HOKA MACH 5
The thing that sets the Mach 5 apart from other running shoes is very subtle, but it makes a world of a difference. Unlike most running shoes, the Mach 5 does not have a rubber outsole, using a firmer EVA foam instead. But this makes a huge difference in terms of padding and energy return. Combined with Hoka’s Profly+ technology (which creates significantly thicker padding) and the awesomely named Meta-Rocker (referring to the shoe’s low heel-to-toe drop and sculpted outsole that guides a runner’s natural gait), the result is an extremely comfortable, well-cushioned run. It might not sound like much now, but trust us, 10 km into your run, it still feels like you’re running on clouds.
The Mach 5 is also an upgrade from the Mach 4 ‒ and that is not a statement I take lightly. The Mach 4 elevated Hoka’s status as a sports brand by being one of the most popular running shoes of 2021. The Mach 4 is commended among a slate of shoes that collectively earned Hoka the “Brand of the Year” award at last year’s Footwear News Achievement Awards, known colloquially as the “Shoes Oscars”. Nevertheless, this year’s update is lighter, more responsive and boasts a lightweight upper made of an upgraded mesh material that is more breathable while fitting snugly against your feet.
The Hoka Mach 5 is a fantastic pair of running shoes in general for runners aiming for mid-to-high mileage, but among these four, it is perhaps the best race day shoe.