Hoka One One shoes don’t look like they are built for speed. The sizeable chunk of cushioning on all models suggest they are designed with leisurely runs rather than pacy interval sessions in mind – but appearances can be deceptive. The Mach follows on from Hoka’s Clayton line in offering a light, responsive shoe that can handle track sprints as easily as long plods.
The ProFly cushioning in the Mach’s midsole is designed to be firm in the forefoot and softer under the heel, though the two sections overlap to ensure a smooth transition from heel to toe. The aim of this dual-density cushioning is to give runners a soft landing on the heel followed by a firm toe-off from the forefoot. The best of both both worlds – support and speed.
I certainly noticed the benefit in the heel-to-toe transition and the shoe felt snappy underfoot. It almost felt like my foot was gliding over the ground, barely touching it and not losing any speed when it did – in fact it felt like I picked up speed every time I touched the ground. Naturally, that wasn’t really the case and I was tramping along in the same fashion as always, but it felt fantastic, and even on the jog home after a tough track session the Mach was light on the foot and offered much-needed cushioning for my tired legs.
The Mach is at its best in faster steady runs and interval sessions, but there is enough cushioning for slow runs too – it is still a Hoka shoe with a huge chunk of foam on the bottom, after all. However, it doesn’t have the marshmallow soft feel of other Hoka shoes like the Clifton 4 – the Mach is stiffer and better for faster stuff.
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Hoka uppers have tended towards bright colours and very busy designs in the past, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I far prefer the more understated look of the Mach. The upper is breathable and treads the line between stretchy and secure nicely – it doesn’t pinch or rub, nor does your foot slip when you round a tight corner.
From above, the Mach could easily be mistaken for one of Adidas’s or Nike’s stylish running shoes, although from the side the visible chunk of cushioning – in the case of the pair I had, bright yellow cushioning – does diminish the aesthetic effect. (That said, I rather liked the yellow.)
One small note on the Mach is that it picks up static like nobody’s business. If you wear them on carpets, expect your next contact with any metal to be shocking.
The Mach is suitable for pretty much any type of daily training on road or track, has enough grip for light trail running and is an excellent road racing option too, especially at distances of a half marathon and above. It’s a cracking all-rounder, and my favourite Hoka shoe so far. If you’ve yet to dabble with Hoka’s distinctive brand of running shoe, the Mach is a great place to start.
UK RRP £120, buy on hokaoneone.eu