I’m a Beginner Trail Runner, and These Comfy Sneakers Are My All-time Favorite for Outdoor Adventures

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 Trail Running Shoes are a must-have.

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Hoka Speedgoat 5 Tout

If you love hiking and the outdoors but want to experience trails in a new way, or if you are an urban runner looking to vary your routine, you might want to check out trail running. What does trail running entail, exactly? It’s any run that takes place on an unpaved path in nature. It opens a whole new world beyond just running on paved surfaces and like road running and it’s relatively easy to get into with minimal gear requirements. One of the most important things you will need for trail running are shoes — specifically ones meant for unpaved surfaces. I recently started trail running and tested quite a few pairs to find ones that worked well no matter the terrain. My favorite by far is the Hoka Speedgoat 5 running shoes. 

Trail shoes are different from road running shoes because they are made specifically for more dynamic movement based on ground conditions found on unpaved surfaces. Hence, they have a lot more features than walking shoes or other traditional sneakers. You’ll want to look for durable outsoles and lugs for better grip on uneven surfaces, rigid midsoles to protect your feet from things like stones, roots, and rocks, and toe caps to prevent any stubbing while you are running. Also, look for shoes that have a stiff construction, as this prevents excessive foot rotation by maintaining stability in your feet. Luckily, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 pair fits all these criteria and more. 

Hoka Speedgoat 5

Zappos

To buy: rei.com and zappos.com $155

Hoka Speedgoat 5

To buy: zappos.com, $155

The Vibram mega grip and deep lugs on the Speedgoat 5 trail runners provide plenty of traction, offering enhanced grip on uneven surfaces, wet or dry, especially with loose gravel. The shoes also have protective toe rands and compression-molded foam midsoles — all of which provide you with the right stability on the trail. Additionally, the double-layer jacquard engineered mesh will keep your feet cool and comfortable while withstanding abrasion and tears. The Speedgoat 5s perform best on moderate trails, technical trails, rocky areas, muddy areas, and through creeks and streams. They even hold their own through snowy or icy sections on the trail thanks to the waterproof materials used.

As soon as I put the Hoka Speedgoat 5 trail runners on, I felt like I was getting a foot massage while jogging. These shoes are ideal for trail running but the lugs are great for road running too. At just nine ounces (the men’s pair is around eleven ounces), they are super lightweight. This is a big plus both for running, as well as packing them in a suitcase for travel so you can trail run no matter where your adventures take you. The running shoes come in four fun colorways, medium and wide widths, and half-sizes so there is a Hoka available no matter your shoe size.

Hoka Speedgoat 5

To buy: zappos.com, $155

An REI shopper said it was “love at first wear,” going on to emphasize that they are incredibly supportive shoes, especially for people with a high arch and/or wide feet. “I bought two pairs initially with a golf focus, but now I wear them a lot more often than that. They are worth every penny,” they added. One Zappos shopper noted that it’s one of the best pairs of trail running shoes they have ever owned. “I did an eight-mile hike right out of the box on technical terrain, and they were very comfortable and stable. The sole wears much better than my other shoes’ outsoles, which wore out quickly,” they said. 

Another shopper gave the sneakers a perfect rating. “As a trail runner, this is my absolute favorite running shoe. It’s lighter and the slip-in [style] is so much easier,” they wrote. “[The shoes] run like a dream with great traction and stability. Plus [they’re] so weightless.”

Hoka Speedgoat 5

To buy: zappos.com, $155

And like many other Hoka shoes, these are also vegan and partly made of recycled material, including the laces, which are sourced from recycled polyester. One feature I appreciate is the bolstered heel collar that gives just that extra little bit of support to the heel, especially when going uphill. So what are you waiting for? If you’re planning to hit the trails, give this pair of Hoka running shoes a try before your next trip.

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