Hoka Speedgoat 6 Review

on June 21, 2024

The Hoka Speedgoat 6. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The Hoka Speedgoat 6 ($155) is the newest update of a well-loved shoe that has been a favorite in the trail running and ultrarunning communities for a long time. The 5-millimeter lugs provide enough traction for most types of terrain without being a burden on roads and harder-surfaced trails, and the Vibram Megagrip outsole with Traction Lugs sticks to rocks in both wet and dry conditions. The shoe’s drop has increased from 4 to 5 millimeters, but it’s a barely noticeable difference. The 38-millimeter and 33-millimeter heel and toe stack heights for the women’s shoe and 40-millimeter and 35-millimeter stack heights for the men’s provide plenty of cushion, even with a firmer midsole material.

The shoe has an actual weight of 9.8 ounces (280 grams) for men’s size 9 and is a great all-around shoe for training and racing. With a lighter midsole material and more cutouts on the outsole, the shoe has lost a couple grams from the previous version. Hoka has updated the upper and given it more structure, creating a design that resembles the Hoka Speedgoat 4 (review) much more so than the Hoka Speegoat 5 (review) and brings back that locked-in midfoot feeling.

iRunFar’s Travis Liles takes a deep dive into the updates of the Hoka Speedgoat 6 and how it differs from the previous two versions of the shoe.

[Editor’s Note: For those looking for alternative looks, additional colorways will be released around July 15.]

Shop the Men's Hoka Speedgoat 6Shop the Women's Hoka Speedgoat 6

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Review Transcript

Hey, and welcome to Trail Trials, the video review section of iRunFar. My name is Travis Liles, and in this video, we’re going to take a look at the new Hoka Speedgoat 6. Let’s check it out.

Let’s start with the basics here. This is the sixth iteration of a very well-loved shoe in the Speedgoat. It has a 5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, which is one millimeter higher than the previous generation. It comes in at 9.8 ounces in a men’s size 9. That is a half-ounce lighter, according to the website. [Editor’s Note: We measured a smaller, 4-gram reduction in weight.] It has a different upper, a different midsole, a different tongue, and a different outsole. So, we’re going to take a look at all those and see what this shoe is all about.

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Outsole

The outsole of the Hoka Speedgoat 6.

Let’s start by talking about the outsole of the Hoka Speedgoat 6. If you check out the outsole, it looks fairly familiar. And by that, I mean this is a very familiar lug patterning. It’s a very familiar look to what the previous Speedgoats also were. This uses Vibram Megagrip and also has Traction Lugs. If you look really close, you can see these little dots all around here. Those are supposedly adding more traction, and I guess by just virtue of extra surface area, that’s what’s going on here. You get a little bit of extra grip by having those extra teeth. From a patterning standpoint, you’ve got reverse lugs for braking when you’re going downhill. You’ve got forward-facing lugs when you’re going uphill.

The major difference between this and the previous version is a slightly different pattern. You can see a little bit of change in terms of these channels here, of the midsole poking through. There’s a little more exposure. You had the holes and the dots on this side, but just a slightly different look and feel.

Performance-wise, I don’t think it’s even noticeable — in my opinion, and in my wear time. Hoka says that this is meant to be more like a hoof, and I guess that’s the fork here. But in performance, I don’t think you’ll notice anything. If you’ve liked what previous Speedgoats did for rock, wet, mud, and all the things that I think the Speedgoat does well with this type of tread pattern and compound, I think the shoe will not disappoint. And with 5-millimeter lugs, they are deep enough to grip, but not so deep that if you do have road running or more of a hard surface, you don’t notice these lugs poking back through.

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Midsole

A lateral view of the Hoka Speedgoat 6.

I’d say the midsole is one of the major updates for the Hoka Speedgoat 6. The reasoning is that it’s a new compound. That compound is supposed to be a little bit lighter, and this shoe is a half-ounce lighter overall. Some of that may be in the less tread. Some of that may be in the midsole as well. It is a single-density foam all the way around, just like previous generations. I’d say from the step-in and the feel of putting this shoe on, it still has the rocker. The drop moved up from 4 to 5 millimeters, but I don’t feel it’s noticeable in step, in height, or just standing in the shoe.

You’re going to notice the firmness, and especially when you compare it to something like the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 (review), or even previous versions of the Speedgoat. This has a firmer feel. It has more of a rebound to it. Specifically, when you’re running on harder surfaces, you can feel a little less dampening of the vibration, but you get a little more return when you’re doing turnover. So, it’s a firmer midsole, but in terms of fit and feel, I think the ground feel is the same as in the past.

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Upper

A medial view of the Hoka Speedgoat 6.

The major updates of the Hoka Speedgoat 6 are in the upper. Just for reference’s sake, I’m going to pull up two versions here — this is the Speedgoat 4, 5, and 6. If you look at these, there’s more going on in the 4 and the 6, as it relates to the upper. The 5 got very, very stripped down. They used this engineered mesh — there were no internal or external cages, and lots of floppiness. I really had to crank it down to get a fit that just never, in my opinion, held well for really technical terrain and downhill running. I always felt like my foot was shifting around a lot, especially when I compared it to the 4.

When we pull the 4 in, what I’ll call out is you had this external caging that locked your laces down and allowed that midfoot to lock down a lot better. You don’t see that externally on the 6, but they exist. You can feel them on the inside of the shoe. Probably the easiest visual is this spot right here, where you can see dirt on both sides. There’s a little strapping inside this shoe that takes the lacing system and brings that down to the midsole. And there’s more of that on the shoe’s outside, or the lateral side, as well.

There’s a little bit of caging on the inside, so when you put your foot in there and pull the laces, instead of just fabric holding it in, there’s a little bit of extra mechanical strapping that keeps your foot in place. It’s not as aggressive as the external strapping on the 4, but it’s definitely noticeable. Your foot stays locked in.

The secondary piece adding to that locked-in feel is that the upper is far, far less stretchy. Versus, again, this type of stuff [in the 5] that you can just see has a ton of flex in it. You can really move that all around. This is a much more structured upper. It’s very much a more locked-down feel. If you moved from the 4 to the 5 and didn’t have that, you’re getting it back in the 6.

Another thing to call out here that is different is a padded tongue. It’s only really padded from about the lace keeper in the middle up, and it’s most prevalent up here at the top where you’re going to lock your laces down. You can see that little bulbous piece here, and when you’re tying your laces, you can see that the top of those laces are going directly over it. It’s a little small. I’d like it to come up a bit higher, especially for me with a narrow heel — I use this back eyelet. Most of this top-of-your-foot pressure is dispersed, especially at this lock-down point at the top.

The toebox is very similar in size to the 5, which I think is good. This stretchy mesh area was also in the 5, while in the old versions, it was a big piece of plastic that just sat there. They updated it, and now it’s much more functional versus a design decision. And this is stretchy, so it allows a little bit of breathing room out of here, I’d say for getting heat out, but it also allows this toebox area to flex a little bit and give your toes some room to wiggle.

There’s a handle on the back to pull your shoe on. You probably don’t need it much with this big wing here in the back, but that’s there. [The wing] is a little bit knocked down from the previous version. It might be hard to tell from this video, but this is definitely a little bit shorter and not quite as pronounced, which is also a nice update. And then lastly, standard stuff here, the toebox around the toes itself is lightly reinforced with this overlay. And then very much a strong apex here that wraps up from the midsole and provides protection from kicking things.

Hoka Speedgoat 6 Overall Impressions

A top view of the Hoka Speedgoat 6.

I think when you look at the three together, the Hoka Speedgoat 6, 5, and 4, you’re getting back to what the Speedgoat is most known for, which is a locked-in feel. I think the Speedgoat moved back, or pretty darn close to, where it was with the 4. All that stuff that happened in the 5 with that stretchy upper that didn’t lock your foot down has been recognized and adjusted. There’s the internal cage that’s inside here that locks your foot down.

The upper material is far less stretchy than on that version. When you think about the Speedgoat, you think about hammering downhills and going across rugged terrain. This locks your foot in considerably better than that previous version and much closer to the 2, 3, and 4 of this shoe — getting back to the roots, if you will.

The difference is that it’s got a firmer midsole. There’s just no denying it. This is a firmer, springier type of feel, and that’s got its pros and cons. If I’m running on the road, I might want that. If I’m kind of going over repetitive terrain over and over and over again, it definitely is not as forgiving and as soft as the previous version. Really, when you compare it to something like the Hoka Mafate Speed 4, and I’d say these shoes fill a similar space, but the Mafate Speed is softer. You’ve got an option here, which is the good news. If you want a softer, more generous overall fit, the Mafate Speed fills that. If you want something a little firmer, a little more athletic, a little tighter package overall, the Speedgoat is going to do that.

So, with that said, questions, comments. Are you excited about this new Speedgoat? Is the previous version of the Speedgoat, the 5, something that you really liked and you’d like that more generous and loose fit, or back to this bit of a tighter package? Leave questions and comments below. Thanks for watching. We’ll catch you next time.

Shop the Men's Hoka Speedgoat 6Shop the Women's Hoka Speedgoat 6

Call for Comments

  • Did you like the changes to from the Hoka Speedgoat 4 to the Speedgoat 5?
  • Are you excited for the new updates in the Hoka Speedgoat 6? If so, which update to this shoe do you think makes the biggest difference?

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Travis Liles is a gear reviewer at iRunFar. He’s been reviewing trail running and ultrarunning gear (and occasionally penning an article) for over 15 years. He is married to his Junior High sweetheart, has two amazing daughters, and works as a solution architect for a large software company. Originally from the Midwest but now based in Portland, Oregon, Travis is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner. Over the past 18 years, he has competed in many ultra-distance races and has completed 15 100-mile races, including Ozark Trail, Leadville, Big Horn, and HURT 100. He is a recovering RD and enjoys pacing friends, trail work, and volunteering at local events.

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