The Speedgoat 3 is a max cushion trail shoe from Hoka One One that’s quite possibly the most popular trail shoe around right now. The Speedgoat 3 continues with the exact same midsole and outsole as the Speedgoat 2, but brings in a revised upper to address some complaints about the v2’s fit. I’ve been wearing the Speedgoat 3s over the past few months on hikes, trail runs, and even some road runs, and will share my thoughts in this review.
Size, Weight, and Fit
I wear a size 12 in the Speedgoat 3 which is true to size for my foot and exactly the same fit as the Speedgoat 2. My size 12s come in at 11.7oz (331g) per shoe, which is incredibly light given how much cushion there is on the midsoles. Overall, the midfoot and toebox of the Speedgoat 3 have a wider fit than the Speedgoat 2, but will still feel a little narrow for those with wider than average feet.
Starting with the heel, the Speedgoat 3s have a snug fit that doesn’t create any uncomfortable rubbing or slippage at toe off. I’ve worn the Speedgoat 3s on some really steep trails and ridge routes, and they’ve been comfortable though it all. The heel has a rigid counter that keeps my foot from sliding around on off kilter terrain.
The midfoot of the Speedgoat 3 is on the narrow side, feeling nice and secure for a locked down fit. The laminated overlays in the midfoot are very similar to the overlays used on the Speedgoat 2. They provide a great foot hold without feeling too constricting as the feet swell on longer days.
The toebox on Speedgoat 3 is still fits a little narrow, and gave my pinky toes some issues initially. I have a wider than average forefoot though, so this probably won’t be an issue for those of your with narrower feet.
Hoka is using a new toe guard on the Speedgoat 3 that provides more protection than the laminate overlay on the Speedgoat 2. I’ve stubbed my toes on a few rocks over the past few months, and these toe guards have protected my feet nicely.
The upper on the Speedgoat 3 uses an open mesh base which is almost identical to that of the Speedgoat 2. On top of the open mesh, Hoka uses a welded TPU overlay to provide structure and support. The TPU overlay pattern on the Speedgoat 3 is only a slight change over the Speedgoat 2, but provides a very secure and snug fit through the midfoot. The reinforced TPU toe cap and rand on the Speedgoat 3 is thicker than the medial overlays, providing great toe protection and durability.
In use, I’ve found the mesh uppers to breath well, even in 90 degree desert weather. The Speedgoats have also handled our unusually wet SoCal winter very well, with quick drainage and drying. My only complaint about the upper on the Speedgoat 3 is that the narrow forefoot rubs the outside of my my pinky toes on steep downhill trails.
The tongue on the Speedgoat 3 is not gusseted, but I haven’t had any issues with sand, dirt, or debris getting into the shoe. The laces pass through a loop at the top of the shoe to keep the tongue for bunching or sliding down.
The midsole on the Speedgoat 3 is unchanged from the Speedgoat 2. This plush midsole is built on a 4mm drop, with 32mm in the heel and 28mm in the forefoot. The midsole is made from injected EVA and has a very soft and squishy ride. The EVA is so soft that the shoe feels like a zero drop when I put my weight into the heels. The midsole uses a rocker design (like a rocking chair), which Hoka says increases running efficiency. I can’t really disagree here, as I have loved putting trail miles in with these shoes. The thick and soft midsoles absorb all of the shock that used to hit my joints, and lets me cruise for miles with ease.
The only downside to having such a soft and forgiving midsole is a decrease in stability. The Speedgoat 3s are much softer than my Hoka Evo Mafates, which is great for recovery days, but not so nice on technical trails. When the trails get rough on the Speedgoat 3s, I find my feet moving around a little more than I prefer.
For the outsole on the Speedgoat 3, Hoka uses a high traction Vibram Megagrip. I’ve worn quite a few shoes now with this Megagrip compound, and am a huge fan. Hoka and Vibram have designed a very nice outsole with uniquely shaped lugs that provide traction on a wide variety of surfaces. I’ve worn the Speedgoat 3 on sand, mud, hardpack, talus, asphalt, and concrete, and they never seem to slip underneath me.
This outsole has also proven to be very durable, even with my use on asphalt and concrete. My one minor complaint about the outsole, is the large exposed area under the heel. I have come down on a few sharp rocks in that area and felt the shock from the point pushing through.
The Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 is an amazing max-cushion trail shoe that can handle long days on the trail, but also go fast when its needed. At $140, the Speedgoat 3 comes in at the higher end of pricing for trail shoes. I think the Speedgoat 3 is a great buy though, as I’ve found the midsole and outsole to hold up very well. If you’re looking for a max cushion trail shoe that can do it all, make sure to give the Speedgoat 3 a try.
If you’re looking for a max cushion shoe that is similar to the Speedgoat 3, but has a more stable ride, try the Evo Mafate. The Evo Mafate rides more firm in the midsole, has an equally good outsole, and the upper fits my wide forefoot a little better.