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Karl Meltzer first adopted the nickname “Speedgoat” when a race director friend put it down in the place of his name on a race entry. Ever since the name became synonymous with ultra-running. Now almost 30 years later Hoka, a sponsor of Karl’s have released their 5th rendition of this “badass trail shoe” that was conceived in Karl’s head. The Hoka Speedgoat has become exceptionally popular in Ireland over the past few years. If you go to any trail race you are bound to see at least 2 pairs of these colourful, chunky shoes toeing the start line.
Since the shoes release, almost exactly 1 year ago, we have been putting the Speedgoat 5s to the test. We have brought them along jungle trails in South America, rocky trails in Killarney National Park and the muddiest puddles available in the Dublin Mountains.
Large sole. Bright colours. Distinctive design. These are all hallmarks of a Speedgoat, and the 5 is no different. This eye-catching shoe has done many hundreds of kilometres on our feet over the past few months and is yet to show any significant signs of slowing down. Our feet fit securely in the shoe thanks to the semi-gusseted tongue and secure lacing layout. The Speedgoat has a late-stage meta-rocker design which helps keep your legs ticking over even towards the end of an ultra. It has quite a stout heel counter with a new Achilles flare which is designed to protect the tendon and help you easily put on the shoes.
One of the main reasons we love the Speedgoat 5 is how versatile it is. It has; enough cushion to protect the legs but not so much that you feel unstable, enough tread on the outsole to keep you stuck to most terrain but not so much that roads are uncomfortable, and is light enough (284 grams in UK9) to go faster in if needed. However, it is possibly most at home bopping along mellow mountain trails on a long easy day. Hence why it has solidified itself as a staple on the feet of notoriously picky ultrarunners!
On a recent trip to Colombia, I had no hesitation when packing my pair of runners for the trip. The shoe was lightweight and breathable enough to deal with the warm summer temperatures and kept my legs feeling fresh even after back-to-back long runs. Upon returning to Ireland I had the same confidence in bringing the shoes to Killarney National Park for a wet weekend.
No. Although, I don’t know if that is possible. Irish running terrain is some of the most varied and challenging you can throw at a shoe. In a standard mountain or trail running race in Ireland, you could encounter; wet muddy trails, hard-packed walking trails, country roads, rocky mountains and swallow-you-whole bogs. Making a shoe that excels on all of this terrain would be an impossible task. The Speedgoat ticks enough of the boxes to be a staple part of our running shoe rotation and one we have recommended to people.
We would recommend the Hoka Speedgoat 5s to someone who is familiar with Hoka road running shoes and wand to have a similar experience on the trails. We would also recommend them to someone who wants a no-nonsense shoe that they can rely on for daily off-road training.
Some Irish races we think the Speedgoat 5 would be great for:
EcoTrail Wicklow – 80km
UTB Ultra Trail Beara – 170km
Kerry Way Ultra – 200km
Ballyhoura Ultra – 60km
You can purchase the Speedgoat 5s from the following Irish retailers:
The Run Hub
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By Matthew McConnell
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