Expert Review: Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 Trail Running Shoes

This review is my honest opinion of the trail running shoes, which I chose after winning a contest where I could choose any shoe from three brands.

Side profile of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 Trail Running Shoes.

All photos by Hunter Reed

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the trail running shoes, which I chose after winning a contest where I could choose any shoe from three brands.

My take

The Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 GTX trail running shoe is a great and comfortable shoe for hiking and walking on trails or paved paths. The sole is very well cushioned, making it a good option for those with knee or leg pains, and the Vibram rubber on the sole makes the shoe exceptionally durable.

Top down view of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 shoes.

About the shoes I own

  • Model: Hoka One One Women’s Speedgoat 3 GTX
  • Size: Women’s 6
  • Width: Regular
  • Fit: Runs large, fits a bit narrow

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: August 2019
  • Days tested: 40
  • Terrain: Paved trails, rocky trails, dirt trails
  • Used for: Day hiking, trail running, road running
  • Where I’ve used it: All over Utah
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer, spring, fall

About me

  • Height: 5’3”
  • Weight: 115lb
  • Usual shoe size: Women’s 6.5
  • Foot Width: Regular
  • Foot Arch: High arch
  • Experience: 25+ years of backpacking

How they perform


What I was looking for

I had won a contest where I could pick any pair from Hoka, Adidas, or Salomon. I was struggling with some hip pain while running; one of Hoka’s main selling points is that their shoes have a very tall, cushioned sole that is supposed to help with knee and other random pains. I wasn’t sure if my hip pain was from the shoes I was wearing, but I was looking for something that might help with those issues.

Why I chose this gear

I had narrowed it down to wanting Hokas due to the hip pain and thick sole, but I selected the Speedgoats because they are labeled as a trail running shoe. Hoka has a few trail-running-shoe models and I was deciding between the Speedgoat 3s, the Challenger ATRs, or the Torrent 2s. Though I wanted to try something different, I thought the sole on the ATRs would be bad for trail running since they are such a different shape. The Torrent 2s were an appealing option, but they have a smaller sole than the Speedgoats. The Speedgoats had also won several “Shoe of the Year” awards, so that was an enticing selling point.

Sole of the Hoka One One Speedgoat 3 Trail Running Shoes.

What I love about them

  • Durability: The Hoka Speedgoat 3s are a really durable shoe. They have a Vibram rubber sole which is thick and still looks brand new, even after I’ve put about 150ish miles on them.
  • Comfort: The fit is a bit strange (discussed below), but aside from that all the cushioning they possess makes them feel nice to wear. It feels like I am walking on clouds because they are so squishy and lightweight.
  • Weight: I expected these to be much heavier than they are. I guess I had seen the large sole and expected the weight to reflect that. But it really doesn’t. They feel super lightweight at about 10.2 oz.
  • Material: The Vibram sole has held up really well and still feels like it has a lot of traction. The midsole is a lightweight foam which sort of forms to my foot over time and is pretty comfortable without adding weight to the shoe. The upper part of the shoe is a breathable mesh with a GORE-TEX membrane that makes the shoe waterproof yet keeps it breathable.
  • Waterproofing: I haven’t been in a ton of heavy rain or mud with these, but I have experienced some light rain and puddles and they have kept me really dry.
  • Toe protection: The rubber extends a bit over the toe area, providing toe protection from rocks or anything I may accidentally kick.
  • Day hiking: Day hiking is the number-one activity I would recommend in these shoes. I especially think this is true for those experiencing pain in either their knees or hips. The design of the shoe offers a lot of cushioning and its slight rocker means it does a bit of the work of walking for the wearer.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Break-in period: The first few runs in these were a bit painful. I haven’t experienced that with many other shoes and after adjusting the laces and breaking in the foam footbed a bit, the pain went away. It felt like there was not enough room inside the shoe both height and width wise. The first two times my toes went a bit numb after about three miles. This has since gone away and I have heard this feedback from others who have worn Hokas as well.
  • Fit: These fit a bit narrow. I initially got a 6.5 in these and they were way too big. It felt like I had an inch or so at the end of my toe. I sized down to the 6 and they are honestly still a little long, but I couldn't have gone down in size anymore because of the width issue. I don’t find that the added length causes any issues or pain while running.
  • Ankle support: These shoes do not have any ankle support, which is typical for a trail-running-specific shoe.
  • Arch support: There is no arch support in this shoe. Since breaking in the midsole foam, the inside of the shoe has formed to my foot pretty well. And since I have high arches, it now has some arch support.
  • Backpacking: I wouldn’t use these for backpacking because of the lack of ankle support paired with the on-inch rise across the entirety of the sole. While wearing a 20–30lbs pack, one misstep and I could easily roll an ankle.
  • Trail Running: I initially got these shoes for trail running. They are marketed as a trail runner and I thought they would help my hip pain. At first they did: the first few runs I went on felt great and I had no pain. But after some miles, I started to develop runner’s knee. After switching back to my other shoes, not only did I continue having this issue, but my hip pain came back worse than before. I went to see a physical therapist about the problem, and they told me to stop running in shoes with this much rocker and cushion. I ended up switching to the Altra Lone Peak 6’s. I have now been able to run more than before with no pain at all.

Favorite moment with this gear

Despite the later issues, my favorite moment with these shoes was my first run with them. They were not the most comfortable fit on my feet, but at the time of trying them I had not been able to run without pain for months. They got me out there on the trails again at a time that I felt as if maybe my running days were over.

Value for the money vs. other options

Though I won these shoes, they retail around $160. Other, similar Hokas that I had been comparing (Challenger ATR and Torrent 2s) are $170 and $125, respectively. Trail running shoes are generally around $140–150, but knowing what I know now about the issues these cause in running form, I would not spend the money if I was looking for a trail-running-specific shoe. I would go with a shoe that had no cushion such as the Altra Lone Peak 6’s ($140).

Final verdict

The Hoka Speedgoat 3s are a great day-hiking shoe for mostly even ground. Though I got them to be a trail running shoe, I would not recommend them as such. For something lower impact such as hiking or walking, they are a really lightweight, durable shoe with great traction.

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Growing up in Utah makes it hard to not fall in love with camping and hiking! Lucky for me my parents got me out at a young age and I've been enjoying trails and campsites all across the west since I was little girl! There's just something special about making some dinner over a fire and going to sl...

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