Hoka One One Mach Supersonic Review
To kick off the Hoka One One Mach 4 Supersonic review, let’s first consider what the “Mach” line is for. The Hoka Mach 4 and brand-new Mach 4 Supersonic are somewhat designed as the perfect training shoe to partner with the Hoka Carbon X. Running shoes with a carbon plate in are designed to help you go quicker but they do a lot of the work for your feet and ankles, so if you run in them too often your feet get weak and you could get niggles or injuries as a result. There was arguably a gap in the Hoka market for a quick shoe that didn’t “do it all for you” and Hoka responded by creating the Mach. This shoe has the same cushioning and rocker as the Carbon X, so it allows you to run with the same posture i.e. you are using your legs in the same way as in the Carbon X and training the same muscles. The Mach 4 and Mach 4 Supersonic is more flexible though, and allows more foot and ankle function to help train these important areas too.
The ideal set up is to use your Carbon X once a week for your faster running, be it intervals or a Tempo run. Then use the Mach 4 Supersonic for your other runs during the week. These are still faster runs mind you, this is not a ‘plod along’ high cushion shoe. If you are doing long runs or double days, then you may wish to add a more cushioned shoe for long runs and easy runs like the Hoka Clifton 8 or Hoka Bondi 7. A long run for me is 2 hours and over and although the Mach 4 Supersonic will do this and I’m a more responsive running shoe fan, I find it easier to do a long slow run in a Hoka Clifton 8 or Bondi 7 as the Mach 4 Supersonic encourages me to run quickly!
The Hoka Mach 4 is essentially the Carbon X without the carbon plate. The cushioning does feel soft and the shoe is quite flexible. They feel very light on your feet and you don’t have a lot of feel for he floor. The Mach 4 Supersonic has an additional layer of foam (Profly +) on top of the soft foam. This is firmer and more responsive, which gives the Mach 4 Supersonic a much snappier feel. I found the Mach 4 Supersonic a nicer shoe to use for hill reps, intervals or tempo runs than the Mach 4 as the more responsive feel to the shoe urges you to go faster. The increased feel for the floor allows you to push harder.
The fit of the Mach 4 Supersonic is the same as the Mach 4, although the Mach 4 Supersonic has a bit more padding around the cuff of the heel and a more padded tongue. This extra padding does make the Supersonic feel more like a training shoe when you initially put it on. The Mach 4 Supersonic weighs in at a lightweight 235g / 195g for men’s and women’s respectively. The heel tab comes up high but curls away from the Achilles. This is the same as on the Mach 4 and is designed to pull the heel cup in, so you get a snugger fit.
If you haven’t used a Hoka One One running shoe before then you will find that even the responsive shoes like the Mach 4 Supersonic has a softer feel to the cushioning than most brands. Your foot ‘sits inside’ the midsole of the shoe. This is designed to increase the stability and give a secure fit even when cornering at speed. The heel to forefoot drop is low (5mm or less) which is a positive and encourages more of a midfoot landing, as there isn’t an extended high heel to crash into the ground. All Hoka shoes have a meta rocker. The rocker is positioned in a different place depending on whether the shoes are designed for easy or fast running. The purpose of the rocker is to encourage you to pull your foot back as it touches the floor, using your hamstrings and glutes. This increases your cadence making you lighter on your feet and gives you a more upright style. This is more efficient than leaning forward at the waist and pushing off hard, which is what you often see from runners running in shoes with a high heel to forefoot drop as the runner gets tied. Boiled down.. people in our Newcastle-upon-Tyne shop always say “those Hokas felt fast”.
To summarise, if you are looking for a training shoe to partner your race day carbon plate running shoe then the Mach 4 Supersonic is specifically to fit that gap. Furthermore if the higher cushioning, softer shoes are feeling sluggish and you’re looking for a responsive training shoe that feels great to run fast in, then the Hoka One One Mach Supersonic will do the job perfectly. It managed to feel somewhat soft, but demands you run quickly—fun combo.
Hoka Rincon 3: These are a similar shoe but made with a compression moulded midsole. This type of midsole feels softer but isn’t as durable. The Injected midsole of a Mach will last longer. The Rincon 3 is available in a wide width. Hoka’s are generally quite narrow in their regular width so if you have a foot that is approaching wide then the wider width is likely to be a better fit. Here is a link to our Rincon 3 review which will give more information:
Topo Cyclone: Topo shoes have a broad rounded toe box. They are designed to allow your feet to function inside the shoes. So, you get the natural spring from your feet. Here is a link to our review for more information:
Brooks Hyperion Tempo: These are 8mm from heel to forefoot. The midsole is nitrogen infused which makes it more durable and gives it a firm and responsive feel. The midsole is curved to give a similar effect to the rocker in Hoka shoes.