Fast hiking, fastpacking, light hiking, trail running — whatever you want to call it, the Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 is ready for that and more. With them, I’ve enjoyed winter trail running and spring hiking in the Wasatch Mountains. And, all that squish adds comfort to my old bones.
Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 Features:
- Mid-ankle design for light hiking and stability
- Gore-Tex waterproof bootie that keeps your feet dry
- Water-resistant mesh uppers
- Molded foam collar provides additional ankle support
- Lightweight foam midsole for added responsiveness
- Wider forefoot adds stability and comfort
- Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsole with 5mm “stepped” lugs
- Zonal rubber placement adds support and stability
- Stack Height: 32 mm heel/28 mm toe (4mm drop)
- Weight: 14.5 oz each (11.5, actual)
- MSRP: $170
Light and smooth hikers
As the name suggests, the Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 has the heart of the Speedgoat 4 GTX, which I recently reviewed. Those shoes are remarkably-comfortable, light and stable. Plus, they have Gore-Tex for added weather protection. All of that is true, and more with the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2.
What Hoka has done here is essentially added a hiking boot upper to the existing chassis. The combo results in a light hiker that can also masquerade as a light trail runner (or fast packing, if you prefer). With that in mind, I do tend to “trail run” in the winter, so long as conditions permit. Most of the time, those conditions are snowpacked. And, sometimes you end up post-holing through snow drifts. Under all those conditions, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 was superb. I enjoyed the added coverage, water protection and ankle support on every run. A slip here-and-there and the uppers kept me from injury as well.
Now, for the more common usage of light and fast hiking, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 remains equally awesome. The natural rocker and stride afforded by the squishy, but supportive, midsole is heaven sent as the trails get longer and longer. I can transition from a fast hiking pace to running in these without much of a hitch. Yeah, you do notice the added height, but when you’re “running” in these, you’re not shooting for that latest PR anyway. Just know that when you need to up the tempo, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 isn’t going to hold you back.
I have only used these for day hikes (and some trail running), so I can’t speak to their ability to carry overnight or multi-day loads, but I’d expect them to be adequate, but not necessarily ideal. If you want a long-haul hiker, you know to look elsewhere. What you have with the Mid’s is a wicked-light and wicked-comfortable light hiker that will leave your feet refreshed and comfortable after a long day in the mountains.
On one such occasion, we did a 7+ mile hike on the frontside of Mt Timpanogos. The ascent was steep and strenuous, followed by beautiful meadows before descending in steep fashion once more. With temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, the Gore-Tex inserts were never overwhelmed and my feet remained comfortable. Even a few stream crossings were had and the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2’s remained dry as can be. You can see the Strava log of this hike below.
Cushioning is amazeballs
As with most Hoka’s, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2’s feature amazing comfort. They have figured out how to create tall, squishy midsoles without feeling like you’re running on marshmallows. I mean, it’s not just some standard EVA foam cut to a certain height. Every part is calculated to provide superb cushioning and foot-cradling comfort. You’ll notice that the full midsole/outsole structure flares outward. The result is stability in spades. I can go all day in these.
Now, when it comes to a mid-rise hiker with the soul of a running shoe, there are some things that could be better. As far as the laces go, you’ve got to figure out a way to go from eyelets to hooks on the upper cuff. Hoka chose to keep eyelets on the cuff and that was a mistake for ease of entry and exit. As a result, you basically have to loosen the laces down 4-5 eyelets just to put them on or take them off. Typically, the upper eyelets are replaced with hooks, which makes this process less cumbersome. Some even make a combo hook/hole eyelet, which would be superb here.
Aside from that, the standard lacing system allows for pinpoint tension and comfort. But, even with the gusseted tongue, I did manage to get small pebbles in there on occasion. As mentioned, the uppers are waterproof up to the ankles, so don’t expect to submerge these without paying the price.
The Vibram MegaGrip outsoles are the industry standard and show their pedigree on every hike. Each tread contours to the terrain and offers excellent grip. And, they aren’t so trail-focused that pavement is awkward. No, they aren’t made for all day on the pavement, but they don’t feel clunky either.
- Superb comfort on all terrain
- Added support makes rough trails a breeze
- Can even run in them
- Great for winter trails
- Vibram MegaGrip is the gold standard in outsoles
- I’d prefer hooks on the cuff instead of eyelets for easier on/off
- They do get warm as temperatures rise into the 80’s and 90’s
The Bottom Line: Hoka One One Speedgoat Mid GTX 2
Rarely do I do multi-day or even overnight hikes. For that reason, the Speedgoat Mid GTX 2’s are just the type of hiking shoe I look for. They are comfortable, supportive and capable of hiking at a fast pace or even running, if needed. The Gore-Tex liner makes these excellent for cold or inclement weather as well (or frequent stream crossings).
Buy Now: Available at REI