Differences in Hoka Trail Shoes

MudPigMudPig ✭✭

I currently have some Asics GT-2000 Trail for summer dry paths and road, Inov8 Mudclaw 300 for winter wet mud and Inov8 Roclite 305 for everything in between. However, I'm now running 5 or more miles of road to get to, from and between trails, and the Inov8s are killing my feet. I think I'd like to try something with a bit more cushioning.

I've been looking at the various Hoka running shoes and would appreciate some advice on differences between models, specifically the Speedgoat4, Challenger ATR 5 and Torrent 2.

Here are my deductions on how each shoe might suit me. I would appreciate some confirmation or correction! :smile:

Firstly the Challenger ATR. These seem aimed at simple trails and miles of ashphalt, so I figure these would work well where I have a 20km day of which half is on road? I'd have to avoid the really sloppy mud on these longer days for sure.

My understanding of the Torrent is that it is less cushioned and has more aggressive lugs. For me, this would be one to avoid for days that include more than a mile or so of asphalt, and more for my 5k around the woods, with ascents and descents and leaping tree roots! :smile:

The Speedgoat seems to fall between the Challenger and the ATR. Some people seem to use it on the road quite happily, although it's not as soft as the Challenger. Likewise, it seems to have fans for more technical trails where it seems the Torrent might make more sense. Perhaps it's a more like a cushioned Torrent??

Is the Speedgoat really a one-shoe-does-all type of thing, or does it actually make sense to have a Challenger for where the run includes asphalt and a Torrent for when I drive to the more technical trails?

I hope that all makes sense. Thanks in advance for any advice!!



    MudPig - I'm a great Hoka fan but haven't used any of the models you mention.   But as far as I know all of the trail Hokas have adequate cushioning for road running as well as trail.   So perhaps you should look for a shoe that deals with the terrain and not worry about any lack of cushioning for road work.

    I use this website for info/reviews on shoes and found it really helpful

    Reviews of athletic shoes | RunRepeat

  • Just a bump.. would like to find out what you did and what worked best...

    Currently looking for a shoe that I can use both trail and road running for an adventure abroad.
  • Hi Olly,

    OK. First a confession. Trainers and running shoes are a bit of a hobby/obsession. My wife goes nuts when I receive more shoes, and particularly in the last month when I received a pair of Clifton 7, Rincon 2 and then in the last 10 days when I received Torrent 2, Challenger ATR 5 and Speedhoat 4. Those are in the cupboard alongside 3 pairs of Asics GT-2000 and 4 assorted Inov8s. :D

    I don't claim to be an expert and don't believe that I can tell the difference in a 1mm drop or a couple of millimetres of midsole EVA. But I do like to experiment and compare, and I do like funky shoes. :blush:

    Having used all 3 pairs of the Hoka trail shoes now, I can state these amateur opinions (which may well differ from YouTube 'experts' and even the manufacturers!):

    The Challenger ATR really is a light trail Clifton - nicely cushioned and great for asphalt as well as light trails. At the moment, I wouldn't use them on more than a gravel path right now but come the dry weather they'll be great for when 5-10 miles of dry dirt tracks are separated by 5 miles of road from my front door. Next weekend I have a 14K run planned along a muddy tarmac farm driveway and the Challengers will be spot on for comfort.

    I drove to an area at the weekend where I would normally use my Inov8 shoes with deeper lugs and the Torrent 2s were great. They didn't grip on the saturated ground like my Mudclaws but they were perfectly fine on tracks, wet grass and a few metres here and there of concrete. In future for this I'll stick to my Inov8 Mudclaws or Roclites depending on how sodden the ground is, but the Torrents were fine and would have been usable with a mile or so of asphalt too due to the cushioning.

    The Speedgoats were the pair I'd buy if I had to just have one pair of trail Hokas now after trying all 3. They're cushioned but I can still feel the hard lugs and knew I was in trail shoes. Not as nice on road as the Challenger ATR. However, I did 3 miles of asphalt and the Speedgoats were better than the Inov8s I was using before. In the wet mud the Speedgoats actually gripped pretty well and they were only sliding on cambered ground or if the wet mud was deep enough to be halfway up the shoe. They gripped fine 99% of the time including on wet concrete and asphalt.

    As I suspected, winter runs where I drive to the trails I will continue to use the Inov8s. I think the Inov8s just cope better with wet mud, which is what you'd expect based on their background. But for running to and from the trails, the Challengers are lovely - I just need to be realistic what I tackle on those runs, particularly in the winter. The Speedgoats can handle the road too but I definitely feel I'm on a lugged, trail outsole.

    So in summary, if I had to get all my Inov8 and Hoka shoes down to three pairs I'd go with the Mudclaw 300 for the sort of winter mud we have right now, the Challenger ATR for dry days where the run begins and ends at home and the Speedgoat for everything in between. The Roclite 290 and 305, and the Hoka Torrent are all good but they wouldn't be in my "essentials". If pushed further for just one pair, it would be the Speedgoats. They were OK on asphalt for a few miles, survived deep wet mud and hosed down at the end to look like new.

    Sorry for the wordy reply. I hope that helps!

    Mudpig - that's brilliant information.   

    I'm a shoe junkie too, but I only run on the roads so not a single trail shoe amongst my varied collection of 28 pairs of running shoes.
  • Simply a knock.. might want to discover what you did and what worked best...

    Right now searching for a shoe that I can utilize both path and street running for an undertaking abroad.
  • Hi Felix

    Right now I still have two pairs of shoes that live outside my front door ready for the morning run: the Mudclaw 300, as the ground near me is still fairly soaked and boggy, and the Speedgoat 4 for days like today where the temperature of 1C at 7am means that the ground has frozen so is a little soft but not too much. I have a little plantar fasciitis at the moment and appreciate the extra cushioning of the HOKAs if I'm not looking for wet mud grip.

    Last weekend though, I did a 14km run that was 10km tarmac farm tracks and 4km of firm mud. The Challenger ATR was perfect here, with cushioning like a road shoe but a bit of extra grip on the dirt. Easy to clean too. The only time I wished for something more "hardcore" was on a wet, steep, grass and mud descent that had been chewed up by horses. The Challenger did let go once and caused a bit of a slide. I didn't go down but almost, and it would have been messy! :)

    For your "path and street" running, out of my current collection I'd go with the Speedgoat as long as there was more path than street. If there was more street and the paths were going to be dry, then the Challenger ATR.

    I do have a pair of inov-8 Terraultra G 270 with zero miles on them, that get rave reviews. Intended for ultra distances, reviews say they're a great all-rounder and up to doing a fair bit of road too. I can't comment myself as I'm reluctant to phase in zero drop shoes while I still have the plantar fasciitis. Couldn't resist the green colour though. :D

    Another shoe that might fit your bill is the inov-8 Parkclaw 275. I've not tried it (yet!) but it sounds like it might be what you need. The 8mm drop is much more "normal" than the zero drop of the Terraultra.

    I hope that helps. :)

    > Right now searching for a shoe that I can utilize both path and street running for an undertaking abroad.
  • My attitude towards the new shoes is rather simple. I try to wear them for a long time, but without any perfectness here.
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