Hoka Speedgoat 5 Review (2023): Is This the Best Trail Shoe?
Published on: 03/10/2022
The Hoka Speedgoat 5 keeps its crown as the most effective trail running shoe, capable of handling everything from daily training to the toughest ultrarunning races.
After a fourth version that conquered the trail world in 2019, Hoka’s star shoe returns in 2022. With the Speedgoat 5, the brand has avoided the obvious pitfalls while almost entirely revamping this new version to make it lighter.
While the weight loss remains moderate (15 g/0.5 oz less), this new Speedgoat offers a more efficient and comfortable configuration. As a result, the cushioning is slightly softer with a greater energy return. The HSG5 remains a maximally cushioned shoe with 33 mm in the heel for the men’s version and 31 mm for women. The heel-to-toe drop is 4 mm, which is low.
The new Vibram MegaGrip outsole provides impeccable traction on all types of terrain. The deep 5 mm lugs also have a new design for better traction. Testers were impressed with the improved grip this seemingly minor change manages to achieve in practice.
Finally, the upper has been simplified and translates into an engineered knit (tightly woven) without overlays that comfortably wraps around the foot while providing a secure lockdown. The shoe is more spacious (also in the toe box), but the lockdown remains precise.
In summary, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 retains its place on the trail running throne. Runners who enjoyed the SG4 will not be disappointed, and we can expect to see this new version become the go-to trail shoe for many runners this year, amateurs and elite alike!
Please read our full review of the Hoka Speedgoat 5 for more information.
- Improved comfort
- Softer, more responsive cushioning
- Finally under 10.6 oz/300 g
- Precise foot lockdown
- Faultless traction
- The midsole update is modest, but at the same time, why shake things up?
Hoka Speedgoat 5 Complete Review Analysis
Hoka hit the jackpot in 2019 with the fourth version of its Speedgoat. With its exceptional qualities (e.g., protection, comfort, grip), it has quickly established itself as the most popular trail shoe in the world. Just look at the ultramarathon running races: runners trust it for the most treacherous trails!
So it took Hoka three years to finally decide to touch up their prodigy shoe, probably for fear of breaking everything and attracting the wrath of trail runners around the world who swear by the Speedgoat.
The Achilles heel of the HSG4 was its weight (it weighed more than 10.6 oz/300 g). So the brand redesigned the Speedgoat 5, including the midsole, to make it lighter.
Does the result live up to expectations? Is the Hoka Speedgoat 5 still the absolute star when it comes to trail shoes? That’s what we’ll find out in this in-depth analysis.
The midsole can be either a relief or a disappointment. You pick one. On the one hand, there’s no reason to change a winning formula. On the other hand, after over two years of waiting, one might have expected more impressive technology than a classic compression-molded EVA foam (CMEVA). No supercritical foam or extravagance in the genre, then. We have to do with a tried and true traditional setup that we know is reliable.
However, Hoka has considerably lightened the shoe by rethinking the midsole. Thus, while keeping about the same height (33 and 29 mm, respectively at the rear and the front), the shoe now weighs 290 g/10.2 oz, which is 15 g/0.5 oz less than the previous version. The women’s version is slightly less cushioned (2 mm lower).
The heel-to-toe drop remains low, with 4 mm between the shoe’s back and front.
Testers note that the underfoot feel is less firm and that this new lightness makes this trail shoe more responsive, as we will see in more detail below.
Foot lockdown (upper)
This new Speedgoat’s upper has a much sleeker design. It uses a tightly woven engineered knit without overlays. The materials are recycled and 100% vegan.
The testers appreciated this new configuration. They note that the foot lockdown and protection are still impeccable while gaining comfort. Thus, while the Speedgoat 4 was a little tight and not very stretchy, the Speedgoat 5 offers more space (including the toe box) and is slightly more flexible. Therefore, the improvement is clear from one model to another. Beware: this is not an Altra in terms of volume, but it may be a game-changer for runners who were just a few millimeters short on the previous model.
The flared heel has become one of Hoka’s design signature touches and the Speedgoat 5 is no exception. The appeal is not only aesthetic: some trail runners note that this design allows the collar to hold the foot for heel security while moving away from the Achilles tendon to avoid causing pain to people who have problems at this level (like yours truly).
Also, note that the shoe features a gusseted tongue for optimal lockdown on the top of the foot. Some testers found it a bit short but nothing catastrophic.
The HSG5 runs true to size, and some stores carry a wide version if needed.
Grip and durability
At first glance, the outsole of the Speedgoat 5 is the same as the previous version: Vibram MegaGrip rubber and 5 mm deep lugs.
You almost need a magnifying glass to notice the improvement: the lugs are now surrounded by tiny rubber barbs to better grip the ground, especially on technical surfaces like loose soil or frozen ground. Vibram calls this concept simply Traction Lugs.
In practice, runners notice that the grip on trails is better. The new design of the lugs delivers a better grip on the most technical trails. Unfortunately, soft mud remains the number one enemy, but that’s the case with all trail shoes.
Finally, the Speedgoat 5 doesn’t have a rock plate, but given the stack height of the sole, it’s more than adequate so underfoot protection is far from being an issue.
The new midsole foam impresses by offering a responsive ride with smooth transitions. The lighter weight allows for more bounce.
The Late Stage Meta-Rocker translates into a transition zone under the metatarsals that provides more stable support under the toes. This type of configuration is best suited for forefoot or midfoot strikers, but in the case of the Speedgoat 5, the result is versatile enough to suit everyone.
The testers enjoyed the ride offered by this new Speedgoat. The only potential weak point is the lack of ground feel, but at the same time, it’s not at all what this trail shoe is about!
With the Speedgoat 5, Hoka has succeeded in modernizing its bestseller by improving it without compromising the fundamental qualities that made its success.
The new lighter, more flexible design is more comfortable while offering the same level of lockdown and protection.
The grip is another strong point of this new model with its sharper lugs.
Whether you wear it for ultramarathon running or your daily runs, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 is a proper Swiss Army knife capable of handling any trail situation.
The queen is back. Long live the queen!
|Heel height||33 mm|
|Forefoot height||29 mm|
|Weight (men)||290 g/10.2 oz|
|Weight (women)||240 g/8.5 oz|
|Features||Available in GTX, Vegan, Rocker|
|Midsole||CMEVA, Meta-Rocker Geometry|
|Speed||Slow, Moderate, Fast|
|Distance||Mid, Long, Ultramarathon|
Comparisons – Hoka Speedgoat 5 vs.:
Hoka Speedgoat 4
The Hoka Speedgoat 4 is from 2019 and weighs about 15 g/0.5 oz more. The stack height is similar, but the underfoot feel is firmer. The (less flexible) upper uses more overlays – time will tell if the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is sturdy.
The foot lockdown is also tighter on the SG4. Hoka made a bet to soften the lockdown without compromising its effectiveness.
Finally, testers note that the grip on the Speedgoat 5 is even better with its more effective 5-mm lug design (Vibram).
Saucony Peregrine 12
The Peregrine offers the same level of protection and grip as the Hoka Speedgoat. However, its cushioning is barer. Thus, the ground feel is better, but the comfort can suffer during long runs. This remains a matter of personal preference.
Hoka Mafate Speed 3
The Mafate Speed is more cushioned with a softer but less stable feel. It focuses more on comfort than technicality compared to the Speedgoat, which makes it more suitable for medium technical routes. See the full comparison.
Brooks Cascadia 16
The Cascadia is to Brooks what the Speedgoat is to Hoka: its sharpest knife, the one capable of overcoming any situation. It’s a matter of preference. One might venture to say that the Speedgoat’s grip is superior, but the Cascadia is not far behind. Both shoes are geared towards longer runs while being exceptionally versatile for shorter distances.
Hoka Tecton X
The Tecton X is the latest addition to Hoka’s collection and it comes with supercritical foam and carbon plates. Logically, it’s a serious competitor to the Speedgoat, though the two shoes are largely complementary. See our analysis.
Hoka Challenger 7
The Challenger is softer and lighter but not as technical for tough trails. Check out the analysis.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This shoe runs true to size, and this version is wider than in the past. A wide version is also available on the official Hoka website and some online stores.
The HSG is not only an excellent choice for ultra, but it was also explicitly designed for it! It offers impeccable performance on the most technical terrain and great comfort for longer distances.