The Hoka Mach X continues a Hoka Mach line that’s been up and down in recent iterations including the Hoka Mach 5 and Hoka Mach Supersonic. This year, Hoka once again significantly tweaked the Mach formula but kept the Mach namesake.
With the Hoka Mach X, we get what feels like an upgraded Mach. The Hoka team added a layer of Peba foam and a Pebax plate to the midsole. Looking at those new additions and the shoe’s revised stats, I immediately thought the Mach X would make a great speed day or workout shoe. But, the reality of the Mach X out in the streets doesn’t quite match the idea of the Mach X. Let’s talk about why.
Hoka Mach X
Release Date: July 2023
Weight: Men’s 9.2 oz., Women’s 8.0 oz.
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: The Hoka Mach X features a fantastic rocker and peppy midsole but it comes with a price, both in money and weight.
The Peba layer in the Hoka Mach X brings a bounce that is only surpassed (in Hoka land) by one of our Tier 1 marathon racing shoes, the Rocket X. But the Mach X has more in common with the soon-to-be-discontinued Asics GlideRide 3 than it does with any other Hoka.
Why do I say that?
Because the Hoka Mach X, like the high-performing forefoot-plated GlideRide 3, has a super smooth rocker that makes running feel like less effort at various paces. Each footstep rolls from the crash point to the toe-off with ease. Then, at toe-off, the ample Peba foam in the forefoot, combined with the Pebax plate, provides a pop. It’s a muted pop compared to race day shoes but it’s really appreciated on long runs or when picking up the pace.
The swallowtail geometry of the heel helps the rocker feel more natural as lateral or medial landers can both reap the benefits of a seamless heel-to-toe transition.
I just wish Hoka would have used less of the CMEVA foam that makes up the bottom layer. I’d prefer a ratio of super foam to everyday foam more akin to the Asics Superblast. That ratio, which I think is an 80/20 split, would make the Mach X lighter, peppier, and better able to provide high-level versatility similar to the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3.
While I really enjoyed the feeling of the midsole underfoot, I imagine there are smaller runners who will find it a bit bulky and overweight. With some tweaks next year, Hoka can create a shoe that competes with the best.
At first glance, the upper looks like an all-around winner. The thin gusseted tongue with a huge, soft pad in the middle to relieve lace pressure is impressively comfortable and perfect for an uptempo shoe. The engineered jacquard mesh upper has two layers but the toe and midfoot are seemingly well ventilated. But the way it looks is a bit deceiving.
In practice, the Hoka Mach X is a sweat collector. Summer running in humid climates, especially the long run variety, left me with a soaked shoe that felt much heavier at the end of the run and took forever to dry (remove the insoles for best results). For whatever reason, the sweat just stays inside the Mach X and can’t exit. Wringing out my socks post-run revealed a fountain of trapped perspiration. I often felt like I had attempted a river crossing as I neared the end of any 8+ mile run. This is a road shoe in need of drainage holes.
The other complaint about the upper is it’s a bit narrow at the toes. Not enough for me to recommend that buyers size up, but enough that wide footers, especially those with wide forefoots, will want to be careful when considering this shoe.
The traction on the Hoka Mach X is solid but the durabrasion rubber showed a lot of wear much sooner than I anticipated. I ran 60+ miles in the Mach X and my high wear areas have me concerned. There’s plenty of rubber, but the pattern is likely to wear off as you pass 100 miles.
You’ll still have rubber remaining (even in the high-wear areas) but this outsole will likely struggle to continue providing solid traction as you close in on 250-300 miles. This isn’t particularly surprising for a Hoka, but it needs to be noted.
Is the Hoka Mach X wide foot friendly?
The Hoka Mach X is wide foot friendly in the heel and midfoot but not the forefoot. Those with wide forefoots should try on the Mach X before buying or buy it from somewhere with a great return policy (like Running Warehouse and its 90-day no sweat return policy).
Is the Hoka Mach X worth $180?
No. As currently constructed, I think the Hoka Mach X should be priced at $160ish. The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 is priced at $160 while using a similar Peba/EVA midsole combo but with a much better outsole. The Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 is priced at $170 with a full peba midsole and similar rocker/outsole.
Based on the price matched with performance, I can’t recommend the Hoka Mach X above either of those two shoes or the New Balance SC Trainer v2. The Mach X needs a few tweaks to crack the top tier of the emerging super max running shoe segment.
Hoka Mach X Summary
The Hoka Mach X is a fun shoe. Especially if you’re a larger runner that doesn’t care about weight. It’s got a fantastic rocker motion and a midsole with some pop. But, it’s overpriced, needs a more durable outsole, and the upper traps way too much moisture.
Overall, I’d call the Mach X a mixed bag. Some people will love it and others will feel like it didn’t deliver enough value. It finds itself in the murky middle of performance running shoes. If you wait till the Mach X goes on sale, you’ll likely end up with a much more favorable outlook on the shoe and be able to get your money’s worth.