The Mach 5 from Hoka is a performance trainer that can do a bit of everything. If you want to train with speed, it can be your trusty tempo running shoe. And if you want an easy-day or long-distance trainer, 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.
- 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
- Worth the money
- Slips on wet pavement
- Gets easily dirty
Who should buy the Hoka Mach 5
The Hoka Mach 5 may be a good option for you if you're looking for a:
- Road running shoe that's lively and enjoyable for fast and easy runs
- Lightweight yet cushioned trainer that can go the distance
Who should NOT buy it
Although it's a well-loved shoe by runners, the Mach 5 also has its share of flaws. One of which is its lack of grip on wet pavement. If you want a shoe that clings regardless of conditions, the better alternative is the Hoka Mach Supersonic.
It also gets easily dirty. If you want a dirt-resistant Hoka shoe, get the Hoka Rincon 3 instead.
Hoka Mach 5 vs. 4
"This might be the shoe to convert any remaining Hoka haters," and "It's a considerable upgrade" are some of the remarks from experts regarding the overhaul done to the fifth version of the Hoka Mach.
Curious about what changed? Here they are:
- A new and improved midsole makes the shoe more energetic. So much so that a runner has this to say, "The Hoka Mach 5 is back and bouncier than ever."
- It has a new and more supportive upper, which according to another reviewer "improves the Mach 4 in every way possible." Another even dubs this iteration the "best version yet."
The ride is the real star
The Mach 5 from Hoka, as one road runner describes, "feels really energetic!" He then continues to say he ended up "taking off much faster than [he] intended to run."
The shoe has "a little bit of bounce but isn't anything overly poppy," explains another reviewer. An avid runner even condenses his thoughts about the shoe's ride with this statement: "HOLY SMOKES!"
The shoe's cushioning is snappy and bouncy. One of the testers claims that it's easy for him to give a "two thumbs up for the upgraded ProFly+ foam."
Glide with the rocker design of the Hoka Mach 5
"The ride throughout is rockered," remarks one long-time runner. The shoe's meta-rocker geometry allows each step to feel "buttery smooth" as one critic describes.
Breathable but not for hot days
Taking the Hoka Mach 5 through our smoke breathability test, we can claim that it's got an average level of ventilation in the upper. 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.
Made for comfort
The shoe's midsole is a lot of things. It's peppy, stable, energetic, and it's even comfortable. Here are some of the reviews left by runners:
- "Cushions your stride as you rack up the miles"
- "Has a dreamy feeling overall"
- "Absolutely zero 'break-in' time needed"
- "Extremely comfortable!
According to the reviewers, it is softer than its predecessor, which makes it homier to the foot. But it's not overly soft that it compromises stability.
This shows to be true in our durometer measurements. The shoe got 29% softer compared to the Mach 4, which also puts it among the softest running shoes on the market. It is 46% plusher than the average.
Disclaimer: The photo below shows 1 out of 5 durometer measurements that we took.
However, when exposed to cold temperatures, the ProFly+ foam gets considerably denser. So, if you plan on running in the shoe on chilly days, take into account that it might need some breaking in. In our freezer test, the Mach 5 got 60% firmer compared to room temperature.
Super-cushioned midsole shields the foot
The shoe has a highly stacked design, which means it offers loads of impact protection. "As my foot landed, the Profly+ took the brunt of the impact," happily shares one running expert.
The "stacks" are indeed high in this Hoka shoe. Measuring the heel thickness, insole included, the foam is 30.7 mm. It's not enough to make it a max-cushioned shoe but is close to the average of running shoes (32.6 mm).
Checking the heel-to-toe drop of the shoe, it appears to be close to the brand's official statement (which is 5 mm). We measured it to be 5.7 mm.
Feels stable and grounded
The reviewers are happy with the stable ride offered by the Mach 5. The shoe has a heel that flares out which makes it very stable when cornering.
The footprint of the shoe's sole is significantly wider than the average in both the heel and the forefoot. In the heel, it is 96.7 mm wide (8.1 mm wider than the average!) and in the forefoot, it is 113 mm (1.3 mm wider).
The fit is just right
Based on the general users' feedback, the midfoot is locked in and the toe box is roomy enough (neither tight nor wide). Overall, the Hoka Mach 5 has a solid lockdown.
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 while the average forefoot width is 98.2 mm.
At the back, a firm heel counter helps in keeping the heel in place. We gave it 3 out of 5 in our subjective stiffness assessment (5 is the stiffest).
No heel lift has been reported by the wearers of the Hoka Mach 5.
The form-fitting upper is also complemented by the gusseted tongue (attached to the sides). "You can securely strap yourself on the ride. Two times over," remarks one running shoe reviewer.
The Mach 5's upper takes comfort to new heights
"Supremely comfortable" is how one running athlete finds the upper. It has light padding through the heel and collar, which doesn't cause rubbing or hot spots. The padded tongue also acts like "thin pillows" that prevent lace pressure.
The shoe's tongue is 4.3 mm thick, which is typical for a speed-oriented running shoe. The average across all types of running shoes is 5.8 mm.
Comfort aside, another upper perk on the Mach 5's upper is that it's reflective.
Hoka Mach 5 is nice and flexible
The shoe's overall flexibility greatly contributes to the runner's comfort. It bends in all the right places to help the foot feel free and maneuverable.
Measuring the forefoot flexibility, Hoka Mach 5 turns out to be 34% more flexible than the average.
Disclaimer: We take the measurement 5 times to ensure accuracy.
The shoe is also relatively easy to twist sideways. Here is our subjective flexibility assessment (1 - most flexible, 5 - the stiffest):
- Longitudinal: 2/5
- Torsional: 2/5
It only took 30 miles before the upper became dirty. Add in the copper stitching; it looks even more rugged.
On a positive note, if you get the black colorway, like we did, you have nothing to worry about.
Not for wet days
Runners warn that on dry pavement, the shoe has good traction. But come rainy days, it becomes slippery.
Looks heavy but is quite the opposite on foot
The Hoka Mach 5 is very cushioned, and it looks very cumbersome. But it's actually very light. It's even lighter than the average speedster (232 grams/8.1 ounces vs. 248 grams/8.7 ounces in US men's 9).
And runners' experiences only make this even truer. Among them is a road runner with muscular dystrophy. He says the shoe's weight "helps tremendously in keeping [him] from tiring quickly."
With the shoe's snappy and non-draggy ride, a reviewer commends Hoka, stating that it's a "hard combo to knock."
A great investment
On average, speed trainers cost $132 a pair. Although the Hoka Mach 5 is more expensive at $140, road running athletes still consider it a great-value purchase. Why?
Because it's responsive for fast days, cushioned enough for long runs, and comfortable for easy days. "For all that at $140, it's really a steal," commends one runner.