Hoka recently just updated the Rapa Nui, re-naming it the Speedgoat after the Speedgoat 50k and Karl Meltzer, ultra runner extraordinaire and Hokas first sponsored athlete. Along with the updated name, Hoka updated the Speedgoat making it fit and perform better than the previous version, making the Speedgoat an ideal option for your off-road racing and training. The Rapa Nui at the time was the first Hoka shoe that, while still maximally cushioned, was intended to be used as a lightweight trainer and racer, particularly for longer distance races. The Speedgoat takes the best features of the original Rapa Nui with a few enhancements.
We noticed with the launch of the Rapa Nui that it quickly became a shoe that people either loved or hated. People loved the weight reduction and trimmed down fit, or hated it because the outsole wasn't quite adequate for technical terrain, and felt much firmer than the traditional plush cushioning runners had become accustomed to from the brand. The Speedgoat, just like the Rapa Nui, is still composed of injection molded EVA, but in a much lighter and softer package. That's the first thing we noticed when putting it on, it's much softer feeling than before without being overly flexible or too cushioned.
The other improvement made to the Speedgoat is to the outsole, a great improvement in our opinion. The Rapa Nui outsole, while adequate, just didn't inspire enough confidence on very technical, slick conditions. The Speedgoat has been upgraded with a high traction, Vibram outsole with 5mm lugs, which is about double that of the Rapa Nui; a great improvement. Lastly, the speed laces have been replaced with regular laces, much easier to snug down and really tighten the Speedgoat down to your foot.