This iteration of the Hoka One One Mach 4 running shoe sees a complete overhaul in design. With a double layer, blended midsole providing both cushioning and responsiveness, this shoe is going to suit a runner who wants to invest in just one pair of trainers to do all of their training.
They have quite a wide platform to help cradle your feet and ensure you feel stable, even if you go off-road on to grass and shingle, while the meta rocker gives a smooth forward propulsion and feels naturally fast. These are amongst the best women's running shoes I've tested (and some of the best running shoes overall). Read on for my full Hoka One One Mach 4 review.
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Hoka One One Mach 4 review: tech and ergonomics
The mesh upper on the Mach 4 has been revamped to give more comfort and it’s simply lovely against your foot, feeling less artificial than a lot of recent Hoka releases. It has a refined collar construction with an Achilles protector extending up. The tongue is also well padded and gives a strong lockdown feel. Overall it was a perfect size for me, giving a snug, but not over tight, fit. On my first run I did notice my toes felt a little higher in the toebox than in some other shoes, though it wasn’t an issue.
Many brands are often too big in the midfoot if you have petite/narrow feet, then bunch when you pull the laces tight, but the Mach 4 was spot on for my narrow feet. If you have a wide foot, or prefer some extra space then size up an extra half size. The heel counter and collar are both quite firm but comfortable and the back of the shoe has an extended design to promote a midfoot ground strike rather than heel striking. The insole is thicker than many, too.
The Profly foam midsole is constructed of two layers, the upper one being softer. Hoka says: “Softer and bouncier than the previous iteration, the Mach 4 employs a harmonious blend of foams – merging an incredibly soft, lightweight foam on top with rubberized foam directly beneath.”
This blend makes the shoe adaptable, absorbing the shock of hitting the ground while also pushing energy up through your foot when you are pushing off. The meta-rocker design also naturally rocks your foot forwards for a speedy reaction time to the ground and makes the shoes feel fast. The outsole is made of the same rubberised foam used in the bottom layer of the midsole.
Hoka One One Mach 4 review: aesthetics
Even if you’re not a fan of yellow, the simple stylish design makes the Mach 4 look like a fast shoe. I tested the citrus/ blue flower colourway which matched well with all activewear and just gives a bright enough pop of colour to make a statement. These shoes look smart. The hot coral / blue fog option is just as attractive as the citrus, whereas the black version is a much more neutral, uninspiring design.
Hoka One One Mach 4 review: verdict
Now to the crux of my Hoka One One Mach 4 running shoe review: are they worth buying? I'd say absolutely. When your shoes are as versatile as the Mach 4, you can run long in them and rely on them to look after your legs, as well as take on tempo, or harder sessions and still feel fast. I’ve got a long relationship with HOKA and I do like max cushioning for both comfort and injury prevention, but I also like a shoe to feeling springy, and be able to go fast when you want it to; the Mach 4 fulfilled both of these.
Some of the models, with carbon plates, have felt too firm for me, so if you want some softness without a squidgy feeling then opt for the Mach 4. At RRP, this shoe is also a little cheaper than similar models from other brands such as the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
This shoe really has it all, the HOKA cushioning that makes the miles seem easy plus the energy return you want when you’re pushing your pace. Getting the balance right between cushioning and responsiveness is the Holy Grail for running shoe manufacturers and this shoe – if it fits your foot well – is an outstanding all-rounder. I still can’t believe how light it feels when you are running, and this feature, combined with the dual density midsole makes the new Mach 4 stand out from other new shoe releases in 2021.