If you’re seeking a highly cushioned trail running shoe, your search ends here. In this post, we will compare two renowned models from trusted brands in the trail running industry comparing the Salomon Ultra Glide vs Hoka Speedgoat. The Salomon Ultra Glide represents the latest offering from a brand with extensive experience in crafting trail running shoes and gear over the course of several decades. On the other hand, the Hoka Speedgoat is considered a trail running legend, renowned as the original and most popular cushioned trail runner in the market. This review aims to delve into the disparities between these models, analyzing their specifications, providing a comprehensive assessment, and offering conclusive recommendations based on individual needs. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Salomon Ultra Glide vs Hoka Speedgoat
- The Hoka Speedgoat has a slightly higher MSRP Price of $155. while the Salomon Ultra Glide is priced at $150.
- Both models offer neutral stability. Meaning they are designed for runners without specific pronation issues.
- In terms of weight, the men’s version of the Salomon Ultra Glide weighs slightly less at 278 g (9.8 oz). Compared to the heavier Speedgoat at 292 g (10.3 oz).
- For women’s sizes, the Hoka Speedgoat weighs just slightly more at 243 g (8.57 oz). With the Salomon Ultra Glide coming in at 239 g (8.4 oz).
- The Speedgoat has a lower 4mm drop. Providing a flatter profile, compared to the 6mm drop of the Ultra Glide.
- Salomon lists the Ultra Glide as a maximum cushioning for enhanced comfort. While the Hoka Speedgoat is listed as providing a balanced level of cushioning.
- The stack height of the Speedgoat is 33 mm (heel) and 29 mm (forefoot). Which is slightly higher than the Ultra Glide’s stack height of 32 mm (heel) and 26 mm (forefoot).
- The biggest reason for the heavier weight and higher stack high are due to the Speedgoat’s 5mm lugs, providing better traction on varied terrain. Whereas the Ultra Glide has slightly smaller 3.5mm lugs.
When it comes to choosing the right running shoes, two brands stand out as leaders in the market: Hoka and Salomon. Both brands have established themselves as top choices among runners worldwide, each with its unique strengths and features. Hoka, known for its innovative designs and plush cushioning, has gained a loyal following for its ability to provide comfort and support over long distances. On the other hand, Salomon, renowned for its technical expertise and trail-running heritage, offers rugged durability and superior traction for tackling challenging terrains. So today we’ll be breaking down the more popular trail runner from each brand, doing a more in depth review of the Salomon Ultra Glide vs Hoka Speedgoat.
Salomon Ultra Glide
Upon unboxing the Salomon Ultra Glide 2, I was immediately impressed by their overall aesthetic. These trail runners strike a balance between a rugged trail shoe and a sleek road runner, exuding a sense of speed. Personally, I appreciate the two-tone blue design, although it would be desirable if they offered a wider range of brighter color options. When holding them in my hands, they felt substantial without being overly heavy. It’s evident that the weight has been effectively managed, considering the shoe’s level of cushioning.
As I slipped my feet into the Ultra Glide 2 for the first time, a couple of noteworthy features caught my attention. Firstly, the cushioning felt remarkably soft and pliable straight out of the box, a quality not always present in new shoes. Secondly, the fit stood out to me. Personally, I found them to be slightly tight around the sides and forefoot. However, I suspect this adjustment was made to address the looseness reported in the previous model. In the future, I would consider going up a half or full size to achieve a more comfortable fit.
When I took to the trails wearing the Salomon Ultra Glide 2, they truly excelled on fast and flowing terrains. As previously mentioned, they possess an almost hybrid quality, blurring the line between trail and road running. Consequently, on well-groomed trails, these shoes truly shine. However, when transitioning to rocky and technically challenging terrain, certain drawbacks became apparent. The traction felt somewhat loose and imprecise during steep climbs and descents, especially if the rocks were wet. It almost gave me the sensation of running in road shoes with limited grip and control. Additionally, they lack the sidewall protection that I typically prefer in a trail runner, likely a trade-off to maintain a lower weight. Overall, the Salomon Ultra Glide 2 is exceptional on well-maintained fast trails but falls short in demanding technical environments.
Full disclosure, I’ve been running in Speedgoats for years and I’m a big fan. So, when I first checked out the Speedgoat 5s, there were a few things that stood out. Firstly, the new look and color options are impressive. They have a two-toned, vibrant design that looks fast even before you put them on. In terms of weight, they do have a bit of heft to them and are slightly heavier than the Ultra Glide. Most of this weight comes from the larger soles and 5mm lugs. You can see in the pictures below how large the soles are compared to the lightweight mesh top.
When it comes to fit, the Hoka Speedgoats feel true to size. They provide a comfortable hug around the midfoot, extending to a bit more room in the toe box. While I personally find that running in my actual size works well for me, many people prefer to half size up, especially for longer races when foot swelling can be an issue. The cushioning is noticeable but initially feels a bit stiff. However, don’t worry, it softens up after you put around 10-15 miles on them.
Running in the Speedgoats, it’s clear that they are built for the mountains. They excel on steep and technical terrain, both on ascents and descents. Even on wet rocks, the 5mm lugs provide excellent traction. As mentioned earlier, the soles are thick and extend past the shoe’s actual sidewalls, offering great protection against rocks coming in from the sides. However, it’s important to note that the Speedgoats, like all Hoka shoes, have a reputation for not lasting as long as other models. They tend to show wear quicker than other brands. Additionally, they are on the heavier side. If you’re running faster on well-groomed trails, opting for lighter and less grippy shoes can help improve your performance.
Below is a side by side comparison of both shoes. From the sides you can see the thicker upper of the Ultra Glide and larger lug / traction provided by the Speedgoat.
Salomon Ultra Glide Profile
Hoke Speedgoat Profile
Ultra Glide Back View
Speedgoat Back View
Ultra Glide Top View
Speedgoat Top View
Salomon Ultra Glide Soles
Hoka Speedgoat Soles
Conclusion – Salomon Ultra Glide vs Hoka Speedgoat
There is a lot to love about both of these models, but the choice ultimately depends on your intended use. If you primarily run on faster, well-groomed trails like those found in California or Arizona, the Ultra Glide will offer a performance similar to that of a fast road running shoe, with some trail-specific features. However, if you’re seeking a shoe that can handle technical trails with ease, the Speedgoats are undoubtedly the better choice. They boast a more aggressive sole and lug pattern, along with additional sidewall cushioning and support, making them a true trail monster.
If you have any specific questions about the two models, let me know in the comments below!