Chris Buckley puts the Hoka mach 5 to the test and finds it delivers everything he was looking for a road shoe
RRP - £
Test distance - km
Experienced marathon, trail marathon and ultra runner who trains on the roads midweek before heading for the hills at the weekend.
A lightweight shoe that is extremely comfortable from the off.
Well cushioned shoe that delivers an energetic ride
Durability a concern - the sole started to show wear, particularly around the outside of the heel sooner than I would have expected.
The concern over durability puts a question mark over the value. At £130 this would be a concern if you were on a tight budget.
One of the best road shoes I have ever run in. Extremely comfortable, lightweight and responsive, it's a shoe that works as well for tempo sessions as it does for longer runs.
Hoka Mach 5 Shoe Review
I’ve struggled to find a road shoe that I really liked in recent years. Most of my running is done on the trails, and road sessions are normally restricted to midweek recovery and tempo training sessions. I’ve worked through a number of shoes – most of which I have regarded as OK but nothing that really stood out as special.
The HOKA Mach 5 has delivered everything I was looking for . I’ve really enjoyed running in this shoe. Hoka seem to have got the blend of weight and cushioning just right. The Mach 5 delivers a great response on tempo runs with the perfect amount of bounce contributing to an energetic ride. And on longer runs, it is a super-comfortable shoe.
Like all HOKAS, the high stack height on the Mach 5 (29mm heel 24mm forefoot) gives the impression of a heavy, and even clumsy, shoe. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The Mach 5 is a joy to run in. At 232 g it is definitely in the lightweight category.
I’ve struggled with many road shoes having too great a heel-drop. Equally, Zero drop didn’t just work for me either. So the 5mm heel drop on the Mach 5 was just what I was looking for.
From a comfort point of view you would be hard-pushed to beat the Mach 5. I need a wide fit, which as been a problem with some HOKA products in the past, but not so here. There is plenty of room in the Mach 5. The gusseted tongue is well padded – something I really appreciate in a shoe having suffered from lace pressure in the past. And the level of padding around the collar adds to a slipper-like comfort from the first wearing. My heel felt securely locked in. and I suffered no issues with rubbing or hot-spots.
It’s worth noting that I do have some concerns about the durability of the HOKA Mach 5. I don’t think this will be the longest-lasting shoe. I’m already seeing wear outside of the heel. So if you are looking for a shoe to see you through marathon training and then the race itself you may be pushing it. But if you are using it in rotation with other shoes, or as a race-day shoe, then I think it will take some beating.
That potential lack of longevity makes it an expensive option at £130 but, to be honest, for me it is worth it.
Hoka Mach 5 Description
HOKA describe the Mach 5 as ‘the lovechild of the Mach 4 and Mach Supersonic’. The Mach 4 hit the market just over 12 months ago and proved a big hit as an every-day trainer with its well-cushioned yet responsive feel. The Mach Supersonic is much more of speed shoe that’s more appropriate for tempo runs and workouts.
HOKA are promising that the learnings from these predecessors has resulted in the Mach 5 providing enhanced responsiveness and an energetic ride.
The HOKA Mach 5 features a creel mesh upper and a lay-flat tongue with HOKA promising a snappier ride from its PROFLY stacked midsole which provides a lightweight, responsive foam underfoot and a rubberized EVA below. There is an articulated heel collar which provides a more dialled-in fit.
There’s a 5mm heel drop in both men’s and women’s shoes with the women’s featuring a 27mm heel and 22mm forefoot and the men’s a 29mm heel and 24mm forefoot.
The women’s shoe weighs in at 192g for a size seven and the men’s 232g for a size nine.
Hoka Mach 5 Specification
Stack Height (outsole & footbed)
Stack Height (midsole only)
Padded and comfortable upper, with plenty of cushioning underfoot
The creel mesh upper delivers great breathability
Great new look with plenty of colour options
Not the most durable sole - showing more wear than I would expect at this stage
I like this shoe. Putting the durability concerns to one side, it is the most comfortable road shoe I have used for some time. It is lightweight and provides an energetic ride while not compromising at all on the cushioning.
I have not tested the Mach 5 off-road – it wouldn’t make sense to me as it is not a cross-over shoe – and after a very dry summer I haven’t had the chance to really test the grip in wet conditions.
But I have put nearly 100 miles on the shoe through a combination of tempo sessions and recovery runs and it has felt great. It has become an integral part of my shoe rotation.