The Hoka One One Mach 4 provides maximum cushioning in a highly lightweight design, making it a noteworthy competitor in the running world. Thanks to the Profly midsole, cushioning underfoot is luxurious and plush while still responsive when toeing off. With Hoka being known for its cushioning, we were impressed with this model's responsiveness, and we loved using this on our longer runs. The upper is made of lightweight materials that are durable and breathable, and a thinly padded tongue helps secure the midfoot. The outsole lacks rubber, which will likely reduce long-term durability, but helps keep the weight down. Those looking for a lightweight men's running shoe with maximum cushioning may enjoy this option.Editor's Note: This individual gear review was updated on March 6, 2022, with extra sections to assist your product determination.
Hoka One One Mach 4 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upper
Cons: Less responsive, lacks rubber outsole
Manufacturer: Hoka One One
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Hoka One One Mach 4
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|Pros||Lightweight, great cushioning, comfortable upper||Responsive cushioning, breathable upper, lightweight||Responsive, light, fast affordable||Responsive cushioning, smooth heel-to-toe rocker, durable||Excellent cushioning, comfortable upper design, responsive|
|Cons||Less responsive, lacks rubber outsole||Minimal support and stability||Minimal support, lacks cushioning, lacks outsole rubber||Loose heel cup, support under heel lacking||Uncomfortable arch support out of the box, cumbersome at times|
|Bottom Line||These lightweight shoes have top landing comfort and maximum cushion with a great upper||Excellent cushioning that provides great energy transfer with an extremely comfortable, performance fit upper||A model that makes you feel quick, fast, and light that provides maximum energy transfer and forward-momentum||A rockered design with responsive cushioning keeps legs feeling powerful and fresh into longer efforts||Maximum cushioning that is dense enough to offer great responsiveness with a wide upper that allows for natural, stable footing|
|Rating Categories||Hoka One One Mach 4||Saucony Endorphin S...||Saucony Kinvara 12||New Balance Fresh F...||Hoka One One Clifton 8|
|Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)|
|Upper Comfort (20%)|
|Lateral Stability and Support (15%)|
|Specs||Hoka One One Mach 4||Saucony Endorphin S...||Saucony Kinvara 12||New Balance Fresh F...||Hoka One One Clifton 8|
|Weight (per shoe, size 9.5)||8.1 oz.||8.3 oz.||7.7 oz.||9.4 oz.||9.1 oz.|
|Heel to Toe Drop||5 mm||8 mm||4 mm||8 mm||5 mm|
|Midsole Material||PROFLY||PWRRUN||PWRRUN||Fresh Foam||EVA|
|Sole Rubber||Rubberized EVA||XT-900||Foam with rubber inserts||Ortholite||Rubber|
|Upper Material||Engineered mesh||Engineered mesh||Mesh||Synthetic, mesh||Mesh|
|Width Options||Normal||Normal||Normal, wide||Narrow, normal, wide, extra wide||Normal, wide|
|Sizes Available||7 - 14||7 - 15||7 - 15||6 - 20||7 - 14|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Among the tough competition of men's running shoes, the Hoka One One Mach 4 impressed us with its plush cushioning design delivered in a lightweight package. This cushioning is pure comfort when landing, and it excels at keeping our legs fresh for our long runs.
It has a minimal 5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and wide upper, making the shoe feel natural and sure-footed. A breathable upper paired with a thin compressible tongue helps lock in the midfoot, and it was one of the more comfortable uppers we tested. Some may find the plush cushioning less responsive than other light and fast trainers, such as the Saucony Kinvara 12, but the added comfort greatly reduces fatigue. The only downside is the lack of a more durable outsole, but we realize this would increase the weight, a standout feature of this contender.
Cushioning and Landing Comfort
Every step in the Mach 4 was pure comfort. We doubt many shoes in this weight category have such luxurious comfort and cushioning. This model provided soft underfoot compression with each footstrike that reduced impact and left us feeling free of fatigue. Long runs in this model were a joy to run in. Typically, we would expect a 5-millimeter drop shoe to have a bit more harshness, but we think the cushioning helped soften the stress on the calves, which normally take the beating when it comes to low drop.
While the cushioning is on the higher side than contenders we tested, we found a defined stopping point where the midsole seemed to compress and would allow for a good return of energy into the pavement. This did not have that bottomless cushioning feel that sometimes felt tiring and heavy. This cushioning seemed dedicated more towards the mid and forefoot, which we prefer, as heel compression can often feel sinking when the rest of the foot does not have enough weight to compress the same amount of foam equally.
We were impressed by how responsive this model is for the amount of cushioning it provides. Part of this is due to the well-engineered foam that has the right density to absorb and a spring-like return that feels poppy and agile. The responsiveness also feels more lively, given there is less to weigh you down.
It's easy to associate high cushioning with less responsiveness, but we do not think that the comfort of this model should deter you from giving it a shot. We loved this shoe on longer runs, where we would not experience the same amount of fatigue that we'd develop with a stiffer and more stable model. The 5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop worked great with the responsive design, allowing for a good ground feel and quick turnover.
There isn't anything special about the upper on this model other than it simply works. The knit upper is breathable, and while a tad thin, we had no durability issues. The upper is snug and has a wider toe box which provides a natural platform that does not feel loose or too constrained. The tongue on this model is thin compressive material that is one of the better we've seen.
The average arch support felt sufficient given the low drop and weight that is meant to keep your foot in a more active position. A well-designed heel cup has what appears to be an integrated pull tab that provides coverage over the Achilles. This thin design creates a sensation of no upper and your foot and foam all as one unit. Even in temperatures reaching 100 degrees, the shoe felt cool, and we experienced less sweating than other models in this weight range.
Lateral Stability and Support
With no specific implemented support features found on some other contenders, we can only expect so much stability and support from a lightweight shoe. Surprisingly, there is a good amount of support and stability, which we found was enabled by the wider platform and the same cushion design which held the heel more firmly in place. In our testing, those shoes which stabilize the heel generally feel stable and supportive throughout.
This would not be the first model we would suggest to those looking for maximum support and stability, but we don't think the low drop and weight should deter you. If you already have a shoe with some stability, it may be worth trying this model and running in it on even terrain for shorter distances to see if you can adapt to running without the added support systems.
We love the low weight of this shoe, and it's a joy to run in as it's lively and agile on your feet, with a great cushion. We did not experience any durability issues, but the outsole has zero rubber and only exposed foam. This did not degrade during our testing, but we do not expect this to last as long as a more rugged rubber outsole. Other than that, we think little to no tradeoffs are made with the low weight.
Should You Buy the Hoka One One Mach 4?
If you seek premium comfort with the cushioning and upper, we would highly recommend this model. We think Hoka did an awesome job creating an all-around trainer that works well for various workout types. There is plenty of cushion for longer runs, but it's also lightweight enough for speed workouts. Running in this wider platform and ground feel drop of 5-millimeters makes this shoe feel lively and confident. If you have yet to try a Hoka, we would recommend starting with this great middle ground design that has a compromise between responsiveness and comfort.
What Other Running Shoes Should You Consider?
For those seeking maximum support and stability, we suggest looking into the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21, which provides some of the best support and stability across all of the running shoes we tested.
— Matthew Richardson
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