Monday, December 17, 2018

Hoka One One Mach 2 Review: Bouncier Responsive Up Tempo and Race Shoe for Road and Some Trails

Article by Derek Li, Dom Layfield, and Sam Winebaum

Hoka One One Mach 2 ($140)

The Mach 2 arrives with a completely new softer, engineered mesh upper on a new last focused on opening the arch profile to eliminate the infamous Mach and Clayton bite there.  While as before a dual density ProFly midsole (softer heel, firmer responsive forefoot) ,we now have rubberized foam, similar to what was used in the former outsole layer in the Mach 1, as the entire midsole and outsole in a single slab. The two densities are co-molded to eliminate the glue layer and its effect on transition feel. The weight remains essentially unchanged.

Roomy, soft, secure fitting upper
Great wet pavement traction
Substantial cushion, light weight, upper security, stability, and underfoot protection as a non technical trail run shoe,
Slightly overweight given recent competition in its class 
Raised midsole walls may not be ideal for flat wide feet.
Road runner testers would prefer a slightly higher drop here

Official Weight: men’s 8.0 oz // 227 g, women’s 6.6 pz //187 g
Sample Weights:
Sam: US M8.5: 7.5 oz // 213 g
Derek: US9.5  8.04 oz // 228g
Dom: US M10 8.3 oz // 236 g
Estimated Weight US M9: 7.8 oz // 221 g
Weight of Mach 1: US 9 7.9 oz // 224 g
Stack Height: 27/22 mm estimated, official 24/19mm (without sockliner), 5 mm offset
$140. Available February 2019

Reviewer Profiles: 
Sam Winebaum, 61, qualified for Boston 2019 with a 3:40. His recent halves are in the 1:35-1:42 range. He trains 30-40 miles per week at mid 9 minute mile pace. He is a heel striker.
Derek Li, 36, has marathon and half marathon PBs of 2:41 and 1:17. He runs 70-80 miles per week on paved roads mostly at 7-8 minute mile pace. 
Dominick Layfield, 47, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 2500-3000 miles per year with 500K vertical per year. In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 in 2018 finished 50th at the 2018 UTMB and 32nd at the Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46:08

First Impressions and Fit
Derek: My first thought on initial step in was that they had upped the overall volume of the shoe by quite a bit. I never did get around to trying the Mach 1, but I have owned early versions of the Clayton, and the instep was noticeably wider. The shoe also feels just a touch longer than the Claytons. Not to the extent of feeling sloppy, but there was definitely a bit of breathing room, even for my relatively low arches. It wasn’t just the footprint that got wider either; i felt that the overall shoe volume was increased, with a bit more height especially at the midfoot and the heel. One of the things a didn’t particularly like about the early Claytons was the shallow heel, which predisposed to heel slippage, especially if you tried to loosen the laces more to get around the instep fit issues. With the Mach 2, i could comfortably get a good lock down and overall snug feel without having to use the last lace loop. I was also very happy that they went away from the semi-elastic flat laces to more substantial inelastic flat cotton laces. I think theses laces hold lace tension much better, and there is much less chance of the laces unravelling, especially when wet. Nike could use some of that for their Flyknit uppers, but that’s another story. In essence, these shoes fit true to size for me, and are some of the best fitting shoes I’ve had in quite some time. Lace up and forget all about them. No mid-run adjustments needed straight out of the box.

Dom: I've previously worn (extensively) the Clayton 2 and the original Mach, and the shape of the Mach 2 is similar. It's not a shape that fits my feet particularly well. However, the shoe is fairly forgiving and can accommodate most feet that are not hobbit-like.  In the past I've used Hoka road shoes to race on trail simply because nothing else matches their cushion-to-weight ratio.

Dom:  Visually, I wasn’t as taken with the red/blue upper of the Mach 2.  I preferred the plain blue of the Mach 1. The new upper is different in color and material, and the new sole is completely different in materials and tread pattern. So what is most striking is how similar Mach 2 feels to Mach.

Sam: I found the fit true to size and considerably softer, and as Dom says below, less abrasive over the toes than Mach 1 which had a fairly dense rigid mesh in comparison. Mid foot volume feels broader and there is no bite under the arch for me unlike Mach 1 which while I never had major issues as some did, I do now feel less pressure there than in Mach 1.  The heel hold of Mach 2 is also more relaxed given the less substantial heel counter. As far as the look, sharp but the blue softer ProFly heel midsole visually clashes with the red dark blue purple of the rest of the upper.


Derek: The upper appears to use a thin single layer of semi-rigid laminated mesh with laser cut perforations to achieve ventilation.

It breathes very well for me, which was surprising given its somewhat plasticky feel, though this does soften up after a few runs.
As mentioned earlier, overall shoe volume is on the roomier side by Clayton/Tracer standards, and there was plenty of height in the toe-box for me, even without an obvious rigid toe bumper up front. I put this down to the rigid material holding up the shape of the shoe. Very well executed.
The tongue is lightly padded, and seems to be the latest "fashion" trend as a very similar concept is used in the recently released Skechers GoRun Razor 3. The tongue does its job and you don’t think about it at all, which I think is the sign of a well designed tongue. In fact, there are very few internal seams in this shoe, so much so that some people may consider going sockless in it.
The heel counter is semi-rigid, and heel volume is petty much middle-of-the-road. Overall, the upper works in a no-nonsense sort of way for me, and doesn’t get in the way of the shoe’s ride.

Dom:  Having run a lot (mostly off-road) in the original Mach, my first impression of the upper was that it had become less substantial, and my expectation was that version two would consequently be less suitable for trail use. To my surprise, the new upper, although visually very different and using very different materials, feels roughly similar on the foot.  I was concerned about stretch: many road shoe uppers are too stretchy and sloppy for practical off-road use. The Mach 2 upper doesn't have a lot of stretch to it, and I found the new shoe remains viable on trails.

I also noticed, during a long run with Mach version 1 on one foot, and original on the other, that the new upper, being smoother, felt slightly less abrasive on pressure points (specifically the bulge of my lateral metatarsal-phalangeal joint).  Otherwise, the shape and feel of the update is very similar to its predecessor.

Sam: The upper appears to be made of monofilament type fibers in similar fashion to the Kinvara 10’s although here the upper is less 3D in structure and thinner. It is clearly softer and less dense than Mach 1’s upper.
LEFT: Hoka Mach 2                                   RIGHT: Hoka Mach 1
These types of uppers conform very well to the foot, don’t stretch much, and are soft. In the Mach 2 the density of the mesh weave is more consistent throughout the shoe and especially over the toes as shown above
The last is new with focus on improvements to the arch profile and I can feel additional volume and less pressure at the arch.

I do wish for a bit more heel counter structure as it is minimal and while the foot sits well down in the Active Foot Frame midsole side walls, which essentially is the heel counter, I feel some motion side to side higher up at faster paces if back on the heels.

Derek: This is where the major changes take place, as Hoka went from separate dual density ProFly midsole and RMAT (rubberized foam) outsole, to a single layer of rubberized foam, albeit with two distinct densities.
The rear half of the shoe appears to be a softer compound, while the forefoot is more responsive. They tried a similar strategy with the original Claytons, but I felt that the different materials and transitions did not translate well to the intended ride of the Clayton; the shoe felt firm from heel to toe for me and the only softness came from the RMAT. With the Mach 2, you start to get a little closer to the feel of the trail-focused Huaka (which I think was what the Clayton was meant to emulate, in a road-worthy configuration). There is a more distinct bouncy feel to the midsole than its predecessors.
One thing to point out is that i noticed the last of the shoe is somewhat curved upwards at the arch. Not a big deal except i did notice it somewhat in my right foot (which pronates a little more than my left), as the sockliner isn’t quite wide enough along the arch and so there is a bit of a gap between where the sockliner ends and where the midsole rides up a bit along the arch, and as your foot compresses the insole during footstrike, you notice the midsole pressing on your foot a little (if you have low arches like me). I kept worrying that it might cause a blister but so far so good. I switched to  thicker sock and the feeling went away for good for subsequent runs.

Dom:  The Mach 2 midsole is very different to the original version. The new midsole is constructed using entirely new materials and is stiffer under the forefoot, and is more flexible in the heel and in torsion.  Under hand flexion, the original Mach had a distinct breakpoint under the ball of the foot and was somewhat rigid behind this. Version two seems to flex more progressively. I don't have a clear opinion about which is better for road use.  Although to my surprise, when testing the original Mach on one foot and the Mach 2 on the other, I was struck mostly by how similar the two shoes felt.

Off-road, the stiffer forefoot of Mach 2 does provide noticeably more protection from rock penetration.  

Unlike Derek, I have not experienced any issues with instep chafing.  This was a minor issue for me in the Clayton 2, but not in Mach version 1, nor (so far) version 2.

Sam: Hoka co-molded the two densities of rubberized midsole foam eliminating the layer of glue which used to bond the two densities together to make the transition between densities more seamless in feel, quite literally.  And I do feel a more seamless less abrupt transition and despite being stiffer than Mach 1 I did find Mach 2 to transition more smoothly. I only wish Hoka had also included that distinct break point of the Mach 1 Dom mentions and which the lower profile, similar construction upcoming Rehi race shoe (RTR review soon)  has. 
Hoka One One Rehi
Rehi achieves this with deep cut throughs in forefoot all the way through the midsole.

I was surprised that the midsole feel while clearly bouncier than Mach 1 due to full rubberized foam and not just the outsole was firmer especially at the heel than Mach 1.


Derek: There is no separate outsole to speak of here, as the rubberized midsole is organized into a gridded pattern.
It is full on monsoon season in my neck of the woods now, and i’ve had quite a few rain-soaked runs in this shoe, and overall traction is superb. Absolutely no slippage at all hammering downhill on wet roads with rainwater streaming diagonally across the surface. Durability seems to be good as well.
After 50 miles on tarmac and concrete surfaces, there is almost no wear at all on the outsole surface with the patterns of the outsole pods still clearly visible. This point is particularly noteworthy as RMAT was never the most durable of materials.

Dom: As Derek says above, the Mach 2 doesn't have a separate outsole component. So I'll limit my discussion to traction.  In my limited testing, pavement grip seemed fine. Although the underfoot sensation was limited and not so much to my taste.  Off-road grip was only so-so, but it's important to remember that this is an “off-label” usage case. Grip on fine, dry, gritty dirt seemed perhaps very slightly worse than the original Mach, but that may be due subtleties like the fact that the sole of the older shoe was scuffed and roughened up, whereas the new shoe was still smooth underneath.

Sam: I do not have much to add here to my esteemed colleagues impressions of the "outsole".

Derek: The shoe took about 10 miles to break in for me. The first 2 runs, the shoes were a little awkward and stiff in transitioning. Once you break it in though, the forefoot gets a bit more flexible and the transition becomes really buttery smooth for me. The Mach 2 does a good job of dulling road vibrations, and i have used mine for a variety of paces from >8:00/mile down to 6:00/mile pace but being a low drop shoe, I found that it works best at moderate paces for me, as is often the case with low drop shoes for me. In particular, I did one of the top 10 fastest long runs ever for me in the Mach 2, and i’m just coming off a short injury break with only 6 weeks of base under my legs, so in many ways the performance was a minor miracle, and i felt very little post run soreness, thanks to the very substantial forefoot cushioning in this shoe. Compared to the Clayton and Cavu, this shoe is significantly more forgiving, with a softer and bouncier overall feel. Not quite Huaka soft and bouncy, but it’s getting there. I think it can be used as a marathon flat, but people need to see how they feel with a low drop option when their form starts to fall off and they start to land more towards the heel in this shoe. For faster tempos or speed work, i’d probably reach for a shoe that’s a little lighter.. 5 years ago, this shoe would definitely have been a candidate for fast tempo runs, but there are so many good shoes out there now fighting for that spot that it’s hard to say a >7oz shoe would be my first choice for a fast tempo run.

Dom:  I was underwhelmed by the feel of the Mach 2 on pavement.  I’ve recently been trying to transition to toe-striking, and thought that the shoe was a little stiff and that the heel was a little loose: landing on the forefoot produced a sensation that the heel was shifting and tugging downward.  

Dom:  When switching to a heel strike, the shoe felt more in its sweet spot.  Personally I’d prefer more ground sensation, but this is subjective. A lot of runners would describe the forefoot as “responsive”.

Dom:  I should also note that -- unlike Derek or Sam below -- I had no issues with the drop (5 mm).  But I don’t consider 5 mm to be “low drop”! I ran a 100-mile trail race in the original Mach and had no foot problems.  
Sam: I found the ride best suited to faster tempo running whereas the Mach 1 had a slightly wider pace range for slower running.

The ride seemed bouncier and also firmer than Mach 1 overall with the heel feeling lower than Mach 1 at slower paces. Could my heel striking be depressing that rubberized foam more than the prior mix of more conventional midsole and rubberized foam outsole?  There was no question transitions were smoother than Mach 1 and forefoot cushion bouncier and slightly more substantial but still on the firm side. I do miss a more distinct flex point of the Mach 1 in the mix.

Compared to the long gone Huaka, a pair of which I still have and briefly compared to, the ride is bouncier, about equally agile but less cushioned. After all, the Huaka had a 25mm forefoot 27 mm heel of single density RMAT rubberized foam so by specs 3 mm more cushion in the forefoot. Huaka has a snappier, longer easier flex despite all the front stack. It did weigh an ounce more.  

Conclusions and Recommendations
This shoe is my number one choice for moderate pace long runs at the moment; it fits well and accommodates a variety of sock thicknesses for me, and doesn’t give me any hotspots toward the end of the long runs. Especially, when it’s going to be a slippery run (I recently had a scare where my Epic Reacts slid sideways by a couple of inches on a slick surface during a long run), no question this is the shoe for me. If I want to go a little slower for longer, my first choice would be a Clifton or an Altra Duo, but at medium paces, no question the Mach 2 is top of the pile at the moment. Anything faster, and I’d go maybe Razor 3 or Zoom Fly SP.

Derek Score: 9.7/10
-0.1 for low drop. This is another one of those shoes with a great great ride that you just think could work for so many more people if the drop were 6-8mm. Think Reebok Fast Pro, Skechers Razor 3, Escalante Racer (!!)
-0.2 for curved footbed/ raised midsole. I see this a lot these days. Hoka did it first of course with their active fit frame design, but those were super soft foams. With a firmer material it can cause problems for people with lower arches. I personally am not a fan. I think a flat footbed works just fine and actually accommodates a wider range of feet, and using a curved platform here may limit the audience somewhat.
I rarely run on road. But I used the predecessors of the Hoka Mach 2 for long races on non-technical trails because they offered a lot of cushion at a very light weight.   Version 2 of the Mach arrives with a lot of changes, but remains the same weight and stack height. Compared to the Mach 1, version 2 is arguably slightly more trail-suited because it is stiffer under the forefoot, and offers more rock protection.  On the other hand, I felt that off-road traction was possibly slightly worse than before. Despite the many changes, the two shoes are strikingly similar. While it is not really fair to evaluate a road shoe for trail use, the Mach 2 is a competent, highly-cushioned, lightweight road shoe that (like version 1) can survive on trails.

The Mach 2 is a solid up tempo trainer and long racer. The upper is accomodating and at the same time secure. It’s weight puts it into a tough class with shoes such as Kinvara 10, Reebok Floatride Fast, and New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon. Those seeking Hoka’s characteristic maximal cushion will not find it here given primarily its relatively low forefoot stack, 3mm less upfront and at the heel than the Clifton 5 but in a shoe weighing over 1.5 oz less.  You will get a fast firmer stable shoe with plenty of underfoot bounce and a great performance upper that is not a straight jacket.
Sam’s Score:  9.5/10
-0.4 for relatively firm heel ride and not as snappy transition off the heel as ideal for my run style. . Agreeing with Derek, a higher drop with added midsole at the heel or even heel rubber there would make the Mach 2 really sing and at more paces.
-0.1 adding a more solid heel cup would perfect the foot hold.

Longer faster run focused shoe at a decently light weight
Great wet pavement traction
Substantial cushion, light weight, upper security, stability, and underfoot protection as a non technical trail run shoe,
Somewhat firm if bouncy cushion feel in comparison to recent competitive shoes in its class 
Raised midsole side walls may not be ideal for flat, wide feet.
Road runner testers would prefer a slightly higher drop

Hoka One One Mach 1 (RTR Review)
Dom:  Despite substantial changes to the upper materials and sole materials and construction, the two shoes are the same shape and feel surprisingly similar.  Running with original Mach on one foot and Mach 2 on the other, I struggled to feel any difference. Off-road, I found that Mach 2 provided more protection from rock penetration, but that grip was possibly slightly poorer.  (I say ‘possibly’ because I was only able to test side-by-side on a dry sandy surface, and other surfaces may flip things around) I noticed that the Mach 2 upper being smoother tended to rub less on pressure point at the lateral metatarsal.   Weight of the shoe is essentially unchanged in my pairs (up 5 g per pair, which is well within normal manufacturing variation). If you liked Mach 1, you’ll like Mach 2. If not, this update is unlikely to change your mind.
Sam: Overall the Mach 2 is an improvement over version 1. It is smoother running underfoot, if a bit firmer and stiffer but has more bounce and a superior upper. If only it had the slightly better flex of Mach 1.

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon (RTR review)
Sam: Beacon is the most similar shoe to the Mach for me and is close to an ounce lighter than Mach. With very similar stack heights, the Beacon is 1mm lower at the heel and 2 mm lower at the forefoot. The Beacon is less bouncy and responsive but also a touch softer overall,  I find it easier to run at slower paces due to softness and flexibility but a bit to soft and less responsive at the forefoot for faster paces. I prefer its single density consistent feel midsole. It has plenty of forefoot flex which the Mach lacks, but maybe too much for long hard running. Its upper is more secure at the heel and mid foot than Mach’s worn side by side with bare feet while Mach is looser and broader at mid foot and easier on the toes upfront. I would race in the Mach and train in the Beacon if I had to choose The Beacon by the way also includes some strategic rubber patches and checks in at $20 less than Mach.
Derek: I find the Beacon to be a softer shoe with better overall vibration dampening, and this is especially noticeable at easy paces where the Mach 2 can feel a little harsh. That said, the Beacon lacks the toe off responsiveness and midsole snappiness of the Mach 2, and hence I find myself struggling to pick up the pace with the Beacon. I think of the Beacon more as an easy pace long run shoe but if I want a bit more pace variation, then I think the Mach would be a better choice. The Beacon also has a more relaxed fit versus the performance fit of the Mach.

Hoka One One Huaka (RTR review)
Sam: The legendary 2014 Huaka was a road trail hybrid with a single slab rubberized foam midsole (RMAT) and a few patches of outsole rubber. It weighed about an ounce more than the Mach 2. It was one of my favorite shoes of the last decade for its versatility and somewhat bouncy ride. It differs from the Mach 2 in being more cushioned in the forefoot with a 25mm forefoot stack, so 3 mm more than Mach 2 with the same heel height. It was admirably more flexible than Mach 2 as well.  I still have a pair and did a short side by side run. The Huaka (and my pair is old) is more cushioned and slightly less bouncy.  The Mach 2 while a fine, light up tempo shoe still does not match the Huaka in versatility and I would easily trade the extra ounce of weight for a single density midsole remake of the Huaka with its extra cushion and flexibility. 

Saucony Kinvara 10 (RTR review)
Sam: Overall I prefer the Kinvara 10. They weigh only a touch more than the Mach. Kinvara  heel cushion is a bit more forgiving, less low feeling and stable, likely strangely enough but often the case for me, due to the addition of some hard rubber which the Mach lacks. I also appreciate its easy flex which the Mach lacks but have a slight preference for the more neutral midsole geometry of the Mach. The uppers are very similar but I would give a slight nod to the Kinvara for its more substantial heel counter.  The Kinvara is a notable $30 less expensive at $110.

Skechers Razor 3 Hyper (RTR review)
Derek: Similar shoes with the Razor 3 being a little bouncier and having a bit more of a racer feel with less stack and lower weight. For people who find the Razor 3 a little too little shoe for daily training, the Mach 2 could just be the ticket for you. Both these shoes fit me perfectly at true to size so the fit range is pretty similar in terms of foot shape. I think both models are going to sell really, really well in 2019.
Sam: The Razor 3 has less pace range than the Mach 2, leaning towards fast. I agree with Derek that the Razor 3 may be too little shoe for many for daily training and even at slower paces for long racing due to its low drop and minimal heel rubber. The Mach 2 slots in just above Razor in overall versatility but taken fast the lighter zippier Razor is more fun

Nike Zoom Elite 9 (RTR review)
Derek: The ZE9 is one of the shoes i still reach for when i want to do some tempo work and need that extra forefoot cushioning. It is so durable i didn’t need to get a ZE10. Weight wise, it is very similar to the Mach 2; less than 5 grams in it (i wear a US10 for the ZE9 vs US9.5 for Mach 2). The Mach 2 beats the ZE9 in terms of cushioning, as there is less ground feel compared to the ZE9, especially in the heel. Forefoot feels are similar with the Nike being a little more bouncy at faster paces. Both have excellent road grip. If you like the forefoot feel of the Zoom Elite, but want a little more heel cushioning then the Mach 2 would be a good option to try.

Reebok Floatride Run Fast (RTR review)
Sam: The Fast weighs almost 1.5 oz less than the Mach 2 and this is for sure noticed. Its heel cushion is more forgiving for me due to the Floatride Foam PEBAX midsole and more stable full contact heel rubber despite being 1.5 mm less in stack. The forefoot of the Fast is thinner by several millimeters at 17 mm as the shoe has a 8.5 mm drop so the forefoot is not as densely protected or cushioned as the Mach's. The additional ramp from the higher drop and distinct forward flex point the Mach lacks makes the Fast not only a faster shoe for me but also a more versatile one as slower paces are easier to pull off in the Fast. The Fast upper while fine is a bit thin and more awkward to dial in than Mach's. Overall I prefer the Fast: lighter, almost as cushioned with Pebax a more dynamic midsole ride, and more versatile and also more forgiving at slower paces. I easily could daily train in them something I would not do with the Mach 2.  
Derek:I think the Mach feels overall more cushioned and bouncy compared to the Fast. I would say the Mach has a wider pace range than the Fast, and is more forgiving at slower paces. For race pace stuff though, the Fast is the snappier shoe. The wider footprint of the Mach also creates for a marginally more stable ride, though the Fast has plenty of stability for a neutral shoe.  Fit wise, the Mach feels like a higher volume shoe, and would work better for wider feet or people with low arches. 
Hoka Clayton v1/2 (RTR review)
Derek: Totally different feel. They obviously solved the fit issue, but they have also made the shoe overall much more lively with a softer, more forgiving feel for daily training paces. Durability seems to be much better too.
Sam: Agree with Derek.

Hoka Cavu v1 (RTR review)
Derek: the Cavu is just a couple of grams lighter, but feels less cushioned with a less lively feel. After using the Mach 2, the Cavu feels a little dead by comparison. Overall the Mach 2 feels softer, is much more cushioned and bouncy, even if this makes it less snappy at the faster paces.
Sam: Yes, less lively bouncier and cushioned but quite similar overall. I would go longer any day in the Mach 2.

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit (RTR review)
Derek: The ZF Fk is the more cushioned option with less ground feel, but the ZF is also significantly heavier, and this becomes noticeable when going uphill. Both shoes have a similar degree of bounciness, which speaks volumes about what Hoka has managed to achieve with its rubberized foams. Overall the  Mach 2 feels more stable, courtesy of its lower stack and wider footprint. The fit is also easier to dial in with the Mach 2. On a technical course, i would lean towards the Mach for its cornering stability. On a flat course, I think the ZF Fk gets the nod for its great transitions.
Sam: I agree with Derek on the overall stability of the Mach 2 over Zoom Fly Flyknit and give Mach a clear nod for upper comfort over the stretch more performance fit of the FK.  I wouldn’t dream of taking FK on trails or rougher terrain but would the Mach 2. While heavier, the Zoom Fly is clearly more dynamic at all paces with much more noticeable toe transition and toe off power and explosiveness from its carbon plate. FK is a more fun and exciting shoe for me despite the weight penalty.
The Mach 2 arrives February 2019
The Mach 2 was provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments Questions Welcome Below!
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Mike said...

Are you please able to compare it to the Tracer 2? I really like the Tracer and fear that this the Mach 2 is going to be too soft and unstable for me.

Thank you.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Mike,
We did not test Tracer 2 but did Tracer 1. Mach 2 is not a soft shoe that's for sure. Not as firm as Tracer but way more stable than say Clifton. Did you run Mach 1. It basically was a Tracer with more cushion of the same firmness as far as I remember. Any potential instability might come from the upper and how it works with your foot, for example if you had a very narrow low volume foot and I do not think the platform.
Sam, Editor
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

PAT said...

Hoka Huaka was my all time favorite shoe. What shoe today out of all the shoes and brands out there, is more like the Huaka? Hint: the Clifton- felt like I was treading the Sahara desert; Clayton1- heel slipping and not the same nice ride. The Huaka made miles feel like yards to me. Thank you guys for your reviews. I really enjoy them!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Pat,
Well Mach 2 gets pretty close maybe closest. Did you run Huaka on roads or trails primarily? Let me ponder but the Altra Torin (especially 2.5) and Duo (but not a trail worthy upper) and Topo Ultraventure (more trail focused) come to mind. See review links below
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Jim said...

You mentioned the Reebok Run Fast in the review, but not in the comparison section. Any thoughts there?

I've really, really enjoyed mine (168 miles thus far), aside from a tongue that likes to slide down a touch on one shoe, but I'm always keeping an eye out for "what's next" (e.g. Razor 3, etc.) when their retirement day comes.


Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Jim, Yes Floatride Run Fast an apt comparison and I have added. Thanks for reminding.
Sam, Editor

Mike said...

Thanks Sam. That is helpful. I fear that this is not a great replacement for my Tracer 2 from what you say. Hopefully another Hoka model will come closer to replicating the Tracer 2's feel and snug fit.

Perhaps it is just me, but I do find the Hoka range confusing. So many similar models with forever changing names.

Anonymous said...

Derek, you mention the "Escalante Racer". I do not find a review of this shoe on your site. How does the escalante compare to the razor 3 and reebok pro?


Anonymous said...

Mike you should try the NB1400v6 or skechera goride7/racer3. Snug, fast but much more comfortable as the tracer 2. The tracer 2 is old school.

PAT said...

Sam: I train on roads and then run races both on trails and on roads. You said try the Topo Ultraventure for trails, what do you think about the Maganafly2? Maybe a close sub to the Huaka too? You know since I run both trails and roads. The straight stack height of 30 or 31from the Duo scares me. But if you say it’s one like the Huaka, I might try it after all. Is there any more shoes you can think off hand? Thanks

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Pat, The Magnifly would work well on trails as long as they aren't super technical or require lots of grip. It will be a firmer shoe for sure and not a sub for Huaka in my view in that sense on road but trails maybe. Duo for any trails would be iffy for sure. A Salomon Sonic RA might be worthy looking at along with a New Balance 880. Both have very supportive uppers and while road shoes can handle some trails due to their extensive outsole coverage.
Sam, Editor

Christian said...

Hi nice review! Can you make a comparison with Hoka Hupana 2? Since both shoes use the same ruberized foam.

Grant Humphrey said...

Sam, just to clarify, does the Mach 2 have the extra support on the upper on the medial side as the first iteration? Was hoping so, as it helps us mild overpronators!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Christian,
We weren't planning on testing Hupana 2 but will try to get pairs. As it has 2mm less stack than Mach 2 we could expect it might be somewhat firmer and more flexible, although also in the fall catalog the midsole Hupana is renamed as Hupana Flow and is called out as a "do anything" run to workouts shoe although appears largely unchanged other than upper.
Hi Grant,
With a broader arch area profile, less dense upper with less padding around the collar and less of a heel counter my guess Mach 2 may be a touch less supportive for over pronators. This said the new less stretch upper wraps the mid foot very well.
Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Luc,
Derek answers your question as follows: "In terms of softness, I think the EGO foam used in the Escalante series is softest, followed by the TPE used in the Reebok Pro, followed by Hyperburst of Razor 3. In terms of cushioning, the Pro has the lowest cushioning mainly because of low stack, followed by Escalante Racer, followed by the Razor 3. Escalante Racer is essentially a thinner version of the regular Escalante, with a more supportive upper. In the end, it just boils down to how much ground feel you can accept in a racer. "
Sam, Editor

David said...


I just received a pair of Mach 2 from the Running Warehouse. VERY disappointed in the sizing advice from Hoka, RW, and on here. In Hokas I have always worn 12 in their China made shoes and 12.5 Vietnam made shoes. I was 12.5 in Clayton 2 and Mach 1. Based on the advice here and Hokas shoe sizer I ordered 12.5 - they are HUGE!!! I think a 12 may even be beyond the margin of error in sizing, and I haven't worn below a 12 in 45 years! Both the box and the shoes say 12.5. They are so far off I almost wonder if something is wrong. Any other reports like this?

Many thanks,