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Hoka's Mach 2 is a soft, responsive, endurance shoe

Runner's World UK logo Runner's World UK 26/02/2019 The Editors
This new version of Hoka One One's endurance trainer has a soft heel and responsive ride, so you can rack up fast training miles in comfort. © Trevor Raab This new version of Hoka One One's endurance trainer has a soft heel and responsive ride, so you can rack up fast training miles in comfort.

Price: £120Weight: 227 g (M), 187 g (W)Type: RoadThe right shoe for: Lightweight cushioning; endurance racing

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

By design, the Mach 2 delivers the three features most endurance runners look for when they’re logging heavy mileage: generous cushioning, a responsive ride, and low weight. The new, second iteration of this shoe is slightly firmer than the original Mach, but the firmer cushioning feels like a fair tradeoff for a lighter feel.

The shoe uses Hoka One One’s early stage meta-rocker-a design that combines a low heel lift with a sculpted outsole that promotes a smooth, rocking chair-like heel-to-toe transition. By pairing the meta-rocker with denser cushioning in the heel, Hoka gives you a shoe that absorbs impact and delivers rebound after landing.

Testers familiar with Hoka One One’s bulkier offerings like the Gaviota and the Bondi-and who’ve tested other lightweight trainers, including the Brooks Neuro-found the Mach 2 extremely responsive, saying it is “a solid performance shoe for racing and speed training.”

The Mach 2 is heavy on the softness in the heel to absorb shock (women’s shown). © Trevor Raab The Mach 2 is heavy on the softness in the heel to absorb shock (women’s shown).

A Dual-Density Midsole

The Mach 2 has the cushioned-feel runners gush over when it comes to Hoka One One. And yet the overall feel is less plush than some other models from the brand. That’s likely because the Mach 2, like the previous one, has a soft heel-which makes it great for absorbing shock if you’re an aggressive heel striker-and firm forefoot. Some of our wear testers who have also run in the Hoka Clifton and Saucony Ride-lightweight shoes known for their ample cushioning-said this one had a smoother heel-to-toe transition. “They are very light, extremely responsive, yet have just enough cushion for fast-paced workouts or racing,” said one tester. Most of our forefoot strikers found the overall cushioning to be adequate for a lightweight shoe.

High-Mileage Outsole

The Mach 2 has a rubberized foam outsole that feels responsive, but its grip received mixed reviews from our wear testers. While a few wished for better traction, others thought it was sufficiently tacky. “It feels like I have suction cups when I run on leaves or slick surfaces,” said one.

On a personal note, the Mach 2 had adequate grip and stability when I made sharp turns on my run. However, traversing over snowy roads was quite treacherous.

Perforations in the upper provide breathability (men’s shown). © Trevor Raab Perforations in the upper provide breathability (men’s shown).

Open Engineered Mesh Upper

Perforations on the lightweight, open engineered mesh upper provide ventilation across the midfoot and forefoot. Testers liked the lighter fabric, and appreciated how their feet didn’t overheat during long runs and treadmill workouts. Usually, increased breathability makes for sodden feet, but the Mach 2 does a decent job keeping light rain and puddle splatter out. “The upper kept my feet warm and dry while running a recent 5K race through mud, water, and even snow flurries,” said one tester.

More From an RW Wear Tester

Jonathan Z.,tester since 2016

Arch: Medium | Gait: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot

“The Mach 2 is incredibly light, which was great for speed work as well as long runs. Even when I would fatigue, I would never be aware of the weight of the shoe; this is something I cannot say about other shoes I run in. When I get tired, I am usually aware of the shoe I am lugging along with me.”

All the Stats You Need!

Men’s

  • Weight: Very Light | 8.0 oz
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Low | 8.3 mm
  • Heel Height: Moderate | 32.4 mm
  • Heel Cushioning: Moderate
  • Forefoot Height: High | 24.1 mm
  • Forefoot Cushioning: Moderate
  • Flexibility: Very Stiff
  • Stability Features: Some
  • Energy Return: Moderate

Women’s

  • Weight: Very Light | 6.6 oz
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Low | 6.9 mm
  • Heel Height: Moderate | 29.3 mm
  • Heel Cushioning: Moderate
  • Forefoot Height: Moderate | 22.4 mm
  • Forefoot Cushioning: Moderate
  • Flexibility: Very Stiff
  • Stability Features: Some
  • Energy Return: Moderate

We put each shoe through real-world usage and a battery of mechanical tests in our lab to provide you with objective-and exclusive-data. In addition to a shoe’s weight, we measure sole thickness (everything that sits between your foot and the road), how well the foam cushions your stride, and the flexibility of the forefoot. All this is taken into account in our reviews of each shoe.

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