I had mixed expectations when I unboxed my Hoka One One Speedgoat2 mid wp. It is my first ever mid cut and waterproof pair, and honestly, I do not know what to expect. Will the mid cut provide me ankle support or will it constrict my movement? Is it really waterproof and can it stand really wet terrains? It took me more than a week of running with my SG2 mid wp before I made my conclusions about the shoe. We went through elevated terrains with soft ground ascents, slippery descents, wet vegetation, muddy potholes, rocky slopes, and a lot more as we conquered Mt Puting Bato in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Looks: Hoka One One is known for its radical colorways and maximalist design. You can spot a Hoka from a kilometer away with its flashy colors and oversized heels. Hoka One One has mastered designing their shoes to be appealing despite the oversized soles and the Speedgoat2 mid wp is no exception. I love the fiery Chinese red upper lined with black overlays and the eye-popping Caribbean sea yellow oversized mid-sole is a show stopper. The upper materials are very durable. I slipped my left foot in between two huge rocks which made my heart leap for a couple of seconds as I started to worry that it might cause a large scratch on my shoe. I quickly and carefully pulled my foot and inspected my shoes for any damage but it was scratch free. Thank God for the durable construction and the cushioning on the upper material, I was able to get out without any injury.
Waterproof: the shoe is lined with the trademark SKYSHELL membrane that keeps water out of the shoe. I ran miles of muddy trails and slipped on narrow rice patties on my first day with my SpeedGoat2 mid wp and stayed dry from the inside. I was curious how much water the shoe can stand so I decided to wash the exterior using a garden hose while I was wearing it. My feet stayed dry from the inside of the shoe while the red upper material was wet on the outside up to the ankle collar. The material also dried quickly after I placed it in front of a fan overnight and it immediately dried in the morning. Of course, like any other waterproof shoe, the SkyShell can do nothing if you will submerge the shoe in deep river crossings and knee-high waters. The waterproofing works both ways so water cannot get out once it gets inside and this will make the shoe heavy. Dunked in puddles, the outer upper material dried after a few hours of running.
Grip: Vibram® MegaGrip outsole with multidirectional 5mm lugs provided superior grip on varied terrain. Vibram is as one of the most reliable outsoles in the market and I say that they lived up to the hype. The lugs are like claws on soft ground giving you an assurance with every step. They also work well on loose gravel and moderately well on rocky terrains. Compared to some popular soft ground shoes, I find the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 mid wp to have better-gripping outsoles. You can see on the construction of the lugs, these are real bad boys that can chew on any trail. It feels a bit sticky when it comes to contact with concrete or rocks and I think that is a good thing.
Mid-cut: the molded ankle collar provided comfort and flexibility. For a heavy pronator like me, it supported my ankles from rolling inwards. Although it was a bit uncomfortable during ascents due to its weight, it did well on descents by holding my ankle in place and providing an extra comforting cushion. However, the collar had a bit of space where a small amount of sand can get through but that was a minor issue for me because it did not bother much. Even if the shoes weighed more than 12 ounces, it did not feel bulky and felt surprisingly lightweight considering its size.
Comfort: compared to the Speedgoat2 mid wp, the waterproof mid-cut has a slightly roomier toe box. Although it does not have a wide construction, my toes had ample room. Some reviewers felt that the toe box is a bit narrow and pointed. The stack height is also not a problem as it provides more height, especially in muddy terrain. The tongue is sewn into the shoe with the Skyshell mesh which helps keep it in place. The heel counter has a good amount of foam from the inside and a tough cover on the outside which provides it with protection and stability. The overall feel of the shoe is comfortably soft in the inside and tough on the outside,
Overall, the Speedgoat2 mid wp performed very well during my runs and hikes. I would recommend it for beginners and intermediate runners who are looking for a more cushiony ride with the grip of a Vibram outsole. The cushion is heaven sent specially for long runs. The EVA foam midsole absorbs impact points and offers stable footing especially on descents and hard surfaces. The stack height might be an issue for new Hoka One One users but this just needs some getting used to. Walking in the shoe for a day or two will help you to become accustomed to the height of the shoes. Hoka One One owners will feel the familiar cushion that we all love.
Is it a hiking boot or a running shoe? I say its both! It lies in between those categories. The website categorizes it as a hiking shoe, some reviews see it as a running shoe. It did really well both on the technical climbs of the trail and on speedy descents. I recommend it for hikers who are looking for a more comfortable alternative than the clunky and heavy looking hiking shoe. My runs were a joy with the shoe especially going downhill when I can really feel the cushion working. This type of shoe will work well in our types of trails here in the Philippines where the climate is wet for most times of the year. The Speedgoat2 mid wp will work well on wet trails during the rainy season. I wore them for more than 5 hours during a run and I did not feel any hot spots on my feet. The wider platform of the cushion provided a lot of stability. I will definitely have more runs with this pair.
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