When Will threw me a new pair of Hoka One One Speedgoat 2's to try, I was hesitant. I had, at best, 'mixed' experiences with the Speedgoat 1, and I just thought that this shoe would be in the same boat.
For me, the speedgoat 1 was too narrow, the upper was too rigid, and there was too much rocker/curve through the midsole. Feeling a little dubious, but also equally excited to try new shoes, I took the speedgoat 2 for a quick burn after work along the Mosman trails (from Taronga zoo to Balmoral beach). I wouldn't call it a technical trail by any means, but this quick 5k blast was quickly starting to change my perspective of the Speedgoat franchise.
When I first slid my foot into the new speedgoat 2, I noticed the super-narrow fit of the SG1 was gone. The new upper is not a wide shoe, but for me, it's a snug-but-comfortable fit. Dare I say it, it felt a little Salomon-esque. There isn't a huge amount of toe-room, and as mentioned it still fits a little snug, but for me, this is confidence inspiring on the trail. The SG2 hugs the foot and keeps it where it should be within the shoe, regardless of the terrain.
In a word - Plushhhhhh..
The Hoka Speedgoat 2 has cushion akin to the Challenger ATR, or the Clifton series of Hoka One One Shoes, but with one big difference - response. The combination of the hugging upper, with the full length Vibram Megagrip outsole makes this shoe feel a little bit more 'springy' which in my opinion makes it such a perfect all round trail-shoe. Cushioned enough for those long Sunday runs, but 'fast' (feeling) enough to smash out a quick 5k over technical terrain and not feel clumsy due to the maximal design of the shoe.
And The grip - sticky... But what else would you expect from a Vibram outsole?
This is another big plus for the speedgoat. The full outsole, the 'hugging' footbed, and the welded overlays all point towards a tough shoe. Just take a look at what it was designed for: Karl Melzter's 2,190 Mile (3,524 Kilometre) world record run for the completion of the Appalanchian Trail. I would say it is easily Hoka One One's most durable trail-running shoe currently being manufactured.