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Best Maximalist Shoe

  • Grip 80% 80%
  • Foot Protection 90% 90%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Best Application: Long-distance Trail Running/Hiking (50 miles and above), Ultra Distances

Upper: Open Engineered Mesh Construction

Midsole: Reinforced TPU midfoot overlays, Oversize EVA Midsole, CMEVA Foam

Outsole: Vibram® Megagrip

Weight: M – 306g, W – 261g

What we like: Generous Cushioning, Improved Grip, Breathable, With Wide-Width Options, Enhanced Durability, Efficient Stride

What we don’t like: Slightly Narrow, Heavier Compared To Other Trail Shoes

Price: $140

 

Hoka One One’s Speedgoat is among the most popular trail running shoes on the market. The improvements made on this version are subtle, but they fine-tune elements that provide you with more durability and a better grip. The shoe does come in wide options, which is something new that Hoka is trying with the Speedgoat series.

Compare to Similar Products

See Our The Best Trail Shoes of 2020

The Best Trail Shoes: Salomon Speedcross 5 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 95% 95%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 85% 85%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Versatility 75% 75%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Reliable Grip and Traction

Comfortable

Offers A Stable Ride

Has Performance-focused Features

Has Wide-width Option

Cons

Narrower Than Other Trail Shoes

Not Very Versatile

Doesn't Drain Well

Best Application: Running On Soft Ground, Slippery Running Conditions, Highly Technical Terrain

Upper: SensiFit™, Welded Upper, Anti-debris Mesh, Lace Pocket, Quicklace™

Midsole: EnergyCell™+, Molded OrthoLite®

Outsole: Contagrip® TA

Weight: M - 320g, W - 280g

The Best Trail Shoes: Asics GEL-Venture 7 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Amazon.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 95% 95%

Pros

Sufficient Traction

Comfortable

Budget-friendly

Beginner-friendly

Delivers A Stable Ride

Well-cushioned

Has Wide-width Option

Versatile

Cons

Upper Not As Breathable

Not Suited For Highly Technical Terrain

Best Application:  Casual Hiking or Running

Upper: Mesh Upper

Midsole: GEL® Technology, EVA Midsole, ORTHOLITE™ Sockliner

Outsole: AHAR®

Weight: M - 303g, W - 252g

The Best Trail Shoes: Salomon Supercross - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 90% 90%
  • Foot Protection 85% 85%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 65% 65%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 85% 85%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Speedcross-like Traction

Comfortable

Affordable

Wider Forefoot

Cons

Ride Is Not Very Stable

Best Application: Occasional Trail Running and Hiking

Upper: Ripstop Fabric, Protective Toecap, SensiFit™, Welded Upper, OrthoLite® Diecut

Midsole: EnergyCell

Outsole: Contagrip TD, Chevron Lugs

Weight: M - 310g, W - 260g

The Best Trail Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 4.5 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 90% 90%
  • Comfort 75% 75%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 75% 75%

Pros

Comfortable

Delivers A Stable Ride

Above-average Protection

Responsive

Cons

Not Suited For Highly Technical Terrain

Clunky Shoe Shape

Best Application: Casual Hiking or Running

Upper: Quick-Dry Air Mesh, GaiterTrap, FootShape Toe Box

Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound™, StoneGuard™

Outsole: MaxTrac™ Rubber, TrailClaw™

Weight: M - 298g, W - 247g

The Best Trail Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Trail - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 75% 75%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 90% 90%

Pros

Lightweight

Versatile - Can Be Worn on Trail and Roads

Comfortable

Breathable Upper

Designed for Speed

Cons

Thin Toe Bumper

Not Suited for Technical Trail

Doesn't Lock the Foot Down

Best Application: Road/Trail Running

Upper: Perforated Mesh, Synthetic Upper

Midsole: Zoom Air Units

Outsole: Trail Lugs

Weight: M - 291g, W - 232g

The Best Trail Shoes: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 80% 80%
  • Foot Protection 90% 90%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 95% 95%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Generous Cushioning

Improved Grip

Breathable

With Wide-Width Options

Enhanced Durability

Efficient Stride

Cons

Slightly Narrow

Heavier Compared To Other Trail Shoes

Best Application: Long-distance Trail Running/Hiking (50 miles and above), Ultra Distances

Upper: Open Engineered Mesh Construction

Midsole: Reinforced TPU midfoot overlays, Oversize EVA Midsole, CMEVA Foam

Outsole: Vibram® Megagrip

Weight: M - 306g, W - 261g

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Caldera 4 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 75% 75%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 80% 80%
  • Value for Your Money 70% 70%

Pros

Plush Cushioning

Breathable

Enhanced Durability

Door-to-trail Ready

Cons

A Bit Expensive

Can Only Handle Moderately Technical Terrain

Best Application: Daily Training/Hiking, Long-Distance Hiking/Running

Upper: Mesh Upper, Synthetic Overlays, Lace Catch

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA

Outsole: TrailTack Sticky Traction

Weight: M - 283g, W - 252g

The Best Trail Shoes: Altra Timp 1.5 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Moosejaw.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 80% 80%
  • Durability 85% 85%
  • Stability 80% 80%
  • Comfort 85% 85%
  • Versatility 70% 70%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Plush Cushioning

Better Traction and Grip

Durable Outsole

Roomy Forefoot

Better Ground Feel

Cons

The Ride Can Be A Bit Unstable

Can Handle Moderately Technical Trail

Takes Awhile For Sweat to Dry After A Run

Best Application: Daily Runs or Hikes on Moderate Terrain

Upper: Footshape, Gaiter Trap

Midsole: Balanced Cushion

Outsole: Trail Claw, DuraTread

Weight: M - 312g, W - 266g

The Best Trail Shoes: Brooks Cascadia 14 - Gear Hacker

Buy now at Backcountry.com

  • Grip 70% 70%
  • Foot Protection 75% 75%
  • Durability 80% 80%
  • Stability 70% 70%
  • Comfort 90% 90%
  • Versatility 90% 90%
  • Value for Your Money 80% 80%

Pros

Comfortable

A Good Crossover Option

More Protective

Cons

Not Very Stable

Grip is Good for Moderate Terrain

Best Application: Daily Trail Running/Hiking

Upper: Internal Saddle System, Cordura Mud Guard

Midsole: BioMoGo DNA, Built-in Rock plate

Outsole: TrailTack Rubber

Weight: M - 303g, W - 269g

Hoka One One may be producing different types of trail shoes, but they always retain their signature weight-to-cushion ratio, plus their unique outsole geometry, which encourages an efficient stride. Currently, one of the best Hoka trail shoes that stays true to these characteristics is the Speedgoat 4, which was named after the ultrarunner and ultrarunning coach Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer. With the improvements to the fit, breathability, and ride responsiveness, the Speedgoat holds the spot for the Best Maximalist Trail shoe on our list.

Grip & Foot Protection

Right off the bat, you will see that there is a good amount of material between your foot and the ground. Although the Speedgoat 4 doesn’t have a rock plate, its 32mm stack height will be more than enough to protect the bottom of your foot from feeling the sharpness of any protrusions you may step on when hiking or running on the trail. Combine the thickness of the midsole with the Vibram Megagrip outsole that was specially formulated to be sturdy, you have yourself a trail shoe that can give adequate underfoot shielding.

Aside from providing enough underfoot protection, the outsole also delivers a good amount of grip. That’s because the rubber compound it is made of is sticky, and the 5mm lugs are deep enough to claw unto surfaces. The Speedgoat 4 can be reliable on wet and dry rock as well as on slippery or loose terrain. 

One of the drawbacks, however, is that the lugs aren’t spaced widely enough. Unlike the outsole of the Salomon Speedcross 5, mud and pebbles can easily get stuck in the bottom of the shoe because the lugs are too near each other.

Although the Vibram Megagrip rubber extends to the tip of the shoe to create the toe bumper, it may not be enough to protect your toes from the impact of bumping into common hazardous objects on the trail. It’s a good feature to have, but it might not be as protective as the toe guards of the Salomon Supercross or Salomon Speedcross 5.

 

Durability

The upper is made of engineered mesh that has been reinforced with synthetic overlays. Although this material feels thinner than the upper material of the previous version, it’s seemingly more resistant to wear and tear. You can say the same thing with the midsole of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 because of its volumethere’s plenty of material to wear down.

Stability

The Best Trail Shoes: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 - Gear Hacker

Whenever you choose a maximalist trail shoe, you should always think of the trade-offs. You could experience a protective run that feels like you’re walking on cloudsthanks to the midsole’s plushness, but your landing will most likely be compromised when you are far above the ground. This is true with the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4. The unstable ride may not be significant nor noticeable when you are running or hiking on level surfaces, but it will make its presence known when you are running on irregular planes.

Fit is one of the major factors that can affect how stable the shoe feels. On the sides of the Speedgoat 4, you will see lightning-like overlays that cage the foot, minimally locking it in place and improving stability from within. Despite its intended purpose, the overlays are not solid enough to totally lock the foot down to the platform. More like, it provides structure to the mesh upper and helps secure the fit of the shoe when the laces are tightened.

Comfort & Fit

The Best Trail Shoes: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 - Gear Hacker

The Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is on the narrow side for a trail shoe, and this might be due to the shape of the forefoot. The tip tapers to a point, which is ideal for narrow feet. Runners who use wide-width trail shoes can still try out the Speedgoat 4, however, as wide-width sizes are available.

 

When it comes to comfort, you don’t have to break in your new pair because they can be worn right out of the box. The mesh upper is efficient when it comes to allowing air to circulate within the shoe, so you likely don’t have to worry about hot spots forming when you are hitting the trail in hot or humid weather. The gusseted tongue aids with the breathability of this trail shoe too.

Despite the breathable upper, you might encounter drainage issues. If you happen to step into puddles or submerge your foot in a river, the inside will take a while to dry out. It’s best to keep in mind the condition of the trail path that you commonly run or hike on before getting this shoeor you can just avoid puddles and streams altogether.

Versatility & Value for Your Money

Because of the Speedgoat 4‘s stack height, it does have its limitations in terms of usage. You can definitely use it for long-distance runs, hikes, and ultramarathons, but it may not be the shoe that you’ll reach for when you are tackling terrain that’s more challenging or technical.

Although it is comfortable, it is not an entry-level trail shoe, especially with its high price tag. If you’re looking for a trail shoe that’s beginner-friendly (feature- and price-wise), you might want to look at the Asics GEL-Venture 7 which can still deliver comfort with just the right amount of volume on the midsole.

Additional Features

On the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4‘s midsole is the Balanced Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry. It’s a design technology that’s been engineered to make one’s running mechanics more efficient. If you take a look at how the midsole is shaped, you can probably tell that it is going to produce a rocking motion, making your foot roll more accurately through the gait cycle.

The Bottom Line

There are three main factors why the Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is our top pick for the Best Maximalist Trail Shoe on our listreliable traction, decent foot protection, and comfortable fit. The 5mm lugs can burrow into different kinds of terrain, providing enough traction and grip. The thick stack of the midsole material enables the shoe to be sufficiently protectivenot just on the underfoot but on the joints as well, as it reduces the impact made when landing.

 

Compared to the previous version, this trail shoe has received upgrades that enhance its fit and performance. While it is not for runners who are looking for a straight-forward shoe, it’s the pair that you might reach for when you need protective yet comfortable footwear to take with you on your next trail adventure.

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