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Hoka running shoes review

Hoka Women's Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes review

Spoiler alert: We love Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes. They have everything a distance runner or a trail runner needs in a shoe. Your feet are comfortable and protected, even when you're navigating challenging terrain.

However, since generic praise and unbridled gushing aren't the best way to present a convincing argument, we're going to explain how we tested these trail running shoes and why we liked them so much. After reading our in-depth review, you're free to make up your own mind, but we think you might just become a huge fan, too.

What are Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes?

Hoka's goal was to design “running shoes that could be remarkably kind to the human body and still be world-class fast." The company describes the Speedgoat 5 with these three words: "Grippy. Cushioned. Trailblazer.” Specifically, these running shoes are lighter than Hoka's previous models, and they offer better traction.

What to look for in a quality running shoe

Before detailing our experience with this trail running shoe, it's important to understand what makes a quality running shoe. Since running is a high-impact activity, if you want to engage for years and years, you need to protect your body. The primary feature of a top running shoe is cushioning. The shoe must reduce the shock waves that resonate throughout your body with every step, potentially damaging knees and other joints. If running accelerates a body's physical deterioration instead of extending its functional years, you're doing something wrong. 

Other key features to consider are support, comfort and breathability. If all parts of your foot and ankle are not supported or you experience discomfort while running, you won't have the best experience. Likewise, the heat your feet generate while running needs some place to go so your shoes don't get damp and smelly.

When it comes to value, a good running shoe is built to withstand the rigors of the road or trail. Even if you're running 30 miles each week, you want your shoes to last several months. For some, it also helps if your footwear looks stylish, but to be honest, that should be at the bottom of your priority list. 

Why we love Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes

Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes feel great from the first wear. There's no break-in period and from our experience, they fit true to size. What stands out is the way these running shoes hug and support your foot — even the arch — without feeling heavy or uncomfortable. The tongue is thin and the shoe is breathable, but they have held up over multiple runs with no noticeable deterioration in the cushioning or support.

We did notice that these shoes seemed to be geared toward normal to wide feet and might not fit a narrow foot as well.

The other area that impressed us was the traction. While it's almost impossible to feel confident when running on the wet, uneven terrain that you encounter during trail running (and it isn't advisable to feel overconfident about traction), these shoes do feel more secure than other trail shoes we've used. We didn't experience any lack of traction and there was no toe-jamming, as often occurs when navigating steep downhill runs.

How we tested Hoka Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes

We didn't just read a few reviews, slip the shoes on and walk across the room. We put these Hoka running shoes through their paces, literally. Our tester runs between 25 and 30 miles each week, with up to 12 of those miles being trail runs. They have keen insight gained from years of experience, so they know precisely what makes a great running shoe.

Not only did our tester use these shoes on daily runs, they wore them in a recent marathon. This gave us the chance to see how they performed and held up in a real-world racing situation.

How the Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes performed when running a marathon

Not content to just test these running shoes in day-to-day conditions, we used them to run the recent Seattle Marathon. It wasn't the first time our tester has worn Hoka shoes in a race. Previously, they competed using Hoka Challenger and Hoka Bondi 7 running shoes. While other Hoka shoes performed exceptionally well, there's no comparison. The Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes are the top choice.

These shoes were comfortable from the start. There were no pressure points or chafing points and the thin tongue and slim laces were a joy. For nearly four straight hours of relentless pavement pounding, the laces remained secure, and the shoes required no adjusting. Throughout the entire 26.2 miles, our feet felt supported, with no discomfort other than what is to be expected from such a grueling test of endurance.

What you need to know before purchasing Hoka Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes

If you're a serious runner, Hoka Women’s Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes are a great option. We found them to be a solid shoe for trail running. The dense cushioning keeps your feet from fatiguing and it absorbs shock from rocks and hard tree roots. The shoes are lightweight and don't interfere with your sense of agility. While they're low-rise shoes, they still provide an impressive amount of stability, particularly in the midsole and heel. Also, the shoes have a thin tongue, which adds to their comfort. We were very impressed with the traction and grip and would highly recommend these shoes for trail and distance runners.

Where to buy Hoka Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes

You can buy Hoka Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes for $154.99 at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Other products worth considering

Hoka Women's Speedgoat 4 Trail Running Shoes

This is Hoka's previous Speedgoat model. While it's very similar to the Speedgoat 5, these shoes weigh a half-ounce more and don't feature the traction of the newer version. However, that means they cost a little less than Speedgoat 5 shoes.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

Nike Women's Pegasus Trail 3 Trail Running Shoes

The emphasis on these shoes is to keep your feet dry by adding a layer of Gore-Tex. The heel pull tab facilitates putting these shoes on, while the added traction on the heels and toes helps with inclines and declines.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

Asics Women's Gel-Venture 8 Running Shoes

If budget is a priority, these running shoes still offer an impressive amount of cushioning due to the gel in the heel. A great deal of attention was placed on the midsole support, while the nubby rubber bottoms increase traction.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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