Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Hoka Mach 6 Multi Tester Review: 8 Comparisons

Article by Ben David, Peter Stuart, Sally Reiley, Shannon Payne, and Zack Dunn 

Hoka Mach 6 ($140)


Ben: I will be honest: When I saw early pictures of the Mach 6 from The Running Event this past December, I was concerned that Hoka was taking a great product and trying to drastically alter it. Visually, the shoe has little in common with recent iterations. It even gets a rubber outsole!  Its updated geometry reads ‘streamlined and speedy’ when one looks at it. 

As an ardent fan of the Mach 4 and the Mach 5, my go-to daily trainers for a long time, I was nervous to say the least. Much of my angst disappeared upon step-in and was further assuaged during my first run in the Mach 6. The shoe is stable, highly comfortable, well-cushioned and easygoing. That is, it does not run as it looks; this is a daily trainer that has been tweaked so that the ride is even more enjoyable and protected. 

Sally: I was fortunate to attend The Running Event in Austin and saw the upcoming Mach 6 in person. True, the easter egg pastel colors caught my attention, but the lightweight, classic and much less “Hoka-esque” (ie, slimmer profile than the typical Hoka) trainer left me wanting to lace it up. I have somehow not run in many Hoka models after finding the few I tried (Bondi was my first) seemed like too much shoe for my petite frame and little legs. SO many friends swear by Hoka - now might be the time to get back in the game and give Hokas a fair test. And the Mach 6 looks like a great place to start.

Shannon: My prior experience with the Hoka Mach includes the first iteration from 2018, then version 3 in 2021 which were two wildly different shoes, with version 3 being exponentially better than the original. During my Mach hiatus, the brand looks as though they’ve upgraded this light, fast trainer to something even better. I have an affinity for lightweight, neutral trainers that can act as a Swiss Army Knife of sorts when it comes to training, and the new Mach 6 looks like it might just fit the bill.

Zack: With this latest iteration of the Mach, I can say just by looks that the shoe very much intrigued me. It gives the vibes of being comfortable, yet also has a speedy look to it. I only had experience with the previous Mach, which I very much enjoyed, as I found it to be quite versatile and able to be used for many types of runs. Therefore, I can say I was quite excited to test this new iteration!


Perfect level of cushion for a daily trainer: Ben/Peter/Sally

Durable upper: Ben/Zack

Not afraid to pick up the pace: Ben/Peter/Shannon/Zack

Comfortable and very breathable upper: Peter/Sally/Shannon

Simple uncomplicated upper: Sally/Shannon/Zack

Solid value at $140 for a supercritical foam trainer


Somewhat narrow, with a slightly cramped toe box  Ben

Narrow midfoot, will challenge higher volume feet: Sally

Very slightly heavier than the Mach 5 but higher stacked:  Peter

Not quite as low to the ground and nimble as Mach 5 has a lower stack: Peter/Sally

A little bit of a baggy fit in the toe box: Shannon

Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Spec Weight: men's 8.2 oz  / 232g (US10)  /  women's 6.7 oz / 190g (US8)

  Samples: men’s 8.88 oz /251.8 g US11, 7.75 oz / 220g US8.5

                  women’s   6.9 oz / 196 g (US W8)

Stack Height: men’s 37 heel mm / 32mm forefoot (5mm drop spec) 

                       women’s   35 mm heel / 30 mm forefoot

Platform Width (M US8.5): 90mm heel / 70mm midfoor / 110mm forefoot

$140  Available now

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Ben: As noted in the introduction, while the outsole and midsole combine to make a highly accommodating ride, I actually found the fit to be snug. The shoe seems narrower than earlier versions and a touch shorter for my size 9 but it’s possible this was from the thicker socks I was wearing.  It also seems the upper is less breathable than earlier versions. This wasn’t a problem while testing here in the Philly area in February but could be an issue in the summer for many of us. The heel tab seems slightly higher than in previous versions of the shoe, presumably to ease tension on and support the Achilles. I found that to be a welcomed change.

Peter: A good looking update to the venerable Mach series. Right out of the box, it’s clear that the Mach 6 introduces some major changes. The Mach 6 sits a full 8mm higher than the Mach 5 across the board. I found the fit to be true-to-size and excellent. I can feel the extra cushion underfoot–especially in the forefoot–which felt a bit thin over long miles in the Mach 5. 

The tongue is gusseted and well-ventilated. Laces are excellent and foot hold is good. 

Sally: My pair of Mach 6 arrived in a basic black upper with a white midsole - no easter egg pastel colorway as seen at TRE. The shoe feels comfortable right out of the box with a nice soft well-cushioned step-in. 

It appears slimmer than other Hokas, and runs fairly narrow in the midsole, fine for my narrow foot but possibly a reason to go wide for a larger volume foot.

It fits basically true to size in my women’s 8, and perhaps even a bit long (though I prefer long to too short). Heel hold is good, and the lightly padded gusseted tongue sits comfortably on the top of the foot without slipping. 

I had no issues with the lacing and the laces, all did as asked.

Shannon: My initial impression when putting this shoe on was that I couldn’t believe how soft the midsole felt. It was almost reminiscent of older versions of the Clifton, but undoubtedly with more durability due to the blown rubber outsole. But even just walking around in the shoe, there is definitely a certain springiness to the midsole despite its plushness, this was not a “running in sand” type feeling. I did have some bunching of the fabric of the toe box upon lacing them up, but likely would have had less of that as well as a slightly more comfortable fit in a half size smaller.Typically I’m usually a women’s 8, but a 7.5 would have been a better fit. Despite the additional length however, I did not have any slippage in the heel. Out of the gate this shoe already felt like a winner.

Zack: In terms of first impressions, I can say that right off the bat, the Mach 6 was a shoe I was eager to run in. Especially when initially looking at the specs, it very much screamed lightweight trainer, which is a type of shoe I am very fond of. When first putting on the shoe, right away I can tell that, for me at least, the shoe ran true-to-size. 

I really enjoyed the upper right off the bat, something that I think Hoka has always nailed. It was lightweight and breathable while still maintaining good comfort. Furthermore, the lockdown was great, and the tongue is gusseted, which means there should be very little movement in the midfoot. Everything else was just fine, the laces, tongue, etc. Overall, I really enjoyed the upper. 

Midsole & Platform

Ben: Instead of the multi-foam approach of previous editions of the Mach, with a compression molded EVA as its main midsole and a lower foam as its outsole, the Mach 6 makes use of a new supercritical EVA foam, which I found to be far more responsive than the foam in the Mach 4 and 5 and includes a rubber outsole. 

It is a lively shoe as far as daily trainers go, even as lively as some of the nylon-plated super trainers to hit the market in recent months. The width of the platform also seems expanded, making for a highly stable ride. My ankles were not in danger of rolling or twisting and I felt confident going around bends. All of that said, it is likely the stability and width of the shoe that  prevents it from being a truly fast shoe (not that speed is the primary reason to buy a Mach shoe). 

Peter: The new supercritical EVA foam is an excellent upgrade from the foams in the Machs 4 and 5. It’s pretty impressive that the Mach went up 8mm –to 37 in the heel and 32 in the forefoot–and only gained a couple of tenths of an ounce. The foam is responsive and protective of the foot and rolls well through the gait cycle. I did some miles with a Mach 5 on one foot and a Mach 6 on the other, and while the 5 feels a little lower to the ground, the 6 has more spring and holds up better over longer miles. The platform feels very stable to me–well balanced and natural.

Sally: The new super critical foam EVA midsole gets all the credit for the lively ride of this trainer. The stack height of my women’s size 8 is 35mm at the heel, 30mm at the forefoot, resulting in a drop of 5mm (I tend to prefer 8 mm or so to protect my achilles, but this felt okay). The shoe flexes nicely at the forefoot, but otherwise is quite stiff, almost as stiff as some of our plated shoes.  

The platform is wider than the foot bed but not overly so, providing nice stability, but still in a light package. The feel is somewhat soft underfoot but not marshmallowy at all, and the new foam contributes to a responsiveness that I find noticeable but relatively tame, and not bouncy at all. 

I have a hunch I might find more energy return here if I were fully healthy (currently rehabbing a hamstring) and able to really push the pace and see what this shoe can do (I doubt Hoka named this shoe Mach if it weren't meant for some speed).     

Shannon: To start, I love the inherently stable feel to this shoe due to the straight last and wide platform. Running in the shoe, there is of course the trademark subtle rocker in the forefoot but the thing that stood out to me the most was how springy and, as others have previously stated, how incredibly lively the ride of this shoe is. I can’t think of a better word for it than “bouncy,” and I can’t say I’ve ever felt a ride entirely alike to this one. This is a shoe that despite the added cushion that makes it undoubtedly versatile in terms of the types of training you can do in it, it will make you want to pick up the pace.. Rather than easing into the run as I normally would, I felt like I wanted to take off at 6 minute a mile pace right out the door, sadly my hamstring may disagree with that sentiment. 

Zack: I can confidently say that the midsole is my favorite part of the shoe. As stated by everyone else, this shoe is very much updated in comparison to version 5, which includes more midsole foam, as well as a full composition of supercritical EVA. This new update makes it a much more enjoyable ride, which was good considering I was a big fan of the 5. 

This foam provides a good amount of energy return, as well as a the same time a really soft ride . This definitely made it able to shine at a large variety of runs, and allowed it to be extremely versatile, with normal run paces up to tempo paces feeling great! I will touch more on this in the ride section, but I can certainly say that this shoe can accomplish many different runs.


Ben: We now have a new rubber overlay (no rubber in prior Mach, just a rubberized foam lower layer)  that mimics the pattern of the  outsole of the recently released Cielo X 1, minus the large cutout. It’s a wide, ample base. I did not have any issues with the outsole of the last two models and had no issues with this outsole either. I imagine the rubber will add greater traction in rain and snow. This is a bonus in a shoe presumably contending to be a do-it-all trainer. 

Peter: The outsole may be the most substantial change here. The Mach 4 and Mach 5 tended to wear out pretty quickly. I loved each of them, but they really started to flag after a couple of hundred miles. Part of this was the lack of rubber on the outsole. The previous “outsole” a rubberized foam, showed wear quickly and had some traction issues. The Mach 6 will very likely last longer and have better traction all around. All of this with no significant weight gain. The rubber outsole is an excellent upgrade. 

Sally: I do not have the Mach 5 for comparison, but the updated outsole works well. The rubber provides great traction even on wet surfaces and is relatively quiet underfoot. The base is wide and stable without any exaggerated width. The amount of rubber hints of the promise of good durability, a great trait for a shoe that might see a lot of use as a daily trainer, gym shoe, and everyday casual shoe.

Shannon: Again, I can’t say enough about the stable feeling of this shoe, and the outsole only adds to that. I have had previous Hoka models in the past that did in fact get a little bit slippery on various outdoor surfaces, particularly in the presence of rain, but this is not a shoe that has that issue. The grip is stellar, and while I have not put enough miles on it yet to have a good feel for the durability, the lack of exposed foam on the outsole makes this one model that’s likely to last. 

Zack: In terms of the outsole, the shoe has a pretty simple configuration, but it does perform great. I think that this update provides some much needed improved traction, especially on wet surfaces. I think Hoka did a great job in putting rubber where it mattered, as it saves weight and also increases durability. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Ben: The Mach 6 continues in the tradition of the iterations before it by delivering a highly wearable, do-it-all shoe. This latest version is more than happy to pick up the pace. It’s a fun, peppy shoe with a new foam and sleeker ride than the five. Will people like this development or yearn for the more daily trainer focused offering of before? I found it to be a solid improvement and am guessing this will vie with the Clifton to become Hoka’s most popular road shoe.

Ben’s Score 9.0/10


Peter: The Ride of the Mach 6 improves from previous versions in exactly the ways I’d have hoped. There’s more cushion at the forefoot without sacrificing a snappy and responsive ride. There’s rubber on the outsole which improves the traction. I found myself speeding up on my longer runs in the Mach and having a lot of fun as I started putting pace on them. The ride reminds me of the NB Rebel v4, and a slightly more cushioned and more responsive version of the Mach 5. I like the changes to the upper and have felt stable on corners and in wet conditions. 

Peter's Score 9.5 / 10  An excellent daily trainer. Totally in the front of the line for my favorite daily trainers of the year. 


Sally: Hoka describes the Mach 6 as “a springy lightweight shoe built to go fast and far.” I have found it to be a great versatile daily trainer that is lightweight and peppy and comfortable. I admit that I evaluate shoes now with a warped filter - I have had the privilege and the pleasure of running in many of the plated super shoes that are uber responsive and return unreal amounts of energy. The Mach 6 is solid and decently springy, but lacks the pop and responsiveness of the super shoes, as to be expected. Apples and oranges! As I continue to rehab a hamstring injury, I hope to soon pick up my pace and better experience the snappy ride that Peter describes. This is a classic looking slimmer-than-most-Hokas trainer that will find its spot in this runner’s rotation as a versatile daily trainer, a gym shoe, or even as a do-it-all wear it all day shoe. It is time to finally join the masses and FLY HUMAN FLY.

Sally’s score:  9.2 / 10

 Ride  9.1 (50%)    Fit 9.3 (30%)    Value  10 (15%)    Style 9.7 (5%) 

 😊😊😊😊- 1/2 

Shannon: You guys, this shoe is a party on your foot.It’s a fabulous update and an excellent shoe.  I love the incredibly bouncy, lively, yet soft and forgiving ride. I love the inherently stable feel of it. I love how it gives you a very well-cushioned platform without feeling like there is far too much shoe underfoot. I love the variety of paces you can comfortably run in this shoe: I’d wear it for an easy run, a long run,a tempo run,  heck I’d even wear it in a race, because the faster you run the better it seems to feel. If there is one thing I’d change ever so slightly, I’d maybe reduce the amount of upper material to make the forefoot fit a little less baggy, but hey, no one’s perfect. 

Shannon’s Score: 9.8/10 😊😊😊😊😊

Ride: 10/10, Fit: 8/10, Value: 9/10, Style: 9/10

Zack: In all, I think Hoka created something really special here. The shoe is extremely versatile and can be used for many kinds of runs: easy runs, long runs, tempo runs, etc. I used it for distances ranging from 6-15 miles, where it felt comfortable regardless of distance, as well as paces ranging from recovery to tempo and it performed well allall those paces. In short, the upper was extremely well engineered, the midsole was soft and responsive, and the outsole performed as it should. There was nothing I disliked about the shoe, which is a really good thing, but there were very slight things I would improve, hence the 9.5 score and not a 10.

Zack’s Score: 9.5 / 10


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Hoka Mach 5 (RTR Review)

Ben: The Mach 6 is a touch snappier and a touch more stable. Both are great daily trainers and highly reliable. It’s a toss-up, especially as Mach 5’s will likely be on sale now. 

Peter: Mach 6 is more cushioned under the forefoot and really fun to run in. Add that to the likely greater durability and this is a terrific update. It keeps the DNA of the original and improves upon it. 

Hoka Mach X (RTR Review)

Ben: I actually found the Mach X to be fairly dull. It never gave me the pop that it was purported to provide. For price, weight and energy return, I’d choose the Mach 6. 

Peter: What he said. I didn’t love the Mach X. The Mach 6 is a more fun ride for me. 

Altra Flow Experience (RTR Review)

Sam: The Hoka has 5mm more stack height at the heel and 4mm more upfront. Unlike the Altra it has a supercritical foam midsole which gives it a considerably more energetic ride and 6g lower weight. Its ride is quicker and more agile due to the foam but also its 10mm narrower midfoot platform with heel and forefoot the same width as the Flow. It's upper is a non stretch engineered mono mesh and for sure lower volume with a near race shoe like fit and I think the Mach would make a superb non plated racer as it is under 8 oz in weight and quick and lively. If you have a higher volume wider foot you will be more comfortable in the Flow and/or if you need a touch of stability ( its wider midfoot platform) the Altra is a better choice, otherwise the Mach is the clear winner for me. With supercritical foam in the Flow and it would for sure be a closer race.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4 (RTR Review)

Sally: W8 in both, TTS. The new Rebel is already one of my top daily trainer picks of 2024: it is light, quick, bouncy, secure, and downright fun to run in. The Hoka Mach 6 is similar and checks a lot of the same boxes, but somehow doesn’t have as much fun factor, lacking the ridiculously lively bounce of the Rebel 4. As someone who likes to run on the wild side, I would typically choose the Rebel.

Zack: These shoes are extremely similar and are ones that I really enjoyed. Both shoes are extremely similar, in that both are versatile, lightweight, bouncy, and really fun to run. I will say that the slight difference I can tell underfoot is that the Rebel is ever so slightly more on the responsive side, while the Mach is more on the bouncy side, but the difference is minimal. Therefore, I think both shoes are great and due to the $140 price point of both , I think either one will do any runner good due to being quite identical shoes. 

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Trainer 2  (RTR Review)

Ben: I found the NB ride to be fairly sloppy and had trouble with lockdown. I would not say the same about the Mach 6. For me Mach 6 wins this one easily. It can run at faster paces and is ready to cruise on easy runs. 

Peter: I love the SC Trainer. It’s got a very different feel. It’s a much softer forefoot, but retains some spring. The Mach 6 is a bit firmer. Both feel really good, but I appreciate the lighter ride of the Mach 6.

Sally: W8 in both. I really love the NB SC Trainer, but I agree that it has lockdown issues. Like the Rebel, the SC Trainer is livelier and bouncier, which tends to sway me toward that choice. The Mach 6 is firmer and light underfoot, has a better fitting upper, and is a better value. It comes down to what your priorities are.

On Cloud Eclipse (RTR Review)

Ben: I found the On Cloud Eclipse to be simply a dream to run: soft, energetic, comfortable, fun. While heavier and more expensive, I think it’s the better shoe at all paces. That said, for those who have an aversion to On shoes (and I know these people are out there), they will find the Hoka to be the clear winner here. For me, however, it’s the On. 

Peter: Both excellent shoes. The Cloud Eclipse is very slightly less stable, but both are great to run in. Mach 6 is lighter. 

Sally: The On Cloud Eclipse feels amazing underfoot, but I have struggled with the overly roomy fit of the upper. The Mach 6 fit is snug and secure with excellent lockdown. My dream would be the Mach 6 upper and the On Cloud Eclipse midsole. Meanwhile, I can only do miles in the better fitting Mach 6. 

Asics SuperBlast  (RTR Review)

Ben: This is another toss-up for me. The SuperBlast felt clunky at times and overly snug to me; we never fully got along. The fact that both of these shoes know how to go fast without having any kind of plate is what puts them at odds with each other. If it comes down to price (and availability), the Mach 6 is the clear winner.

Saucony Kinvara 14 (RTR Review)

Shannon: I would certainly place both the Mach 6 and the longtime classic that is the Saucony Kinvara 14 into the same category in that they’ll both give you that snappy performance across a variety of paces and serve plenty of functions when it comes to training. Despite this, between the two they have wildly different rides. 

The bouncy, high-energy ride of the Mach 6 makes this shoe a winner over the Kinvara in terms of having a get-on-your-toes-and-GO feeling. Conversely however, there is considerably more midsole material between the foot and the ground in the Mach 6 versus the Kinvara 14 to that end the Kinvara provides a very inherently stable feeling of being close to the ground, yet still having just enough cushion to protect.   

The Hoka Mach 6 is available now including at our partners below

Tester Profiles

Ben is the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA. A cancer survivor, he has run 21 marathons. He holds PRs of 3:15 for the marathon and 1:30 for the half. At 46, he still enjoys pushing himself and combining his running with supporting a variety of causes. Follow him on Instagram: @RabbiBPD or Twitter: @BDinPA 

Peter lives in Austin, Texas and has been a sub 3 hour marathoner as well as a 1:21 half marathoner in recent years

Sally is a lifelong runner and mother of five who agreed against her better judgment to run her first marathon at age 54; she has since run the past ten Boston Marathons, two NYC Marathons, one Chicago, and one London with the WMM Six Star Medal now in her sights. With a Boston PR of 3:25:55 in 2022 (9th place in AG) and two consecutive 2nd place in Age Group W60 awards in NYC, she competed in the Abbott World Marathon Majors Age Group World Championships at the 2022 London Marathon and ran an all-time PR of 3:24:02, placing 6th in the world in her women’s 60-64 age group.  She also competes in USATF races with the Greater Lowell Road Runners team. To add meaning to her Boston Marathon races she runs with Team Eye and Ear and has raised over $285,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital. Sally is 5’2’’ and 105 pounds and lives in Marblehead, MA, training outdoors year round. She blames her love of skiing out West for any and all Boston Marathon training challenges.

Shannon is a Colorado native currently residing in Northern California. NorCal is nice, but Colorado will always be home. Having run competitively for around 20 years, she was a 7x All American at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, was a 2x member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team, 2x winner of the Mt. Washington Road Race, and was 3rd at the 2014 World Mountain Running Long Distance Championship. While running will always have her heart, she recently segued into DEKAfit and qualified for the 2022 World Championships. Looking ahead, she has goals of doing more DEKAfit (only faster and better), more gravel bike races, the Mt. Washington double (the running race and bike race in the same year), and returning to the Pikes Peak Ascent podium.Her favorite shoes currently include the Hoka Torrent and Saucony Kinvara, and her favorite runs include anything that goes uphill.

Zack Dunn: is a college runner at Lewis University. I’ve been running for 8 years, and focused solely on running after giving up on years of baseball and wrestling. I race distances between 800 meters and 10K  whether it be on the track, the roads, or on cross country courses. I do most of my training on the roads, some training on the track, and occasionally run trails logging anywhere from 65-80 miles a week. My typical training consists of easy days, long days, workouts (fartleks, tempos, interval training, etc.). My typical training paces range from 7’30 a mile on easy days to sub-5 minutes a mile on fast interval days, and with many paces in between. My personal bests are 4:20 for 1600m, 8:42 for 3000m, 14:51 for 5K, and 25:24 for 8k. 

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Anonymous said...

Is the upper less breathable than version 5? It looks thicker.

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Ante said...

Great review as always!
Can you elaborate on the difference in fit, with in toebox, compared to New Balance FuelCell Rebel v?