I recently obtained a pair of Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 shoes, and thought I would do an initial impressions review.
I’ve racked up just over 1000 KM with my previous daily trail running shoes (Saucony Peregrine 10 ST) and after wearing them down and getting a little bored, I thought it was time to change things up with something different.
Just as I did with the Saucony trail running shoes, I’ll be sure to follow up this “initial impressions” review with a full review once I’ve added more mileage to the Speedgoats. So getting right into it, here are my initial Hoka Speedgoat 4 impressions…
Hoka Speedgoat 4 Impressions
The first two things that I noticed after taking my first few steps were:
- They are very ‘cushy’. I’ve never had a pair of trail running shoes that are this cushioned or comfortable.
- They seem to be more elevated than usual. I guess this is most likely because of all the cushioning.
The first run I took the Hoka Speedgoat 4’s on was a good combination of different types of terrain and conditions.
It had just rained the day before and there was a lot of sloppy mud and uneven trail in places. There were also extended areas of gravel and dirt path and roads, puddles of water. Lastly I had some steep inclines that alternated between clay and chunky rock up hill.
After completing this route, along with a couple of other runs, I’ve noted the following points:
- Although they seem a bit higher than usual, the drop on these shoes is much at all at 4mm. In fact, it’s the same drop I had on my Sauncy Peregrine 10 ST’s. Ideal for change in shoe in this regard. So overall I don’t feel too elevated at the heels.
- The Speedgoats are a little narrower than I like. I have slightly wide feet, and they feel a little tight in these shoes. Especially on the outer edges by my pinky toes. I suspect this won’t be a problem for too long as I wear these in a little more though.
- These shoes are very comfortable. I didn’t have any issues with initial hardness on the backstay. Also, as mentioned before there is a lot of cushioning in these shoes. The toe box doesn’t feel too roomy, but is what I would call ‘good enough’, even on the down hills.
- The Vibram outsole has decent enough grip for mud, clay, loose dirt and rock, and unhardened snow.
- I have the normal version of these shoes (not the Goretex version) so I did notice a little bit of water intrusion when hitting some slightly deeper and unavoidable puddles. Totally expected though, but something to think about if you are expecting year round wet conditions.
- They’re deceptively light weighted for appearances. They weight in at 306 grams, and that is about the same as my previous daily trail runners (Saucony Peregrine 10 ST). Looking at them I expected a little bit heavier, but they feel good on the trail.
Thoughts on Longer Distances
I’ll be trying these out on longer distances as we move into the new year. I plan on taking these out on a marathon distance on the trails soon, and provided my current opinion doesn’t change too drastrically I’ll also be putting them up to an ultra marathon or two as we head to warmer weather this year.
This is the only concern I have though – longer distances. Surely with all this cushioning there is going to more energy absorbed (and lost) that would have otherwise transferred through to my forward momentum? Something to report back on in a full review for sure.
I hope that they provide good comfort and protection on longer trail runs without too much energy loss. Over many miles this potential extra energy loss could amount to a lot.