Buy these shoes if…
- You’re looking for a lightweight Hoka running shoe that’s more durable than the Rincon
- You race in carbon-plated shoes and want a trainer that encourages a similarly fast cadence but makes you work a little harder
- You want a multi-purpose trainer that’s a solid option for both hard and easy days
Keep reading for the Run the Shoes’ full review of the Hoka Mach 4.
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Weight: 7.1oz (Women) // 8.6oz (Men)
Between the time that I opened a Google doc to start this Hoka Mach 4 review two weeks ago and now, when I actually got around to writing it, I have worn these shoes on a rocky trail run, a tempo run, and a long hilly run on country roads. They have about 40 more miles on them than they did when I started this review, so I feel more confident than ever proclaiming these the best Hoka One One shoes I’ve tried.
You might be thinking, “you’ve said some variation of that in every Hoka review you’ve written,” and I admit there is some truth to that—every time I wear a Hoka shoe for the first time, I can’t believe how comfortable it is. The reason the Mach 4 is my favorite Hoka to date is because it’s so underrated, and who isn’t inclined to favor the underdog?
Do you remember when Ryan and Marissa met in The OC? (Probably not.) Marissa asks Ryan who he is and he responds, “whoever you want me to be.” That quote keeps popping into my head as I think about how to sum up the Mach 4 because it’s best described as “whatever you want it to be,” or more precisely, a multi-purpose shoe that’s good for easy and hard days. Haters will say it’s having an identity crisis, but I see it as a shoe that you don’t think about putting on in the morning because you know it’ll get the job done.
What to love about the Hoka Mach 4
In terms of first impressions, I love the way this shoe looks. It definitely looks like a Hoka but it doesn’t have as bulky an aesthetic as the Clifton or Bondi. It’s lighter too, coming in at 7.1 ounces for women and 8.6 for men. It has a responsive Profly midsole, which is designed to simultaneously provide a soft landing and a bouncy lift-off. In other words, it’s cushy but responsive. The comfortable and lightweight engineered mesh upper is similar to the Carbon X in pattern and breathability. I usually wear Cliftons on recovery runs but have been wearing the Mach in these humid summer months when I feel the difference a breathable upper makes. It also has a broader fit than other Hokas I’ve worn (the Clifton and the Rincon); I don’t have particularly wide feet but I did appreciate the extra space.
What not to love about the Hoka Mach 4
I can’t think of too much to dislike, to be honest. The aforementioned trail run I wore the Mach 4 on was a spontaneous run during a weekend trip, and I didn’t have any other shoes to choose from. I probably won’t wear them on the trails again because they don’t have excellent grip, but they were fine.
The bottom line
The Hoka Mach 4 is a versatile shoe for light and fast road running. Its rocker feel and energy return qualify it as a gateway shoe to a carbon-plated racer like the Carbon X; in fact, I would consider it the Hoka equivalent of the Saucony Endorphin Speed. It’s great for lactate threshold workouts that are found in many a marathon training plan, but you can even wear them on recovery days when you want something a little lighter than the Clifton.