Our verdict

The Hoka Mach 6 marks a stellar leap from v5, ticking off all our boxes for improvement. We were delighted to find it not just light and grippy, but also versatile and comfortable—though it still caters more to runners with narrower feet. We really liked how it effortlessly handles various paces and distances, performing admirably across the board. For us, it's a well-rounded upgrade that meets the mark of an excellent daily trainer.

Pros

  • Really lightweight
  • Fantastic outsole
  • Exciting ride
  • Highly cushioned
  • Great for heel strikers
  • Handles faster paces
  • Superb lockdown
  • Excellent value at £150

Cons

  • Drop varies from stated
  • Somewhat narrow fit
  • Thin tongue

Audience verdict

85
Good!
  • Top 6% most popular running shoes

Who should buy

We think the Hoka Mach 6 is an excellent choice for:

  • Enthusiasts of the Mach looking for the best version yet, with an upgraded upper, enhanced grip, and more cushioning than ever before.
  • Runners seeking a lightweight daily trainer designed for narrow feet.
  • Those who want a versatile daily workhorse that excels at long runs, easy days, and even speed training or fartlek sessions.

Hoka Mach 6

Who should NOT buy

We think the Hoka Mach 6, while bouncier than ever, still falls short compared to shoes with premium, PEBA-based midsoles. If you're after maximum energy return for training, we believe there are better choices—like the ASICS Superblast, which offers superb energy return without a plate, or the Hoka Mach X, a beefed-up, plated version of the Mach 6.

Additionally, we do not recommend the Mach 6 for runners with wide feet, as it tends to be narrow. Instead, the New Balance Rebel v4 provides a more accommodating upper at a similar price, making it a more suitable option for those seeking a lightweight build.

Hoka Mach 6 parts

Breathability

We believe that Hoka's decision to choose knit over a typical upper is a bold move, especially since achieving optimal breathability can be challenging. Nevertheless, the Mach 6 excels in ventilation—so much so that we awarded it a perfect score of 5/5 in our smoke test.

At first glance, may not be apparent how the Mach 6 is doing it. However, a simple experiment—shining a light over the shoe sliced in half—uncovers the truth.

The toebox features large ventilation holes, with progressively smaller ones extending through the midfoot. Additionally, we discovered that the tongue is exceptionally well-ventilated.

Hoka Mach 6 microscope

This intriguing upper captured our interest, prompting us to examine it under a microscope.

Hoka Mach 6 micro 2

Indeed, Hoka has adopted a hybrid approach, overlaying a thin mesh atop the Creel Jacquard Knit, and the ventilation holes are clearly visible underneath the first layer.

We then manually examined the upper, feeling for any rough areas and evaluating the padding. Our assessment is that the padding is quite adequate for a lightweight road daily trainer, earning our seal of approval.

Test results
Mach 6 5
Average 3.8
Compared to 221 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

We've already established that the upper boasts excellent ventilation, but high breathability often comes with a trade-off in durability. Is this the case here?

It appears so, although it's not a major concern for us. Despite scoring only 2/5 in our initial Dremel test, we are convinced that most runners will not encounter any problems with the Mach 6, except perhaps those adventurous enough to tackle some trails—which we don't recommend at all.

Hoka Mach 6 Toebox durability
Test results
Mach 6 2
Average 2.3
Compared to 155 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Following our second consecutive Dremel test, the area was completely destroyed (1/5)—a significant concern regarding durability for those prone to wearing holes in this region.

However, if you do not typically have this issue in other running shoes, it's unlikely you'll experience severe wear like this one, but we think that some minor damage could still occur once the shoe accumulates substantial mileage.

Hoka Mach 6 Heel padding durability
Test results
Mach 6 1
Average 3.2
Compared to 151 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Shifting our focus to the outsole, we discovered that Hoka played it safe by opting for their usual Durabrasion rubber.

Hoka Mach 6 outsole

While the design includes some cutouts to minimize weight, we believe that the rubber coverage is quite satisfactory. We also like the central groove, which enhances water evacuation.

During our durometer test, the tool registered a 75.1-HC reading, revealing a rubber slightly softer than average. This resulted in exceptional grip during our runs, comparable to the top-performing shoes on the market, including those at much higher price points.

Hoka Mach 6 Outsole hardness
Test results
Mach 6 75.1 HC
Average 80.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 272 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

But wait for it—because the rubber delivered a fantastic, better-than-expected performance in our latest Dremel test.

After the tool worked hard to wear down the rubber, we found a minimal 0.6mm dent. This is an excellent result that promises a long shelf life for the shoe.

Hoka Mach 6 Outsole durability
Test results
Mach 6 0.6 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 133 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Certainly, Hoka had already tested the outsole to the limit well before our lab review, discovering that 2.5mm of rubber was sufficient—less than what is found on most daily trainers.

What are the advantages of this approach? It yields greater responsiveness, a more dynamic ride, and a lighter weight. We're definitely on board!

Hoka Mach 6 Outsole thickness
Test results
Mach 6 2.5 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

During all of our test runs, we found the Mach 6 impressively light for its stack height, and we confirmed this on our scale back in the lab.

Weighing in at just 8.2 oz or 232g, it's an outstanding choice for those seeking a featherweight yet cushioned workhorse.

Hoka Mach 6 Weight
Test results
Mach 6 8.18 oz (232g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Hoka decided against including reflective elements in the Mach 6, which is disappointing. However, we think that the absence of hi-vis stuff can be overlooked this time, considering the reasonable price point.

Heel stack

The heel of the Mach 6 is exceptionally cushioned—we measured it at 36.0mm!

Based on this measurement, we can confidently state that the Mach 6 is not just suitable for any heel striker but also stands out from the club of average-stacked shoes.

Hoka Mach 6 heel

There's an obvious heel bevel to improve heel-to-toe transitions.

With over 35mm in the heel, the shoe offers a different Mach feel and clearly aligns with trends from other brands that favor increasingly higher stacks.

Hoka Mach 6 Heel stack
Test results
Mach 6 36.0 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, we measured 26.4 mm—still cushioned, though not as surprising as before.

However, this might be welcomed by those who prefer a more natural, grounded running experience.

Hoka Mach 6 Forefoot stack
Test results
Mach 6 26.4 mm
Average 24.9 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

These two previous measurements result in a 9.6-mm heel-to-toe drop, a significant departure from the 5-mm drop claimed by Hoka.

Why does this discrepancy occur? We can assure you that we measure shoes according to the official World Athletics standards, but unfortunately, it appears some brands may use different measurement points.

However, the Mach 6 does not feel drastically different from a 5-mm drop, at least from our perspective. The geometry of the shoe gives it the feel more akin to an 8-mm drop rather than a 5 or 10 mm. Essentially, it behaves much like most daily trainers.

Hoka Mach 6 Drop
Test results
Mach 6 9.6 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

The insole is really standard 4.5 mm thick, and there's nothing particularly noteworthy about it, which is actually a good thing!

Hoka Mach 6 Insole thickness
Test results
Mach 6 4.5 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 287 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.

Moving to the midsole, we encountered a mix of impressions. While the midsole wasn’t plush, it was well-balanced in terms of softness (we liked it!), registering at 20.4 HA.

It proved to be enjoyable and fun, definitely surpassing the performance of an average budget-friendly shoe. However, it still falls a bit short in terms of energy return.

This is due to Hoka's choice to stick with EVA technology in the Mach 6. Although this isn’t just your cheap EVA but a supercritical formulation that feels quite good and better than ever in the series—it’s still EVA. And regardless of enhancements, EVA can only achieve so much performance.

Hoka Mach 6 Midsole softness
Test results
Mach 6 20.4 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 219 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

A notable drawback of EVA-based foams is their diminished performance in colder climates. Indeed, in our tests, the Mach 6 became 42.3% firmer after a brief 20-minute stint in our freezer.

Hoka Mach 6 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Mach 6 42.3%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 218 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Rocker

In our testing, we noted that Hoka's Early-Stage Meta Rocker slightly moved us away from a natural ride, yet it undeniably aids with forward momentum.

Regardless, the rocker feature isn't overly pronounced, so the effect isn’t dramatically felt. It's just the amount needed because of the 36-mm stack height.

Hoka Mach 6 Rocker

Stability

Lateral stability test

Regarding stability, we initially harbored some reservations, given the Mach 6's narrow build and increased stack height. Yet, we're pleased to report that Hoka has dealt a winning hand in this area.

It's a neutral daily trainer, but its stability impressively exceeds that of the average running shoe.

Torsional rigidity

The stable sensation we experienced with the Mach 6 is largely due to an unexpected finding. In our torsional rigidity test—where we twist and bend the shoe—we awarded it a solid 4/5. That's quite remarkable for a daily trainer without a plate.

Enthusiasts of an old-school, natural ride might be disappointed, as the rigidity is noticeable underfoot with each step.

Test results
Mach 6 4
Average 3.2
Compared to 270 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Heel counter stiffness? Definitely—another 4/5, which also took us by surprise. Typically, daily running shoes score around 2/5 or 3/5 in our tests, so this clearly leans towards enhanced stability, though it may sacrifice a bit of comfort.

If you're in need of rearfoot stability, we see this as a positive update—we gave the Mach 5 a 3/5. However, we think that for many runners, it might feel a tad too stiff.

Test results
Mach 6 4
Average 2.8
Compared to 254 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

A standout trait of the Mach series is its agility, and thankfully, Hoka has steered clear of bulking up the shoe.

Hoka Mach 6 agile

It remains a sleek 113.9mm wide, providing a nimble and far from clunky experience. We appreciate this choice—maintaining a streamlined design without following the trend of overly wide shoes seen in some rivals. This design ensures the Mach retains its quick-footed essence.

Hoka Mach 6 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Mach 6 113.9 mm
Average 113.6 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel measured 93.7 mm under our calipers, landing squarely in the realm of typical daily trainers. This average dimension is a key factor in why we don't recommend this shoe for those with significant stability needs.

Hoka Mach 6 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Mach 6 93.7 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Although the shoe is quite rigid, the absence of a plate and the presence of outsole grooves maintain its flexibility lengthwise, at 18.7N in our signature 90-degree bend test. This flexibility is crucial for it to serve as a reliable and versatile workhorse capable of handling many miles comfortably.

Test results
Mach 6 18.7N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

We put the shoe for another 20 minutes in the freezer and it was only 22.8% stiffer when repeating our 90-degree test, which is indeed a surprisingly good outcome for an EVA-based foam.

Test results
Mach 6 22.8%
Average 36.3%
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The toebox, as with most Hoka models, remains a topic of discussion due to the brand's traditionally narrow fit, which often sparks controversy. In the Mach 6, we noted a slightly more accommodating width in the widest part of the toebox, now measuring 98.4 mm.

However, a drawback is the limited vertical space. Those who often find issue with constrictive uppers might consider a different option like the Nike Pegasus 40.

Hoka Mach 6 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Mach 6 98.4 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The toebox narrows significantly around the big toe area, and this constriction is quite noticeable as it combines with a narrow midfoot to create a snug upper.

Hoka Mach 6 upper

On the flip side, those who prefer a glove-like, tight fit and don't have wide feet will find this design appealing.

Hoka Mach 6 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Mach 6 75.9 mm
Average 78.0 mm
Compared to 166 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

We discovered that the tongue is semi-gusseted, featuring a superb, breathable elastic strap on both sides. This design provides excellent lockdown at every pace, while remaining completely non-oppressive.

Hoka Mach 6 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Mach 6 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue is exceptionally thin, featuring just 1.5mm of padding.

Hoka Mach 6 lacing

The lacing system functions effectively, and we encountered no issues whatsoever.

For those seeking additional comfort in the instep while still enjoying a similar Hokaesque ride, we recommend exploring the plush tongue of the Clifton 9.

Hoka Mach 6 Tongue padding
Test results
Mach 6 1.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 289 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

There's no finger-loop heel tab as seen in other daily trainers, but Hoka has incorporated their signature swallowtail-like heel collar. We've observed that it's included to alleviate pressure from the Achilles tendon.

Test results
Mach 6 Extended heel collar

Removable insole

The insole is removable and can be replaced since it isn't glued to the last. However, it includes ventilation channels, so you might want to keep it during summer for its excellent ventilation.

Hoka Mach 6 Removable insole
Test results
Mach 6 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Hoka decided against including reflective elements in the Mach 6, which is disappointing. However, we think that the absence of hi-vis stuff can be overlooked this time, considering the reasonable price point.

Hoka Mach 6 Reflective elements
Test results
Mach 6 No