Shoe Review: HOKA Speedgoat 4
HOKA ONE ONE tweaked the Speedgoat 4 for a better fit without changing its stellar trail running chops, and Fleet Feet testers think it’s up for any challenge.
HOKA built the original Speedgoat to the specifications of Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, a prolific ultramarathoner and HOKA athlete, and it didn’t disappoint. Through four iterations, HOKA increased traction, made it more durable and improved the fit.
Now, the Speedgoat 4 is here to claim its spot in the HOKA family.
We got our hands on the HOKA Speedgoat 4 to test the new fit, get a feel for the ride and see how it compares to iterations past.
HOKA Speedgoat 4
9.2 oz (women’s); 10.8 oz (men’s)
HOKA Speedgoat 4 Fit and Materials
This year HOKA says it molded a more accommodating toe box for a more comfortable fit. One Fleet Feet tester who has run in previous versions of the Speedgoat agrees that the fit is improved over previous Speedgoat iterations.
“The fit feels different than the Speedgoat 3,” she says. “The toe box is roomier and actually felt longer to me.”
Even with the wider box, though, the shoe still feels stable and controlled.
Like the Speedgoat 3, the Speedgoat 4 has a Vibram MegaGrip outsole for premium traction. Vibram, a rubber and footwear manufacturer, developed MegaGrip specifically to add traction on wet, slippery surfaces. And according to our testers, it works.
Molded 5mm rubber lugs are adept at digging into soft dirt and expertly handling slippery mud and wet rocks.
“This version feels like it has even better grip than before,” one tester says. “The lugs feel slightly more aggressive, and the multidirectional pattern gives it good traction on steep climbs and descents, especially with mud.”
The Speedgoat 4 also has a redesigned upper that HOKA says is rugged and more breathable than previous models. A tight weave will help keep dirt and debris from seeping through the shoe, and lightweight overlays in the midfoot give it a little extra structure.
Even with the tightly woven mesh, our testers didn’t feel stifled in the shoe while running in the early fall air and didn’t see any signs of premature wear after about 50 miles.
“The fit is really just no fuss,” says another tester. “There is nothing special or stand-out-wow about it. It just works. It’s dependable. It’s now somewhat of a classic in my rotation of trail runners.”
Like all HOKA running shoes, the SG4 has a big stack of midsole foam to help cushion your run. HOKA says the injection molded EVA foam is lighter and more responsive than previous versions, but it packs the same amount of cushioning as the Speedgoat 3.
The Speedgoat 4's stack height measures:
- Women's: 30 mm heel/26 mm toe
- Men's: 32 mm heel/28 mm toe
One Fleet Feet tester says it still sports the signature HOKA feeling underfoot, but this year's version is a hair firmer than before.
"The cushion seems slightly firmer on this one, which is fine by me," she says. "It's still got that nice HOKA softness but with less give."
[We will update this review with more notes about materials and durability after putting more miles on the shoe this winter.]
HOKA Speedgoat 4 Ride and Performance
The Speedgoat 4 is instantly comfortable. No break-in period required.
One Fleet Feet tester unboxed the shoe, laced it up and hit the trail for a 20-mile (muddy) trail run without any problems.
“They felt great from the second I put them on,” she says. “I didn’t experience any hot spots, and I ran for over three hours.”
While HOKA tweaked the fit a little to accommodate a greater assortment of foot shapes, much of what made the Speedgoat a hit stayed the same. One big part of the similar feel is the stacked-high HOKA midsole.
“It feels like a pretty tall platform compared to most trail running shoes I’m used to,” a tester says. “But the platform feels wide enough to be stable, which is a good thing on rocky East Coast trails that have lots of ankle-rolling opportunities.”
The shoe is also fairly stiff, which our testers like for gnarly terrain and long days in the mountains or in the woods. More flexible shoes can tax the muscles in your feet and ankles as they try to keep up with uneven trails, but stiffer shoes smooth out bumps and divots by giving you a solid platform to push off from.
HOKA Speedgoat 3 vs. HOKA Speedgoat 4
There are many similarities between the Speedgoat 3 and Speedgoat 4, but subtle tweaks to the new version continue its reputation as a solid off roader.
HOKA lists the Speedgoat 4 at a slightly heavier weight than the Speedgoat 3. The new models weigh 9.2 oz for the women’s shoe and 10.8 oz for the men’s. Those numbers are up from 9.1 oz and 10.3 oz for the women’s and men’s Speedgoat 3, respectively.
Both shoes employ Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsoles studded with 5 mm lugs, and both have engineered mesh uppers (although they’re a bit different).
The big difference to notice is the roomier toe box. None of our testers—even one with wider-than-average feet—noticed any squishing in the forefoot as they ran, which gives the shoe a comfortable, stable feeling.
HOKA made two other changes to the Speedgoat platform:
- The Speedgoat 3 came in a waterproof version that used HOKA’s own Skyshell bootie to keep the puddles out. But this year’s waterproof ‘Goat swaps Skyshell for a GORE-TEX liner that delivers lightweight, breathable moisture management. The HOKA Speedgoat 4 GTX runs $160.
- The Speedgoat 4 will come in different widths, meaning you can get the shoe in a wide if you need more space.
HOKA Speedgoat 3
HOKA Speedgoat 4
9.1 oz (W); 10.3 oz (M)
9.2 oz (W); 10.8 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot)
30/26 mm (W); 32/28 mm (M)
30/26 mm (W); 32/28 mm (M)
The revamped HOKA Speedgoat 4 is everything we want from a burly trail running shoe.
HOKA’s deep lugs and Vibram MegaGrip outsole promise bomber footing on sketchy trails, and the beefy midsole still provides plenty of cushion and protection against jagged rocks and roots. The roomier fit makes for a more comfortable ride over long runs, and the extra stiffness gives it a stable, confident feel.
"I love the Speedgoat," another tester says. "I'm happy to say that the 4 hasn't strayed away from what I liked about the old versions."
Just like the previous versions, the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 is the trail running shoe we’ll lace up again and again.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.
By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.