Brooks Caldera 6 VS Hoka Speedgoat 5: What Should I Buy?

The Brooks Caldera 6 and the Hoka Speedgoat 5 are two of the most popular trail running shoes on the market today. Both models were launched in early 2022 and feature maximized cushioning, excellent traction, and responsive midsoles perfect for logging miles on the trails.

This in-depth comparison looks at the key features and performance of each shoe to help you decide which is the better option for your specific needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Brooks Caldera 6 and Hoka Speedgoat 5:

SpecsBrooks Caldera 6Hoka Speedgoat 5
Launched In20222022
StabilityNeutralNeutral
FlexibilityModerateModerate
SizingMen’s 7-13, Women’s 5.5-11Men’s 7-13, Women’s 5.5-11
Weight10.5 oz (M), 9.5 oz (W)10.2 oz (M), 8.8 oz (W)
CushionNitrogen-infused foamMax cushioning
OutsoleTrailTack rubberVibram MegaGrip
MidsoleDNA LOFT v3PROFLY+
UpperEngineered meshEngineered mesh
Retail Price$110$155

Brooks Caldera 6 vs. Hoka Speedgoat 5: Features Comparison

Materials

The Brooks Caldera 6 uses a nitrogen-infused foam midsole, TrailTack rubber outsole, and engineered mesh upper. The nitrogen-infused foam provides a soft and responsive cushioning system. The TrailTack rubber outsole grips well on most trail surfaces. The engineered mesh upper is breathable and flexible.

Brooks Caldera 6
CALDERA 6

SPEEDGOAT 5
SPEEDGOAT

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 utilizes a PROFLY+ midsole foam, Vibram MegaGrip outsole, and engineered mesh upper. The PROFLY+ foam delivers maximum cushioning that is also responsive.

The Vibram Megagrip outsole is known for its top-notch traction and grip. The engineered mesh upper is lightweight and promotes airflow to the foot.

Durability

The high-quality materials used in both the Brooks Caldera 6 and Hoka Speedgoat 5 make them quite durable shoes. The TrailTack rubber outsole of the Caldera 6 is rugged enough for miles of trail running, while the Vibram Megagrip outsole of the Speedgoat 5 is designed to stand up to abrasive terrain.

Both shoes should last for over 500 miles for most runners. The Caldera 6 may have a slight edge in overall durability thanks to the nitrogen-infused foam retaining its cushioning properties longer.

Fit

The Brooks Caldera 6 runs true to size for most runners. It has a wide toe box to allow toes to splay naturally and a secure midfoot wrap. This makes it a good choice for runners with wider feet.

Brooks Caldera 6 TOP VIEW
CALDERA 6 TOP VIEW

SPEEDGOAT 5 TOP VIEW
SPEEDGOAT 5 TOP VIEW

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 also runs true to size. It has a roomy toe box but the midfoot has a tighter, more secure fit. This shoe also works well for wider feet. Both models have adjustable lacing systems to help dial in the fit.

Stability

Neither shoe is designed to control pronation or provide stability. The Brooks Caldera 6 and Hoka Speedgoat 5 are neutral cushioned shoes. However, the wide platform and full ground contact of the Caldera 6 provides inherent stability on uneven terrain. The Speedgoat 5 is less stable due to its high stack height and narrow profile.

Cushioning

The Brooks Caldera 6 utilizes nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 foam which provides soft, responsive cushioning without a sinking or mushy feel. The full-length segmented crash pad ensures a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 maximizes cushioning with its thick layer of PROFLY+ foam. This delivers a plush, pillowy ride with an energetic rebound. Both shoes have ample cushioning for long miles, though the Speedgoat 5 nudges ahead in delivering ultra-soft comfort.

Value

With identical retail prices of $150, both the Brooks Caldera 6 and Hoka Speedgoat 5 offer superb value. Considering their premium cushioning technologies, grippy outsoles, and durable construction, these trail shoes are well worth their mid-range price tag. They can handle hundreds of miles of moderate to technical trails.

Performance Comparison

Walking

The Brooks Caldera 6 performs well as a walking shoe thanks to its responsive DNA LOFT cushioning and smooth heel-to-toe transition. The foot remains comfortable mile after mile.

However, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is even better suited for walking. Its extra thick PROFLY+ midsole absorbs impact exceptionally well during long walks. Both shoes provide good traction for walking on dirt trails and gravel paths.

Running

When used for running, the Brooks Caldera 6 offers a responsive, moderately cushioned ride that maintains ground contact for pushing off during toe-offs. The Hoka Speedgoat 5 provides an ultra-cushioned, bouncy experience ideal for logging high mileage.

The Speedgoat 5 excels on rocky, technical downhill running where its cushioning shines. For less technical terrain, either shoe performs well though the Speedgoat’s extra softness makes it more enjoyable for long runs.

Plantar Fasciitis

The Hoka Speedgoat 5 is the better option for runners with plantar fasciitis. Its maximally cushioned PROFLY+ midsole does an exceptional job absorbing impact and reducing pressure on the plantar fascia ligament.

The ample midsole thickness also minimizes strain when running or walking long distances. While also cushioned, the Brooks Caldera 6 cannot quite match the plush softness of the Speedgoat 5 underfoot.

All Day Standing

For occupations that require standing all day like retail or nursing, the Brooks Caldera 6 gets the edge. Its moderate cushioning provides a good balance of shock absorption and support.

The full-ground contact outsole also delivers stability on hard surfaces. While the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is heavily cushioned, its tall stack height and narrow profile are less ideal for standing in place for long periods. The Caldera 6 better mimics the natural contours of the foot.

Final Verdict

In the battle between the Brooks Caldera 6 and Hoka Speedgoat 5, there is no single winner. Both are outstanding trail running shoes.


For technical terrain, rocky trails, and ultramarathon distances, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 takes the lead with its superior cushioning and downhill running performance.

However, for standing all day and moderate, less technical trails, the Brooks Caldera 6 is an excellent choice with its durable outsole and inherent stability.

Consider your specific needs and running style to decide which shoe is the better option. No matter which you choose, you’ll get a high-quality, cushy trail runner ready to cover the miles in comfort.

Leave a comment