Hoka Mach 4 Review Analysis (2021)
Last update: January 2022
The Hoka Mach 4 is the best in the series so far with a lightweight, soft and lively configuration—ideal for long daily runs.
Weighing 8 oz/227 g with a stack height of 29 mm, the 4 is fairly lightweight given its superb midsole cushioning. While the Mach 3 earned itself a reputation for its firm and structured configuration, the Mach 4 is noticeably plushier. Engineered with PROFLY technology, you’ll enjoy a smooth, padded ride that makes it easy to fall into an effortless rhythm. The impressive midsole is combined with a breathable mesh upper that fits true-to-size and an EVA rubber outsole that grips the road. The result? A durable shoe that’s made for hundreds of miles of use without showing any signs of wear. Runners remarked that the shoe never gave way even on longer rides—after 40 miles/65 km, the wear was barely visible.
Among much positive feedback, there were just a few cons noted among those who tried the Mach 4. One of these included needlessly long laces; besides, this model sacrifices some responsiveness (compared with trainers from other brands). Also, the upper, while airy, felt warm for some testers. As a final note—though more of an observation than a drawback—the Mach 4 is not a sprinting shoe. Although tempo training is definitely up its alley, fast runs in this model seem to require more effort. However, for mid to long, steady rides, most users had only good things to say about this new model.
In short, the Hoka Mach 4 is an excellent surprise that marks a milestone in the Mach series. Testers have been unanimously seduced by its lightweight, long-lasting and lively setup. If you’re looking for a comfortable trainer meant for serious mileage that can handle a variety of paces, then look no further; you’ve got yourself a shoe!
- Comfortable and lively cushioning
- Lightweight trainer
- Great upper fit
- Sturdy build
- Soft yet stable
- Long laces are a bit impractical
- Upper is a bit warm
- It feels heavier than it is and somewhat awkward at fast speed
- The outsole of the Hoka One One Mach 4 features rubberized EVA foam that combines the softness of EVA foam to the solidity of rubber for a more comfortable and snappier rebound. This setup gives a great grip on urban surfaces.
- Flex grooves helps you to transition more quickly from heel to toes by allowing the platform to better follow the movements of the foot.
- The PROFLY midsole is a dual density CMEVA-based cushioning technology that features soft foam under the heel and firmer foam under the toes. It aims to enhance the ride and impact dispersion for fluid transitions from heel to toe.
- Also, the Early Stage Meta-Rocker is a unique design of Hoka. It determines the placement of the foam under the athlete’s foot. With the ‘Early Stage’ configuration, the transition zone is under the metatarsals for a more explosive toe-off.
- Swallow Tail: a decoupled heel geometry with stable, cushioned, wide base for comfortable landings.
- The upper of the Hoka One One Mach 4 features an engineered mesh with heat pressed TPU embroidered yarns that offers a comfortable and secure foot lockdown while allowing airflow, especially when it’s hot.
- The anatomical design for the Achilles improves foot support to prevent slippage while being cautious not to press on the Achilles tendon.
- The slightly padded gusseted tongue craddles the top of the foot and its configuration prevents it from sliding to one side while running.
|Heel stack height||29 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||24 mm|
|Weight (men)||227 g/8 oz|
|Weight (women)||191 g/6.7 oz|
|Softness (1-5)||2 – Firm|
|Bounce (1-5)||3 – Moderate|
|Outsole||Rubberized EVA foam, flex grooves|
|Midsole||PROFLY, Early Stage Meta-Rocker, Swallow Tail|
|Upper||Engineered mesh with heat pressed TPU embroidered yarns, anatomical design for the Achilles, slightly padded gusseted tongue|
|Distance||Mid, long, 10k, half marathon, marathon|
Comparisons – Hoka Mach 4 vs.:
Hoka Mach 3
The Mach 4 marks a significant change in the series that was considered an improvement by runners. First, the M4 is lighter without compromising comfort. If anything, the ride is actually softer. Some athletes did miss the more structured and firmer cushioning of the M3, but the consensus seems to be that the Mach 4 is superior.
Hoka Rincon 2
With similar weight and cushioning, it’s natural to wonder why Hoka insists on keeping these two models distinct in their range. The answer lies in the build and the ride: the Mach 4 is more durable, but the Rincon offers more responsive sensations and feels lighter. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference and use. If you are looking for a sturdy trainer for long runs at moderate speed, then the Mach 4 seems to be the better choice. However, if you plan to focus on tempo work, then the Rincon 2 might be a better option.
Hoka Clifton 7
Both shoes feature the same stack height but the Mach 4 is lighter. The ride is also more responsive, which makes daily runs more fun. Most users preferred the Mach 4 over the Clifton 7.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, athletes who ran with this model confirmed that it sizes regularly. Therefore, you can order your usual size for running shoes. However, if this your very first pair of Hoka One One shoes, it’s better to test them in a shop to find the best size for you.
Yes, this model should be adapted to everyone. Indeed, it’s a neutral running shoe. As a result, it’s designed to suit all athletes regardless of their type of pronation. It doesn’t include stability features to guide the stride and prevent overpronation. Anyhow, it should be reminded that stability shoes are no more effective than neutral shoes when it comes to preventing injury. Accordingly, we recommend that you choose your shoes according to their comfort, the most important criterion. To summarize, you can use the Hoka One One Mach 4 even if you have overpronation, provided they are comfortable.
Yes, these shoes should normally be adapted even if you’re a heavyweight runner. Indeed, to our knowledge, so far, just one empirical research study has looked at the link between injury risk, the weight of the runner, and sole thickness. The results showed that minimalist shoes could worsen the risk of injury for runners who weigh more than 157 lbs (71 kg). Otherwise, they were no problems with other types of shoes. The Hoka One One Mach 4 has a stack height of 29 mm under the heel, so it’s not a minimalist shoe, and it should be safe for all runners.
First of all, let’s note that the most important criterion to choose what shoes to wear during your marathon competition should be your personal preference. In theory, any shoe could do. In this particular case, the Mach 4 offers a comfortable cushioning well-suited for long-distance running. So there should be no issue if you want to take it for your next marathon race (whenever that is—ahem ahem, looking at you corona). However, do note that it’s not a racer, so if you plan to go really fast then, it may not be the best choice out there.
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.