Our verdict

The Mach 5 from Hoka is a performance trainer that can do a bit of everything. If you want to train with speed, we are convinced that it can become your trusty tempo running shoe. And if you want an easy-day or long-distance trainer, we believe that the Mach 5's cushy yet stable ride will serve you just right. Even better, it'll give you all the snappiness and energy return you need.

Pros

  • Super fun and energetic ride
  • Velvety smooth strides
  • Runs and feels light
  • Comfy for easy days
  • Cushioned for long runs
  • Absorbs impact
  • Awesome fit
  • Welcomes wide feet
  • Reflective
  • Worth the money

Cons

  • Really lacks outsole durability
  • Slips on wet pavement

Audience verdict

89
Great!

Who should buy

The Hoka Mach 5 is one of the top-pick options if you're looking for: 

  • a road running shoe that's lively and enjoyable for fast and easy runs
  • a lightweight yet cushioned trainer that can go the distance
  • an excellent value for money ($20 cheaper than the average price of speed trainers)

Hoka-Mach-5-review

This Hoka shoe is an amazing all-rounder: responsive for fast days, cushioned for long runs, and comfortable enough for easy days and walks.

Who should NOT buy

Although it's a well-loved shoe, the Mach 5 also has its share of flaws. The biggest one is the lack of rubber outsole which leads to both a lack of durability and grip on wet pavement.

We highly recommend speed trainers like the ASICS Novablast 3 and the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3. Both are similar in performance to the Mach 5 but come with a protective rubber layer at the bottom.

And if you want to stick to Hoka, we encourage you to check out the top-tier Hoka Mach X

Hoka-Mach-5-lab-test-and-review

Breathability

Taking the Hoka Mach 5 through our smoke breathability test, we can claim that it's got a slightly above-average level of ventilation in the upper. It is not the most ventilated one, but great for moderate temperatures.

You can also see that the toebox and tongue parts of the shoe's fabric are on the transparent side.

Test results
Mach 5 4
Average 3.8
Compared to 222 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Outsole hardness

There is no rubber outsole on the Hoka Mach 5. Technically, the shoe uses a layer of rubberized foam as a substitute for the rubber outsole.  So, we ended up measuring the firmness of this bottom compound.

No wonder our durometer showed such a low number!

Hoka Mach 5 outsole hardness durometer

At 57.0 HC, this Hoka shoe's bottom is 40% softer than average! And that's pretty dangerous for the shoe's long-term durability as softer materials wear out much faster on the harsh pavement.

Thus, we cannot expect more than 300 miles from this trainer.

Test results
Mach 5 57.0 HC
Average 80.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 273 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Weight

The fact that the Mach 5 is well-cushioned doesn't seem to affect its lightness. In fact, it is even a little lighter than the average speed trainer in a men's US size 9.

Hoka Mach 5 Average
7.9 oz (225g) 8.3 oz (236g)

Lighter weight paired with the shoe's snappy ride is a fabulous combination!

Hoka-Mach-5-lightweight

Test results
Mach 5 7.94 oz (225g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 293 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Running in the Mach 5, our feet felt quite pampered and well-protected from impact. Even though it's not a max-cushioned shoe, it certainly delivered enough cushioning to make us forget about hard heel landings.

Using a caliper, we measured heel thickness at 30.7 mm. It's not enough to make it a max-cushioned shoe but is close to the average of running shoes.

Hoka-Mach-5-heel-stack

Test results
Mach 5 30.7 mm
Average 33.7 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

Measuring the forefoot stack, our caliper showed 25.0 mm. This is about the same as the average road shoe.

Hoka-Mach-5-forefoot-stack 

Test results
Mach 5 25.0 mm
Average 25.0 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

Checking the heel-to-toe drop of the shoe, it appears to be close to the brand's official statement (which is 5 mm). Based on our own stack measurements, we found it to be 5.7 mm.

Hoka Mach 5 drop

Test results
Mach 5 5.7 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The Mach 5 features a pretty standard, moderately padded insole. Measuring its heel thickness, we got 4.2 mm - the same as the average.

Hoka Mach 5 insole

Test results
Mach 5 4.2 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 288 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

We noticed that the Mach 5 is softer than its predecessor, which also made it homier to the foot. But it's not so soft that it compromises stability.

This proves to be true in our durometer measurements. Showing 15.0 HA in the midsole, the shoe got 29% softer compared to the Mach 4, which also puts it among the softest running shoes on the market. The Hoka Mach 5 is 60% plusher than the average!

Hoka-Mach-5-foam-softness

This speed trainer from Hoka also uses a little trick to make its ride feel extra soft. Instead of having a hard rubber outsole, it features a firm rubberized EVA foam as a secondary cushioning layer. It is more durable than the primary ProFly+ but is not as hard as a typical rubber outsole.

Hoka Mach 5 outsole thickness

In terms of softness, that made us feel as if we were landing directly on exposed foam.

Test results
Mach 5 15.0 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 220 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

But if you're planning to expose this Hoka shoe to cold temperatures, be prepared that the ProFly+ foam gets considerably denser.

Running on chilly days, the shoe might take some breaking in. In our freezer test, the Mach 5 got 60% firmer compared to room temperature.

Hoka-Mach-5-foam-freezer-test

Test results
Mach 5 60%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 219 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Ride

The Mach 5 feels amazingly energetic! It even made us run at a faster pace than we initially intended!

There is a welcome bit of bounce but nothing extra.

The upgraded ProFly+ foam deserves a huge thumbs-up from us!

The shoe's midsole is slightly rockered. It features what the brand calls "meta-rocker geometry" which makes each step feel buttery smooth.

Hoka-Mach-5-rocker-deisgn

Stability

Lateral stability test

For a neutral shoe, the Mach 5 offers a wonderfully stable ride. There is a slight flare in its heel which we found especially handy when cornering.

Torsional rigidity

The Mach's high level of torsional flexibility helps us remember that this is a neutral shoe after all.

Twisting it in our manual test, we found that it comes on a very flexible side. On a 1-5 scale, where 1 is the most flexible, we rated it as 2.

So, if you are someone with flat feet or pronation concerns, it's better to skip the Mach 5 in favor of the Hoka Arahi 6.

Test results
Mach 5 2
Average 3.3
Compared to 271 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

At the back, a moderately stiff heel counter helps in keeping the heel in place. Giving it a squeeze, we rated its stiffness as 3 out of 5 in our subjective assessment (5 is the stiffest).

Even though it has a little give to it, the shoe's heel counter never lets our heels lift or slip out of the Hoka Mach 5.

Hoka-Mach-5-heel-hold

The shoe's form-fittin

Test results
Mach 5 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 255 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The primary source of stability in this neutral Hoka shoe is the width of its platform.

Hoka Mach 5 midsole forefoot width

Measuring the widest part of the forefoot, we got a fairly average result of 113 mm. However, the shoe's heel width left us truly impressed!

Test results
Mach 5 113.0 mm
Average 113.6 mm
Compared to 293 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel landing area of the shoe's sole is significantly wider than the average. According to our caliper, the heel is 96.7 mm wide (6.6 mm wider than the average!).

Hoka-Mach-5-sole-width

Test results
Mach 5 96.7 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 293 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

In the era of hyper-cushioned, stiff, and aggressively rockered running shoes, the Hoka Mach 5 felt like a nice break. It has a pretty flexible nature which contributes to the shoe's overall comfort. It bent in all the right places helping our foot feel free and maneuverable.

Measuring the forefoot flexibility in the lab, we found that it only takes 20.3N to bend the Hoka Mach 5. This makes the shoe 50% more flexible than the average road shoe!

Test results
Mach 5 20.3N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 275 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Grip / Traction

From our experience, the Mach 5 has great traction on dry pavement. But come rainy days and its exposed foam gets dangerously slippery.

Hoka-Mach-5-outsole-durability-traction

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The shoe's midfoot kept us securely locked in and the toebox felt roomy enough for our medium-width feet.

Hoka-Mach-5-toebox

Looking at the numbers, however, the forefoot part of the upper appears to be narrower than the average but still in the medium-width range. At its widest, the toebox is 95.4 mm wide (2.7 mm narrower than average).

Hoka-Mach-5-forefoot-width

At the back, a firm h

Test results
Mach 5 95.4 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 293 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The shoe's form-fitting upper is also complemented by the semi-gusseted tongue (attached to the sides). It held our feet securely all throughout the run.

Hoka-Mach-5-gusseted-tongue

Test results
Mach 5 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

Putting the shoe on, we were in awe of its supremely comfortable upper. The shoe has light padding through the heel and collar, which never caused rubbing or hot spots. The padded tongue also acted like a light pillow that prevented lace pressure.

We measured the shoe's tongue at 4.3 mm, which is typical for a speed-oriented running shoe. The average across all types of running shoes is 5.8 mm.

Hoka-Mach-5-tongue-thickness

Comfort aside, another u

Test results
Mach 5 4.3 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 290 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Misc

Reflective elements

Comfort aside, another upper perk of the Mach 5's upper is that it's reflective.