Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Review (2022): The Most Comfortable Pick?
Published on: 11/14/2022The Hoka Mafate Speed 4 is a delightfully aggressive and comfortable trail running shoe for long distances on technical terrain (or not).
Very good trail shoe that combines comfort with an excellent grip—reference status confirmed!
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
Hoka returns in 2022 with a new, lighter, and more comfortable version of one of its flagship trail running series, the Mafate Speed 4. The shoe’s DNA remains the same, but there are some notable improvements.
The Vibram Megagrip outsole is enhanced with Litebase construction for lightness and Traction Lugs for traction. The redesigned 5mm lugs offer better grip.
The cushioning is softer and more comfortable than the previous model while remaining responsive. The PROFLY + foam is more modern while retaining a high stack (33 mm for men / 31 mm for women in the heel).
Finally, the upper is very breathable despite the tighter weave of the engineered mesh. It’s also more comfortable and reasonably roomy.
In summary, the Mafate Speed 4 remains a safe bet for comfortable long runs.
Please read our full review of the Hoka One One Mafate Speed 4 for more information.
- Soft and comfortable cushion
- Incredible traction on soft and steep terrain
- Smooth ride for long distances
- Airy, breathable, and durable upper
- A high level of protection
- The tail tends to welcome debris in the shoe
Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Complete Review Analysis
It’s no coincidence that Hoka has named one of its most popular trail running shoes after the famous natural cirque on Reunion Island. This unusual and timeless place, accessible only by foot or helicopter, is full of long, demanding, and technical trails. It’s precisely to tackle this type of terrain that the Mafate model was created a few years ago now.
The previous iteration had already undergone some major changes. In 2022, Hoka proceeds to a complete revision of its Mafate Speed 4. The series now has to find its place in Hoka’s collection, between other trail shoes like the Speedgoat queen, and the Tecton X, the carbon-plated prodigy. Is the new Mafate Speed a success? That’s what we will check in this analysis.
Let’s start with one of the highlights of this new MS4: the Vibram MegaGrip outsole.
There are 2 notable improvements:
- Litebase design: The thinner base integrated into the midsole makes the shoe thinner and lighter.
- The Traction Lugs concept: The lugs remain deep (5 mm) but now have a new design that makes them more effective in the grip.
The result is a rugged, durable, and aggressive sole. The general consensus among trail runners is that the traction has become excellent and makes you want to go off the beaten path, not to bite the dust, but to bite the ground. Hooray for loose or more technical terrain; hooray for wet rocks! Overall, Hoka has managed to correct one of the major criticisms of the previous version with more stability for greater safety and confidence.
The new midsole has also undergone a welcomed evolution. Hoka has equipped its new Mafate Speed 4 with dual-density Profly technology: a softer layer of foam on top, and a firmer, more responsive layer of EVA foam underneath. The result is a perfect balance of soft, comfortable cushion and effective responsiveness. Testers felt like they were growing wings on the trail without straining their muscles and joints.
The stack height remains significant, identical to the previous model (33 mm heel / 29 mm forefoot in men’s version; 31 mm heel / 27 mm forefoot in women’s version). The drop is 4 mm.
The level of foot protection remains high, and there’s no need for a dedicated rock plate. However, a few testers have judged the protection a bit inferior to the Mafate Speed 3. Nonetheless, it’s satisfactory for the majority, even on rough trails. You can run with peace of mind without worrying about your feet taking a pounding.
Finally, the X-shaped grooves under the sole provide greater flexibility.
Foot lockdown (upper)
The new upper has been completely redesigned for even more comfort and refinement.
The engineered mesh is well-ventilated and breathable despite its tight weave. Some trail runners have tested the trail running shoes in mountain lakes. Result? The water evacuation was efficient, and the drying was fast.
Not only the lockdown is better, the weight is also down! This trail shoe has a lighter weight than before (10.4 oz/295 g for men’s and 8.5 oz/241 g for women’s). That’s 0.7 oz/20 g less, and everything counts on race day (even if the MFS is at its best on daily runs).
The platform remains unchanged, with a toe box that is roomy enough in the forefoot (but not too roomy) to satisfy runners with wide feet. The fit is true to size, while the lockdown remains very good, especially in the midfoot, with its reinforced, gusseted, and cushioned tongue.
The heel collar and counter provide added comfort and lockdown. However, its width can catch dirt, loose rocks, and debris, which bothered some testers. It’s a small flaw that the other qualities of the shoe easily make up for.
After reading all the highlights of the Mafate Speed 4, you won’t be surprised to learn that trail runners who tested this shoe found the ride very, very good! The magical effect of the dual-density foam provides smooth cushioning, comfort, and protection. At the same time, it offers a good amount of bounce (even if it’s a bit less than previous versions).
While the increased flexibility makes for a more agile ride, it may slightly impact the responsiveness.
If there’s one thing all reviewers agree on it’s the traction. It’s simply fantastic!
In short, the Mafate Speed 4 offers an excellent ride particularly suited for long-distance, daily runs, in forests or mountains, and even ultramarathons. All in all, this new iteration hits the sweet spot between comfort and performance, making it a very versatile option.
This 4th iteration of the Mafate Speed is a total success. There are many improvements at all levels for optimal grip, soft and responsive cushioning, protection, and foot lockdown.
Its universal qualities make it a trail running shoe that can benefit any type of runner, beginners and elite trail runners, wishing to venture out on long distances.
|Heel height||33 mm|
|Forefoot height||29 mm|
|Weight (men)||295 g/10.4 oz|
|Weight (women)||241 g/8.5 oz|
|Upper||Single Layer Woven Jacquard Mesh|
|Speed||Slow, Moderate, Fast|
|Distance||Mid, Long, Ultramarathon|
Comparisons – Hoka Mafate Speed 4 vs.:
Hoka Mafate Speed 3
The design differences between these two shoes are far from negligible.
In this 4th version, Hoka has completely redesigned the series. The revamped outsole, with Vibram Litebase and new lugs, makes the shoe more streamlined and lighter and the grip more efficient.
The PROFLY midsole has been updated, offering more lightness and comfort than the MS3.
The new finely woven jacquard mesh upper provides a more secure fit and better lockdown for superior protection.
Hoka One One Mafate Speed 4 or 3: which one should you pick?
If the firm ride and speed of the Speed 3 are your thing, there’s no reason to change your habits. But if you’re looking for a more modern design, extra comfort, lightness, and grip, then the MS4 will certainly meet your expectations.
- Hoka Mafate Speed vs. Speedgoat
- Hoka Tecton X vs. Mafate Speed (coming soon!)