Men’s Hoka SpeedGoat 5 Review

Muscular hiker legs traversing an alpine meadow in the HOKA Speedgoat 5 hiking shoes
Photo credit: Casey Handley (CleverHiker.com)

Bottom Line

The HOKA Speedgoat 5s are one of our top picks overall for men’s hiking shoes when it comes to comfort, support, and lightweight design. We’ve climbed dozens of 13,000’+ mountains in the Colorado Rockies and racked up over 400 miles on trail wearing the Speedgoats.

They offer thick, responsive midsoles with excellent cushioning and impact absorption on rough trails. Their roomy toe box and chunky lug pattern provide top-tier traction, and fast-drying, breathable uppers make the Speedgoats feel breathable and airy. 

The foam soles wear out faster than more durable trail shoes and the prominent dovetail heel takes some getting used to. Still, the Speedgoat 5s excellent support, unrivaled cushioning, and vibrant colorways make them a top choice for hikers prioritizing comfort and traction.

Quick Specs

Men’s HOKA Speedgoat 5

Best Hiking Shoes Overall


Price:

$155


Weight (Pair):

1 lb. 4.6 oz.


Heel-to-Toe Drop:

4 mm

Pros

  • Very cushy soles
  • Excellent traction
  • Great arch support
  • Lightweight
  • Roomy toe box
  • Breathable
  • No break-in needed

Cons

  • Foam soles have below-average durability
  • Heel foam may take getting used to

A hiker poses next to a tree in a desert setting, looking off into the distance.
No matter how far or high your next hiking objective is, the Hoka Speedgoat 5s will keep your feet feeling fresh and comfy mile after mile.

Comfort

The HOKA Speedgoat 5s are one of the most comfortable hiking shoes on the market, making them one of our top recommendations for tackling tough, rocky trails. The thick, soft foam soles offer a pillowy ride that cradles your feet through mile after mile of backcountry. The Speedgoats have outstanding arch support, which is crucial for maintaining foot health on long hikes, and we love the roomy toe box that provides plenty of room for your forefoot and toes and prevents cramping and blisters. And, there’s little more comfortable than the Speedgoats’ breathable mesh uppers that keep your feet cool and dry on hot summer days. The cushy heel cuff, paired with a large heel tab, means these shoes are easy to take off and put on.

Thanks to thick, bouncy, soft foam, the Speedgoat 5s require no break-in period, so you can hit the trails as soon as you open the box. We find the wide foam outsoles are excellent for support, making you feel confident and stable on trail while reducing strain. During our recent testing period in the Colorado Rockies, where we climbed five peaks over 13,000 feet, we found the foam soles kept our feet feeling fresh even after 20+ mile days on some of the most challenging routes.However, we’ve found that the sizing runs a little long. We’d recommend trying them in-store if possible, or consider going a size down if you’re between sizes. And, compared to other shoes, the Speedgoat 5s laces are a bit shorter, which doesn’t accommodate alternative lacing styles as well as we’d like. Additionally, the chunky foam dovetail at the back of the shoe – which gives the Speedgoats their token rockered sole and supportive feel – takes a bit of getting used to. That said, the comfort and performance of the Speedgoat 5 is almost unrivaled, and it’s easily one of the most cushioned, supportive trail runners we’ve tested.

Shot of a hiker from the knees down crouching to tie his trail running shoes.
The bushy foam, ventilated uppers, and soft laces make the HOKA Speedgoat 5 an uber comfortable choice for hikes of any length.

Traction

The HOKA Speedgoat 5s are at the top of their class for traction. The Vibram soles are tacky and sticky, biting into the ground to ensure a firm grip. Combined with an effective lug pattern, the Speedgoat 5s soles offer maximum grip and braking power on steep ascents and descents with giant, evenly distributed lugs that provide superior control and stability on most surfaces and angles. The Speedgoat 5s performed particularly well on a wide variety of brutal terrain in the Rocky Mountains, including sand, loose dirt, and gravel in high mountain couloirs, unstable boulder-filled ridges, and rough trails full of scree and roots. These shoes are versatile and stable without slipping or losing footing. That said, the generous amount of foam supporting those lugs makes the Speedgoats feel just as agile, stable, and effective on packed trails.

However, these shoes do not perform well on slick and slippery surfaces, which can be a drawback for routes with lots of rocks or in wet and icy conditions. Additionally, the thick cushioning and robust build result in a limited ground feel, making them less optimal for technical trails that require precise foot placement, like scrambling or edging on rocks or boulders. This lack of ground feel is a disadvantage for routes with rock, talus, or long boulder fields since the shoes don’t offer much tactile feedback. Still, the Speedgoat 5 remains an excellent choice for hikers who want outstanding traction on most trails.

Closeup of trail running shoes looking directly at their outsoles / tread / bottom of shoe, with everything else in background blurred.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 offer outstanding traction on most surfaces due to their grippy lug pattern .

Weight

If you’re looking for some of the lightest shoes on the market, the HOKA Speedgoat 5s are your golden ticket. Weighing only one pound, 3.6 ounces, these are some of the lightest shoes you’ll find. Thanks to a woven mesh upper and airy foam soles, these shoes dramatically reduce fatigue and strain so you can hike further at a faster pace without discomfort. The lightweight build makes us feel agile and nimble and offers outstanding breathability.

What’s the downside of such lightweight shoes? They don’t have the protection or durability of heavier, more robust shoes with toe caps, leather and textile uppers, or heel bumpers. The tradeoff of lightweight shoes is less protection from sharp rocks and debris on the trail and a shoe with a shorter lifespan. If your top priority is a more rugged and protective shoe, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Closeup of trail running shoes from the knees down in a desert setting.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 lead the pack when it comes to lightweight construction, including woven uppers and a thick foam outsole.

Durability

Considering how lightweight and breathable they are, the HOKA Speedgoat 5s still punch above their weight and offer decent durability. We’ve hiked over 400 miles in these and they’ve held up impressively well, although the last 100 miles aren’t pretty. Generally, the woven upper maintains its integrity over the life of the shoe, as do details like the laces, TPU overlays, and heel tab.

However, there’s no way around it: these shoes aren’t the most durable out there. If you’re looking for hiking shoes to trek in harsh environments or last more than 400 miles, there are better options available. The mesh upper is awesomely breathable, but it doesn’t hold a candle to heavier materials like nubuck leather or burly textiles. The foam soles offer excellent cushioning, although we find they are much less resilient compared to rugged trail shoes with burly rubber composites. The Speedgoats lack technical features like a toe cap and rock plate, so they don’t offer much protection on rocky, brambly, and heavily forested routes, and they tend to break down faster as a result. Despite these considerations, the HOKA Speedgoat 5 is our choice for lightweight comfort and agility on the trail.

Closeup of trail running shoes from the knees down in a desert setting, straight on.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 aren’t the most durable shoes we’ve tested because of their lightweight foam outsoles and woven upper, but they make up for it with comfort and low weight.

Weather Resistance

The HOKA Speedgoat 5s prioritize breathability over weather resistance. The mesh uppers won’t keep you dry from most moisture, and we find water quickly and easily penetrates these shoes from puddles to creek crossings and light drizzles to heavy rains. The good thing about this lightweight design is they dry impressively fast – in our experience, 45 minutes or less on warm summer days. This rapid drying time is a dream for routes with occasional wet areas since their generous airflow helps keep feet cool and dry.

However, the Speedgoat 5s don’t offer weatherproofing found in more robust hiking shoes that block out moisture. If your next hike is muddy, full of water crossings, or the weather looks rainy, consider shoes with waterproof membranes and durable upper materials that repel water more effectively.

Closeup of trail running shoes from the knees down in a desert setting from a side profile.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 are prone to getting wet in puddles and creek crossings, but they dry very quickly thanks to their mesh uppers and lightweight construction.

Should You Buy the Hoka SpeedGoat 5?

The HOKA Speedgoat 5 is ideal for trail runners and hikers who prioritize lightweight comfort and agility over rugged durability. These are some of our absolute favorites because their plush cushioning, airy construction, and exceptional traction offer a seriously smooth ride for most people on established trails. They are perfect for folks looking to cover long distances quickly without sacrificing comfort, making them a favorite for thru-hikers, endurance athletes, and day hikers alike.

If you’re looking for heavy-duty weather resistance or maximum durability to navigate technical terrain, you’ll probably find the Speedgoat 5 a bit lacking. But if you’re seeking vibrant and eye-catching designs, you’ll be hard-pressed to find shoes with bolder and more colorful designs.

A hiker poses with a backpack, crouching on the ground and taking a break in a desert setting, looking off into the distance.
With the HOKA Speedgoat 5, you’ll stay comfortable all day long, even on trails packed with sand, loose gravel, and thorny brush.

What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?

If you’re considering the HOKA Speedgoat 5, you might also want to look at:

Brooks Cascadia 17: The Cascadia 17s offer a slightly more robust build than the Speedgoat 5s, but offer similar trail-running capabilities with more focus on durability and support.

Saucony Peregrine 14: Like the Speedgoat 5, the Peregrine 14 is one of the lightest shoes we’ve tested, making it a solid choice for trail runners seeking comfort, agility, and cushioning.

Topo Athletic Ultraventure: Featuring one of the roomiest toe boxes on our list and a flexible, cushioned sole, the Ultraventure offers a balance between comfort and durability, perfect for long-distance hikes and varied terrain.

These are excellent alternatives to the Speedgoat 5, since they cater to those looking for lightweight, comfortable, and agile trail-running shoes with excellent breathability.

Shot from the shoulders down of a hiker poses next to a tree in a desert setting, looking off into the distance.
The HOKA Speedgoat 5 lead the pack when it comes to lightweight construction, including woven uppers and a thick foam outsole.

The post Men’s Hoka SpeedGoat 5 Review appeared first on CleverHiker.

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