Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Review, After 250 Miles of Trail Running

Writer Flora Beverley ran 250 miles in the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 to test the trail running shoe.
Runner Flora Beverley tested the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 over 250 miles of trail runs.

A good pair of trail running shoes can be difficult to find. They have to be supportive and durable enough to transition from gravel to dirt to rocks (and beyond), but also comfortable enough to run long miles in. Which is why when I got my hands on Hoka’s Mafate Speed 4 trail running shoes, a lightweight, breathable update to the brand’s EVO Mafate and Mafate Speed, I was itching to try them out. 

A runner since 2018, I’ve completed 10 ultra-marathons from 50ks to multi-day ultramarathons — and all (except two) were trail races. 

When I’m looking for a new pair of shoes, I prioritize durable models with cushion and reliable traction that can handle the changing terrain of a trail. One of my favorite running shoes is the Speedgoat 5s, so I’m not new to how great Hoka’s are for running

Overall, I logged 250 miles in the Mafate Speed 4 on training runs, races, and hiking on a combination of rocky trails and soft trails throughout Europe. With runs as short as 5 miles to as long as 35 miles, I put them to the test — and they’re just as comfortable now as they were out of the box.

Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Specs

A chart of how the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 trail running shoes fit and feel after our testing.
  • Fit: The shoes fit true to size. Though a little on the narrow side for my wide feet, the mesh fabric on the sides of the shoe did stretch out with wear, making the shoes able to accommodate wider feet.
  • Comfort: The shoes were comfortable right out of the box and while running, whether worn on a short and intense or long and slow run.
  • Traction: The grippy Vibram outsole has great traction in all terrains when dry, but the shoes have trouble on wet and muddy ground.
  • Durability: These running shoes look and feel just as great from their first run to hundreds of miles later.
  • Breathability: A jacquard mesh lines the sides of the shoes, providing breathability and a snug fit.
  • Weight: The shoes weigh in at 8.5 ounces for women and 10.4 ounces for men, which is roughly the same as the comparable Hoka Speedgoat 5s. The shoes are relatively lightweight but not optimal for short distances.
  • Versatility: The Mafate Speed 4 is better suited for long runs at a slow pace versus short runs at a fast pace. However, the shoes are able to handle a variety of terrains, from roads to trails.

Design and Aesthetics 

Three colorways of the Hoka Mafate Speed 4

The Mafate Speed 4 come in eight colorways for women and seven for men. All are a mix of Hoka’s signature bold, vibrant color combinations, like Ceramic/Diva Blue and Camellia/Peach Parfait. 

At 8.5 ounces, the shoes are lightweight and have a relatively low drop of 4 millimeters. The low-profile cushion bed provides neutral stability and firm, responsive cushioning.

Visually, the Mafate looks like a pretty standard trail running shoe and, to that end, doesn’t feature Hoka’s signature chunky midsole. Instead, this trail runner has been designed to toe the line between cushion and support and minimal weight. The shoe also has a somewhat hiking shoe-inspired style with jacquard mesh on the sides, a protective toe bumper, and grippy 5-millimeter traction lugs. 

Testing Performance

Runner Flora Beverley tested the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 on 250 miles of trail runs.
Runner Flora Beverley tested the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 on 250 miles of trail runs.

I tested the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 shoes over the course of several months, totaling 250 miles of running on a variety of terrains. Most of my runs were about 10 miles or more with the longest run clocking in at 35 miles. Hitting the trail and the road, I tested how the shoes performed during slower long-distance running, tempo running, racing, and speed running.

The first thing that struck me about these shoes was that they were extremely comfortable and ready to wear right out of the box. It’s not the fastest shoe in the world, but it’s ideal for longer trail races and easy runs. Surprisingly, the plush cushioning and responsiveness did not degrade after 250 miles of running on trails and roads for both short and long distances. 

I usually opt for the wide version of Hokas, but the Mafate Speed 4 only comes in the standard width. So, I was surprised to find that they actually felt pretty true to size. I found that the mesh fabric on the sides of the shoe had a stretchiness to it that conformed to my feet.

I found the Mafate Speed 4 were very adept at handling wooded paths and rocky trails. That being said, I did find that the traction fell short on wet and muddy terrain. Because of this, I feel like they’re better suited for dry runs in the warmer months. Despite this drawback, the shoes are still considerably more durable and well-built than other trail shoes I’ve worn, standing up to even the most punishing trails.

Pros and Cons of the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Shoe

After hundreds of miles running in the Hoka Mafate Speed 4, the shoes have earned a spot in my weekly rotation. Here are a few reasons why they may or may not be a good fit for you.

  • Just as comfy out of the box as they are after 250 miles of wear
  • Plush, responsive cushioning
  • Versatile, durable, and long-lasting
  • Great for long-distance runners


  • Doesn’t come in wide but the fabric does stretch over time
  • Traction doesn’t hold up on muddy winter runs but is great on dry terrain in the warmer months
  • On the pricier side at $185

How the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Stacks Up 

The writer's Hoka Mafate Speed 4 after 250km of testing.
Flora Beverley

The Hoka Mafate Speed 4 are pretty similar to the Hoka Speedgoat 5s (which also happen to be Half Marathons’ pick for the best cushioned running shoe for trails). At $185, the Mafate Speed 4 are $30 more than the Speedgoats. 

 Both shoes have the same weight and level of stability, and I personally alternate between the two for trail and mixed-terrain running. 

However, after running hundreds of miles in both, I’d say the Mafates excel more in durability and versatility, while I find the Speedgoats to have more responsiveness and cushioning.

What Other Runners Think

Reviewers really like the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 comfort and durability, particularly the hardiness of the shoes’ rugged Vibram outsole. A few customers did complain about the running shoes’ high price and lack of neutral or monochrome color options. Some found the Mafate Speed 4 to be an excellent upgrade to the Speedgoats, while others found the Speedgoats to be more comfortable for their feet. A few Reddit users reported that the shoes’ cushioning felt stiff and firm, requiring a longer-than-expected break-in period.

Price and Value 

Hoka shoes are generally on the pricier side, but the cost is well worth the quality and longevity — and the Mafate Speed 4 is no exception. With the brand’s trail running shoes ranging in price from $130 to $275, the Mafate Speed’s $185 price tag puts it below the average. 

As mentioned earlier, the Hoka Speedgoat 5s are a suitable alternative if you want to save some cash and opt for maximal cushioning. The Brooks Caldera 7s are also an affordable option for runners okay with a little extra weight in their shoes. But overall, the $20 to $30 difference between the Mafate Speed 4 and other affordable trail running shoes will likely pay for itself in their durability.

Are the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 Worth Buying? 

The Hoka Mafate Speed 4 shoes are a winning combination of comfortable, durable, and versatile. After 250 miles of running, I found them to be an excellent trail running companion, especially on dry terrain. 

The shoes have virtually no break-in period, thanks to plush, responsive cushioning. And the flexible materials made up for the fact that there’s no wide shoe size option. 

If you want extra cushioning, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 are an excellent alternative with slightly more responsiveness and a lower price tag. However, as an owner of both, you can’t go wrong with the Mafate Speed 4.

At $185, the Hoka Mafate Speed 4 are decently spenny but well worth the cost, considering their versatility and long lifetime. I love that every time I lace them up, they’re just as comfortable as the last time I wore them. Their durability and reliability have made them a staple in my running routine.

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