Our verdict

During our tests, the Hoka Mach X masterfully married versatility with a feather-light design, thanks to a Pebax plate and a dual-layer springy midsole. Designed to excel in a range of activities—from speed training and extensive 20-milers to easy runs—it impressively maintains stability despite its notable stack height. Yet, diverging from Hoka's signature cloud-like plushness, we found this model presents a distinctly firmer feel underfoot.

Pros

  • Lightweight and stable
  • Works across all paces
  • Comfortable for easy runs despite having a plate
  • Finally a Hoka Mach with Pebax foam
  • Well-suited for heel strikers
  • Offers exceptional breathability
  • Flexible and comfy despite having a plate

Cons

  • Official drop measurement (5 mm) is inaccurate
  • The $180 price point might be steep for some

Audience verdict

87
Great!
  • Top 10% most popular running shoes

Who should buy

The Hoka Mach X is perfect for us runners who:

  • Want a versatile shoe that can tackle a wide range of running paces.
  • Are looking for a speed training shoe packed with incredible bounce and energy return.
  • Seek a lightweight option that bridges the gap between a daily trainer and a race shoe.

Hoka Mach X

Who should NOT buy

While Hoka aimed to cater to a wide audience with the Mach X design, it might not resonate with every runner.

We noticed the shoe's dual-layer midsole, made of a soft Pebax foam (white) with a firmer EVA foam (green), might feel uncomfortable to some. If you're looking for a daily trainer that offers a bouncy feel with a full layer of premium Pebax foam, we recommend the Endorphin Speed 3, as it provided us a more consistent and enjoyable ride.

Hoka Mach X table

If you favor speed trainers without a plate and appreciate ground feel, the Nike Streakfly might be your ideal choice. And if you want a non-plated Hoka for tempo training, check the Hoka Mach 5 instead.

Breathability

We're kicking off this review on a high note—the breathability in the Hoka Mach X is top-notch, showing marked improvement from the Mach 5. In our lab, we awarded this shoe a perfect score of 5/5 after using our smoke-pumping machine for testing.

Seeking additional confirmation, we turned to the light test. Here, we assess the shoe's breathability and check for any ventilation holes in the upper.

With the Mach X, Hoka's use of jacquard mesh showcases numerous ventilation holes. Light shines through effortlessly—a feature we rarely observe in most training shoes.

To get an in-depth look at these holes, let's take the microscope.

Hoka Mach X microscope

Through the lens, we gained a comprehensive understanding of Hoka's upper design. There's a standard layer filled with multiple ventilation holes, paired with a translucent structure layer—this might be invisible to the naked eye, but it stands out clearly under microscopic examination, right?

Test results
Mach X 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 189 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

After handling the jacquard mesh Hoka incorporated into the upper, we were skeptical about its long-term wear. Our suspicions were confirmed.

In our Dremel test, the upper was destroyed. Consequently, we had no choice but to give it a discouraging 1/5.

Hoka Mach X Toebox durability
Test results
Mach X 1
Average 2.2
Compared to 123 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The story is similar for the heel. Hoka aimed for comfort, which often suggests a trade-off in abrasion resistance.

Once more, we had to give the Mach X a disappointing 1/5. It's evident that a revisit to new materials and innovative designs is essential in this area.

Hoka Mach X Heel padding durability
Test results
Mach X 1
Average 3
Compared to 119 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Turning our attention to the outsole—which matters greatly to most road runners—we discovered rubber of average hardness (80.9 HC).

Hoka Mach X outsole

You can observe the Pebax plate through the cutout in the midsole.

The outsole doesn't stand out, but it does the job, and that's okay!

Hoka Mach X Outsole hardness
Test results
Mach X 80.9 HC
Average 80.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 241 running shoes
Number of shoes
55.5 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

The rubber does an exceptional job resisting wear. Following our recent Dremel test, we observed only a 0.4-mm indentation—an impressive outcome.

Hoka Mach X Outsole durability
Test results
Mach X 0.4 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 101 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

It's imperative that the rubber delivers top-notch performance—and it does. The Mach X, in its quest for lightness, features a thinner rubber (2.3 mm) compared to most shoes, alongside a considerable amount of exposed foam.

Hoka Mach X Outsole thickness
Test results
Mach X 2.3 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Weighing in at just 9.1 oz (259g), Hoka truly mastered the art of lightness. We could barely sense the shoe on our feet!

Despite its wide design and maximalist stance, it is so incredibly light.

Hoka Mach X Weight
Test results
Mach X 9.14 oz (259g)
Average 9.42 oz (267g)
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Building on that maximalist approach, the Hoka Mach X boasts a generous 38 mm of foam in the heel.

This makes it one of the market's most cushioned speed training shoes, making it an ideal choice for heel strikers.

Hoka Mach X Heel stack
Test results
Mach X 38.0 mm
Average 33.5 mm
Compared to 260 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot also boasts a generous amount of foam, measuring at 28.4 mm. This ensures that both midfoot and forefoot strikers can confidently tackle even the longest runs without concern.

Hoka Mach X forefoot

However, this shoe doesn't offer much in terms of ground feel. If you're looking for a speed training shoe with that capability, consider the Adidas Adizero Adios 8.

Hoka Mach X Forefoot stack
Test results
Mach X 28.4 mm
Average 24.7 mm
Compared to 260 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
34.8 mm

Drop

Hoka advertises the Mach X with a 5-mm heel-to-toe drop. Yet, our in-depth assessment showed a significantly higher 9.6-mm drop.

What's behind this huuuge variance? We've explored this topic in a detailed article for those eager to understand. And it's crucial to note that our testing methods meet World Athletics standards to the letter, so we hope brands like Hoka start aiming for the same level of accuracy!

Hoka Mach X Drop
Test results
Mach X 9.6 mm
Average 8.8 mm
Compared to 260 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The insole measures 4.5-mm in thickness. This is pretty standard and should fit the needs of any runner without adding extra weight.

Hoka Mach X Insole thickness
Test results
Mach X 4.5 mm
Average 4.4 mm
Compared to 256 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

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

Let's dive into the standout feature of this shoe—the dual-layer midsole. On the layer closest to our feet, this Hoka finally features a Pebax-based foam. This is a major step up from the EVA-based Hoka ProFly.

This foam is on par with top-tier options like ZoomX and Lightstrike Pro, offering world-class performance and an impressively bounce. We were also surprised by its exceptional softness, with our tests showing a 10.6 HA on the durometer.

Hoka Mach X Midsole softness
Test results
Mach X 10.6 HA
Average 23.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 242 running shoes
Number of shoes
6.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
52.5 HA

Secondary foam softness

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

For the layer nearer to the ground, Hoka chose a standard EVA foam.

Hoka Mach X foam

This decision achieves two objectives. First, it makes the shoe more stable since the foam is firmer than the Pebax foam, coming in at 20.0 HA. Second, it allows Hoka to reduce costs because EVA is less expensive than Pebax.

However, at $180 a pair, we have to ask: is this decision padding our comfort or just Hoka's bank account?

Hoka Mach X Secondary foam softness
Test results
Mach X 20.0 HA
Average 23.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.

Midsole softness in cold

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.
Hoka Mach X Midsole softness in cold

Difference in midsole softness in cold

During cold-weather runs, the Pebax foam stays notably soft. After we placed the shoe in the freezer for 20 minutes, our measurements showed a cushy 14.3 HA.

Still, this is a 34.2% increase that we'll likely feel when running. It's not the performance we'd expect from a top-tier foam.

Hoka Mach X Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Mach X 34.2%
Average 26.3%
Compared to 241 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
125%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Despite the Mach X's thick midsole, it offers surprising stability!

Hoka Mach X sidewalls

This stability can be partially credited to the EVA sidewalls Hoka incorporated, as depicted in the image above. But there's much more to it.

Torsional rigidity

The Mach X—indicated by the "X" in its name, which Hoka uses to signal a plated shoe—features a Pebax plate. Instead of opting for a carbon plate, which can add a lot of stiffness, Hoka smartly chose Pebax to ensure both stability and responsiveness. And it works.

As a result, the shoe earns a 4/5 in our torsional rigidity test. With a carbon plate, it probably have been a max score.

Test results
Mach X 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 238 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter is moderately firm, sitting right in the middle—it's neither too stiff nor too soft.

For a speed training shoe, we see this as a good choice. It provides stability without sacrificing comfort, being a 3/5 in our scale. And we also loved the fact that is really padded.

Test results
Mach X 3
Average 2.7
Compared to 222 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The forefoot provides ample width, ensuring a fun and safe running experience. We measured it at 113.7 mm, which is close to the average.

Hoka Mach X Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Mach X 113.7 mm
Average 113.4 mm
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel boasts an extra-wide design measuring 95.9 mm. While forefoot and midfoot strikers might find it wider than necessary, heel strikers will appreciate this feature.

In fact, this measurement—paired with the sidewalls and plate—transforms it into a top-notch tempo shoe for heel strikers.

Hoka Mach X Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Mach X 95.9 mm
Average 90.3 mm
Compared to 261 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

One concern we often have when testing a plated shoe is its potential stiffness for daily runs or speed training. Yet, bending this shoe to 90 degrees requires only 25.5N of force—a surprisingly low amount.

This is promising as it proves the shoe can also serve well for easy runs.

Test results
Mach X 25.5N
Average 29.0N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 244 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

In cold temperatures, there's no issue at all—the shoe stays less stiff than many others on the market.

In our comparison of performance between mild and cold temperatures, the Mach X consistently stood out. It became only 16.9% stiffer—an expected outcome for a plated shoe that incorporates a big chunk of Pebax foam.

Test results
Mach X 16.9%
Average 38.8%
Compared to 244 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Internal length

The Mach X fits true to size. Our measurements confirm this— at 268.2 mm for an US 9, it's just 1.8 mm off from Hoka's official sizing charts.

Hoka Mach X Internal length
Test results
Mach X 268.2 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

The toebox strikes a notable balance. It isn't as wide as the toeboxes on daily trainers like the Adidas Ultraboost Light, but it doesn't have an overly snug fit either. This comfortable middle ground lets you tackle both long runs and quick reps with ease.

Hoka Mach X Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Mach X 98.0 mm
Average 98.2 mm
Compared to 262 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

This trend continues in the big toe area. We measured a width of 76.6 mm, which seems suitable for most feet. However, it's worth noting that Hoka currently doesn't offer wide sizing for this shoe, so if you have wide feet, consider sizing up.

Hoka Mach X Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Mach X 76.6 mm
Average 77.8 mm
Compared to 134 running shoes
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
90.4 mm

Tongue: gusset type

Hoka often features semi-gusseted tongues in their speed training shoes. We genuinely love this design—it offers comfort without the pronounced feel of a fully-gusseted tongue.

Fortunately, the Mach X follows suit.

Hoka Mach X Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Mach X Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

With a thickness of 6.4 mm, the tongue boasts ample padding for a shoe of this type.

Runners who regularly deal with instep discomfort or lace bite will undoubtedly value this detail in a shoe that's not precisely a heavy daily trainer.

Hoka Mach X Tongue padding
Test results
Mach X 6.4 mm
Average 5.7 mm
Compared to 258 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Removable insole

The insole of the shoe comes out smoothly, and we had no problems putting in personalized orthotics. 

Hoka Mach X Removable insole
Test results
Mach X Yes