HOKA Mach 6 Review: The Best Mach Yet?

HOKA have moved more and more into the world of speed over the past few years. The Mach 6 is the latest in line of their versatile, plateless runners. How does it compare?

HOKA Mach 6: Back to Mach

Alex: The HOKA Mach 6 is the newest addition to HOKA’s Mach line. A series of shoes that really became popular with the much hyped release of the Mach 4 a few years ago. With the Mach 4, HOKA had a shoe that could do everything from easy days to speed sessions. On a personal note, this is a shoe that I recommended to close relatives for their first marathon. The Mach 5 was a continuation of the Mach 4’s legacy, a different upper but still that dual-density midsole. Fast forward to 2023, HOKA launched the Mach X. A higher end shoe with some PEBA in the forefoot and a Pebax plate. People were wondering if the launch of the Mach X was putting an end to the “traditional” Mach series. The answer is no and today we’re reviewing the Mach 6.

HOKA Mach 6-10
HOKA Mach 6-6

Specs: 

Weight: 189g (Women’s US8), 232g (Men’s US10), 259g (Alex’s size US11)

Stack height: 37mm (Men’s), 35mm (Women’s)

Drop: 5mm

Price: €140/$140

HOKA Mach 6-5
HOKA Mach 6-4

HOKA Mach 6 Upper: The Perfect Tongue

Alex: The upper of the HOKA Mach 6 remains a jacquard mesh while losing the Mach 5’s “engineered” title. Does that mean it’s worse? Not at all. To the contrary, it is actually a better upper in my opinion. The material itself is more pleasant and offers a better foot wrap. The forefoot is structured thanks to an internal reinforcement around the toe area. The tongue is literally close to perfection (and if you have been following the YouTube channel for long enough, you know that the HOKA Mach 4 tongue has been my reference as the “best-in-class” tongue) – so the heritage is real. A sturdy heel counter together with a rigid heel cup complete the upper. 

 

In terms of fit, the HOKA Mach 6 is a true-to-size shoe that will work for plenty of foot shapes. The tongue gusset only runs half way through the midfoot. However, its stretchy material and design offer a good midfoot lockdown. The midfoot area is where the fit is the narrowest. Keep this in mind if you have wide feet. That being said, like the Mach 5 (but unlike the Mach X) there is a wide option available. The toe box is reasonably wide and high. My only remark would be regarding the heel cup, which is made of a thinner fabric and with thinner socks, I have experienced a bit of heel slippage.

Cool, Easy Lockdown

Josh: HOKA have not disappointed with the updated upper on the Mach 6. From the soft inner sock lining to the gusseted tongue the build quality of the materials of the shoe is amazing. The rather deep heel cup leaves nothing to worry about in the way of heel slippage. Moreover, the protruding rigid heel tab means that the shoes are easy to slide on and off. Adding to the lockdown of the shoe, the elastic laces ensure that there is some flexibility in the midfoot. As a result, I have never experienced any pressure points while wearing them.

 

As for the mesh, I have found it to be extremely breathable and great at keeping my feet cool. However, because of the multiple different materials in the upper, I have found the it to hold water. This has resulted in the shoes not only being quite miserable to run in when its raining or they’ve got wet but they also seem to hold sweat and get quite damp. This issue has meant that I’ve gone to use them the day after a damp run in the rain and find that they are still damp. Not a terrible aspect for a shoe, but also not optimal! 

 

With regards to the fit, unlike Alex I found the midfoot to perfectly fit my foot and was very comfortable. However, I did find the toe box to be a bit too narrow for my feet causing my toes to be squashed together more than I would prefer. I don’t have an issue with this in other shoes but seem to have this with almost every HOKA shoe I have tried. For this reason, I would recommend anyone who knows their feet are on the wider side to go with the wide version.

HOKA Mach 6-7

Midsole: Smooth, Easy Going and Adorable

Alex: I love the HOKA Mach 6 ride. Do I need to say more? Well, obviously I will give you more details. But, I had to start with this statement because this is really what comes to my mind about this shoe. The Mach 6 ditches the ProFly+ midsole of the Mach 5 (rubberised EVA bottom layer and supercritical EVA top layer). Instead, it introduces a single layer supercritical EVA midsole. Supercritical EVA can still do some magic in the era of PEBA and more generally TPE foam ruling the roads.

 

The HOKA Mach 6 retains the stack height and drop of the HOKA Mach 5 but goes up in measured weight. 259g for the HOKA Mach 6 vs 249g for the HOKA Mach 5 for my US11.

 

So how is the ride? It’s smooth, natural, easy-going and most importantly very pleasant. The Mach 6 is a non-plated shoe that doesn’t have a ton of flexibility in the forefoot. This is due to a thicker layer of outsole encapsulating the midsole and creating some resistance against the natural forefoot flex that the shoe could have had. This is a very good thing as it allows the shoe to be more versatile while still requiring some footwork.

 

That versatility translates directly into what the shoe is capable of: I’ve done pretty much everything with my pair. I’m still surprised about how well every pace is handled. At easier paces the shoe feels cushioned, softer than the Mach 4 and Mach 5, and very comfortable. As soon as I picked up the pace, the shoe became more nimble and responsive, as if the foam knew it had to deliver more. The faster you go, the springier the forefoot gets.

 

Is there any limit to what the HOKA Mach 6 can do? In my experience, it still feels good around interval pace (3’00/km reps for instance) even on the track. Obviously some shoes will be more appropriate for faster work but the Mach 6 does everything very well. For this reason, it will stay in my rotation.

Supportive, Responsive and Amazing

Josh: The full-length supercritical EVA midsole feels amazing on the HOKA Mach 6. The foam offers an exceptionally dampened ride along with a smooth and continuous transition throughout the shoe. As a mid-to-forefoot striker this gradual, continuous rocker through the shoe made them feel extremely smooth and responsive no matter what pace I was running at. While the foam is plush, it is not overly soft, the supercritical EVA is a great balance between being a firm standard EVA foam and a super soft PEBA based midsole. This plushness means that the shoe feels both supportive and responsive without the need of stiffening elements; allowing it to still feel comfortable; lightweight and energy efficient at faster interval paces as mentioned by Alex.

 

The flare of the midsole at the forefoot along with the wide heel means that the HOKA Mach 6 is extremely stable at all speeds and on most surfaces despite no matter the camber or surface. Additionally, the pairing of the soft, dampened and lightweight foam with the balanced feeling underfoot and the smooth transitions means that I will continue to use the HOKA Mach 6 in my shoe rotation as an easy and progressive run shoe.

HOKA Mach 6-2
HOKA Mach 6-11

HOKA Mach 6 Outsole: Good for the Long Run

Alex: The outsole coverage is good and I’ve had no bad surprises when it comes to the grip and traction of the HOKA Mach 6. The interesting part of the outsole is actually the central groove that acts as a guiding rail to centre and align the footstrike. The HOKA Mach 6 has no stability features as such but that outsole groove combined with the midsole flare in the forefoot help to make it a rather stable neutral shoe. 

 

Josh: Similarly to Alex, I have had no issues with the HOKA Mach 6’s outsole. Having used them for over 100km now, there are minimal signs of wear on the outsole so I have little concerns for the durability of the outsole. You can easily get 500km out of the Mach 6 before considering retiring them from your shoe rotation. With regards to traction, there haven’t been any concerns and I have been able to confidently use them on all surfaces, even on wet grass.

HOKA Mach 6-1

HOKA Mach 6 Conclusion: A Must Buy!

Alex: The HOKA Mach 6 is a must-have shoe. I am personally always looking for shoes that can do many different things because they really make packing easier when travelling for a few days. I like the Mach 6 because it’s a more traditional shoe with a modern twist. The supercritical EVA midsole reminds me that EVA is not dead and that it can actually be really enjoyable. In addition to being a great all-rounder, the HOKA Mach 6 has a reasonable price tag, especially in USD. The European price tag is less friendly but remains reasonable for what this shoe delivers. 

 

Josh: Similarly to Alex, I really enjoyed running in the HOKA Mach 6 over the last few weeks and I’ve found it to be a great do-it-all trainer. A great shoe which comfortably plods through easy miles but also doesn’t miss a beat and responds well when shifting up a gear and moving at a more aggressive pace. The HOKA Mach 6 is a great shoe for anyone looking for a fun, lightweight trainer which is able to handle anything you might throw at it. My only gripe being the slightly narrow toe box which I have found to be quite common in Hoka’s shoes. For anyone looking for a similar do-it-all trainer I would recommend looking at the New Balance Rebel V4 or the Asics Noosa Tri 15.

Josh corporate picture

Josh

20 years old

178cm (5′ 10″) – 65kg (143lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner

@joshua_buton

Alex Filitti Meta Circle

Alex

29 years old

183cm (6′) – 68kg (148lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner

Moderate pronator

@alexfilitti

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