Shoe Review: HOKA Mach Supersonic

A side view of the HOKA Mach Supersonic

The HOKA Mach Supersonic is a new limited-release, neutral-oriented everyday performance trainer that sits adjacent to the lightweight Mach 4 in the HOKA lineup. They’re similar shoes, but they have notable differences that set them apart. Think of the Mach Supersonic as a speedier and fancier cousin of the Mach 4, a shoe that’s even more ideal for speedy, up-tempo long runs and workouts.

Although the midsole foam has a lively vibe, the Mach Supersonic is not a true racing shoe — especially because it doesn’t have a carbon-fiber propulsion plate — but it could be used as a short-distance racer in a pinch, as well as a fast-workout trainer on the roads or track. Our Fleet Feet wear-tester team likes this shoe as a performance-oriented everyday trainer because it does everything well while excelling at faster paces.

Tech Specs

HOKA Mach Supersonic

Weight

6.9 oz (W), 8.4 oz (M)

Drop

5 mm

Category

Neutral

Use

Daily training, up-tempo workouts, light-duty racing

Surface

Road, track

ProFly+ Delivers a Quick, Springy Ride

The sole of the HOKA Mach Supersonic.

The Mach Supersonic sits on a layer of HOKA’s responsive ProFly+ midsole foam, providing a lively, energetic ride. The shoe’s firm forefoot feel and springy cushioning promotes speedy running that’s ideal for fast-paced training like tempo runs, progressive long runs and long intervals.

Once you get running, you’ll notice what makes the Supersonic special. It has a responsive feeling and a decisive rolling sensation in every stride.

Our wear-testers considered that a big positive during up–tempo training efforts, long intervals, track workouts and long runs — especially those with pace progression in the final miles.

The outsole is made entirely from an exposed rubberized EVA compound and no rubber segments at all to keep the shoe as light as possible. Reviewers also noticed that the Mach Supersonic was surprisingly grippy on slick roads and tricky terrain.

“The tread provides plenty of grip and collects surprisingly little debris after running through grass, mud, dirt, and crushed gravel at various points on the route,” says Alex.

“These shoes have surprisingly good traction on wet roads, especially compared to some other HOKAs I’ve used in the past. They also seem to dry faster than a lot of other shoes,” Kate says.

What's a midsole? Learn more about the parts that make up a running shoe here.

Engineered Upper Locks Down Fit

The upper of the HOKA Mach Supersonic.

The Mach Supersonic has a medium-volume shape, a cushy interior and a locked-down fit from a gusseted tongue and narrow heel collar. It offers a snug and supportive feeling thanks to its tightly woven engineered jacquard mesh upper and thin TPU support overlays.

“These shoes fit true to size and are a little bit snugger than most HOKAs. For me this is awesome because I like my shoes to feel tight. Plus, the laces are long enough to do a marathon loop,” says Caroline.

The Mach Supersonic is very easy to pull on, thanks to plush padding in the heel collar and a large pull-tab. Another notable feature is the flared heel tab designed to take pressure off the Achilles tendon.

“The fabric on the tongue and heel collar is really soft and lightly padded in a way that makes the shoe super comfy when you first step into it. It’s like the whole shoe is saying, ‘welcome! You’ll be so comfortable here!’” Kate says.

HOKA Mach Supersonic vs Mach 4

A pair of the HOKA Mach Supersonic


Tech Specs

HOKA Mach Supersonic

HOKA Mach 4

Weight

6.9 oz (W), 8.4 oz (M)

6.8 (W), 8.2 oz (M)

Drop

5 mm

5 mm

Category

Neutral

Neutral

Use

Daily training, up-tempo workouts, short-distance racing

Daily training, up-tempo workouts, short-distance racing

Surface

Road, track

Road, track

Although these two shoes share a derivative of the same name and have similar shapes and dimensions, they’re actually quite different.

Both have a dual-layer midsole with a rubberized foam on the bottom for durability and cushioning and a top layer of lighter, more responsive foam. The top layer of the Mach Supersonic features HOKA’s new ProFly+ midsole compound, which is much more responsive and energetic than the more standard and softer ProFly top layer of the Mach 4 midsole. Combined with a stiffer flex pattern, the Mach Supersonic has a peppier feeling and a more responsive ride.

“I really enjoyed my runs in these shoes. I wore these almost exclusively for faster efforts and they did not disappoint. The rocker shape provides smooth toe offs, and the snappy cushioning provides a springy feeling underfoot,” says Caroline.

While both shoes were built for fast training and racing from 5K to half marathon distances, the Supersonic is a more robust and spirited shoe. The Mach 4 is light and can inspire quick-cadence running, but its accommodating midsole feels a bit soft and flat at faster paces compared to the lively bounce of the Supersonic.

The updated feature package and new midsole foam are what contribute to the higher price tag -- the Supersonic is $20 more than the Mach 4. The only downside of the added features is that they add up, which is why the Supersonic is slightly heavier than the Mach 4. The difference in weight is an odd anomaly, but our reviewers didn’t notice it.

While the Mach 4 is more accommodating for a wider range of paces and therefore more versatile, it can’t access the top-end speed or relentless energy of the Supersonic.

“They’re similar shoes, but the difference is that the Mach is able to run fast if you push the pace, whereas the Supersonic helps you out by adding a burst of energy in every stride.” Brian says.

Final Thoughts

HOKA continues to push innovation in its shoe-design process, showing they aren’t afraid to deviate from the soft, cushy, high-stack norms that have been its calling card. HOKA will continue to build those favorites, but the Supersonic is an attempt to keep pace with the hyper-energetic everyday trainers that have created a lot of buzz over the past two years.

Overall, our wear-test team enjoyed the comfortable, secure fit and the energetic feeling of the Mach Supersonic.

“This is a great shoe to add to your lineup if you want a springy, propulsive shoe to give you an extra edge for workouts. It doesn’t have a carbon-plate, and it can’t really compete with carbon-plated shoes in terms of energy return, but it’s a great option for faster efforts without the hefty price tag,” Caroline says.

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