Hoka Mach 6: Good Performance on Wet and Muddy Road

Hoka Mach 6 - toebox

I should forewarn you that this review of the Hoka Mach 6 will be filled with praises. The Hoka Mach 6 has become my favorite footwear, superseding the Asics Novablast 3, and in my view, it earns a flawless score. If you're looking for criticism of the Mach 6, you might need to find another source.

My feelings towards the Hoka Mach 5 were somewhat indifferent, in contrast with my fellow reviewer Tyler, who found it quite enjoyable. I've engaged with countless runners at warm-up runs and other events who are staunch supporters of the Mach 5. It was a daring move by Hoka to make such a drastic update to a cherished series, with the exception of the Hoka Mach Supersonic— a model I was fond of, although many were displeased by it.

However, high rewards often accompany high risk. Having run in the Hoka Mach 6, I believe that runners are benefitting from a nearly perfect shoe. Moreover, I foresee Hoka reaping benefits in considerable revenue from runners for its efforts. Allow me to elucidate why…

What Has Been Changed?

Hoka Mach 6 - upper

It might be more apt to ask what remained the same about the Hoka Mach 6. Honestly, this shoe vastly differs from its previous versions.

Commencing from the shoe's foundation, the foam outsole has been replaced with extensive rubber coverage. I've clocked over 50 miles in these shoes, and while there are signs of wear in the middle and lateral part of my forefoot, it's nothing beyond what's expected. This is undoubtedly the most resilient outsole in the Hoka Mach series' history.

The Durabrasion rubber also provided good traction. Practice runs at marathon and half marathon pace on rain-drenched boardwalks and muddy pavements were managed with ease. This is a shoe designed for speed and having reliable traction that aids in acceleration is undoubtedly beneficial.

Ascending to the midsole, Hoka set aside the dual foam layers, choosing to construct the entire midsole from supercritical EVA. This significant alteration was combined with a slight rocker modification that feels more like Hoka Mach X than Mach 5. The improved midsole and rocker's combination prove to be successful. It weighs the same as the Mach 5, and the 37mm heel/32mm forefoot stack provides ample impact protection.

But what's significant is this midsole's springiness, matching equally well with both lengthy slow miles and the brisk paces scattered across marathon race schedules. It has become my go-to selection for marathon pace days. In fact, I've been bypassing carbon plated shoes in favor of the Hoka Mach 6 more frequently. Considering this review is penned in March, one could say it's quite the March Madness level surprise.

The proficiency of this midsole in speed work is a key asset. It's uncommon to find such versatility at a $165 price tag, a shoe that can handle all a runner's needs. The midsole switch by Hoka was indeed a gamble, but it proved worthwhile, allowing this shoe to outperform its counterparts in its weight category.

Lastly, regarding the upper, the creel Jacquard mesh resurfaces but with a more finely-tuned fully gusseted tongue. It offers a fit similar to the Mach 5, but with reduced volume in the forefoot, ensuring the upper doesn't crumple when you secure the laces tightly. Essentially, the upper is the final perfect touch to this remarkable shoe.

Is it Good for Runners with wide feet?

Hoka Mach 6 - midsole

The Hoka Mach 6, I would not characterize it as being particularly suitable for wide feet. Just like its predecessor, the Mach 5 and other Hoka running shoes, it's slightly more constricted in the midfoot area. Although the toe box does offer ample space and the upper materials are relatively comfortable, those with wide feet may find it rather confined. Luckily, there is a wider version of the shoe available for those who need it.

Does it deserve $165?

Indeed, the Hoka Mach 6 stands up to its $165 price tag. Other shoes matching the Mach 6's multifunctionality often come plated and carry a minimum price tag of $170. The Hoka Mach 6 confidently rivals the esteemed Saucony Endorphin Speed 4, saving you a neat $5 in the process. This is not only a commendable feat but also a welcome relief for budget-conscious shoppers.

Conclusion and Summary

Hoka Mach 6 - sole units

The Hoka Mach 6 is now making its way to the forefront as a strong candidate for the 2024 Running Shoe of the Year. Its versatile nature allows for speed workouts, everyday mileage, and long running journeys, all while guaranteeing excellent durability, a phenomenally responsive midsole, and superior impact protection. If you've been considering the Hoka Mach range, this is your moment to try it. For those who have been ardent fans of the Mach series, rest assured that the updates only enhance the features that made you fall in love with the series in the first place.

  • Product: Hoka Mach 6
  • Price: $165
  • Styles & Colors:
    • Poppy / Squash
    • White / Nimbus Cloud
    • Dusk / Shadow
    • Black / White
  • Usage:
    • Runnings on wet and muddy road
    • Long distance running
    • Speed training
    • Everyday mileage
  • Details:
    • Creel jacquard upper
    • Streamlined collar foam package
    • Dual internal gusset
    • Super critical foam midsole
    • Strategic rubber outsole coverage
    • Anatomical tongue
Hoka Mach 6 - heel