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Hoka Speedgoat 4 Review Analysis (2022)

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

Last update: October 2022

The Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is an excellent comfortable trail running shoe destined for the most technical terrains.

The Consensus

9.5Overall score
Excellent comfortable maximalist trail running shoe with outstanding grip
The Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is a trail shoe inspired by the legendary ultramarathon athlete Karl’ Speedgoat’ Meltzer. With an excellent third model, we were looking forward to this fourth iteration. On the one hand, it is sometimes disappointing to find a new model with few improvements, but on the other hand, it is reassuring to see an excellent shoe keep its substance and not change radically. As the saying goes, you don’t change a winning team! Thus, the Speedgoat 4 is similar to the SG3 with some notable improvements. Cushioning is still as comfortable and responsive despite introducing a new injection-molded EVA foam. The Speedgoat is a maximalist shoe with 32 mm of thickness under the heel and thus effectively absorbs shocks on the most challenging terrains. However, it is not soft and offers an excellent energy return for a bounce-filled racing feeling. It’s one of the main assets that make it an exceptional trail shoe. Also, the SG4 is a low drop shoe with a 4 mm offset between heel and toes. The upper is the part that features the most changes. Indeed, reputed to be too narrow in the past for many athletes, it is now wider at the toe level and no longer compresses them uncomfortably. So the shoe should now be suitable for as many people as possible. Make no mistake, though: the upper remains relatively firm with limited flexibility, but this configuration has the advantage of providing an effective foot lockdown. It makes you feel safer on very rough technical terrain where stability and secure fit are essential. Also, the mesh is robust and breathable. Finally, the grip is always at its best with a Vibram outsole with 5mm lugs that provide excellent traction in all conditions. In short, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is an excellent trail shoe ideal for long distances on the most technically challenging trails.
Comfort
9.5
Traction
9.5
Protection
9.5
Durability
9.5
Value for money
9.5
Design
9.5
PROS
  • Great comfort
  • Excellent grip
  • Maximum cushioning and responsive at the same time
  • New upper with a broader toe area
  • Robust, durable design
  • Versatile: even though the SG4 excels above all on rugged terrain, it will also be suitable for small dirt roads with no particular technical skills.
CONS
  • Slightly heavier than the previous model

Technologies

Outsole

  • The outsole of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 uses the Vibram Megagrip Hi-Traction technology. This is a durable rubber that provides great traction on the most technical trail terrains with its effective grip.
  • Also, the aggressive 5 mm lugs increase the traction of the sole by providing a secure grip on uphill and downhill slopes, even on wet terrains.
  • Finally, the flex grooves allow the sole to follow the movements of the foot while running for a smoother ride.
Hoka Speedgoat 4 rubber outsole

Midsole

  • Injection molded EVA foam is used in the entire length of the midsole on this trail model. This foam is light and soft to provide comfortable cushioning while running in the outdoors. It absorbs shocks and allows you to run comfortably on rocky surfaces.
  • Besides, we also find one of the brand’s flagship technologies: Balanced Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry. This design aims to encourage runners to adopt naturally midfoot strike. It’s this technology that gives a slightly curved shape to the sole to naturally start a rocking motion while running. This, in turn, is supposed to optimize propulsion by maximizing energy return.

Upper

  • The upper of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 features a breathable and flexible engineered mesh to ensure effective foot lockdown in all conditions.
  • The midfoot area features overlays and a structural cage to improve lockdown and increase the lifespan of the shoe by preserving its shape over time.
  • Finally, the shoe featured a reinforced toe cap to protect the feet from painful and potentially dangerous shocks when trail running.

Facts

Technical Specs

TerrainTrail
Pronation typeNeutral
Drop4 mm
Heel stack height32 mm
Forefoot stack height28 mm
FeaturesAvailable in GTX, Toe cap
Weight (men)307 g/10.8 oz
Weight (women)261 g/9.2 oz
FitWide feet
Release year2019
AthletesKarl Metzer

Technologies

OutsoleVibram Megagrip Hi-Traction, 5 mm lugs, flex grooves
MidsoleInjection-molded EVA foam, Balanced Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry
UpperEngineered mesh, overlays, structural cage, reinforced toe cap

Use

SpeedAll
DistanceMid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon, ultramarathon
WorkoutDaily runs, recovery, speed

Reference: Hoka One One’s official website

Comparisons – Hoka Speedgoat 4 vs.:

Hoka Speedgoat 3

These two models are very similar, with relatively few changes from the third to the fourth iterations. The Speedgoat 3 being much cheaper, it seems an obvious choice if you are looking for the best possible value for money. However, if you have wide feet, the Speedgoat 4 is more likely to be adapted to your morphology because its upper is wider at the toe level.

Hoka One Evo Speedgoat

In addition to their names, these two models have similar configurations with the same stack height (32 mm under the heel) and the same drop (4 mm). However, the Evo Speedgoat is softer and much lighter (40 grams less), making it more comfortable but less secure in terms of foot lockdown. This may not be optimal on highly technical surfaces. Besides, although very good, the grip is also slightly inferior on the Evo Speedgoat compared to the Speedgoat 4.

Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5

These two shoes are reference trail models, but they have very different configurations. They have a much lower cushioning on the Terra Kiger 5: 24 mm under the heel than 32 mm for the Speedgoat 4. Thus, the SG4 is a maximalist shoe that offers high-stack cushioning. Otherwise, comfort is there, and the grip is excellent in both cases. It is, therefore, primarily a matter of preference in terms of cushioning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do the Hoka Speedgoat 4 shoes fit?

This model follows a regular sizing chart and must, therefore, correspond to the announced size. According to runners who have tested this shoe, this is the case. So you can order your usual size. However, note that this model offers a fairly firm upper with a tight foot lockdown. We recommend that you try these shoes in-store if you have the opportunity to be sure.

Is this shoe suitable for an ultramarathon?

Ultramarathon refers to the practice of running in natural environments (e.g., mountains, forests) over distances of greater than 42.2 km/26 mi (the UTMB is 171 km, for example). In this case, the Hoka Speedgoat 4 is not only suitable for ultramarathon: it’s its raison-d’etre! Indeed, Hoka designed it for the mythical ultra-trailer Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer (hence the name). Thus, it offers a high level of protection and grip to allow the runner to face the most difficult conditions. Also, while many trail models provide a soft foot lockdown, the SG4 bets on slightly reducing comfort to improve foot lockdown and, therefore, safety.

Is the Speedgoat 4 waterproof?

These shoes are available in two versions: GTX and classic. The regular model is designed to prevent slight water infiltration and dries quickly thanks to its water-repellent treatment. Therefore, your foot should stay dry if you are running in light rain and passing through puddles. If the rain is heavier, your foot may get wet after a while. The Gore-Tex version offers more advanced protection to keep your feet dry even in heavy rain or through shallow streams. However, the Gore-Tex version is heavier and more expensive. It’s up to you to decide according to your practice.

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin Le Gall

Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner's Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He's also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.

2 thoughts on “Hoka Speedgoat 4”

  1. Great blog post. I got the Hoka Speedgoat 4 earlier this year and did 2 trail races in them. I’m absolutely blown away. I didn’t like them during my first training run. They felt quite hard. But once I had a few miles in them they felt incredible.

    I did a 27K with 1700m elevation gain and a 21K with 1500m elevation gain. One was on a volcano so sandy, rocky, dry trails. The other one was in the middle of the jungle in Indonesia. Wet, muddy, roots and sticks looking out everywhere.

    The sole was great for these technical trails. And they felt light and responsive on my way up. It dries super quickly too.

    Can’t wait to do the next race in them.

    How many kilometres do you reckon can you do in them, or in trail running shoes in general?

    Reply

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