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Shoe Review: HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat

9 08 2015

History of the Model

Speedgoat is the monicker of Karl Meltzer in the Ultra Running Community. He is an elite mountain trail ultrarunner and has the distinction of winning the most number of 100-Mile Ultra Running Events, a record of 36 Championship Awards and had been awarded the Ultrarunner of the Year. He is the Race Organizer and Director of the famous Speedgoat 50K Ultra Trail Run and other Vertical Trail Races in Snowbird, Utah. He also one of the most sought after Ultra Running Coaches. He is the first elite ultra runner in the USA who used and introduced the shoe brand HOKA ONE ONE and the rest is history. It is fitting that the shoe company honors him with a specific trail shoe model that speaks about the man. Thus, HOKA One One users around the world are excited to have a hand on the said shoes.

Attempts To Get The Shoes

As a one of his clients to his Coaching Services and having met him personally in last year’s edition of the Speedgoat 50K Trail Run (which I didn’t finish due to strict cut-off time at Mile 20), I sent him a request if I could buy directly to the shoe company of the earlier production of the shoes on the later part of May this year as I could see and read shoe reviews on the Internet about the shoes. I think my request was relayed by him to the company but I did not hear any response from them. So, I waited for the announced release to the distributors and sports stores on the first week of July but only to get the news that the release date will be sometime in August.

On the last week of July, I monitored almost everyday the availability of the shoes by visiting the Website of the HOKA ONE ONE (HOO). The availability of the shoes at Running Warehouse for my particular shoe size was scheduled on the 3rd week of August and then to September and lately to October this year. My patience bear fruit on the last few days of July when I got a “green light” with the advise that my shoe size and model is “On Stock” on the On Line Sales of Hoka One One. I immediately ordered one pair and the shoes was delivered after two days. I paid $140 + $12 (Sales Tax), with a total amount of $152.00 with Free Shipping Fee.

Finally, I was able to realize what I posted in our Facebook’s HOO Philippine Club Group Page three months ago, “I will be the first one to have this kind of shoes in this Club”.

Finally, The Box Arrived

Finally, The Box Arrived

Actual Review & Observations

Color Combination——The first thing that will attract ones attention is the combination of colors of the shoes. Yes, they are the colors of Red Bull (silver, red, and blue), one of the Sponsors of Karl’s Runs and Races and the usual colors of the Shoe Brand HOKA ONE ONE—-blue & yellow. The other Speedgoat model has the colors, red, black and blue! If you are not attracted with the name of the shoe model, then for sure, you will be attracted with the striking color-combination of the shoes. Most of the runners that I know have the impulse to buy any kind of running shoes due to the striking color combination.

Shoe Laces Holes——Obviously, these are the holes where one has to insert the shoe laces. As compared to the other HOO Shoes, this is the only model that has 5 holes, all the rest have 6 holes in one shoe. If you are not using the last uppermost hole of the Speedgoat (where it is used to lock the shoes with the foot), the shoes has only 4 holes! It means that it is easier and faster to tighten and tie the shoes and also to untie and remove the shoes from the foot. If you have the habit of changing your wet socks with dry ones in the Aid Stations in an ultra running event, the time on untying and tying your shoes would mean a lot if you are trying to catch up with those tight intermediate cut-off times in the different Checkpoints along the race route. Since I am always on the back of the pack in every race, this is a big advantage and useful for me!

First Model/Prototype To Shoe Reviewers & HOO Elites With 6 Holes & Flat Laces

First Model/Prototype To Shoe Reviewers & HOO Elites With 6 Holes & Flat Laces

From Flat to Round & Light Shoe Laces——Earlier model of this shoes have those flat shoe laces, the same shoe laces on my HOO Challenger ATR and I was surprised to see that my shoes have those rounded shoe laces which are smaller/thinner in size as compared to those rounded shoe laces of my old HOO Stinson EVO. I have observed that the rounded shoe laces have an average length as compared to the longer flat shoe laces of the Challenger ATR. Those flat shoe laces have the tendency to get longer and longer as the shoe is being used for more mileages. It appears that Speedgoat’s shoe laces will remain with their present length and size.

Observation about 1/2 size Bigger——In almost all those blogs and reviews that I’ve read from their sponsored elite athletes, they stated that the shoes is 1/2 size bigger. However, when I used them with my slightly thicker Drymax Trail Socks, I am surprised that they fit exactly with my feet with a little allowance (1/2 inch) from the tip of my big toes. This is exactly the same fit that I’ve experienced with my HOO Stinson Evo which I consider as my best road racing and training shoes so far. With the use of the regular Drymax socks, I have observed that there is more room for my forefoot and toes to splay on the toe box area of the shoes. It felt like I was using my Altra shoes! If it is too roomy for my feet if I use the ultra thin & light Drymax socks, I might try to use the additional insole of my HOO Challenger ATR (The Challenger ATR has two inserts/insole in each shoe). With my experience in using the HOO, I simply tighten the shoe laces more to prevent my feet and toes to be moving unnecessarily while I am running or hiking. After running with them for almost 100 kilometers (62 miles), I could feel that the shoes had stretched a little for more space for my toes and forefoot.

Thickness of Sole——All the shoe models of HOO have thick soles that is why they are fondly called as maximalist running shoes. However, this model is an exact copy of their Rapa-Nui 2 model which is also designed as a trail shoes. The Rapa-Nui has a stack height of 33 mm on the Heel portion and 28 mm on the Forefoot section. The 5mm difference, popularly known as “heel-to-toe drop”, gives a feeling of “rockered forefoot” which according to the HOO designers and engineers provide a more efficient gait, better running form and faster “heel-to-toe” transition of the foot during running. Whatever that statement means, I assume that it will make a runner faster by some milliseconds! The Speedgoat’s sole thickness has a stacked height of 34 mm on the heel and 29 mm, maintaining a difference of 5 mm, that looks to be deceivingly thicker than the Rapa-Nui 2 model. The bottom-line is that this shoe, just like the other HOO models, the thick soles will give you the best comfort to your feet on your runs on the road, as well as, along the trails whether they are technical or not. And to be more specific, I find more efficiency in running with all the HOO models when I land my foot deliberately with the heel first and letting it roll towards the forefoot. With the Speedgoat, I feel more cushion and comfort most specially in the downhill running as the “rocker” effect in ones gait is more pronounced and experienced. In ultra running distances, such comfort will give an edge to the runner for more sustained strength on the legs during the day and night running. And did I tell you that you have faster recovery after an ultra race if you used a Hoka One One Shoes? Well, it’s true!

Vibram's Metagrip Outsole & Figure

Vibram’s Metagrip Outsole & Figure “8”

Metagrip VIBRAM Outsole——From the HOO Bondi B, Bondi Speed, Stinson EVO, Huaka, and Challenger ATR (the shoe models that I’ve used for the past 5 years of running), the common denominator as a weakness of these models is the durability of their outsoles. After running for the first 100 kilometers of each of these models, you can already see a significant “wear and tear” on their outsoles which I never experienced from the other trail shoes in my arsenal. But the Speedgoat is some sort of a Redemption Shoe for all HOO “addicts” and loyal customers as they are fitted with the Metagrip VIBRAM Outsole. After running on single track trails, rocky trails, and fire roads for almost 100 kilometers, I could not see any signs of “wear and tear” from the Vibram outsole which is a big improvement from my old and ‘soon-to-be” retired other HOO models in my arsenal. This is the MOST significant feature and advantage of this model from the other trail shoes of HOO——the durability of the outsoles of the shoes!

Cushioned Tongue——Not only for being cushioned but they are also a little longer but does not affect ones efficiency in running and would not cause any abrasion on the front part of the ankle. One would notice that there are TWO slots on the tongue where the shoe laces coming from holes #2 and #3 would pass. I have observed that these slots would maintain the position of the tongue while on the run giving more comfort on the top part of the foot. Most of my trail shoes have only one slot on their tongues and after every run, I would observe that the tongue have the tendency to slide towards the outer side of the foot/shoes and this movement allows the tendency for the debris from the trail to get inside the shoes. I was even more surprised when I did not experience any small particles from the trail getting inside these shoes. I guess, it is time for me not to use gaiters for this shoes!

Cushioned Upper Part of Heel Counter——This is the yellow-colored portion at the heel counter of the shoes. I’ve noticed a big difference of this part of the shoes when compared to my HOO Challenger ATR as the Speedgoat has a more pronounced cushion that would be flashed closer and tight to the Achilles tendon and both sides of the ankles. I’ve observed that my Achilles tendon sits comfortably on the shoes even if I have the shoe laces tighten to the max.

Cushioned Heel Counter

Cushioned Heel Counter

Light and Porous Material On Its Uppers——Have I told you that this is one of the lightest shoes of HOO? Actually, it is the third lightest HOO model in my arsenal being the Challenger as the lightest and the Huaka as the 2nd lightest. The shoes has a weight of 9.7 ounces despite the fact that it has a Vibram outsole and more cushioned tongue. The light and porous material on its Uppers contributed to the lighter weight of the shoes. It also gives more breathability to the feet where air would enter in these porous holes during the run most especially in hot and humid conditions. However, in water/stream crossings, water would easily get inside making the the socks and lining of the shoes wet and damp but with the continuous pounding of the feet, these water would easily exit through these porous holes! Through my past experiences in running in the lahar areas and rivers in the Mt Pinatubo 50K Trail Run and Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile and Marathon Trail Races, these shoes would not prevent those abrasive lahar from entering the shoes. Did I say dust entering the shoes? Yes, the dust would enter through these porous holes and it is advisable not to use white socks in them. Surprisingly, there is also a Drymax “Speedgoat” Trail Socks available in the market that would match the goods looks and functional capability of the shoes and they come in black/gray color!

Another View Of The Lug Pattern Of The Outsole

Another View Of The Lug Pattern Of The Outsole

Thickness of the Lugs and Lug Pattern——Yes, the lugs on the outsole are thicker than any of the HOO trail shoes that I have and they are 5 mm thick! This is almost the same thickness of the outsole lugs of my Salomon Sense 3 (Soft Ground) and Inov-8 Roclites (but, they are NOT Vibram outsoles!). However, most significant improvement and advantage of the HOO Speedgoat from these other shoes is the pattern on how they are positioned on the outsole. The pattern of lugs on the sole would show a figure of number 8, as seen from the top view. The figure 8 is the space in-between the array of lugs and it looks like a loop course where the heel portion has a cave or depression on it. According to the designers and engineers at HOO, such pattern would result to a feeling of running with a “fully independent suspension system” (like a 4 X 4 truck) on the different parts of the outsole when running in a technical terrain or trail. It means that if you stepped on a root or rock, the specific part of outsole that contacts with the object will be the only one that compresses while the rest of the outsole remains without any deformation. I suspect that the “cave” or significant depression on the heel would allow better ride and cushioned feeling for those “supinator and pronator” runners.

Having been a HOO user for the past five years, I would say that this particular model will be my racing and training shoes for my ultra trail running events in the future. Everything is almost perfect with regards to its Comfort, Speed, Security of Fit, Durability, Agility and Responsiveness and Protection to the Feet. I could not see any major flaw or anything to be corrected or improved on the shoes without compromising its light weight and perfect fit on my feet.

After mentioning those significant changes and improvements on the shoes plus the fact that I have logged almost 100 kilometers (62 miles) with these shoes (to include 10+ miles on the paved road), the question is, “Will I highly recommend these shoes to everybody for them to buy as their trail running shoes?” Yes, of course! I am now in the process of ordering my 2nd pair of the Speedgoat (Red & Black Model) through the Running Warehouse website! So far, this is the best HOO trail shoes model in the market right now.

As Karl Meltzer would say, “100 Miles Is Not That Far”, and I would add to say, “100 Miles Is Not That Far With The Speedgoat Shoes On Your Feet!”

Go out and run!

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Shoe Review: ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5

16 05 2014

In November 2013, it was a choice of buying an ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 and La Sportiva Vertical K and after reading some reviews and technical specifications, I opted to buy the La Sportiva Vertical K. The main thing that I considered without seeing yet the actual shoes is the WEIGHT. In their weight comparison, obviously, the La Sportiva Vertical is far lighter than the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5.

Brand New, Out Of The Box

Brand New, Out Of The Box

In last year’s recon runs and actual race in the TNF 100 (up to Km #53), I used the La Sportiva Helios and I was satisfied with its performance. I never had any incident of slipping on the declines of the trail route and it is a very light shoes. Having experienced an excellent performance of La Sportiva Helios on my preparation in last year’s TNF 100, I decided to have the La Sportiva Vertical K as my race shoe for this yea’s TNF 100 which is a bit lighter than the Helios. (Note: In the actual race of 2014 TNF 100, I used the old La Sportiva Helios instead of the Vertical K).

Last November 2013, after I bought my La Sportiva Vertical K, I’ve read and heard testimonies about the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 which are positive, as well as, negative feedback. I forgot all of these things as I got busy with my trail running training and switched/interchanged one trail shoes to another on a daily basis.

Two months ago, I decided to order a pair of ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 from a local distributor which I believed was “hand-carried” all the way from Singapore. I got a discounted price as a trail runner and a Race Director of local races. This shows that I don’t get a complimentary shoes for Shoe Review or Display on my workout so that my readers have the impression that I favor the use of a particular shoes.

After logging 250+ kilometers after two months of use and a chance to run them during rainy days, I have now a balanced shoe review on the said shoes. I will not be stating those technical specifications that anybody could read on the corporate website in this review. What is important is on how I could feel when I use it and my personal experience whenever I use them.

Wet Shoes After Workout!

Wet Shoes After Workout!

The “zero drop” thing was not noticeable when I run since I’ve been fond of using racing flats in my road runs, road races, and oval track workouts. I am basically a mid-foot strike runner and it was just natural for me not to notice the difference of the “zero drop” thing of the shoes.

The best feeling and experience of using the shoes is the wide toe box. My whole feet are relaxed and comfortable, thus, my toes are spread as if I am barefooted or using my “flip-flop” sandals. This a complete change from my experience of using ASICS, New Balance and ADIDAS shoes. However, my New Balance 101 Trail Shoes has the same “toe box” feeling with that of the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5.

The next best feeling and experience is the comfort and support cushioning of the shoes. From the heel portion up to the front end of the toe box, the support and cushion are perfect and I never had any pain, sore or burning sensation on my feet’s sole even on hot days. Whether I run them on rocks and other technical terrains (loose gravels and trails covered with leaves, twigs and branches), I could not feel these “bumps” on my feet. It has also a good protection when my feet would bump on roots or rocks on the front part of the shoes.

Of course, the RED color is something that is a plus for the shoes. For me, it connotes, speed, being hot, and full of strength!

The third best thing on the shoes are the lugs on the sole on a dry trail, most especially on the steep descending ones. The lugs can prevent you from sliding on powdery and dusty trails. However, it is a different story if the trail is wet and muddy.

On the negative side, the shoes is heavy as compared from my other trail shoes. Since I would sweat a lot in my trail running workouts, my sweat would flow on my legs and to my socks and ultimately, to the shoes! Almost in my runs, the socks and shoes would be wet and it would place an additional weight to my legs. I have also the habit to cool off my body by submerging my body to a pool of water on a creek or river along the route without removing my shoes. And once I continue to run, the shoes could hardly extract the water it absorbed. This will result for the shoes to attract dust/powder of soil dirt from the trail which makes the shoes to become heavier.

After my workout, I would “air-dry” the whole shoes and it would take forever (at least, 2 days/48 hours) to let the shoes to dry without exposing them direct to the sunlight. As compared to my La Sportiva and ASICS Trail Shoes, they would dry up overnight, and that’s 12 hours!

"Mud Trap"

“Mud Trap”

For three times, I’ve used the shoes on a wet and rainy environment. The lugs on the sole are considered as “mud traps”, the mud would stick to the lugs and they are hard to be removed as one continues to run. The additional mud and wetness of the shoes would put more extra effort for the legs to lift the shoes. You have the feeling that your legs are lifting an addition weight of one pound per shoe! What is worse when the mud is trapped on the lugs, you don’t have any assurance anymore from your shoes to help you or prevent you from slipping from the mud. If you are not careful, your butt will have the tendency “to kiss” the ground. Obviously, this will result for you to stall on your speed and simply be deliberate on your steps on the muddy trails. (Note: I think I remember right when one of the runners in last year’s Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run complained that the shoes could not handle slippery mud on the trails).

Heavy When Wet

Heavy When Wet

The shoes could be lighter if they use lighter materials for the uppers; use a thinner material for the shoe laces and make them a little shorter; remove the “rudder” at the back of the shoes; and come up with more drainage holes for sweat and water that could be absorbed by the shoes. There is no point also of placing a cover for the velcro at the back portion of the heel, let the velcro be exposed. Reduce the number of lugs on the sole and make sure that they are more aggressive for muddy conditions.

Rainy Days Are Here Again!

Rainy Days Are Here Again!

The shoes is highly recommended for dry trails, thus, this shoes should be used during dry season/summer. After testing the shoes during the rainy days, I would not bet a good performance on a race where the predicted weather is wet and rainy.

As of the moment, the ALTRA Lone Peak 1.5 is now one of my alternate trail running shoes when my “playground” is dry but they are my favorite trekking/hiking shoes in my regular mountain peak bagging adventures.





New Balance Minimus Ionix 3090 Review

4 04 2013

NB Minimus Ionix 3090

NB Minimus Ionix 3090

I think it has been years and months that I missed doing some shoe reviews in this blog. Since nobody from the Shoe Companies in the Philippines is asking me to conduct reviews on their products by giving me free shoes to use, almost all my running shoes were bought from the stores here and abroad. Except for my HOKA One One Shoes (Bondi B and Stinson EVO) which were given as complimentary by Joe Matias of A Runner’s Circle of Los Angeles, all my shoes were bought from my own money.

I bought my New Balance Minimus Ionix 3090 at the Athlete’s Foot Store in Glendale Galleria in Los Angeles last December 2012 as they were marked as On Sale for a price of $59.00 from the original price of $90.00. I was excited of the material and structure of the soles as I could feel with my fingers the soft cushioning on its soles; very light in weight; nice color combination and I thought it would be good for my road runs as a racing flat and daily running workout shoes.

I used it in my 10K daily runs while I was in Los Angeles on the first two weeks of December and I was happy of its performance. It is very light, comfortable, and with cushion plus the fact that I considered it as flat racing shoes. I think I was able to register almost 100 kilometers using the said shoes while I was in Los Angeles.

Once I got back to the Philippines, I used it again for a 20+K run in Baguio City when I peak bagged Mts. Kabuyao and Santo Tomas for the first time in December. While I was staying inside the compound of Fort Del Pilar/PMA, I used it again for my daily runs thereat.

My Shoes

My Shoes

On my first adventure run for this year, I went to the province of Siquijor in the Visayas. I was able to run around the island using the same shoes in 14.5 hours covering a distance of 75 kilometers. However, after the said run, I was able to observe severe signs of wear and tear on the “circles” or rounded portions of the soles. I have the shoes washed for the first time in order to find out the actual damage to its sole. More wear and tear parts were seen, most especially on the sole where the color is orange.

For the next weeks, I did not use the shoes and opted to use my HOKA One One Stinson EVO.

Last March 23, 2013, during the conduct of the 1st SIQUIJOR 75K Run Around The Island, I used it to join the rest of the 32 runners in the said race. I finished the race from start to finish in 13:20+ hours. During the race, I have observed that the cushioning effect of the shoes just simply nowhere to be found and felt my feet pounding so hard on the road during the run. Because of the warm and hot temperature in the early afternoon, I felt a hot sensation on my both feet that I had to walk along the course. I knew that I was not getting enough protection from the heat of the road. The soles did not give me the necessary cushioning and protection.

"Wear & Tear" At The Heel Section

“Wear & Tear”

I didn’t have any problems with the upper structures of the shoes. The material is light and porous that some air would enter to my feet for the needed ventilation. I could “shuffle” easily when my legs are tired because of its lightness and that is a great plus and advantage for this shoes.

After the race, I inspected again the soles and the damage had increased. So, after this race, I declared this shoes as “RETIRED” from my Shoe Arsenal. I think the shoes were able to reach 300 kilometers as its usage/mileage which is I think a poor performance for a running shoes.

"Wear & Tear" On Both Shoes

“Wear & Tear” On Both Shoes

I am highly recommending that runners should avoid buying this kind/model of New Balance shoes even if it is being sold On Sale in local running/sports stores.








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