Challenger ATR 5 vs Speedgoat 3

Challenger ATR 5 vs Speed Goat 3 | Initial Impressions – Average Hiker

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Initial Impressions of ATR 5’s vs Speedgoat 3’s

Shoe Expectations

I’ve spent several weeks researching new trail runners, and will go over my initial impressions, expectations, and the shoes I chose.  Having been a die hard Salomon user over the past decade or so, I was hesitant to try something new.  Years of hiking, and beaten up feet, have adjusted my expectations for my shoes a little, but the need to minimize blisters remains the same.  Plantar Fasciitis (see post), has probably been the biggest change.  I mild case in my left foot has resulted in the need for more arch support.  What I want in my shoes is pretty straight forward.

  • Good arch support
  • Large toe box
  • Breathable – not waterproof
  • Tough upper material
  • Good grip

Shoe Shopping

A few months ago, I went to a running store to check out shoe options.  It was here that I discovered Hokas.  I frowned, and raised an eyebrow, when they were presented to me.  They looked like platform shoes for runners, with these big, THICK treads.  I was tall enough.  There was no way I was going to retain my already questionable balance with 1-2 inches added to the bottoms of my feet.  But then I put them on, and walked.  They were SO COMFORTABLE, and I only swayed a little.  I had discovered my next pair of shoes.

A month ago, I decided to check out the HOKA trail runners since my other shoes had worked out so well.  After a lot of research via blogs and reviews, I narrowed down the trail runners to Hoka’s Challenger ATR 5’s, and the Speed Goat 3’s.  I then checked my zip code, and found that the REI in my neighborhood carried both the Challenger ATR and Speedgoat brands.

Speed Goat 3 vs Challenger ATR 5

The Speed Goat was a nice shoe, but it was tight, and my foot immediately heated up in the shoe.  The tight fit of the Goat seemed to make it more suitable for running, and in my case, blisters would be a problem.  My feet have always gotten pretty extensive blisters in the first week or two of a hike, no matter the shoe size, socks, liners, foot balm, foot breaks, etc.  I’ve tried every solution, to no avail.  My feet always toughen up and form callouses over time, but the first few weeks of a long distance hike are brutal for me.  I’ve yet to find a blister solution, but am still on the hunt.

The Challenger ATR 5 was a very different shoe.  I would probably describe as a little more of a casual trail runner.  The grip was a little less biting – the “teeth” not quite as sharp.  It was also not nearly as snug, and much more comfortable for my foot, with a much larger toe box.   The shoe was very comfortable, and I settled on my new trail runner within a few minutes of walking around in them.

Final Thoughts

There are a few things that still have me on the fence.  I’m a little higher off the ground that I generally like to be, making me question balance a little.  The uppers on the shoes are not as tough as my Salomons, but hopefully they are tougher than they appear.  The grip is not as sticky as the Grip on the Speedgoat, or on my Salomons for that matter.  Regardless, I’m excited because they are very comfortable, and look forward to providing an update when I get back from the Colorado hike.

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