A good looking and extremely versatile shoe, the Mach X is Hoka's take on an everyday training shoe with a plastic midsole plate for extra propulsion. It's more stable and balanced than most, making it great for different speeds and distances, and the upper and outsole are surprisingly tough to see you through lots of long miles and mixed weather.
Lightweight and breathable
Upper is surprisingly tough
Plastic plate provides extra propulsion
Versatile enough for different speeds and distances
Less springy than Saucony Kinvara Pro
Expensive for an everyday training shoe
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Hoka Mach X: first impressions
The Hoka Mach X that teams plush cushioning with a springy plastic midsole plate and a surprisingly robust upper to create a great looking and versatile road running shoe.
• List price: $180 / £160
• Gender specificity: men's and women's
• Sizes: men's 6.5-13.5, women's 3.5-9.5 (UK)
• Category: neutral, daily trainer
• Stack height: 42mm
• Drop: 5mm
• Weight (per shoe): 8.1oz / 266g (average men's)
• Colors: ocean mist/lime glow (men), lime glow/sunlit ocean (women)
• Best use: Everyday road running
Springy plates were once the sole preserve of super-light race day shoes, but over the last couple of years they've started to creep into the midsoles of tougher everyday runners as well. Saucony recently released its first everyday carbon shoe, the superb Saucony Kinvara Pro, which makes regular training runs a joy if your wallet can take the $180 / £200 hit. If you're on a tighter budget, or just prefer more squish in your shoe, the Hoka Mach X is a great alternative.
Rather than pricey carbon, the propulsion plate tucked away in the Mach X's soft midsole is made from a kind of thermoplastic called Pebax, which is made using 65% plant-based material to reduce reliance on virgin plastics.
There's also a generous amount of recycled material in the jacquard mesh upper, which comes in a summery lime glow/sunlit ocean colorway for women (shown here) and ocean mist/lime glow for men. I was concerned that this might pick up stains easily, but I needn't have worried; it's light and super breathable, but surprisingly resilient.
The flat laces have a little stretch, and the tongue (which is partially gusseted) has a strategically placed dab of padding just underneath, so you can fasten them quite tight without putting undue pressure on your metatarsals. The tongue, like that of most Hoka shoes, is very short, but didn't slip down during testing.
You also get the necessary extra eyelets to create a heel lock, but during my tests the Mach X wasn't going anywhere. The light, but effective padding in the collar kept my heel nicely in place, with no slipping, and it never tried to make my summer socks migrate down.
Hoka Mach X: on the roads
The Hoka Mach X fits true to size, and the upper wraps your foot in a snug hug. On close inspection, the jacquard mesh comprises two layers: a soft knit that sits against your sock, and a fine but tough nylon mesh to provide protection on the outside. It's a great combination, and during some particularly wet summer runs I was surprised to see that the upper shrugged off a lot of water. It might be light, but it's resilient, and doesn't stain easily either.
The outsole is also built to last. Unlike race day shoes, which use the bare minimum of rubber, the Mach X has a good amount across the whole outsole – particularly on areas of high wear. I've been putting in some serious miles as part of a marathon training plan, and they still look good as new.
These are definitely road-only shoes, though in my experience they'll be just fine on gravel paths as well thanks to the surprisingly sturdy construction.
The Mach X has Hoka's signature early-stage Metarocker shape, which is designed to help your foot roll forward naturally. The shape isn't quite as aggressive as that of the Saucony Kinvara Pro, which makes it feel more natural at lower speeds. The wide sole unit also helps provide balance at lower speeds where stiff, highly cushioned shoes sometimes feel unsteady.
The midsole contains two different types of foam: a softer layer on top and a denser layer underneath. The result is a shoe that's definitely firm, but still feels plush underfoot, as you'd expect from Hoka.
Personally I'd prefer it if the rubber extended a little further onto the heel for extra protection, and the overall feel isn't quite as dynamic as Saucony's new shoe, but it's an excellent all-rounder if you'd like to put a little extra spring into your mid-week workouts and long training runs.
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).