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RW Tested: Hoka Mach Supersonic

The limited-edition Hoka Mach Supersonic is light and fast – and you can currently pick them up for £89

Hoka Mach Supersonic
Hoka wiggle.co.uk
  • Weight: 235g (men's)
  • Heel-toe drop: 5mm
  • Type: Neutral/road

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    The shoe

    The limited-edition Hoka Mach Supersonic is the speedier sister of the perennially popular Hoka Mach 4. While not a complete update – that's the newly launched Hoka Mach 5 – the addition of Hoka's ProFly+ midsole cushioning, plus a new upper, creates a firmer, snappier shoe, ideal for speedwork. In fact, it's one of record-breaking ultra runner Carla Molinaro's favourite shoes for interval training. 'They are super responsive and fast and the perfect shoe for tempo or interval sessions,' she says. 'In the run up to Comrades (an 89km ultra marathon), I've been using the Mach Supersonic for race-paced sessions and tempos.'

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    Firm and snappy

    While the super-versatile Hoka Mach 4 is the perfect shoe for breezy long runs and easy runs – thanks to its soft cushioning and impressively light weight (232g), the Hoka Mach Supersonic is a more speed-aligned shoe. That's due to the addition of Hoka's ProFly+ midsole foam (the same foam used in top-tier Carbon x 3 race shoe) which makes it firmer and stiffer. 'It is extremely light and has a relatively springy forefoot for a non-carbon shoe, so feels snappy when pushing the pace,' said one tester.

    Overall, testers felt the shoe offered a significant sensation of propulsion, but multiple testers also commented that the shoe's responsiveness wasn't felt immediately. 'When I first tried them they were quite stiff, so they do take a few runs to soften up, and during the first few minutes of each run they do feel quite rigid but soften quite quickly,' said one.

    Due to their firmness, some testers found them unfit for slower-paced runs. 'I’ve tried them on slow recovery runs and tempo runs and they are almost feel like different shoes,' said one tester. 'On the slow runs, they are very firm and unresponsive and feel almost uncomfortable but on tempo runs they feel supportive, light and help to propel you forward.'

            'Ridiculously light'

            A three gram difference between these (235g) and the Mach 4 (232g), still means they're a ridiculously light shoe for the size – something that was appreciated by our testers. 'They felt light as a feather, the lightest shoes I’ve ever trained with and very good at helping you increase the pace,' said a tester.

            Could be more durable

            The great balancing act with lightweight shoes is keeping durability where material is sacrificed for weight. Beneath the top layer of ProFly+ foam, there is a firmer layer of rubberised EVA foam, which, as with the Carbon X 3, is without a blown rubber overlay, so the foam is lighter but comes into direct contact with the ground. Although this provides a soft feel underfoot, the foam can wear out quite quickly. Testers who managed to pack a lot of miles into the shoe during testing noticed more signs of wear than those who banked moderate miles, but the shoes are more than capable of hitting those 300-500 mile standards most shoes are tested to.

            Excellent lockdown

            In addition to the new midsole, the Mach 4's upper has been revamped with the Mach Supersonic, to include a padded tongue, contoured heel collar and heel tab. We found the contoured heel collar offered good support around the achilles, and this combined with the padded tongue helped to lock the foot firmly in place. Our testers also appreciated the new heel tab which made getting the shoe on easier.

            Sizing could be improved

            One of the main issues with Hoka shoes is inconsistency with fit and we found the shoe was a little narrow, more so than the Mach 4. While some appreciated a snugger fit, others said they would have welcomed more room in the toe box. 'They were great for me on short runs but my feet felt squashed if running upwards of 40 minutes,' said one tester.


            The Mach Supersonic is well suited to anyone looking for a firm and fast ride – but with plenty of cushioning. Light and snappy, they're an excellent choice for speedwork and longer tempo runs, but aren't quite right for slower-paced sessions. They'd be a good companion for race day, too.

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