Published on November 25, 2015
Hoka One One Speedgoat
The new Hoka One One Speedgoat is fundamentally a replacement of the now-retired Rapa Nui 2 – a lightweight, over-sized runner with the stated ability to rip up trail.
Hoka is a divisive brand, but, for the record, one that RunningMonkey has always enjoyed testing and running in; there are those that swear by Hoka and those that swear at them. Despite our fondness for their shoes to date we still put the Speedgoat through rigorous testing, including the 159mile crossing of the Cathar Way through the Pyrenees – if anything was going to break them, that was.
First some basics: Neutrally cushioned the Speedgoat has a 5mm drop; 32.5mm of heel and 27.5mm of forefoot (including lugs, more of which below.) The Meta-Rocker profile – the rolling-wedge shape – is designed to sweep the foot forward from initial strike through to the toe-off, helping to improve both cadence and efficiency. It’s a subjective thing, but the Speedgoat does feel fast on the run; there’s fantastic ‘bounce’ to the stride and the lack of weight (275g, pair UK 8) all adds up perfectly.
There’s a little more room in the Speedgoat compare to its predecessor – height around the toes rather than width, and it’s certainly more comfortable over extended distances. But that’s not the only difference between the Rapa Nui and the Speedgoat…
As much as we love them, Hoka have never particularly shone in the grip department, with a tendency for the lugs to rub flat far faster than shoes at this price point should. The Speedgoat though adds a layer of 4mm Vibram ‘Megagrip’ lugs, with great spread and multidirectional control. Has this solved the problem? Only marginally. The lugs on our test pair – admittedly after close to 300miles on the clock – are dramatically worn and whilst they still tackle loose rock trail well, they are already struggling with slick, muddy conditions. Perhaps you (perhaps Hoka too) think that 300miles is about right to swap out your shoes for a new pair, personally we think that north of £100 should buy you a little more time. By way of comparison our previous pair of Rapa Nuis didn’t get ‘retired’ until way beyond the 500mile mark, and only then after suffering the harsh environments encountered in the Great Rann of Kutch desert of India.
Wear and tear aside, the Hoka One One Speedgoat has still impressed greatly. Yep, they survived five days through the Pyrenees without serving up a single blister and have proven generally excellent successor to the Rapa Nui 2. It will still be difficult to convert non-believers to the Hoka way of thinking, but trust us they are worth the leap of faith.
Finally a note on the rather odd name, which is likely to have less resonance in the UK than with our Transatlantic cousins: The shoes were developed in conjunction with US ultra-distance runner Karl Meltzer and named after his notorious Speedgoat 50k trail race, which, with over 11,000ft of vertical ascent, is considered one of the toughest in America. So now you know…
The Hoka One One Speedgoat are available in both men’s and women’s in a variety of wild colours (or more subdued blue if you prefer.) Retailing at £110 they are available from hokaoneone.eu