This is the third iteration of HOKA’s multi-purpose mountain running shoe, and may also be the subject of some naming confusion. This shoe technically succeeds the Mafate Speed 2, but is also comparable in many ways to the EVO Mafate 2. Since the Mafate Speed 2 has been out of the HOKA lineup recently, it’s tempting to think of the Mafate Speed 3 as a successor to both the Mafate Speed 2 and the EVO Mafate 2, especially because there is significant overlap in their target user profiles. Confused yet? Just know that all of these models have a shared objective of combining maximal cushion with a responsive and secure ride on rugged terrain – we’ll do a bit of comparison to both the Mafate Speed 2 and EVO Mafate 2 here. We tested the Mafate Speed 3 during training days in coastal hills and high mountains, and it went the distance for us at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 in July.
Revisions to the Mafate Speed 3 aren’t dramatic in comparison to version 2, but they are generally beneficial in improving comfort and performance. The shoe loses a half ounce of weight compared to the Mafate Speed 2, but it’s about three quarters of an ounce heavier than the EVO Mafate 2. From the midsole down, the shoe is almost identical to its predecessor, with similar ride quality.
The primary change to the Mafate Speed 3 is the upper, which replaces the previous monomesh material with a recycled polyester mesh. This is in line with HOKA’s ongoing sustainability initiatives and thus far, we have been pleasantly surprised at how well the uppers have held up after about 300 miles of testing, including some thick bushwhacking adventures. The new upper material has a slight stretch component to it, and combines with a dynamic stretch panel on the vamp to provide increased comfort and flexibility, while thin KPU overlays provide structure and stability of the fit on irregular terrain. The tongue has been redesigned for improved comfort, with a perforated mesh for breathability and gusseted attachments to stay in place.
One key feature of the Mafate Speed 3 topside is a slightly widened last in the midfoot and forefoot that will accommodate a larger variety of users. The last is similar in feel to the Challenger ATR series, and makes the Mafate Speed 3 an attractive option for HOKA users who want a dedicated trail crusher, but find the EVO Mafate or Speedgoat models too narrow. We were happy with the amount of forefoot space the Mafate Speed 3 provided during the long, hot miles of a 100-miler, and the uppers don’t feel sloppy or excessively roomy on everyday training runs.
Below the uppers, the Mafate Speed 3 is virtually identical to the Mafate Speed 2. Lightweight compressed EVA has a somewhat firm feel when running easy, but nice responsiveness when increasing the pace, while meta-rocker geometry makes for a smooth transition from heel to toe. The Vibram Megagrip outsole compound is prominent through the forefoot, and focused on the lateral side at the heel. We’d love to see the coverage area extended further medially in the heel to accommodate those of us who pronate, but the wear rate of this part of the shoe was not unusual. The compound provides secure grip on highly technical terrain, and combined with the thick midsole, makes it relatively easy to move through scree or to blast downhills securely. Despite the increased spec weight of this shoe compared to the EVO Mafate 2, we were pleasantly surprised that the Mafate Speed 3 gave a very similar ride quality and didn’t feel bulky or heavy throughout testing.
The HOKA Mafate Speed 3 is available at www.hokaoneone.com.
Features and Specs:
- Weight (men’s/women’s): 11.1oz / 9.5oz
- Stack Height (heel/toe, in mm): 33/29 for men, 31/27 for women
- Heel-Toe Drop (mm): 4mm
- Upper: Recycled polyester mesh with gusseted tongue and KPU overlays
- Midsole: Compressed EVA with Meta-Rocker geometry
- Outsole: Vibram Megagrip with 5mm lugs
- MSRP: $170