If these trainers don’t get you running, nothing will: Hoka Mach 6 review

Could the Hoka Mach 6 be the 2024 running shoe of the year?

from Hoka
RRP  £139.99
Hoka Mach 6 Trainers in a forest

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

Dubbed as Hoka's 'most responsive Mach to date' excited was an understatement when I received the Hoka Mach 6 trainers. I mean, who wouldn't be excited? These gym trainers promise a super critical midsole, enhanced durability and excellent energy return. But, do they live up to the expectation or do they fall short? Health and fitness writer Gemma Lavers has spent the last two months testing the Mach 6's in the hope they improve on the predecessors, the Mach 5.

Upon unboxing, my immediate reaction was these shoes are stunning. As much as a vibrant trainer helps you stand out, I'm all about a muted-pastel colourway, especially in spring time. The colour 'Ilusion/Dusk' features a blue-hued grey for the main body and striking details in a peachy-orange, pink an lime green on the sole and cushioning. I wasn't the biggest fan of the Mach 5 colourways, and the Mach 6 shoes match most my gym wear perfectly, so pleased was an understatement.

Verdict: In comparison to previous models, the Hoka Mach 6 trainers provide a springier feel that encourages momentum during runs. Best for daily miles and tempo training the trainers are exceptionally lightweight at 189g and have an upper that prevents any post-workout odours. While the rubberised EVA outsole promises versatile terrain control, its grip falls short in wet conditions. Overall, the Hoka Mach 6 impresses with its comfort and performance, but requires consideration of outdoor conditions before use.

Pros

  • Features a low-profile cushion bed that keeps your foot closer to the ground
  • Super critical foam midsole has been updated for enhanced durability
  • Zonal breathability to keep your feet cool

Cons

  • Best for 5k running to half marathons

What's good?

On the outside, the Hoka Mach 6 trainers look relatively similar to previous iterations, but there are some larger changes going on on the inside. Like the new super critical foam midsole. This midsole feels slightly bouncier than the previous one found in other Mach models, and this specialised super critical foam definitely propels you forward more too. So when you find yourself slowing a little, the shoes almost act as a form of encouragement, pushing your weary feet forward one step at a time. It's a little more solid than the Mach 5 but I generally prefer this when choosing my running trainers anyway, so for me, it wasn't an issue at all.

Another great new feature is the creel jacquard upper, which feels quite similar to the old single layer creel mesh upper, but it's supposed to be more breathable. I can agree with that, the shoes actually feel really comfortable, and I've never had an issue with post-workout smelly feet since wearing the trainers (at least if I have, nobody's informed me of it). This could be also due to zonal breathability which encourages cool air to flow throughout the trainers, therefore stopping you feet from overheating.

Hoka Mach 6 trainers against a tree in nature
©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

Like most Hoka trainers, their lightweight design is something to shout about. Weighing in at just 189g, the Mach 6's are extraordinarily light (despite the generous cushioning), and this allowed me to maintain speed without feeling weighed down. Whether I was tackling long distances or sprinting intervals, the Mach 6 proved to be a versatile running shoe, adapting oh-so-effortlessly to my pace and stride.

What's okay?

In typical Hoka style, the Mach 6's have a very narrow fit. Now I have quite narrow feet and even I sometimes struggled getting them on. The dual internal gusset and anatomical tongue construction definitely doesn't help matters and it makes the laces quite a faff to tighten and untighten. Saying that, I quite like the lacing system itself as it's great at giving you a dialled-in fit and making sure your trainers don't move an inch.

Hoka Mach 6 in grass
The Hoka Mach 6 lacing system may be simple, but boy is it mighty secure. ©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

Any negatives?

While the Hoka Mach 6 trainers excel in so many areas, one aspect left me slightly disappointed - the rubberised EVA outsole. Supposedly this sole should 'keep you in firm control across a wide range of different terrains' but I just feel like the grip is lacking. Even taking the photos for this review in a wet, muddy forest was a bit of challenge (and I wasn't even running). Especially when comparing these trainers with the FitFlop FFRUNNER's, whose flex groove-indented outsoles really excelled when running in wet conditions.

I'm not a big trail runner, it's usually tarmacked pavements for me, but moving forward I'll likely reserve the Hoka Mach 6 for dry weather conditions to avoid any slip-ups.

Hoka Mach 6 trainers in nature
Word of warning: Keep your Mach 6's for a dry day to avoid slipping - don't learn this the hard way... ©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

Even if the Hoka Mach 6's are not the greatest (or most waterproof) in poor weather conditions, redeeming features like the springy midsole and gorgeous design almost encourage you to push your limits in these running shoes, without feeling weighed down. The Mach collection will always be a line I enjoy because of their simplicity and bounce and the 6 makes me want to maintain my loyalty to the Hoka brand.

Hoka Mach 6 trainers in nature
©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

More items to consider...

FitFlop FFRUNNER Mesh Running/Sports TrainersFitFlop

The FitFlop FFRUNNER trainers have several noteworthy strengths, the mesh upper being one of them. Its exceptional breathability ensures a cool and dry running experience, maintaining upmost comfort. Improved by the addition of EVA cushioning and a springy Neodynamic midsole, these trainers offer remarkable support and encourage a gentle, energising stride, making them ideal for various activities, from HIIT workouts to long-distance walks. Additionally, their gender-specific design prioritises comfort and support, while the slip-resistant rubber pods on the outsole provide stability on uneven surfaces. Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Features springy Neodynamic midsole to naturally encourage your foot forward
  • Toe spring and heel kick create fluid movement from heel to toe
  • Anatomically contoured footbed provides arch support and diffuses pressure

Cons

  • Not the easiest to put on and take off

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 10Sports Shoes

When it comes to the new Takumi Sen 10's from Adidas, quality is the defining feature that stands out. These road running shoes boast impeccable craftsmanship, evident from the laces to the heel, cushioning and tread. With a 6mm heel-to-toe drop that's complemented by a secure heel and upper, they offer a purposeful and direct ride that feels almost safe. Plus, the Continental™ high-grip rubber in the tread ensures reliable traction across various road terrains and conditions, a handy practical feature to have. Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Firm build makes for a purposeful ride
  • Super grip thanks to Continental rubber
  • Refreshing design and colour scheme

Cons

  • Sizing runs very small

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp v4 Running ShoesSports Shoes

These running shoes deliver an unparalleled experience. With a 40mm stack height and PEBA Foam Fuel Cells, they offer a sensation that's akin to running on clouds - springy, supported and superbly cushioned. The FantomFit upper gives a secure fit around the ankle, combining playful bounce with performance-oriented support. Incorporating a full-length carbon plate within the PEBA Foam cushion, New Balance achieves a remarkable balance of comfort and responsiveness, making sure that each stride feels precise and comfortable. But, beware, these shoes do not come in subdued colourways. Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Incredibly supportive
  • Awesome sharp design
  • Super spongy ride, gives that floating feeling

Cons

  • Laces feel somewhat weak

Who tested them?

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness writer for What's The Best. When she’s not travelling or writing, Gemma loves spending her weekend completing home workouts, or attending yoga, Pilates or Zumba classes.

How the product was tested

The Hoka Mach 6 trainers were tested over a period of two months, between March and May 2024. They were mainly used for running two 5K's per week, on pavement and occasionally trails. Other uses included general gym and badminton.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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