Trail Running/Hiking Shoes
Hoka One One Speedgoat 5
$155, 1 lb. 3 oz./539g (US men’s 9)
Sizes: US men’s 7-15, women’s 5-12
Improving on a great piece of gear is hard. But Hoka nailed it again with the Speedgoat 5, the newest update of the brand’s workhorse trail-running and light hiking shoes. Wearing them on trail runs up to 10 miles in my local foothills, I found my favorite trail runners retain the same cushion, comfort, and breathability I’m accustomed to, but now have a welcome traction upgrade, a sweeter fit, and have even dropped a little weight.
Hoka One One kept many features from previous Speedgoat models in the low-cut Speedgoat 5, including the shoe’s neutral stability and late-stage rocker profile. The stack height (the combined thickness of the midsole and outsole) still goes from 33mm at the heel to 29mm at the forefoot, a minimal, 4mm drop that has always been kind to my feet, even on days as big as running and hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim (42 miles and over 21,000 feet), while other trail-running shoes have beat up my feet and left them sore on runs of 15 miles or more.
The wide platform and solid torsional rigidity give these shoes exceptional stability for footwear this light. And, of course,the Speedgoat 5 sportsHoka’s signature oversized, lightweight, compression-molded EVA foam midsole, which delivers balanced cushioning for trail runs or lightweight hiking—but now has a lighter midsole compound that still feels like the same cushioning to me while helping to make the shoes about an ounce (28 grams) lighter per pair than the Speedgoat 4.
Like previous Speedgoat iterations, I find these shoes perfectly fine for running some pavement en route to the trails. I even wore them running the Eugene, Oregon, half-marathon, mostly on streets, in late April, finishing it with my feet, knees, and body overall feeling fatigued but good.
The fit feels better, with a more stretchy, open-mesh (read: more breathable), gusseted tongue that makes slipping feet inside a breeze while keeping the shoe comfortably locked-in from the midfoot through the flexible but supportive heel, and giving it a little boost in the toe box space, which many runners will appreciate when feet swell a bit on the trail. The printed overlays on the uppers help stabilize and lock down the midfoot: My feet never slip inside these shoes. Plus, the newly extended heel tab makes pulling them on pleasantly easier. The Speedgoat 5, like previous versions of the shoe, has enough space for my custom insoles while fitting my feet very well with their stock insoles, too.
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The new Vibram Megagrip outsole, with multi-directional, 5mm lugs that feature tiny dots on their forward and rear edges, give the Speedgoat 5 noticeably better traction on trails I run regularly, which mostly consist of packed dirt, sand, and occasionally small, loose stones and exposed bedrock.
The new jacquard mesh uppers breathe supremely well—my feet never got sweaty, even on trail runs in temps pushing 80° F under a hot sun.
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A small rubber toe bumper offers some protection, as do the overlays on the uppers, lending the Speedgoat 5 good durability for trail-running shoes in this weight class. If you use them for hiking or ultralight backpacking, recognize that they lack the durability of beefier—and heavier—hiking shoes. The biggest weak point—as with many shoes in this category—is the exposed soft foam of the midsole outside the little toe; that’s where I’ve always seen the Speedgoat wear first and get chewed up more easily on rocky trails.
Still, depending on how you use them—how much weight you’re carrying, the condition of trails (how rocky and wet), and other factors—they will last as long as similar shoes in this category. I expect to log 400 to 500 miles in my Speedgoat 5 before wear and tear in the outsoles and midsoles demand retiring them.
The Speedgoat 5 shoes are not waterproof, but the benefit of that is they dry out quickly because of the airy uppers, making them good footwear for dayhiking and ultralight backpacking on generally dry trails that are well-constructed and not littered with big rocks.
Hoka also offers these shoes in men’s and women’s waterproof-breathable low and mid-cut models, the Speedgoat 5 GTX ($170) and Speedgoat 5 Mid GTX ($180).
Better than ever with a nicer fit, improved traction, and lower weight, while retaining their exceptional cushion, comfort, and breathability, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 remain arguably the best shoes out there for trail runners, dayhikers, and ultralight and lightweight backpackers who prefer very light and airy footwear.
You can support my work on this blog, at no cost to you, by clicking any of these affiliate links to purchase the men’s Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 shoes at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com, the women’s Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 shoes at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com, or other men’s or women’s Speedgoat models at backcountry.com or moosejaw.com.
NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See my Gear Reviews page at The Big Outside for categorized menus of all of my reviews and my expert buying tips.