Philip here. About a year ago I fell in love with a road shoe called the HOKA Mach. It was lightweight, bouncy, durable, and it could even handle light trail pretty easily. So I was worried when I heard that the Mach 2 would be a completely revamped shoe. So I got a pair from HOKA to try out for myself, I’ve had it for a while, and I’m ready to make my conclusions. Do I like it? Do I hate it? Keep reading to find out.
The HOKA Mach 2 is designed as a quick, lightweight road shoe, and it checks that box off perfectly. It’s about 20% lighter than your standard running shoe, but with as much cushion as a daily trainer. There’s a lot of things I love about this shoe and a couple areas where I think there’s room for a little improvement, but overall I really like this shoe and I’m going to keep using it for all sorts of runs.
Things I like about the shoe:
1. It’s Super Light for the Cushioning:
I love a shoe that has a lot of cushion but doesn’t feel like a brick underfoot. The Mach has all the protection from the road that I need for daily training, but at the weight of a distance racer. It makes long miles a joy and leaves my legs feeling fresh after a tough workout. It’s really a nimble and quick feeling shoe.
2. It’s Pretty Dang Durable:
Even though it doesn’t have a rubber outsole, the rubberized foam is a lot more durable than I expected. Even the patterns on the forefoot and heel haven’t worn off after quite a few miles of wear on both road and trail.
3. It’s Breathable:
This is the killer app for the summer. The high quality engineered mesh and lightweight materials make this shoe nice and cool for higher temperature runs, even in my black color scheme (I prefer the men’s Navy and orange scheme myself, but I don’t fit the men’s shoes). I don’t feel hot or sweaty in these, which is key for this kind of weather.
A Few Quibbles:
1. The high volume fit fit:
I had to size down a full size in these shoes, so I’d suggest going into your local running store (*cough* ATRC *cough*) and trying them on. They are also a high volume shoe, which is fine for some folks, but not ideal for me. For a lightweight trainer/racer, I’d prefer a fit that’s a bit snugger for when I pick up the pace. Luckily, that issue is easily resolved by putting a thicker insole inside the shoe. Always keep your old insoles and laces!
2. Insole quality:
The stock insole in the Mach 2 is a thin, EVA insole with a fabric topping. On a $140 dollar shoe I’d prefer a higher quality insole, like something from Ortholite, or at least a more shaped or thicker EVA insole. Again, this is an incredibly minor quibble because changing out insoles is literally the easiest thing you can do with a shoe.
3. Not enough traction for trail:
This is a ridiculous quibble, but this road shoe’s firm but bouncy cushion feels GREAT on trail. It’s super protective against rocks and pokey stuff. If it had just a little bit of a lug, I’d run all over the trails in it. With that in mind, I’m probably going to take my current pair and make a trail shoe out of it, and then buy another pair exclusively for road.
The Mach 2 from HOKA is one of the best shoes in my incredibly large rotation. I keep reaching for them day after day for my runs, and they’ll be on my feet until I wear them into the ground. I’d definitely try on a pair in store or look up more info at this link: https://austintrailrunning.com/product/hoka-one-one-mach-2-m/
Thanks for reading!