Hoka One One is the fastest growing brand in trail running. And for very good reason. They continue to expand on an already extremely popular product line. Providing shoes to meet every runners needs. And today we’ll be comparing two of those models in the Hoka Zinal vs Speedgoat.
The Hoka Speedgoat is a legend on the trails. With many races won and FKT set with runners in these shoes. The Zinal on the other hand is the new kid on the block. Sleek and fast. But which of these two shoes is right for you? Let’s take a look.
Hoka Zinal vs Speedgoat
- The Hoka Zinal is lighter than the Speedgoat. The Zinal is 2.3oz lighter per shoe compared to the Speedgoat.
- The Hoka Speedgoat has more cushion. You can tell where the added weight comes from. The Speedgat has more cushion and a larger lug.
- The Zinal is a responsive design vs the Speedgoat which is considered a balanced shoe. This means you are going to feel the trail a bit more than the speed goats. You will have less protection on the side of your feet.
- The Zinal has a 5mm drop compared to 4mm on the Speedgoat. The slightly larger drop 5mm is going to take make them feel faster. Especially with the lighter weight. Generally people will choose a higher drop for shorter races.
- The Speedgoat has a 5mm lug compared to a 4mm lug on Zinal. This is where some of the added weight on the Speedgoat comes in. The extra 1mm and added sole traction will be better suited for wet or muddy conditions. You can see the difference in grip below.
- Both feature Hoka One One’s Vibram Mega Grip outsoles. Meaning both shoes will grip well on dry rock surfaces.
MSRP Price: $160
Men’s – Click Here
Women’s – Click Here
Surface: Trail Running
Weight Men’s: 8.5oz
Weight Woman’s: 6.9oz
Stack: 32mm / 27mm
MSRP Price: $155
Men’s Link: Click Here
Women’s Link: Click Here
Surface: Trail Running
Weight Men: 10.3oz
Weight Women: 8.5oz
Stack: 33mm / 29mm
If you have read some of my other reviews you will know that I’m a Hoka One One fan. I’ve had a lot of success running in their shoes for both big mileage in the Speedgoats to running short faster courses in the Hoka Torrent. Having a lot of experience with the brand, I was excited when they decided to release a new model in the Hoka Zinal. So let’s get down to how they compare!
The Hoka Zinal is a great looking shoe. You can tell it takes a lot of it’s design influence from the Hoka Torrents. With a lighter weight design that is meant to go fast while feeling the trail. Hoka then mixed in a few great features from the Speedgoat line. This includes the Vibram Soles and added overall cushion volume. This led to a surprisingly light shoe with good cushion. I really liked my time running in the Zinal and could see this taking in for my short course and OCR races. As they felt like they drained better than the heavier Speedgoats at water crossings during testing. Overall I’m really impressed with this shoe.
The Speedgoat was built for big miles. It’s a true icon in the trail running community with many of the worlds FKT being set in them. Built with increased padding and slightly lower drop (4mm) the Speedgoats don’t feel as fast as the Zinal. And they definitely feel more substantial on your feet. But what they lack in speedy feel they more than make up for in comfort and ride quality. And if you’re going up against rooty or rocky terrain, there are very few shoes on the market that can outperform the Speedgoats.
Below is a side by side comparison of the Hoke Zinal Trail vs Speedgoat.
You will notice in the profile shot the added cushion on the Speedgoat.
Hoka Zinal Profile
Hoke One One Speedgoat 5
The top view of both models. The two shoes are very close in design from the top.
Hoke One One Zinal Top
Hoka Speedgoat 5 Top View
Below you can see the difference in lug patterns between the two shoes below. Notice the lack of lugs in the mid section of the Zinal.
Hoka Zinal Sole
Hoka Speedgoat 5 Sole
Conclusion – Hoka Zinal vs Speedgoat
There is a lot to love from both of these shoes. The Zinal is light and fast. They breathe great, and if you’re going to be crossing a lot of water, they drain quickly. In contrast the Speedgoat is a plush ride. They are designed to handle big race and training miles. And they do it with ease.
Which trail runner to buy?
If you are running a shorter race or OCR then I would go with the Zinal. The added drop and lighter weight are going to pay off when pushing the pace. If you are looking for a training shoe to log big miles or something for a long run or hiking trip. Then go with the Speedgoat.
Great review thanks, easy to read and very useful. I have the Torrents, which i love, and so does everyone else. Excellent grip, just the right cushion, and fast. These Zinal look excellent too.. another good light weight off-road shoe from Hoka. I noticed you have a typo on Vibram.. spelt Vibrum in the article.
Hey JB! Thanks for taking the time to comment and catching the spelling. I appreciate it. I’m a big fan of the Torrents too. I run my shorter races and OCR events in them.
I noticed that you didn’t mention the difference in stack height (only the net drop), which I found to be a fairly critical difference. The Speedgoat has a much higher stack height (39.5mm/35.5mm)) than the Zinal (32 mm/27 mm). The larger stack height on the Speedgoat means that your ankle has to work harder to stabilize your foot over technical and uneven terrain. I have fairly strong ankles and do a lot of technical trail running, but the first thing I noticed in the Speedgoats was how often I was rolling my ankles. I switched back into my Zinals and didn’t experience that at all again.
Hey KB! Thank you for bringing this up! Hoka didn’t start releasing official stack heights until the beginning of 2022. Along with volume and spring measurements. And every time I would measure the lug patters/wear would throw me off by a few mm. I’m in the process of updating all 2021 comparisons with updated 2022 model info (Speedgoat 5s) and adding stack height, volume, and spring measurements.
Again thank you for replying and I’ll get to work!!
Great write up! I am debating these two for Trans Rockies, 6 days (20, 13, 25, 15, 24, 22) Love my Mach 4s and was hoping the Zinal would be comparable, but nervous about the miles on my feet. Also don’t want to lug the Speedgoats (but this could be in my head lol)
What do you think?
Hey Matt! Oh man, I’m jealous of your Trans Rockies run. That event is on my bucket list. I think you nailed it, the Hoka Zinal has the same 5mm drop and is almost the exact same weight as the Mach 4s. Just with a lower stack height, which will help on the trails. Based on that, the Zinal are going to be a great choice. That said I’m a big fan of logging my training miles in the Speedgoats because of the cushion. Then running in a lighter faster pair (the Zinal) for races. Going from heavy to light, you will feel fast. In your case you could always keep the Speedgoats a your backup shoes just incase you start feeling it in the late stages. Just an idea. Let me know what you end up going with and how the event goes!