Hoka Mach 5 shoe on green background

If I Could Only Keep One Pair of Running Shoes, I’d Choose These

These lightweight sneaks are good for big miles and disappear on your feet.

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After throwing down 200-plus miles in my Nike Vaporflys, I was convinced they were the only running shoes I needed. So when my husband walked in the door with a free pair of Hoka Mach 5s he’d snatched up from a local Hoka rep, I wasn’t itching to try them.

Three months later and they’re my go-to shoes for most runs.

I’ll slightly hedge by noting that when I want to run fast, the Vaporfly is still my go-to shoe. For any other day of the week (which, mathematically, is most days) the Mach 5 provides an effortless ride with more cushion than a speed shoe, but more zip than a typical cushion runner—crowning them the perfect shoe for high-mile efforts and recovery runs.

What I Like About the Hoka Mach 5


When I was in college, my running crew made fun of the older runners who booted up in massive Hoka’s. As they clomped along the trail we couldn’t help but snicker—there was no way that amount of cushion was good for you.

Hoka has come a long way in the past ten years. The Hoka Mach 5 is living proof. As you take off, it disappears on your foot. Each step feels nimble and agile—nothing like the bulky cushioned trainers of Hoka’s past.

Foot Feels Locked Into Place

My qualm with most cushion shoes is the excessive wiggle room. While comfortable, the lack of support combined with an unfortunate history of ankle sprains squashes my confidence to pick up the pace.

When I first eyeballed my Mach 5’s, the sleek look of the tongue and shoelaces worried me: how would they hold me in? After lacing up I realized the minimal upper was intentional. It makes my foot feel more connected to the shoe and increases foot lockdown.

If lavender isn’t your thing, the Mach 5 also comes in classic black or white, and a variety of flashy colors.

Cushion on Cushion

I’d be remiss not to mention the cushion. The Mach 5 is well-padded and comfortable like a cushion shoe—making landings incredibly smooth.

The injection of EVA foam gives the shoe a surprisingly engaging ride. The peppy energy return is not typical for a classic cushion shoe, which is why I suspect I dig the Mach 5 so much. It’s fun to run in.

Perfect for Everyday Runs

When I unboxed the Hoka Mach 5, I expected them to fill a small gap in my closet: a long-run shoe. I enjoyed them on my five to six-mile loops so much that I found them sneaking into my other runs. Fartleks, interval runs, tempo runs—Mach 5 can perform.

The ride is more dynamic, and modern than a Nike Pegasus or the Asics Gel Cumulus, feels forgiving at recovery paces, and can handle steady uptempo paces when needed. They’re the perfect everyday running shoe.

The Bottom Line

The Hoka Mach 5 is the perfect everyday running shoe. They provide the comfort for high-mileage efforts and recovery runs and the urgency for uptempo efforts. If you’re looking for a versatile shoe that stands up to all of the above, you’ll love these runners.