Brooks Caldera 5 VS Hoka Speedgoat 4: What Should I Buy?

Finding the right trail running shoe can make all the difference in your performance and enjoyment on the trails. Two popular options to consider are the Brooks Caldera 5 and the Hoka Speedgoat 4. But how do you decide which one is the better choice?

The Brooks Caldera 5 and Hoka Speedgoat 4 are both cushioned, neutral trail running shoes geared toward runners looking for maximum comfort over long distances and technical terrain.

While they share some similarities, there are also some key differences that may make one model a better choice for certain runners. This comparison looks at the specs, construction, and real-world performance of both shoes to guide you toward the right pick for your trail running needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Caldera 5 and Speedgoat 4:

FeatureCaldera 5Speedgoat 4
Launched In20232022
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingMen’s 7-15, Women’s 5-12Men’s 7-16, Women’s 5-13
Weight10.7 oz (M), 9.5 oz (W)10.5 oz (M), 9.3 oz (W)
CushionMaximalMaximal
OutsoleTrailTack RubberVibram MegaGrip
MidsoleDNA Loft v3 FoamCMEVA Foam
UpperMesh/SyntheticsMesh/Synthetics
Retail Price$117$200

Feature comparison

Materials

The Caldera 5 uses a TrailTack rubber outsole which provides grip and durability on trails. The midsole uses DNA Loft v3 foam for soft, resilient cushioning. The upper combines mesh fabric with synthetic overlays for breathability and structure.

Caldera 5
CALDERA 5

SPEEDGOAT 4
SPEEDGOAT 4

The Speedgoat 4 has a Vibram MegaGrip outsole designed for traction on slippery terrain. The midsole is made from CMEVA foam which is responsive and durable. The upper uses a mesh fabric with welded overlays for a secure fit.

Durability

The Caldera 5 and Speedgoat 4 are built to last many miles on the trail. The outsoles use rubber compounds made to handle abrasive surfaces, while the midsoles maintain their cushioning properties even after heavy use.

The uppers also resist damage from rocks, branches, and other trail obstacles. Runners report getting several hundred miles out of both models before signs of wear.

Fit

The Caldera 5 runs on the narrower side, especially in the toe box area. Those with wider feet may need to size up.

Caldera 5 top view
CALDERA 5 TOP VIEW

SPEEDGOAT 4 TOP VIEW
SPEEDGOAT 4

The Speedgoat 4 is also snug through the midfoot and forefoot. The lace-up design of both shoes allows you to adjust the upper for a more dialed-in fit.

Stability

With their neutral platforms focused on cushioning over pronation control, the Caldera 5 and Speedgoat 4 match up evenly in terms of stability. Both shoes allow the foot to move naturally without excessive correction. Runners needing additional arch support may require an aftermarket insert.

Cushioning

Offering thick midsoles from heel to toe, the Caldera 5 and Speedgoat 4 are two of the plushest trail shoes available today. The DNA Loft foam in the Caldera 5 feels soft yet responsive.

The CMEVA foam in the Speedgoat 4 is similarly resilient and shock-absorbing. Cushioning is maximized in both models to keep feet comfortable over long distances.

Value

With retail prices of $117 for the Caldera 5 and $200 for the Speedgoat 4, the Brooks model provides better value for the money. While both shoes offer excellent cushioning and durability, the Caldera 5 costs significantly less while providing similar technology and performance.

The price difference of over $80 makes the Caldera 5 a better value purchase for runners looking to maximize their dollar. The Speedgoat 4 is still a high-quality trail shoe but comes with a premium price tag.

Performance Comparisons

Walking

The plush cushioning of the Caldera 5 and Speedgoat 4 makes walking in both shoes feel like walking on clouds! The flexible uppers and smooth midsole transitions create a natural walking stride.

In terms of support, the Caldera 5 may suit lighter walkers best, while heavier walkers may prefer the firmer CMEVA foam of the Speedgoat 4. For walking comfort, it’s a toss-up between the two.

Running

When upping the pace to a run, the Speedgoat 4 gains a slight edge. The energetic CMEVA foam and responsive Vibram outsole give it a bit more pop off the ground. The Caldera 5 is still a smooth runner but feels more muted.

For distances beyond a marathon, however, the extra cushioning of the Caldera 5 may be appreciated. Overall, faster trail runners may lean towards the Hoka Speedgoat 4 over the Caldera 5.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plush cushioning throughout the heel and arch of both shoes make them good options for plantar fasciitis. By absorbing shock, they can help reduce pain and inflammation. The Caldera 5 has a softer heel than the Speedgoat 4, which some may prefer for heel pain.

However the stability of the Speedgoat 4 helps control excess pronation that can aggravate the plantar fascia. For this issue, it depends on your specific needs and sensitivities.

All Day Standing

Cushioned shoes like the Caldera 5 and Speedgoat 4 can provide relief when you have to be on your feet all day. The pillowy midsoles keep feet comfortable hour after hour. The Caldera 5 may get the nod for all-day standing thanks to its full-length DNA Loft foam.

The soft compound does a better job alleviating pressure on the feet when stationary compared to the firmer Speedgoat 4. However, both shoes work significantly better than flat casual or dress shoes on your feet throughout the day.

Final Verdict

If you want a super soft, cushioned feel for long distances, recovery runs, and all-day comfort, go with the Caldera 5. Its DNA Loft foam is pillowy soft while still providing a responsive ride. Just be aware of the potentially narrow fit.


For runners who want a responsive, moderately cushioned shoe for fast training and races on rugged terrain, the Speedgoat 4 is the better choice. It has a snappier ride and excellent grip on slippery trails. But it won’t feel as cushy as the Caldera 5.

You can’t go wrong with either of these well-built, comfortable trail shoes. Consider where and how often you run trails, your foot shape, and your performance needs to decide if the Brooks Caldera 5 or Hoka Speedgoat 4 is the better trail running shoe for you.

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