Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX Review

Need that extra bit of protection on your trail runs? This week’s Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX review is for you! The Hoka Speedgoat has been one of our best-selling trail shoes for several years. It offers a soft feeling cushioning and a versatile grip that works well on a variety of terrain. The Speedgoat 5 came out in July 2022 and had a significant change to the fit of the upper in comparison to the previous version here is a link to our comparison: HOKA Spedgoat 5 vs HOKA Speedgoat 4

Gore-Tex Upper

The fit of shoes with a waterproof upper is often different to that of a mesh upper. The Speedgoat 5 GTX uses a double-layered jacquard mesh with a Gore-Tex Leaf membrane bootie. A lot of waterproof shoes have a waterproof membrane inside the upper. This protects the membrane from abrasion caused by mud or grit rubbing the upper of the shoes, so they stay waterproof for longer. However, this internal waterproof layer takes up some of the space inside the shoes. This often makes waterproof shoes a lot narrower than the mesh version. Although the Speedgoat 5 GTX isn’t quite as roomy as the Speedgoat 5, the difference in volume inside the shoes is not that noticeable. If the mesh version fits you well the GTX version is likely to fit in the same size. The upper is very thin and pliable. The upper is soft to the touch on the outside but still feels like a membrane on the inside, similar in feel to the inside of a waterproof jacket.

hoka_speedgoat_5_gtxAs you would expect, the tongue is gusseted to prevent water and debris getting into the shoes. Waterproof trail shoes have the advantage of preventing water from wet grass, mud and rain from getting into the shoes. The downside is when water gets into the shoes from a deep puddle or river crossing. It then struggles to get out.

Although Gore-Tex like in the Speedgoat 5 GTX is a breathable waterproof membrane, uppers made of Gore-Tex are warmer than mesh uppers. This plus being windproof makes them nice to wear on colder days. The cold wind doesn’t whistle straight through the shoes, keeping your feet nice and snug! At what temperature Gore-Tex shoes become too warm will vary from runner to runner, depending on how warm their feet get. For me once the air temperature gets above 10 degrees celcius my feet sweat inside Gore-Tex shoes. This can lead to your foot moving around, rubbing and therefore a Gore-Tex shoe isn’t ideal on the hottest days.


Toe Box

The Speedgoat 5 toe box is straighter, allows more wiggle room and leaves the big toe straight compared to the Speedgoat 4. This is great and makes the Speedgoat 5 feel roomier. The mesh upper has a stretchy vamp over the toes that allows the upper to stretch as your feet expand on long runs. The Gore-Tex upper doesn’t have this as the Gore-Tex membrane doesn’t have the same stretch as the mesh upper.

The swallow tail heel pulls the tab away from the Achilles tendon to reduce the chance of any rubbing whilst running uphill. This is the same shaped heel cup used in a lot of Hoka running shoes now and provides a snug fit without the need for a plastic heel cup. It accommodates a variety of different heel shapes.

Flexibility vs. Cushion

Classic trail shoes are usually made with a firm, flexible midsole. This is so that the shoe can bend to the shape of the ground and you have some ground feel. You can then skip nimbly over broken or rocky terrain. The Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX has a much thicker and softer midsole designed to work like a mountain bike tyre. The midsole absorbs the ground and the thick midsole takes away the ground feel, giving you a softer ride. If you are used to wearing trail shoes with a high level of ground feel then this will feel unusual initially. With less feel for the terrain beneath you, you have to trust the shoes ability to absorb some of the lumps and bumps in the ground. Essentially you are thinking about running and you let the shoe deal with the terrain. This is less effective on more extreme terrain like on moorland single tracks where the constant changing direction of the ground doesn’t suit the shoe and it feels slow. On most other types of terrain, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 GTX feels great. They even ride well on stretches of tarmac, although the soft Vibram rubber will wear down if you use them for too much road use. Which is why they don’t make an ideal road to trail shoe.


Meta Rocker and Form

hoka_speedgoat_5_review_shoesLike all Hoka running shoes the Speedgoat 5 has a broad base. Your foot sits inside the midsole, which gives a good level of stability and helps guide the foot to toe off. Hoka running shoes also have a rocker. This is a curve in the midsole that encourages a more midfoot landing and a quicker cadence. This makes you lighter on your feet and helps keep you in a more efficient upright position as you get tired, minimising leaning forward at the waist, which makes you heavier on your feet. To me the soft midsole makes the Speedgoat 5 feel a little slow feeling on steeper hills as some of the force is absorbed by the midsole, or that’s what it feels like. This is on steep hills though and it isn’t as noticeable on more gradual climbs. Downhill running is quick. The rocker stops you over-striding and keeps your cadence quick, so you feel like you are flying down the hills. The soft cushioning and improved running form means that you get less jarring, so your legs don’t get as tired from long descents in my experience.

The shape of the curve in Hoka running shoes varies. Shoes like the Hoka Challenger 7 are designed for easy running and these facilitate landing slightly further back so you can plod along slowly in the shoes. As the name would suggest, the Speedgoat 5 is designed to run quicker in. As such the rocker pushes through the gait cycle quicker and facilities landing a bit further forward. It was originally designed for 100mile racing, so it isn’t designed just for shorter fast runs but it does encourage a steadier pace.

The lugs on the outsole are 5mm in length and made from Vibram Megagrip. This is a soft rubber designed to give good grip on wet surfaces and reduce slipping on wet rock and wood. 5mm isn’t a deep enough outsole lug to cope with the deepest British mud so the Speedgoat wouldn’t be the ideal choice for cross country racing. However, it is a versatile enough length to cope with wet sticky single track and still ride well on harder packed trails, which means that for most people, most of the time the Speedgoat 5 and Speedgoat 5 GTX will offer a good level of traction.

The heel to forefoot drop is 4mm to help promote a more midfoot landing. The midsole is 30mm/26mm in the women’s and 32mm/28mm in the men’s with a soft cushioned ride.

In Summary

If you are enjoying running in the Speedgoat 4 or Speedgoat 5, then the Speedgoat GTX will give you a brilliant more protective option to rotate with when the weather turns against you. If you are looking for a versatile, cushioned trail shoe that will grip in most conditions and still feel smooth enough on short pavement trips to your favourite trails in combination with a Gore-Tex upper because you hate getting cold and wet, it’s a perfect option.

Other Considerations

Scarpa Ribelle Run GTX: These are a very similar shoe to the Speedgoat with a more responsive feel to the ride. Here is our review of the mesh uppered version: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scarpa-ribelle-run-review/
The GTX version of the Ribelle Run is here: https://www.northernrunner.com/search/ribelle

If you want a shoe specifically for winter use then the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibre G would be worth considering. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scarpa-ribelle-run-kalibra-g-review/

Icebug Arcus GTX: These aren’t quite as versatile as the Speedgoat GTX and would be better suited to harder packed trails. The outsole rubber is very grippy and durable and would cope fine with tarmac use. So, these would be a better road to trail option. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/icebug-arcus-rb9x-gtx-review/

Lone Peak All Weather: A broader more rounded toe box and zero drop give these a more natural feel. Here is a link to our Lone Peak 7 review which will give you more information on the mesh version of these shoes. The All Weather upper doesn’t have the same volume as the mesh version and so they will fit a bit more snug: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-lone-peak-7-review-2/

Scott Supertrac GTX: The Scott Supertrac is 8mm heel to forefoot but, has a similar rocker to the Hoka Speegoat. The cushioning is firmer giving a more responsive ride. The lugs are longer so they will grip better in the mud but, still ride well on firmer surfaces. Here is a link to our review of the Scott Supertrac 3 mesh upper: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scott-supertrac-3-review/

Here is a link to the Gore-Tex version of the Supertrac:

New Balance Hierro v7 GTX: The fresh foam midsole of the Hierro gives a soft ride similar to the Speedgoat in feel. Here is a link to our review of the mesh version: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-hierro-v7-review/

Link to Hierro v7 range including Gore-Tex version: https://www.northernrunner.com/new-balance-m13/hierro-t106#sort4

La Sportiva Uragano GTX: 10mm drop with a firm responsive EVA midsole. A good level of grip in terms of lug depth and the stickiness of the rubber. The upper has a built in gaiter like the Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibre but, waterproof. https://www.northernrunner.com/shoes-c133/trail-running-shoes-c137/uragano-gtx-mens-waterproof-trail-running-shoes-black-yellow-p6081

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