|Rating:||8.5 / 10|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Durability||1.7 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.7 / 2|
|Weight||1.7 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
It’s been a number of years since I’ve had the opportunity to test out Hoka footwear mainly because sourcing my size 15 shoes in a wide version has been almost impossible. The Australian distributorship for Hoka recently changed and at the same time Hoka has started to make a range of larger sized shoes despite other manufacturers heading in the opposite direction and reducing their sizing range.
While I haven’t tested these shoes for a while, I have been paying close attention to the US market and its become apparent that Hoka must be doing something right – the brand has been gaining traction (pun intended) with the long distance hiking fraternity.
While Hoka produces a very large range of footwear for both on- and off-road activities, the shoe model I was really keen to test was the Hoka One One Speedboat 5. The previous iterations of these shoes gained a good following with trail runners so I was keen to see how they would perform as a hiking option.
First up the thing you will notice is that Hoka like many other footwear manufacturers at the moment, has chosen the ‘bright and flashy route.’ The colouring and styling of these shoes is designed to make a statement. The 2EE wide fitting I chose comes in three colours readily available in Australia and you have to love the names – Puffin’s Bill / Amber Yellow, Stone Blue / Dark Citron and Thyme / Fiesta (see images below). Even the most muted of these colours – Stone Blue / Dark Citron which is essentially a blue shoe – is still bright by most people’s standard due to the bright yellow rubber on the shoe rubber. So if you aren’t into making a statement you’re going to have to be if you want to wear these shoes.
On the shoe construction, the thing that really stood out to me is the heel pull which is pronounced and quite firm. I must admit I never really have an issue putting my footwear on provided it is the right size but these more solid pulls do make it easy.
The upper mesh is breathable so on those hotter days it’s going to help keep you cool and also allow the shoes to dry if you are crossing water bodies. The toe and heel guards provide good protection, something that you would expect from a shoe designed for going off-road.
I’ve now worn these shoes for around 300 km so how did they feel? First let’s look at fit. I wear size 15 US shoes but in reality my left foot is size 14 being 1 cm smaller than my right. As a generalisation Hoka is designed for narrow to average width feet but the Speedgoat model comes in a 2EE sizing to cater for wider feet. My feet go beyond that, not because of the width in the forefoot but because this shoe front tapers to a more pointed finish. I found that my left foot had good spacing but my right ended up rubbing at the toes and creating blisters on hikes over 20 kms in length.
These shoes have a 4 mm drop from heel to toe which while not quite zero drop are close enough so you aren’t going to notice this slight forward slope. Cushioning wise this shoe hits that sweet spot providing plenty of cushioning underfoot but at the same time it isn’t so spongy and soft that the mid foot collapses which is the case with many shoes I have used.
In reading other reviews of these shoes one criticism that is levelled at them is they they lack ground sensitivity and while that might be a trail running criticism, for hiking with a loaded pack I didn’t find that an issue having enough sensitivity and feel when talking over rough hiking trails. All up the soles, while showing wear after 300 km, still have very good grip on a range of terrain both wet and dry. If I have to compare them to other shoes I’ve worn, I would rate them as some of the best as far as traction and durability go.
One last thing … the shoe sole is slightly curved and has a ‘rocker’ built into them that I have come to love in shoes that have a European heritage such as Hoka. This feature just makes it easy to keep on going and going.
Weight wise my pair of size 15 2EE shoes came in at 737 grams which is average for shoes I test and they definitely don’t feel heavy in use.
The RRP for the Hoka Speedboat 5 is AUD $269.99 RRP which is actually down the cheaper end of high quality trail runners. While I’ve worn these shoes for 300 km they show good promise of lasting the distance, more-so than many other brands and models I have worm so these shoes are very good value.
If you have a narrow foot the standard width should work well. If you have a slightly wide foot then go for the 2EE width. In my case the Hoka Speedgoat 5 falls into the category of ‘the one that got away’ due to my very wide forefoot. While they perform really well for me on shorter hikes, they won’t be a shoe I wear on those days where I’m doing 30 km day in, day out.
The Speedboat 5 is by far the best hiking model Hoka but Hoka does produce other models including one that goes up to 4EEEE (!!) that I’ll hopefully get to test over the coming year.
As someone with a very wide forefoot these shoes don’t suit me and they fall into the category of ‘a shoe that got away.’ If you have a more average width/length foot and are into trail runners for your hiking adventures, then these shoes will do the job
For hikers who:
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If you have used the Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoe or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
Hoka produces a wide range of shoes for both on- and off-road, in men’s and women’s models and are readily available, at least in the main sizes
Men’s Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 close up in Thyme / Fiesta colour
Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 in Puffin’s Bill / Amber Yellow colour
Hoka One One Speedgoat 5 in Stone Blue / Dark Citron
Hoka Speedgoat 5 heal and toe view
Hoka Speedgoat 5 Sole view
Hoka Speedgoat 5 – close up of lugs
Hoka Speedgoat 5 heel pull. This is one of the chunkiest heel pulls I’ve ever seen
Hoka Speedgoat 5 top view
Hoka Speedgoat inside view and insole
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker