoka One One's Speedgoat: built for speed

I have been a fan of Hoka's shoes for a long time now and have worn them almost exclusively during my comeback from injury.

I have many different Hoka One One models in my cupboard and all get an outing from time to time, but the brand has come a long way in recent years and the latest models that came through for testing, the Hoka Clifton 2 (HERE) and the Hoka Speedgoat (HERE), are by far my favourites.

The sizing of Hokas is different to other brands, but has remained consistent over the years, so I can feel confident to take them for a decent run straight from the box.

Compared to other models in the range, the Speedgoats have a longer lasting and more effective sole, sporting 4mm Vibram® Megagrip lugs to give improved traction across a wide variety of terrain, including mud and wet rocks. 

In the past I have trusted the brand's shoes on most terrain, but on short, wet grass or muddy slopes they could prove lethal, so they were never my choice for the local fells. The Speedgoat is not (and does not claim to be) a specialist fell shoe, but the shoe has proven to be reliable on quite challenging terrain and there is no need to avoid the fells any longer.

On the trails of the Swiss and French alps, these shoes were a joy! In good weather there was little serious mud to contend with, but on forest trails, single track or over the rocks they were surprisingly stable and very responsive.

Despite limited wearing in, I suffered no rubbing or blisters, even after eleven hours in the shoe.

The Speedgoat, as the name implies, was also built for speed. Speed is a relative thing! I am not a fast runner, so thought that this feature would be of no concern to me, but I have never been as surprised by a shoe as I have by the Seedgoat!

The ups of the OCC were a slog and speed, as expected, was not a factor - one foot in front of the other was all that mattered. What goes up must come down though! I’m not a natural descender and usually get very frustrated as I waste energy fighting the slope. After the long climbs, my achilles felt sore and my muscles were tight and I was not looking forward to the usual experience of loosing hard earnt places as runners zip past down the slope.

Yet on the first 5km descent the impossible happened! The painful niggle in the heel, as well as the tightness in my legs, just disappeared. The legs happily complied when I asked them to run down the trail and I managed to let go. Not pushing too hard – I would have paid the price for that later – yet happily skipping past fellow runners all the way, seventy three of them to be exact! I'd spot a runner ahead and every time I asked, my legs responded and I reeled them in.

“I wish I could bottle the joy of that descent – I could sell it for a fortune!” I exclaimed at the bottom where my friends where laughing at my enthusiasm. It was quite addictive and the joy of the descent was what what kept me going up the climbs that  followed.

The final descent into Chamonix came and even after ten hours on the trail I was yet again skipping down the hill without much effort.

Although I could not wait to reach the finish, I didn’t want it to end – this rare feeling of effortless running. After years of struggling with injury those descents were the tonic I needed to re-discover the joy of running!

Hoka One One's Speedgoat: built for speed

Majell Backhausen

Wearing the Hoka Speedgoat, Majell finished 23rd in the 2015 Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc®, in a time of 25:43:26:

Named after and receiving design input from the 100mile Boss Karl ‘Speedgoat’ Meltzer, on paper this was a shoe certainly capable of going the distance in UTMB 2015.

The Speedgoat is most closely related to the Hoka Rapa Nui model. It is related but has received one detailed make over, taking it to a whole new level of goodness.

The Speedgoat is dynamic, responsive and well cushioned shoe that holds a low to ground feel, with some impressive traction.

It achieves this by having a very well engineered sole that is host to an out of control good grip from Vibram. Flex groves below the forefoot allow the shoe to respond in multiple planes of direction on technical terrain. Despite its level of cushion the shoe can certainly flex ad move. This came in handy during the additional section of the 2015 UTMB.

Good drainage is a key benefit of this shoe; the upper is a single layer non absorbing material, which has very little ‘give’. This feature was welcomed with the multiple stream crossings of UTMB.

There are a few things to consider when opting for this new age beauty, one being the combination of a narrow toe box and tough non-forgiving material of the upper. This attribute is good in its contribution to the dynamic feel of the shoe, but it has also been the cause of a few toe blisters, from fellow runner.

The Speedgoat also falls into the ‘Light’ category despite the large cushioning, which is a nice bonus.

This shoe covered all bases for me during UTMB. I walked (well hobbled) away from the event with confidence that I would certainly use this shoe again for a number of trail races in the future.

Just a word of warning, treat this like any other shoe and wear it in before any race! And for a 100miler, wear it in really well- even sleeping it them is a good idea.

With fashion now becoming a big thing on the trails, the colours (Red, Blue & Yellow) are a little bit too out there for my liking or maybe im not ‘hip’ enough, but I guess that is what mud is for.

Hoka One One's Speedgoat: built for speed

For more information visit www.hokaoneone.com or follow @HOKAONEONE #HOKAONEONE


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