Hoka Mafate Speed 4 | First Look - Outdoors Magic

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Hoka Mafate Speed 4 | First Look

First impressions on the new Hoka Mafate after we spent a few days trialling them on alpine trails

A major fixture in the trail running calendar, the UTMB in Chamonix is one of the world’s most iconic mountain running series. Sponsored by Hoka for 2022, this year’s event was bigger and better than ever, and we were out shadow of snow-capped Mont Blanc to check out all of the action. We also had the chance to hit the alpine trails ourselves to put Hoka’s latest trail running shoe, the Mafate Speed 4, to the test. Here’s how we got on with it.

Billed as a pinnacle product for technical trail, featuring “extreme traction and responsive cushioning for the toughest of terrain”, the Mafate Speed 4 is Hoka’s fourth generation of this popular trainer range. The 2022 upgrades from the Mafate Speed 3 include: an updated Vibram Megagrip outsole with Litebase construction and 5mm traction lugs; a new two-part PROFLY+ midsole with Hoka’s “lightest and most responsive foam” ever; and a new single-layer, breathable, woven jacquard upper for a “more dynamic fit”. It’s 21g lighter per shoe than its predecessor too. Ultimately these are incremental improvements to an already-proven shoe, rather than a wholesale revamp, but on first inspection the upgrades do appear overwhelmingly positive, particularly in terms of comfort. Hoka say “this fourth iteration is everything you love about the Mafate Speed, just levelled up”.

Features of the Mafate Speed 4 are plentiful. A protective rubber toe cap shields your feet from rocks and trail debris, while the aggressive Vibram Megagrip outsole is designed for enhanced traction on rugged ground. An early stage meta-rocker delivers a smooth transition through toe-off, the PROFLY+ midsole is resilient and tuned for an “energised ride”, as Hoka put it, and the single-layer woven jacquard mesh has been optimised for maximum breathability and comfort. With all these features combined, the Mafate Speed 4 is “built for the long haul”, whether you’re pounding out the miles on your local trails or taking on an ultra-marathon.

Photos: Hoka

The Mafate Speed 4, which weighs 295g per shoe in men’s and 241g in women’s, costs £160. It is vegan approved, and some of the materials in the collar, mesh and laces are recycled. The heel-to-toe drop is 4mm and the stability is neutral with “a symmetrical bed of cushion”.

Our First Look Verdict

Hyped to the max by over-zealous marketing departments, many outdoor products over-promise and under-deliver. The Mafate Speed 4 is not one of them. Ultimately it’s a trail shoe that promises a trio of benefits – plush cushioning, good grip and high levels of comfort – and it delivers in all three areas.

We used the Mafate 4s in the hills of Chamonix, around Brévent and La Flégère, on a mix of stony, gravel and rocky paths. Underfoot the PROFLY+ foam cushioning felt bouncy and high-energy, while the Vibram outsole offered slip-free traction on both forest and mountain trails. Straight out of the box, the Mafates were very comfy and light, with no areas of concern.

More testing time is needed to judge the long-term durability of both the cushioning and grip, but – on first impressions at least – the Mafate Speed 4 is a great all-rounder. If you’re looking to get involved in the mega-cushioned world of Hoka trail shoes, it’s a solid choice.

Price: £160
Weight: 295g



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