High on Hokas

Editor’s Note: Aside from her impressive accomplishments as a horsewoman, Katrin Silva is also a top ultra runner. She has competed in nineteen 100-mile races, including seven Leadville 100s, and three Western States. This year alone, Silva placed 5th among women at Bighorn 100 and 12th at Leadville. In 2018, she accomplished the incredible Grand Slam of Ultra Running in 101 hours and change, placed second woman.

Katrin tests the Hoka Speedgoat 4

Buy Katrin’s book, “Dressage for the Rest of Us: How to Help any Horse become a Happier, More Responsive Riding Partner”

Here, she writes about Hoka Speedgoat 4.

Silva writes:

Hoka running shoes, specifically Speedgoats, have been my go-to shoes for years. These rugged trail marvels are named after Karl “the Speegoat” Meltzer, who helped design them.

For me, it was instant love: once I tried on the Speedgoat, I quit wearing anything else for training and racing. The Speedgoat 3 was my favorite Speedgoat thus far. Hands down. I finished the Grand Slam of ultrarunning in two pairs of Speedgoat 3s last summer. Karl Meltzer yelled “Hey, nice shoes!” as he blazed past me in the early miles of the Western States 100.

I trashed another pair of Speedgoat 3s in the muddy, gnarly Bighorn 100 this June and ran Leadville in my fourth pair of Speedgoat 3s this August.

When Hoka announced they would discontinue my favorite shoe, I was ready to hoard as many pairs as I could find, but decided to try out the Speedgoat 4 instead. After running in the Speedgoat 4 for severa; weeks, they’ve become my new all-time favorite Speedgoat, which, of course, makes them my all-time favorite running shoe overall.



  • The Speedgoat 4 is feather light, yet well-cushioned. Its grippy outsole sticks to rocky, steep downhills like Velcro, which gives me confidence on technical trails. Running in any pair of Hokas is like running on a cloud. Running trails in the Speedgoat 4 is like running on a cloud with off-cloud tires. Even better.
  • The Speedgoat 4 fits like a glove: no heel slippage, no need to tighten the laces much. Previous Speedgoats could be a tad too narrow in the toe box. I used to buy the men’s version of the Speedgoat 1 to 3, but think I’ll stick to the women’s model this time around.
  • The Speedgoat 4 is an attractive shoe. This is a little bit of a surprise. I started wearing Hokas years ago, when they looked like clown shoes. They have become less conspicuous since then. But let’s not kid ourselves: we wear Hokas because they still feel comfortable after mile 50, not because we’re vain. The Speedgoat 4, unlike most Hoka models, actually looks as good as it feels.
  • One minor caution: the Speedgoat shines on loose rocks and gnarly mountain trails, but is not at stable as it could be in slippery conditions. I found this out when I ran the Bighorn 100 last year and had no traction in the Wyoming mud. Maybe the Speedgoat 4 does better than the Speedgoat 3. I look forward to testing it!

Buy Katrin’s book, “Dressage for the Rest of Us: How to Help any Horse become a Happier, More Responsive Riding Partner”

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