Hoka One One Mach Review

Overview of the Hoka One One Mach:

The Hoka One One Mach is a new model from Hoka One One. It is essentially the replacement for the Hoka One One Clayton 2. While it shares similar specs to the Clayton line it is also different in a couple of key attributes we’ll highlight below. Overall, the Mach is a great option for all types of road-running and trail runs on less aggressive terrain.

Specs:

  • Weight: 224g / 7.9oz (US men’s 9.0); TBD on women’s weight once released
  • Category: neutral (though with a wider platform there is some inherent support)
  • Drop: 5mm, 24mm heel/19mm forefoot
  • Fit: true to size (i.e., your normal running shoe size)
  • Upper: fully engineered knit upper with a denser knit on the medial side compared to the lateral side
  • Midsole: ProFly dual density that is softer in the heel and firmer in the forefoot
  • Outsole: RMAT, a fairly durable and soft rubber by outsole standards that holds up well and provides adequate grip

 

Presenting the Hoka One One Mach. Available February 2018.

Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to six areas:

  1. What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the shoe.
  2. What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the shoe better.
  3. When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the shoe excels.
  4. How it compares: my current go-to shoes and how this shoe compares.
  5. Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this shoe or not.
  6. Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this shoe.

I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!

What’s good?

  • The ride. Hoka calls this midsole Pro2Fly. It is an evolution of the Pro2Lite midsole found in the Clayton 1 & 2 as well as the Speed Instinct 2 (review here). Just like the Pro2Lite midsole the Pro2Fly midsole is slightly softer in the heel compared to the forefoot. The idea here is that as you get tired and your form gets sloppy the shoe provides some extra forgiveness with a softer heel landing. What is the actual difference between the previous RMAT midsole we first saw on the Huaka versus the Pro2Lite midsole vs. the Pro2Flly? I have no idea but I just know that it works. The overall cushion is what I would consider to be responsive cushioned. Folks who liked the midsole of the Huaka, Clayton 1 or 2, or Speed Instinct 1 or 2 will feel right at home here. Interestingly, the shoe is a little stiff out of the box but the flexibility will increase in a good way after 20-30 miles of use.

Medial side view of the Hoka One One Mach

  • The fit. With a fully engineered knit upper built on a wide enough platform to allow for proper toe splay I found the fit to be quite comfortable with only one minor exception noted below. More and more shoes are moving to knit uppers as opposed to a combination of mesh and TPU overlays. The benefits of knit uppers are often that they can be more forgiving and dynamic (i.e., they stretch to accommodate different foot types better) but the downside is that the midfoot hold can suffer. In the Mach, the overall hold is better than the knit upper we saw in the Altra Escalante (review here) but it still suffers somewhat. I would not advise taking this shoe on extremely vertical terrain for this reason. However, it is extremely comfortable on flatter terrain.

Close up view of the fully engineered knit upper on the Hoka One One Mach

The Mach runs true to your normal running shoe size (note: the Clayton 1 & 2 both ran small for me, no sizing issues in the Mach)

The knit is denser on the medial side presumably for upper durability purposes

Most of the shoe, including the lateral side shown here, has a very breathable knit upper

  • The versatility. The shoe is equally at home on the roads as well as less aggressive trails due to its relatively lightweight, ample cushion, and wider platform. The knit upper breathes and dries well too.

The wider platform and semi-sticky RMAT outsole make the Mach a versatile shoe

  • The style. The looks of a shoe are personal of course but I like the more muted colorways and less obvious branding we are starting to see on Hoka’s 2018 shoes.

 

A minimally structured heel counter offers good hold in the Hoka One One Mach

  • The price. At $130 I feel this shoe is a solid value. The Clayton 2 had an initial MSRP of $150 for comparison sake.

What could be improved?

  • An extra eyelet. I’d love to see one additional eyelet at the top in an offset location to allow for a slightly better heel hold. This would expand the use cases of the shoe I believe as it would be better suited to steeper terrain.
  • Some lugs. Note: I included this comment purely because we are predominantly trail-focused brethren. However, in addition to the excellent Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2 available today (review here) Hoka is also updating the Speed Instinct with a new shoe next year called the Torrent which appears to be trail-focused Mach in a lot of ways. Great stuff Hoka!

When to use it?

  • Nearly all road runs. I would not hesitate to reach for this shoe for everything on the roads or track except my shortest, fastest intervals.
  • Less aggressive trail runs. Without a rock plate and lugs I wouldn’t use the Mach on really aggressive terrain but I bet you would be surprised on just how well it can handle a lot of trails.
  • Door-to-trail. One shoe to rule them all!

Similar shoes to compare with:

  • Altra Escalante (review here). Both have knit uppers and both have responsive midsoles. However, with a 0-drop platform and far less foot hold the Altra Escalante is better suited to straight line road running only. The Hoka One One Mach is more versatile.
  • Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2 (review here). The Mach is significantly lighter and faster as a result. However, the Speed instinct 2 has shallow lugs and some rock protection. Different use cases but on roads and tamer trails I would reach for the Mach and only reach for the Speed Instinct 2 when needing the push through protection.
  • Hoka One One Clayton 1 or 2. While I didn’t review either shoe for URP I did wear each one for 1-2 demo runs when they first debuted. Unfortunately, both shoes resulted in significant arch blisters for me and I could not use them. The Mach has solved the arch blister issue we saw in both versions of the Clayton. Combined with the knit upper and better flexibility compared to the Clayton I am reaching for the Mach here.

Should you purchase?

So, the $130 question – should you purchase the Hoka One One Mach?

In a word, yes. It’s a versatile, lightweight shoe that is a great road, door-to-trail, and tamer trail option.

Questions, comments, or feedback on this shoe? Please share! And thanks for reading!

Purchasing Information

If you’re interested in purchasing this shoe, please check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store once it’s available in February 2018. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.

Thank you for reading!

Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf

I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.


Disclaimer: This shoe was provided to URP/Ben for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are ours and no compensation was offered or received.

You're awfully quiet back there. Anything to say?