Hoka Mach Supersonic Review
by iRUN Singapore on March 29, 2022
Weight: 235grams / 8.3oz
Price: $249 SGD
Stack Height: 29/24mm (5mm drop)
Pros & Cons
Good for Tempo Runs
Poor Outsole Durability
Weight Gain from Mach 4
Like the Carbon X3, the Mach Supersonic was highly anticipated due to the new midsole that Hoka had developed. The Mach 4 was a great shoe that was versatile enough for pretty much any type of run, and it set the expectations high for the Supersonic.
However, it received many negative initial reviews from American reviewers, stating that the new foam felt really firm and block like on foot. I had a different experience, but is it in a good way? Read on to find out more!
Upper & Fit
The upper utilizes a new engineered mesh for breathability. To be very honest, I struggled with the upper. Half a size up would not have been a good idea for me as I was already experiencing heel slippage at true to size (even with heel lock lacing). The toe box was really narrow, narrower than what you would find in even the Hoka Kawana. Those with narrow feet probably wouldn’t face the same problem, or if you managed to get a 2E width. The upper was slightly more accommodating after a few runs but remained on the narrow side, which relegated this shoe for runs below 10km personally.
The pull tab, while welcomed, was not very necessary. Hoka would have been better off going for an ordinary pull tab. It didn’t really help with putting the shoe on.
The midsole is where the anticipation lies. The Supersonic utilizes “PROFLY +”, a supercritical EVA compound. Apparently, “PROFLY+” and “PROFLY X” are identical compounds. What differentiates them is the inclusion of a full-length carbon plate in the Carbon X3. I think that Hoka should have just stuck to the same name to avoid confusion.
Ride wise, The Mach Supersonic is slightly firmer than the Mach 4, while being slightly springier and more responsive. As I mentioned in my review on the Carbon X3, the foam Hoka uses seems to be very reactive to temperature (softer in warmer climates and firmer in colder climates).
The ride here is firm but protective. It’s definitely not brick-hard but lacks the bounce you’d find in some other shoes (e.g., New Balance FuelCell Rebel 2). In the current era of super foams such as E-TPU and PEBA blends, the Mach Supersonic rides like a shoe that you would find a couple of years back. It’s nothing special, but it gets the job done. Because of the slightly firmer foam, the Mach Supersonic feels better as a tempo day shoe and loses some of that versatility on runs at easy paces. That being said, it's marketed as a tempo day shoe, so it fits the description better than the Mach 4 did.
What I didn’t really get was why the weight increased by roughly 10grams from the Mach 4. The difference is barely noticeable, but its not a step in the right direction when creating speed day shoes. Many runners seek to find the lightest possible shoes for the speed work, and weight increases aren’t very welcomed.
Overall, I expected much more from this midsole. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I strongly believe that if brands like Skechers can produce great midsole foams, Hoka has no excuse for their slow R&D in this department.
Outsole & Durability
Like the Mach 4, the Mach Supersonic uses the same rubberized EVA as an outsole. This is where the main problem lies. Many people have shared with me their experiences on Mach 4 and its poor durability; it had average durability of below 500km. Utilizing the same outsole here means the durability is probably just as poor. This poor durability does not justify the price increase of $20, regardless of the new foam.
Grip wise, the rubberised EVA does decently in both wet and dry conditions.
Areas of Improvement
Wider Toe Box
Increase Outsole Durability
Utilize a Livelier Midsole Foam
The Mach Supersonic is a decent tempo day option if you want a shoe to do your faster runs in. While it has lost some of its versatility, it works better for what it was marketed as a tempo day shoe. I strongly recommend you try this in-store together with the Mach 4 to see if the subtle changes are worth the price increase.
Reviewed by Xtride Running
Check out Hoka Mach Supersonic Collection Here