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.