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New and Reviewed: Hoka Mach 5

With a new clean, sleek design, the Hoka Mach 5 is equal parts comfort and performance.

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Now in its fifth edition, the Hoka Mach has made promising progress since its debut, and is fast becoming one of our favorite summer shoe releases. You can’t miss the new, sleek look and eye-catching color combinations of the Mach 5, and there is even more to enjoy beyond the immediate first look.

With a clean, sleek design, exceptional cushioning and a burst of energy in every stride, Hoka’s Mach 5 is equal parts comfort and performance. It’s a lightweight, neutral-oriented cushioned trainer that can either be a fast-workout speed shoe or a smooth-riding  everyday trainer.

It’s a shoe that inspires speed and efficiency by promoting quick-cadence running at any pace, but it has enough cushioning, stability and structure to handle the rigors of long runs, recovery runs, tempo runs and longer intervals.

Hoka Mach 5, $140

  • Weight: 6.8 ounces
  • Heel-Toe Offset: 5mm (29mm heel, 24mm forefoot)
  • Type: Neutral running shoe
Hoka Mach 5 Women's
(Photo: Hoka One One)

What’s New

The biggest updates to the Mach 5 are a new stripped-down, single-layer engineered creel mesh upper and a dual-density hyper-responsive ProFly+ foam formulation. This includes a hyper-responsive supercritical foam just below the foot for energetic pop. The rubberized EVA bottom layer provides a bit of stability and consistency in every stride. The two-layer midsole/outsole chassis serves up a semi-soft/semi-firm sensation with enough cushion to dampen the impact with the ground plenty of springing pop to provide a high level of energy return.

Who it’s For

If you’re the type of runner who prefers to have just one shoe in your quiver, the Mach 5 could be a good choice for you. It has enough comfort, versatility and giddy-up to handle the rigors of all types of workouts. It’s one of the rare shoes that is light and fast enough for 5K racing but cushioned and resilient enough for long training runs or racing at any pace. It can handle shorter, faster intervals, fartlek workouts and tempo runs with ease, but it also feels great at slow, Zone 1 recovery pace.

RELATED: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Hoka Running Shoes

Pros

It’s rare that a shoe capable of doing everything well — long runs, recovery runs, speed work, tempo runs, intervals — offers so much high-performance zest. Typically shoes with that much energy are found in the racing category and are limited only to fast running.

  • Although it’s not a maximally cushioned shoe, the next-generation hyper-responsive ProFly+ foam compound — long overdue for Hoka — elevates the Mach 5 to the premier level of shoes in its class by adding a bit of energetic sensation in every stride.
  • For runners familiar with recent HOKA shoes, the Mach 5 is like an optimized combination of last year’s Mach 4 and the Mach SuperSonic that came out earlier this year. (And perhaps everything the much softer HOKA Clifton should have become!) The new foam configuration makes it springier than the Mach 4 and slightly softer than the Supersonic.
  • The midsole/outsole structure of the Mach 4 has flared design that results in a slightly wider footprint and a touch of inherent stability — though not enough for overpronating runners. The swallowtail cut in the rear of the heel creates a decoupling effect to provide semi-custom foot strike force attenuation.
  • The airy, lightweight upper blends the ideal mix of comfortable stretch and locked-down support and complements the light and fast design of the chassis. The relatively thin, gusseted tongue contributes to the snug, glove-like fit, while padding in the collar and a flared heel tab to reduce Achilles discomfort are creature comforts typically found in more expensive shoes.
  • The rubberized foam outsole isn’t going to be quite as durable as segments of blown rubber and carbon rubber, but it’s a heck of a lot lighter and isn’t likely to wear out too soon. It’s a trade-off you have to consider, but as a light, performance-oriented shoe we think it’s an ideal outsole makeup.

Cons

  • Some of our wear-testers felt this shoe felt a bit too long in the toe box, so much so that those runners thought it felt sloppy enough they wanted to go down a half size.
  • Because it’s not a maximally cushioned trainer, some runners might prefer a shoe with more cushion for long runs.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Mach 5 is a great update to the Mach 4 and especially the Mach Supersonic. The new next-gen foam midsole material changes the game for Hoka after years of having marshmallowy soft midsoles in its daily training shoes. The Mach 5 is definitely a ‘tweener of a shoe, but it can perform reputably as both a daily trainer and a speed shoe for faster workout days.