Hoka Mach 6 Review

When Hoka first joined the running shoe scene back in 2009, their “maximalist” design and large, overstated midsoles caused lots of skepticism among runners. With the barefoot running movement being all the rage at the time, the new brand offered a sharp contrast to the popular minimalist running shoes.

But since then, Hoka has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of the most popular running shoe brands around. Today, if you look at any elite athlete, casual runner, gym goer, hiker, hospital worker, and more, it’s easy to see that Hoka has become a go-to brand for countless lifestyles.

The idea for Hoka was born in the French Alps out of the need for a lightweight shoe to help runners move faster through rugged, downhill mountain terrain. Since then, Hoka has expanded its shoe line to include a huge range of road running shoes, hiking boots, trail runners, and casual lifestyle shoes.

Back in 2009, Hoka went against the grain creating a bulky, high-cushioned shoe. And while they might be known for their maximalist designs, the brand continued to subvert expectations with its Mach running shoe line. 

Since the first iteration of the Mach, the shoe has offered a lower-profile, neutral shoe option designed for fast-paced training runs and uptempo workouts. The most recent model, the Mach 6, continues this tradition with a sleek look and responsive, lightweight feel that’s perfect for picking up the pace.

If you’ve enjoyed running in the Mach before, you’ll be happy to know that Hoka hasn’t made too many changes to its newest version. However, whether you’re a loyal Mach wearer or are looking for a new perfect shoe for your runs, there are a couple of updates and features to keep in mind before slipping on the newest pair. 

Hoka Men's Mach 6 side view
Hoka Men's Mach 6 side view
HOKA MACH 6 Black / White side view
HOKA Men's Mach 6 White/Nimbus Cloud lateral side
HOKA Men's Mach 6 Oat Milk/Barley lateral side
HOKA Men's Mach 6 Dusk/Shadow lateral side
+2

HOKA Mach 6

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price:$139.95
HOKA Women's Mach 6 White/Nimbus Cloud lateral side
HOKA Women's Mach 6 White/Nimbus Cloud lateral side
HOKA Women's Mach 6 - Black/White side view
HOKA Women's Mach 6 - Mirage/Stellar Blue side view
HOKA Women's Mach 6 Eggnog/Vanilla lateral side
HOKA Women's Mach 6 Illusion/Dusk lateral side
+2

HOKA Mach 6

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price:$139.95

Our Review Process

At Marathon Sports, it’s crucial that we uncover everything there is to know about the latest running shoes. Our reviewers have been in the running shoe game for a long time, so we’ve seen all the different trends come and go, talked to countless other runners, and of course, tried out a huge range of different running shoes. 

Our reviewers put every new running shoe through different tests until we can confidently say we know the shoe inside and out. From short and fast workouts to easy training runs, we gain the best insight into how a shoe fits and feels so we can provide a non-biased Hoka Mach 6 review and make the best recommendations for your running needs. 

To dive deeper into the new Mach 6, we took the shoe out on a variety of different runs so we can give you the most accurate verdict possible. We’ll also provide some key comparisons between the Mach 6 and similar shoes from other brands so you know exactly what to expect when you go to buy your next running shoe. 

Mach 6: A Quick Look at the Facts and Highlights

  • Men’s weighs 8.2 oz, women’s weighs 6.7 oz
  • Men’s has a 37mm/32mm stack height, women’s has a 35mm/30mm stack height
  • 5mm heel/toe drop
  • Designed as a performance trainer for uptempo runs or workouts
  • New single-layer Profly+ foam boasts more energy return and a slightly firmer underfoot feel
  • Built with a lightweight and breathable creel jacquard mesh upper
  • Fits true to size
  • Durabrasion rubber outsole increases durability in comparison to the Mach 5
  • Wider platform for some inherent stability
  • Price: $139.95

Is the Mach the Right Shoe for You? An In-Depth Look at the Hoka Mach 6

While the Mach 6 is overall pretty similar to past iterations of the shoe, Hoka did opt to make a few changes in their newest model. 

Now that you know some of the fast facts and specs of the shoe, you’re ready to dive in to learn more about its features and whether it could be the right shoe for you. Here’s your guide to everything the Mach 6 has to offer and some of the key factors to keep in mind if you’re considering adding it to your shoe rotation. 

Single-Density Super-Critical EVA Foam Cushion

When you put the Mach 5 and Mach 6 side-by-side, the most immediate difference can be seen in the midsole. 

The Mach 5 had a dual-layer foam midsole with a softer Profly+ cushion on top and standard EVA foam below. With the Mach 6, Hoka replaced this design with a single layer of super-critical Profly+ cushioning. 

Without the soft, plusher top layer, the Mach 6 does feel slightly firmer than the Mach 5. However, the high-end foam allows for a higher energy return without sacrificing the lightweight feel of the shoe. This high-energy return, bounce, and lightweight design makes this shoe a great choice for tempo runs or speed days. 

While the Mach 6 does feel stiffer than most of Hoka’s other plush, marshmallow-like shoes, even our reviewers who prefer a softer shoe felt that the moderate amount of cushion was perfectly comfortable for workouts, easy days, and daily training runs.

Rubber Outsole

One of the biggest complaints about past Mach models was the lack of outsole. The Mach 5 – and all previous Mach models – lacked a traditional outsole, which often caused issues with durability and traction. 

We found that one of the best updates to the Mach 6 was the new Durabrasion rubber outsole. With this strategically placed rubber, Hoka greatly improved the shoe’s traction. Even on wet pavement and dirt, the Mach 6 was up for the challenge and offered plenty of grip without any slipping. 

And because the shoe is so versatile, durability is crucial. Whether you’re looking for a specific performance shoe or a daily trainer, you want shoes that can stand the test of time. Fortunately, the high-quality materials and new outsole seem to be holding up well with the miles we’ve put in so far. 

hoka mach 6 view of outsole

Light and Breathable Upper

A comfortable and lightweight upper is a necessary feature of any good performance shoe. Our reviewers found that Hoka nailed this aspect of the Mach 6 with their breathable creel jacquard mesh upper. 

This engineered upper is made of two layers, a softer, perforated material against the foot and a mesh outer layer. The design also offers zonal breathability, ensuring the shoe performs well and keeps your feet cool and comfortable in any weather conditions. 

The dual gussets on the tongue are another major benefit. As you power through a workout or rack up the mileage, the internal gussets keep the tongue from moving around.

The tongue and upper are both relatively thin, so you don’t get that immediate comfortable and plush step-in feeling that comes with a more padded upper. Fortunately, the more simple and stripped-down upper keeps the shoe feeling lightweight and natural and didn’t cause any discomfort for our reviewers once they started running in the shoe.

Overall Fit

Along with being lightweight and comfortable, the upper offers a snug fit that hugs your foot without feeling too narrow or tight. The shoe also runs wider at the forefoot, offering ample space for your toes to splay. 

Keep in mind that while most Hokas run on the wider side, the Mach 6 runs a bit narrower than the Mach 5 and other popular Hoka models. 

man and woman running on the road

Road Results

There’s no doubt that the best part of any review is the road test. Our group of reviewers take the shoe out for some runs and truly see where it excels – and the areas that could use some work. 

We also test the shoe on a variety of different runs and on a range of terrains to see how it performs in any condition. And after putting in the miles in the Mach 6, we can confidently say that this is one of the best and most versatile running shoes in Hoka’s line-up

Right out of the gate, the super-critical foam felt comfortable and firm underfoot. Hoka advertised the Mach 6 as the “lightest and most responsive” Mach yet, and it definitely lived up to that promise. The new single layer of foam has great energy return, making it easy to pick up the pace for uptempo segments or quicker workouts. 

Hoka is also well-known for its rocker design, and while the rocker in the Mach 6 isn’t quite as prevalent as in the Clifton 9 or Bondi 8, our reviewers did find the mild rocker noticeable on runs. While this rocker may not be for everyone, many runners found that in the Mach 6, it did help with turnover and made every stride feel fast and smooth.

Another huge plus was the new rubber outsole. From slick and wet pavement to mud, packed dirt, and gravel paths, the Mach 6 provided significantly more traction than its predecessors, making it even more versatile. 

Even our reviewers who prefer softer, high-cushioned shoes didn’t have many complaints about the foam on the Mach 6. It provided plenty of cushion underfoot, while the low-profile design and lower drop ensured we felt stable and connected to the ground on runs. 

Pros and Cons

There’s no one-size-fits-all running shoe out there. Like every other shoe, the Mach 6 has some pros and cons to keep in mind as you’re considering your options. 

Pros

  • High energy return makes it a great shoe for faster runs or speed workouts
  • Moderate stack height and responsive feel make it a versatile shoe – good as a high-performance shoe, daily trainer, or racing shoe
  • New rubber outsole adds traction and durability that previous models lacked
  • Extremely lightweight and breathable design

Cons

  • New cushion is firmer than previous models, making it less comfortable for runners who prefer a softer landing
  • Upper lacks padding and cushion, leading to less immediate comfort and plushness when you step into the shoe

Who Should Consider Trying the Mach 6?

One of the best aspects of the Mach 6 is its adaptability and versatility. Of course, you can’t go wrong with using the shoe for what it was originally advertised for. If you’re looking for a lightweight, responsive shoe to help you pick up the pace on tempo runs or speed workouts, you might want to consider the Mach 6.

While it isn’t advertised as a race day shoe, the Mach 6 also offers a great alternative to carbon-plated shoes. If you’re looking for a lightweight, responsive, and cushioned shoe without the price tag and potential downsides associated with carbon plates, the Mach 6 could work for you. 

Some reviewers feel as though a marathon may be pushing the limits of this moderate-cushioned, firmer shoe. But for a 5K, 10K, or even half marathon, the Mach 6 could definitely provide a smooth and comfortable ride through to the finish line.

And with improved durability, plenty of cushion, and a smooth landing, pretty much any runner could get something out of the Mach 6. You can save it for workouts or use it as a lightweight and dependable all-around daily trainer. 

Longtime Hoka fans might be surprised by the Mach’s low profile and firmer feel. If you prefer a soft and plush landing, you might want to consider one of Hoka’s softer, higher-cushion shoes, such as the Clifton 9

However, if you like feeling the ground on runs but still want all the benefits of a cushioned shoe, the Mach 6 could be a great choice. 

Where Does the Mach 6 Stand Against Comparable Shoes? 

Over the years, Mach running shoes have gained a loyal following among dedicated Hoka lovers and skeptics alike. But with so many other longtime trusted running brands out there, how does this high-performance Hoka shoe stack up? 

When it comes to giving runners an energetic and snappy ride, the Hoka Mach 6 and Saucony Kinvara 14 are both two reliable and highly trusted shoes. Both shoes offer responsive cushioning, a middle-of-the-road offset (4mm for the Kinvara, 5mm for the Mach 6), and a sleek and lightweight running experience. While the Kinvara is slightly lighter overall, it also has less cushioning, making it a slightly less versatile option than the Mach. 

If you want a responsive shoe but don’t mind a little extra weight and bulk, you might want to look into the Asics Novablast 4. It’s heavier than the Mach 6 and has a higher offset at 8mm. But with lots of cushion and an energetic and bouncy performance on runs, it offers another great option for a responsive shoe that adapts well between different types of runs. 

Final Verdict

Hoka shoes can be hit-or-miss with lots of runners. But with the Mach 6, our reviewers feel as though Hoka has struck a perfect balance of a cushioned yet low-profile shoe that could work for nearly every runner. 

From long runs over a range of terrain to short and snappy strides on the track, the Mach has held up well for many different purposes. Hoka kept the features many loyalists loved about the Mach, such as the responsive foam, lightweight feel, and high energy return, while improving their design and addressing past criticisms on durability and traction with an updated outsole. 

Most runners don’t think of Hoka as their first choice when they want a low-profile, firmer shoe that doesn’t cause them to sink into the foam. However, with the Mach 6, they’ve effectively targeted this market and designed a shoe that could effortlessly support runners through uptempo runs and so much more. 

Ready to find your next running shoe? Stop by Marathon Sports today to try out the Mach 6 and a huge range of other fantastic running shoes.

Hoka translates to “to fly” or “to soar” in the Maori language. And when you speak to any of the specialists at our New England stores, you’ll be able to find the perfect running shoe and gear to help you soar throughout your runs. 

Hoka Men's Mach 6 side view
Hoka Men's Mach 6 side view
HOKA MACH 6 Black / White side view
HOKA Men's Mach 6 White/Nimbus Cloud lateral side
HOKA Men's Mach 6 Oat Milk/Barley lateral side
HOKA Men's Mach 6 Dusk/Shadow lateral side
+2

HOKA Mach 6

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HOKA Women's Mach 6 White/Nimbus Cloud lateral side
HOKA Women's Mach 6 White/Nimbus Cloud lateral side
HOKA Women's Mach 6 - Black/White side view
HOKA Women's Mach 6 - Mirage/Stellar Blue side view
HOKA Women's Mach 6 Eggnog/Vanilla lateral side
HOKA Women's Mach 6 Illusion/Dusk lateral side
+2

HOKA Mach 6

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price:$139.95

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