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HOKA Speedgoat 5, a review

Speedgoat 5

The HOKA Speedgoat 5 is one of the flagships of HOKA. Does that automatically mean it’s one of the best trail running shoes on the market? Time for a critical review.

Out for a run. On the HOKA Speedgoat 5. The plan is to do a half marathon, but something feels wrong. It’s not my feet, it’s not my legs. They are fine. Maybe a bit stiff from all the running, but I don’t feel bouncy. There’s no spring in my step. It was there yesterday. The only difference between today and yesterday are my shoes. My HOKA’s.

Spring in my step

I had some doubts last week, when I was wearing my Speedgoats. They felt harder than I remembered them. I thought it was my legs. When I run a lot, I sometimes lose the spring in my step. But I’m tapering now. I’m doing lots of yoga. I’m having massages now. My legs felt fine yesterday during my recovery run. They should be okay today.

The thing is, I checked my Strava last week. I’ve run only 300 kilometres on these HOKA’s. That’s too early to lose their cushioning, or not?

What I like about the Speedgoat 5

I have to admit, I had never heard of HOKA before I started running again in 2021. I mean, the brand was only founded in 2009. I stopped running somewhere in the nineties. But as a trail runner, there is no escaping. HOKA is everywhere. It’s even one of the sponsors of UTMB.

Besides that, it has lots of ambassadors. From people who get a free pair of shoes, to those who are paid by HOKA to promote their shoes. Not just by running in them, but by sharing their experiences on social media and by showing up at events. And of course there are the HOKA fans, which – I noticed – are among the most fanatical ones. If you say something bad about HOKA, you say something bad about them. Spoiler alert; if you’re one of them, you’re not going to like this review.


So it’s no wonder when I asked around on social media for a nice pair of running shoes, I got advised HOKAs.

If you see nice as stylish, the Speedgoats I have definitely are. I’ve got the light blue version, with the bright yellow soles. They look fast. Flashy.

Heel tab

They have an interesting heel (pull) tab. It’s extended. It’s a little detail, but a very functional detail. It has happened more than once that a little stone ended up in my shoe and I had to take off my shoe during a race to get rid of it. When you’re balancing on one foot, in the mud, it’s helpful to have a shoe you can put on quickly. 

Unpadded tongue

Another little detail I like is the tongue. It’s not padded. I never ran with a tongue without padding. I was afraid I would feel the laces through it, but I don’t. Even better; this tongue stays in plays. Often when a tongue is padded, for some reason it moves to one side. This one doesn’t.


I’ve been happy with the grip. The shoe performs well on the road, on the sand, snow and mud. But I have heard people complain that they slip on wet trails. Some of them even renamed the shoe Slipgoat. When the mud is thick, I slipped in them as well. Then again, I haven’t found a shoe that has grip in ankle deep mud.

What I don’t like about the Speedgoat

I am afraid I have stronger dislikes than likes. For starters, the Speedgoat is a very small shoe. I bought a size 48, wide. It doesn’t feel like a size 48, if I compare it to Brooks, Altra, Inov-8 or On. Even an Asics 48 is bigger and they are already smaller than the brands I just named.

Small fit

The width is even worse. As I said, I ordered the wide version, but the shoe crushes my little toe. Its design is very pointy at the front. I don’t know if the HOKA designers ever looked seriously at feet, but humans don’t have pointy feet.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard, who started HOKA, worked at Salomon before, because Salomon shoes have the same problem; they are super small. Or maybe French people just have different feet than the rest of us.


We all have different feet and we all have different needs, so HOKA’s fit isn’t my fit. I can live with that. However, I do have a problem with durability. HOKA is a major player in the trail running world. Trail runners love the outdoors and – hopefully – love to preserve the outdoors. That means we want shoes that last a long time. I normally review a shoe after running 500 kilometres on it. I did 300 kilometres on the Speedgoats and they started to feel uncomfortable. The cushioning was gone. That’s super quick.


It’s not only the cushioning that’s gone, the lugs on the back of the shoe are worn out as well. Some you can’t even see anymore. I ran almost 700 kilometres of a pair of Brooks Caldera 6 and most of the lugs are still fine. Those who have some wear and tear look much better than the lugs on the Speedgoat 5.

No ultra shoe

I ran different distances on the Speedgoat 5, with a marathon as longest. That didn’t feel great. I started to feel my heels around 30 kilometres, and my knees around 35. I don’t have that when I run on Brooks Caldera, nor on Altra Olympus 5. So for me, as a person who likes cushioning, the Speedgoat isn’t an ultra running shoe. More a half marathon shoe.

To summarise it; no more Hoka Speedgoat 5 for me. There are better shoes on the market.

  • Drop
  • Cushioning Type
    Compression-molded EVA foam
  • Cushioning Amount
  • Colors
    Beige - Orange & blue - Orange & grey - Yellow, red & black - Blue & purple
  • All-terrain shoe
  • Vibram sole
  • Unpadded tongue
  • Extended heel tab
  • Grip
  • Quick loss of cushioning
  • Lugs wear out quickly
  • Small fit (length & width)
  • Shoes only last for 300k
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