Trail running in inclement weather requires the proper pair of shoes, and the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 GTX is just the right shoe for the job. With the latest Gore-Tex inserts paired with a Vibram Megagrip outsole, these comfy trail runners have been perfect for late winter and into spring.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 GTX Features:
- Features a premium lightweight and breathable GORE-TEX waterproof bootie that keeps your feet dry in a variety of weather
- Water-resistant mesh upper offers wearability in a variety of conditions
- 3D printed overlays provide additional midfoot support and lockdown for a more secure feel
- Gusseted tongue features hydrophobic properties and strategic cutouts for breathability
- Midsole features a new lightweight foam for a more responsive ride
- Wider forefoot offers a more stable ride and accommodating fit
- Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsole provides grip in wet and dry conditions
- 5mm “stepped” lugs offer additional support and stability
- Zonal rubber placement adds support and stability
- Stack Height: 32 mm heel/28 mm toe
- MSRP: $160
Comfort in spades (protection too)
Since 1999, Hoka One One has been on the forefront of “maximalist” running shoes. I remember vividly the first time I saw a pair in the wild, I was dumbfounded. I remember being on a trail and seeing a guy running uphill towards me with what I thought were giant marshmallows on his feet. They were so tall and so squishy, I couldn’t accept the fact that they could be fast and efficient as well. In subsequent years, I’ve worn a variety of marshmallow shoes, but none from Hoka — until the Speedgoat 4 GTX arrived.
At the core of the Speedgoat 4 GTX is the classic Hoka midsole with a 32/28mm heel/toe stack height. 32mm is pretty significant, but if you need even more cushioning, the Stinson ATR 5 would be your choice. As generous as a 32mm stack height is, the Speedgoat 4 GTX remains efficient and capable for training or racing. And, like all Hoka’s, they only have a 4mm drop. To me, that sits squarely in the “drop sweet spot”. Anything more feels like high heels and less will cause trouble for some runners.
Built into the Speedgoat 4 GTX are the latest Gore-Tex inserts for all-weather performance. There’s no need to worry about stream crossings, rain or tall, wet grass turning your feet into a soggy mess. Yes, it’s a traditional low-top shoe, but with all that stack height, there’s quite a bit of clearance for water crossings, puddles, etc. even without the use of a gaiter. Certainly, adding a running gaiter would make things even more weather-resistant. As it was, these were waterproof, as expected.
While these are trail runners, first and foremost, I took them along to Disneyland for a couple of days at the park with the fam. The forecast called for rain, so I knew Gore-Tex would come in handy as well. My feet stayed dry and comfortable in the Magic Kingdom. All that squish eliminated foot fatigue after 13 hours on my feet.
Traction is delivered by Vibram’s fantastic Megagrip rubber outsole. This rubber is the bomb and sets the standard for trail grip, in my opinion. Every shoe I’ve tested that features Megagrip has exceeded my expectations in trail grip. Uphill, downhill, rocks, dirt, pavement, etc. are all met with quality traction. Toe-off is solid and durability is excellent. As mentioned, I’ve worn these a little more on pavement than is typical and the outsoles are holding up well — just a little increased wear on the heels. And, they shed mud really well. I never got to the point where I was searching for sticks to dig the mud out. Most of it just released on its own after muddy trail sections.
You may wonder how stable the Speedgoat 4’s are on the trail, but just cast those fears aside. Yes, you sit up tall, but if you look at the midsole, the obvious platform design makes these some of the most stable shoes I’ve tried. And, in spite of all that stack, they do deliver excellent trail feel. Of course, you don’t feel any sharp, pointy rocks, but you don’t feel “trail numb” either. It’s pretty amazing, really, and a testament to the design quality and R&D involved in these shoes.
I’ll add that the 4mm drop is indeed “just right” for me. I feel like I can smoothly transition from midfoot strike to toe-off with every stride. The outsoles feature a nice rocker that just begs for more. Each step is rewarded with cushion, then traction to move onward for miles.
Sometimes, shoe designers get tricky with laces and lacing patterns, but these are just standard flat laces with a normal, proven lacing pattern. I’ve had no issues lacing these up properly and getting the right fit every time.
Really, the only negative I’ve noticed is the outer edge of the tongue does tend to push against my ankles. It’s noticeable while walking and at the start of a run, but during a trail run, it goes unnoticed.
Of course, breathability of any Gore-Tex shoe is a fair question. I’ve primarily run with these in temperatures from the 20’s to the 60’s with no issues. I appreciate the added warmth on cold days and breathability has been solid on the upper end of the spectrum. For hot, summer days, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend these. They will be warm, but tolerable during summer training runs.
- Super stability
- Comfort in spades
- Still remains in touch with the terrain
- Vibram outsoles shine everywhere
- Standard laces and lacing pattern
- Gore-Tex insert keeps the elements at bay
- Great breathability for intended weather range
- Perfect amount of drop for my tastes
- Good mud-shedding outsoles
- End of tongue pushes against my outer ankle bone
- Upper end pricing
The Bottom Line: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 GTX
For fall-to-spring trail running, it’s hard to imagine a better shoe than the Speedgoat 4 GTX. With these, you get all-day comfort, superb traction, bomber weather protection and a smooth stride. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve appreciated maximalist shoes and these have met or exceeded my demands for an all-weather, long-distance trail runner.
Buy Now: Available at REI