Hoka Mach X Review (2023): Hit or Miss?
Published on: 09/05/2023The Hoka Mach X is a fast daily trainer with a Pebax plate for speed workouts.
Responsive shoes for your daily speed sessions.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
HOKA’s new training shoe is a perfect fusion of the Mach 5 and Rocket X 2. It’s designed for runners who want to train at a good pace for split or uptempo runs.
The cushioning is highly responsive and bouncy, combining two foams (PEBA and ProFly X). A Pebax propulsion plate completes the package, providing excellent energy return.
The upper is made of Jacquard mesh, which is breathable, resistant, and comfortable. Not too tight, the upper is suitable for all feet.
With Durabrasion Rubber, the grip is pretty good. However, we wish it was a bit more resistant. Indeed, the outsole’s durability is a little limited.
These shoes are ideal for all runners who are looking for a model for faster paces in dedicated training sessions. They are also suitable for competition. Overall, they deliver a pleasant, responsive ride, with plenty of forward propulsion and easier transitions thanks to the meta rocker design.
Please read our full review of the Hoka Mach X for more information.
- Good responsiveness with the Pebax plate
- Smooth transitions
- Stable ride
- Breathable upper
- Good grip on road surfaces
- Poor outsole durability
- Relatively expensive
New to the HOKA lineup, the Mach X is a subtle blend of the HOKA Mach 5 and the HOKA Carbon X 2. Designed to accompany you on speed training sessions or race day, it’s highly responsive and will appeal to runners looking for plated shoes. Let’s see if it’s the right model for you!
Stack height, drop, and underfoot feel
The midsole of the HOKA Mach X includes two different foam technologies. The first is made of PEBA, like that used in the HOKA Rocket X 2. The second is made of ProFlyX, an EVA foam. This combination is unprecedented, as the HOKA Mach 5 only used ProFly+.
The stack height is 39 mm in the heel and 34 mm in the forefoot, for a heel-to-toe drop of 5 mm. The midsole feel is soft and shock-absorbing. They are ideal for fairly short distances but can be used for half-marathons or even marathons.
The cushioning is highly responsive and bouncy. A Pebax propulsion plate is located in the midsole. It propels the body forward with every stride, allowing you to push off the ground easily.
The shoe’s curved shape, similar to a rocker, facilitates the transition between heel, midfoot, and toe.
These shoes are for neutral runners. There’s no special technology for overpronators or supinators. Support is good but not comparable to what you would get from a dedicated stability shoe.
Fit and sizing
The jacquard mesh upper is quite thin and highly breathable, which is pleasant when running in hot weather.
The construction of the upper includes a gusseted tongue. This prevents the tongue from slipping and provides a good foot lockdown.
The Mach X fits true to size, so you can choose your usual size for sports shoes (or a half size more than your street shoes). While not particularly tight in the forefoot and toe box, it offers a snug fit and suits those with slightly wide feet. It’s not possible to select a larger width.
Men’s vs. women’s version
Apart from a slightly lighter color for women, there’s no noticeable difference between the men’s and women’s models.
The weight announced by HOKA is 9.4 oz/266 g for the men’s X and 8 oz/227 grams for the women’s version. Therefore, it’s a relatively lightweight shoe considering its high stack — a good configuration for speed work.
Breathability and protection
The upper is sufficiently breathable thanks to perforated holes allowing the air to flow in the shoes during exercise, even in summer. There are no contraindications to using them in winter, although you may need to adjust the thickness of your socks if it gets too cold.
The HOKA Mach X are ideal for speed training, whether for splits, MAS, tempo, or even fartlek. Their responsiveness enables you to reach good paces with a good running economy (less effort). They also enable you to recover better after a session.
Other suitable scenarios
These Hoka shoes are also suitable for road racing, from 5 km to marathons. While running at slower paces with them is possible, it’s not the most optimal use of their potential.
As they are really designed for road use, they should not be worn on technical trails, in mud or snow. The grip would not be sufficient and the outsole would wear out quickly. However, easy dirt roads should be totally fine.
The shoe’s outsole is made of Durabrasion Rubber. The thickness of the rubber is quite substantial, and it provides a good grip on wet surfaces. You can use the Mach X on easy trails if they’re not too rough.
Quality and Durability
Value and price
Some testers were disappointed by the lifespan of this running shoe’s outsole: they noticed signs of deterioration after just 30 kilometers. The upper is more resistant: the Jacquard lining is quite robust. We can therefore expect the outsole to wear faster than the upper.
Based on feedback from testers, we can expect to use these shoes for around 250 miles / 400 km.
The official price of the Mach X is rather high but lower than many carbon-plate super shoes. In the same category, it’s priced similarly to the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 and its nylon plate, one of its closest competitors. Therefore, the price of the Mach X is reasonable overall but its value remains a bit low when factoring in its expected lifespan.
Carbon footprint and animal welfare
This hybrid daily training/racing shoe is vegan and uses recycled and bio-sourced materials:
- 65% of the propellant plate is made from bio-sourced materials.
- 84% of the shaft is made from recycled polyester and the remaining 16% from recycled nylon.
- 35% of laces are recycled polyester.
The HOKA Mach X is halfway between two of the the brand’s flagship models: the Mach 5 and the Rocket X. They’re perfect for daily speed training and racing.
Its Pebax plate, a more flexible material than carbon, offers runners plenty of responsiveness and energy return for an easier, fun ride. The thin, breathable upper is exceptionally comfortable.
These running shoes will delight runners who want a model in their rotation for intervals, and beginners looking to train at quicker paces.
|Heel height||39 mm|
|Forefoot height||34 mm|
|Weight (men)||266 g/9.4 oz|
|Weight (women)||227 g/8 oz|
|Features||Vegan, Recycled materials, Nylon plate, Rocker|
|Midsole||PEBA foam, ProFly X, Pebax Plate, Early Stage Meta-Rocker|
|Upper||Engineered Jacquard Mesh|
|Distance||Mid, 10K, Half marathon, Long, Marathon|
|Workout||Daily running, Racing|
Reference: Hoka's official site
- Hoka Mach X vs. 5: The main difference is the nylon (Pebax) plate, which provides greater responsiveness for your faster miles. The Mach 5 is much less expensive, without the plate, and a more versatile shoe for your daily sessions. In fact, it can do it all, whereas the Mach X is not recommended for easy, slow-paced kilometers.