The first thing I noticed (other than the fact that this version is, thankfully, much roomier in fit, especially in the toebox) when I put on a pair of the Hoka Speedgoat 2s was how incredibly grippy they are. I felt like I was sticking to the kitchen floor and could hear the Vibram outsole making a peeling-away-from-the-tile sound. Of course flat, kitchen tile is not a good substitute for steep, technical trails, but after heading out for several mountain runs I quickly realized that this updated version had eliminated everything that was wrong with the original Speedgoat.
The Speedgoat 2 delivers the stability in steep, off-camber terrain that one would expect from a Karl Meltzer-inspired shoe. The stability comes from a much wider platform that the original, and a structurally enhanced upper that helps hold your foot in place. The enhanced grip is a result of deeper, multidirectional, and more aggressive 5mm Vibram lugs that will give you foot placement confidence in the steepest, rockiest, wettest and muddiest of terrain. An oversized EVA midsole provides the exceptional cushioning Hoka is known for. The cushioning of the Speedgoat 2 is a bit firmer than, say, the Challenger ATR, making for a more stable and performance-oriented ride.
The Speedgoat 2 is definitely designed for all things steep and technical and, as a result, will feel like unnecessarily being in 4WD on flat, smooth, and/or dry trails or roads. If you have a shoe quiver, add this for your most burly of mountain runs. If all you do is burly mountain runs, this could be the only shoe you need. If fastpacking is your jam, and heading into the Sierra backcountry for a multi-day, ultralight circuit gets the juices flowing, the Speedgoat 2 is a worthy footwear choice.
weight: 9.8oz (men), 8.2oz (women)
drop: 4.5mm (32mm heel/27.5mm forefoot)
outsole: Vibram with 5mm multidirectional lugs
midsole: oversize EVA