HOKA Mach 6 Review: Still The Greatest Tempo Running Shoes For $140

Sharing my take on the 'still' greatest of all time tempo running shoes for $140; they're still responsive, featherlight, affordable!


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This HOKA Mach 6 review has been one I’ve been dreaming of writing for the last year. Those of you who caught my review of the Mach 5 about a year ago, you’ll already know I was a huge fan of that model; it’s truly an outstanding tempo running shoe for its price point, offering such value that it became my go-to for countless additional miles post-review.

So, naturally, the anticipation to lace up the Mach 6 and share my insights with you was sky-high. For those not familiar with HOKA’s Mach series yet, it positions itself as the go-to for tempo runs or speed work, catering to runners seeking performance without the eye watering cost of super shoes like the Cielo X1 for example (even if it is an epic race day shoe). The Mach 6 continues this trend, and remains on of the best HOKA running shoes this year as well as a highly-rated shoe on our best tempo running shoes roundup.

HOKA Mach 6 review tempo running shoes 2
HOKA Mach 6 Review | Trail & Kale

The $140 price tag is incredibly budget-friendly for a running shoe that delivers on responsiveness, comfort, and ultimately raw speed right out the box, making it an ideal pick for runners in need of fast-paced running shoes to achieve new personal bests in 5Ks or 10Ks.

The Key Specifications

  • Price: $140
  • Sizing and fit: True to size with a medium width fit.
  • Weight: 7.8oz (221g) for a size US(M)9 (my pair).
  • Drop: 5mm.
  • Toe box width: Medium.
  • Stability: Neutral, so there’s no additional stability or support added.
  • Midsole Cushioning: Super critical foam midsole that’s responsive.
  • Best for: tempo runs and racing 5k and 10k distances.

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The features of the Mach 6 that I really like

There are so many great features of the Mach 6 my caught my attention while while running in them, first and foremost however, is the exceptional fit and feel straight out of the box.

This is a hallmark of the HOKA experience, as seen with the Mach 5 that came before, and so many of their other running shoes. The Mach 6 continues this tradition brilliantly as I had hoped they would.

HOKA Mach 6 review tempo running shoes 3

Its fit is so comfortable, with a medium width and ample space in the toe box, enhancing its appeal to those who appreciate toe wiggle room during their runs. It helps with proper foot splay and biomechanics as a result, if you’re wondering why it’s important.

The introduction of the new Creel jacquard mesh upper significantly provides excellent air circulation that helps in regulating temperature as your feet warm up during fast paced runs, and it makes the whole upper much more durable too. See below for a close look at the new upper:

HOKA Mach 6 review tempo running shoes 6

Another feature I’m drawn to is the articulated heel counter at the back of the shoe, a carryover from the Mach 5, it’s a feature that I loved about them.

This design provides a bit of extra space around the heel, ensuring there’s no pressure on the Achilles during strides, a detail that underscores the thoughtful engineering behind the shoe. You can see what I mean in the image gallery towards the bottom of this review.

HOKA Mach 6 review tempo running shoes 9

Moving on, the supercritical foam used in the midsole of version 6 deserves a mention too, not just because it’s new but because it feels responsive while maintaining a more cushioned feel than the previous model.

Thanks to a midsole foam that feels, overall, very similar overall to the ProFLy + dual layer midsole in the previous version, the shoe maintains its reputation as a swift pick for distances up to 10 km, perfect for tempo runs or even racing in 5Ks or 10Ks.

HOKA Mach 6 review tempo running shoes 12

Lastly, the zoned rubber compound on the outsole is applied strategically, omitting rubber in certain areas. By doing this Hoka effectively reduces the shoe’s weight without compromising on traction where it’s needed most, at the forefoot and heel areas.

This thoughtful placement contributes to the shoe’s overall lightweight feel, enhancing your ability to have an appropriately efficient cadence, and ultimately unlocking speed potential. These are the aspects that stand out to me about the Mach 6, making it a shoe I genuinely enjoy for its fast and light design – and the reasons why I’m keeping it in my shoe rotation this summer.

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The features that could be improved for the next version

Moving on to aspects I believe could be enhanced in the next iteration, the tongue of the shoe stands out to me.

While I really appreciate the overall fit, I find the construction of the tongue slightly problematic. It transitions from being very flexible to noticeably more rigid towards the front, and unfortunately, it has a tendency to slip down a little during runs, made noticeably by the sectioned rigidity.

The tongue is quite stretchy, and does have a tendency to slip lower that I'd like it to be, made noticeable due to the introduction of a plastic coating on the tongue design.
The tongue is quite stretchy, and does have a tendency to slip lower that I’d like it to be, made noticeable due to the introduction of a plastic coating on the tongue design.

A more securely anchored tongue would be a significant improvement, eliminating any need for mid-run adjustments. Additionally, the firmer, somewhat ‘plasticky’ section of the tongue could benefit from a softer, more comfortable material, though this is a relatively minor quibble.

Still on the topic of the tongue, it’s worth mentioning the gusseted design integrated on both sides. This feature effectively connects the tongue to the rest of the upper, stabilizing it considerably for most of the run. What I particularly enjoy is how it contours around the foot internally, avoiding any potential for chafing due to the absence of seams. This design choice contributes to a seamless, comfortable feel inside the shoe, which is a definite plus in my book.

So that’s all i’ve got for the negatives, which is not a lot!

Is the HOKA Mach 6 worth buying?

That wraps up my take on the HOKA Mach 6, and hopefully it comes across well that I’m genuinely impressed with these running shoes.

HOKA Mach 6 review tempo running shoes 10

For anyone in the market for a new pair of tempo running shoes without wanting to spend a fortune, these are a standout choice at $140. You’re getting an exceptionally well-crafted shoe for your money.

While the color option I reviewed might not be my personal favorite, as it doesn’t quite align with my style, the Mach 6 is available in a variety of colors, ensuring there’s a fit for everyone’s taste. It’s also available in a wide version too for those who need it.

From my perspective, the Hoka Mach 6 earns a hearty thumbs up; It lives up to the legacy of the Mach 5, offering a comparable, if not enhanced, running experience, and I’m definitely keeping this pair for my future tempo runs over the summer. It’s a testament to HOKA’s commitment to quality and performance, and I’m excited to clock more miles in them.

I hope you found this review of the Hoka Mach 6 insightful – If you did, subscribe to our Newsletter for more in-depth running shoe reviews just like this one. Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you on the next one. Peace!

HOKA Mach 6 review gallery

As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


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