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Hoka One One Mach 4 Running Shoe Review

by Sportitude
17 May 2021

Josh reviews the lightweight and ultra-responsive Hoka One One Mach 4 running shoes and explains why this neutral ride has earned the hype. First off, it’s incredibly versatile and meets the demands of a variety of running workouts, combining a minimal weight to shift the pace up a gear on tempo runs with protective cushioning for daily training.

For such a lightweight design, it’s surprisingly structured. It’s set upon a thick platform of rubberised EVA that’s consistent underfoot from heel-to-toe, with no reinforced high-wear zones at the heel or forefoot. This may translate to a shorter lifespan than a traditional mileage shoe, but for tempo training it’s spot-on for lightweight speed and that’s why many runners gravitate towards it.

Topped with PROFLY technology, it provides protection you can feel without compromise to the springy sensation. Paired with the Meta-Rocker, it ensures effortlessly smooth transitions to flow into your next stride.

Wrapping your feet in a minimalist upper with a supportive, irritation-free heel counter and roomier forefoot than competing lightweight tempo shoes, it’s on your radar if you’re craving a blend of speed, comfort and protection.

Check out the full review with transcript below.

Hey guys, Josh here from Sportitude Running and today it's shoe review time and we're going to be talking all things Hoka One One Mach 4. This shoe has just landed in the warehouse of Sportitude Running and let me tell you at home the hype is real. There was a lot of talk about this shoe coming out of the United States and we were very keen to get it in Australia and the momentum has continued.

There's a lot to like about what this shoe represents and what it's all about. In today's review we're going to talk about the foot type that could be considering this shoe, go over the three engineering components being the outsole, midsole and the upper. We’ll talk about where it's placed with regards to shoe rotation - who could be considering it and why. Without further ado let's get stuck in.

Runner Profile

Before we get stuck into the engineering features of this shoe let's profile the foot type that could be considering it. On the medial side there's no arch support that's been strategically placed to cater for that overpronator, so it’s a neutral running shoe. 

A neutral foot type may have a bit of real estate between the arch and the ground. It’s the runner that comes through their transition and the majority of the pressure is either through the central part of their foot or they supinate, putting the pressure towards the lateral side before they engage and get ready to toe-off.

In saying that there are still stable neutral runners out there that have a static position with a slightly flatter arch, and I fall into this category of runner. The runner comes through from the contact to midstance phase with no rotation towards the medial side. Most the pressure goes through the central part of the foot as they get ready to engage and toe-off.

You can still have a slightly splayed arch like this but fit into stable neutral or neutral running shoes with ease.

Outsole

Now for the fun part of the shoe review, let's break this shoe down for you at home. Like all our reviews in the past, we’ll start from the ground and work our way up.

Touching on the fact that this shoe is incredibly light, Hoka One One have done a phenomenal job in keeping it structured. The structure and integrity of this shoe is sound while reducing the weight.

Starting off with the outsole, it features a rubberised EVA so there is no harder wearing rubber placed at the back or the forefoot. They've blended two components being the rubber and the EVA to make a slightly thicker sole underneath the foot.

You can see the lighter yellow in comparison to the PROFLY in the midsole. That thickness runs the whole way through the lateral to medial side and you can see it does have a slight gradient as it comes through to the forefoot.

Underneath the foot it feels lighter, but it offers plenty of response because the PROFLY technology which sits on top is a light and cushioned foam. You must have that perfect balance of protection but also response. The person who's going to be looking at this shoe will want to feel light and responsive and that's exactly what you get with the Mach 4.

Midsole

Moving to the midsole of this shoe you have a 5mm heel-to-toe drop. It is a 29mm heel to 24mm forefoot in the men's and a 27mm heel and 22mm forefoot in the women’s model. It’s a subtle adjustment from the men's and women’s with regards to the stack heights in the heel and forefoot but the heel drop is still the same.

Hoka One One have combined the outsole and the midsole, and with two different densities of foam. The first density which is the closest part to the ground is that rubberised EVA.

You can see the different colours between the PROFLY which sits on top of that rubberised EVA. There is an element of gradient down towards the forefoot as well both on the lateral and medial side. Strategically placing that rubberised EVA not only reduces the weight but it aids in providing a responsive shoe underneath your foot.

The PROFLY technology which sits on top of that rubberised EVA is very soft. It’s incredibly comfortable as soon as you step your foot into this shoe. As soon as you start moving in this shoe you know you have an element of protection underneath your body, but you don't trade that off.

You get a very snappy, responsive feel with that early onset Meta-Rocker and that rubberised EVA underneath the shoe. It's a great combination that Hoka One One have been able to execute, and it provides a very stable yet a fun, cushioned ride.

Upper

Dialling into the upper of the Mach 4, it is a light minimalist feel up top but they haven't compromised with the support of this shoe. At the back we have an internal heel counter, and they have the anatomical Achilles pull tab at the back. They've been able to provide a nice asset to get your foot into the shoe, but the lean of the internal heel counter gives you a secure fit around the base of your heel which is fantastic.

Coming through to the middle of the shoe there is no overlays around the upper to give you extra support. Instead, there's a gusseted tongue. Underneath the upper the tongue is connected with a mesh lining both on the medial and lateral side. It doesn't allow the tongue to slip to either side and gives your arch security and support on top of the foot which is nice and comfortable.

Coming through to the forefoot, it’s an incredibly light and breathable upper with an element of depth about it. It's not a tight, secure fit on top of the foot which some lightweight speed shoes are out there. This has more volume through that forefoot with a little bit more wiggle room up top which is great.

Widths

Talking about the widths, it's important to know Hoka One One have only released this in Australia in a standard width for the men's which is a D and a standard width in the women’s model which is a B.

The Wrap Up

A couple of points to touch on, the Hoka One One Mach 4 is very versatile. It's supportive and cushioned but it's incredibly light. We've had a whole heap of different profile runners come in and purchase this shoe. Some runners buy it as their daily trainer and mileage shoe because they are happy running in a lighter but protected shoe.

The trade-off is it might wear out a little bit quicker than a traditional mileage shoe but that's OK. That runner doesn't mind in regard to the Mach 4. However, the majority of our clients buying this shoe are looking at that lighter tempo style shoe that they can pick the pace up in but get a little bit more protection underneath the foot.

There is a couple of great features in this shoe. Purely and simply, the PROFLY midsole which sits on top of the rubberised EVA gives you that snappy responsive feel and with that early onset Meta-Rocker which sits just before the metatarsal heads it's a very comfortable, light and smooth shoe.

I am thoroughly enjoying running in this shoe. I am using it for some tempo runs and I might even break it out and get it out on the road for some longer runs. I'd love to put the Hoka One One Clifton on the side to do that.

There you have it, the Hoka One One Mach 4. If you've ran in the Mach previously let us know what your experiences have been like. This is not like any other Mach you would have tried or ran in previously.

I have also used Machs gone by and when this shoe came through it almost needed a new name. It has a different feel and different performance than the others in the past.

If you have any questions, queries or comments on this shoe please contact our Sportitude shoe experts. Please subscribe to the Sportitude YouTube channel to stay notified on all things running shoe reviews. We're going to work harder and harder in 2021 to pump out as many shoe reviews as we possibly can for you the running community.

Until next time stay safe, be kind to each other and happy running. We'll see you out on the road. Take care.

FEATURES

  • Support: Neutral
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Midsole: Hoka One One PROFLY

Men

  • Heel Height: 29mm
  • Forefoot Height: 24mm
  • Offset / Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 232g / 8.2oz
  • Width: D (standard)

Women

  • Heel Height: 27mm
  • Forefoot Height: 22mm
  • Offset / Drop: 5mm
  • Weight: 192g / 6.8oz
  • Width: B (standard)