Hoka One One Mach 4 review – Outstanding all-rounder running shoes

Hoka's lightweight, cushioned Mach 4 running shoes are good for anything from long training runs to short, fast intervals

T3 Platinum Award
Hoka One One Mach 4 review
(Image credit: Hoka One One)
T3 Verdict

The Hoka One One Mach 4 running shoes have luxurious feel with lots of padding and ventilation holes. The Profly midsole feels both soft and springy, so you get a double whammy of cushioning and a firm toe-off, making the Mach 4 one of the most adaptable shoes around.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Outrageously lightweight for the tech included

  • +

    Smooth and soft ride

  • +

    Cheaper than many similar competitors

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Lacks the firmness of carbon/nylon plates

  • -

    Rubberised foam outsole may not last as long

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Hoka One One Mach 4 review in a sentence: undoubtedly one of the best pairs of running shoes you can buy and suitable for most runners' needs.

Hoka has gained a lot of fans among runners, and I count myself among them. The latest return of the Mach could be their best effort yet, making it a clear candidate for our best women's running shoes and best running shoes top 10s. Its stellar design also makes it one of the best trail running shoes you can buy, at least for less arduous and rain-blasted trails.

The fourth iteration of the Mach range sees a complete overhaul in design. With a double-layer, blended midsole providing both cushioning and responsiveness, this shoe will suit a runner who wants to invest in just one pair of trainers to do all their training. They have a wide platform to help cradle your feet and ensure you feel stable, even if you go off-road onto grass and shingle. The meta rocker gives smooth forward propulsion and feels naturally fast.  

We also reviewed the successor of these shoes, which you can read here: Hoka Mach 5 review

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.

Female runner tying their Hoka One One Mach 4 shoes

(Image credit: Hoka One One)

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

This shoe has it all. From the HOKA cushioning that makes the miles seem easy to 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. Love it!

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 like max cushioning for both comfort and injury prevention, but I also like a shoe to feel 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 a little cheaper than similar models from other brands, such as the Saucony Endorphin Speed. There's not much left to add beyond a strong suggestion that you put these very near the top of your next potential shoe purchase list.

Hoka One One Mach 4 review: Also consider

The On Cloudmoster is a max cushioned, neutral road running shoe designed to carry you in comfort over long distances. It features the most amount of Cloud elements ever to be found in On shoes which is combined with the springy Speedboard, making the shoe an excellent choice for 10K+ runs.

The On Cloudswift provides a similarly snappy ride to the Hoka Mach 4 and even has the same RRP. The CoudTec midsole might be firmer, but that makes the shoes better suited for walking and standing. Read our full On Cloudswift review or the On Cloudswift vs Hoka Mach 4 comparison article for more info on how the two shoes compare.

Tina Chantrey

Tina is fitness editor for Women’s Running magazine and published two books in 2020, The Little Book of Zen and Reflexology: Your Personal Guide. She is a UKA running coach, England Athletics Mental Health Champion and has her own running group, #runTLC. Follow her on Instagram @runtlc.uk