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May 24, 2021 Comments (0) Featured, Gear Reviews

Going Soul-less with Road Running Shoes

Here in the mountains, training in the spring can be challenging. Especially if you are trying to let the muddy trails dry out. Often once ski season wraps up, we try to put some road miles in to ensure we have a solid base of fitness.
The timing was perfect for a test of the Hoka Mach 4, Hoka Carbon x2 and UnderArmour Flow Velociti Wind running shoes.
All of these shoes are the perfect combination of responsiveness, with also being a light road shoes for longer training days. The question is which one has the most SOUL.
As a basic comparison,
UA Flow Velociti – $160
Hoka Mach 4 – $130
Hoka Carbon 2 – $180
Heel to Toe Drop
UA Flow Velociti – 8 mm
Hoka Mach 4 – 5 mm
Hoka Carbon 2 – 5 mm
UA Flow Velociti – 8.5 oz
Hoka Mach 4 – 8.6 oz
Hoka Carbon 2 – 8.4 oz
UA Flow Velociti – Neutral
Hoka Mach 4 – Neutral
Hoka Carbon 2 – Neutral
In regards to fit, all of the shoes have a seamless upper. We the same sizes across brands. The UA Flow had more of a performance fit (we would say it runs a half size small) with the Hoka Mach 4 and Carbon x2 having a surprising longer last then anticipated (definitely a half size large). The lacing of the UA Flow was more effective of dialing in the fit, but only minimally. The upper on the Hoka Carbon x2 was by far the most breathable and we loved the bonded tongue. Both Hokas featured the Heel Tab, which is starting to become a nice touch for putting on shoes for us old folks, the young guns may opt for losing this to save a few grams.

UA Flow Velociti

But lets go ahead and get to the meat of all of these shoes, the responsive and yet soft nature of the midsole/outsoles. The Hoka Mach 4 and Carbon x2 utilize the Profly intelligent Cushioning with modifications to each respective shoe. The Carbon x2 obviously integrates a Carbon plate for a more responsive ride, whereas the Mach 4 has a softer rubberized EVA outsole. The main difference between the Mach 4 and the Carbon x2 is emphasized in which type of runner you want to be. If you are running a 10k or marathon at 7 minute or under pace and need the generosity of the Profly technology and responsiveness of the Carbon, go with the $50 increase and purchase the Carbon x2. Ultimately, we did not see a significant improvement or need for the Carbon x2 unless the pacing was fast enough to warrant it. The Mach 4 was our preferred daly grinder of the the two Hoka shoes. The Mach 4 was a great shoe for putting some base miles in and leaving the legs refreshed for a more exhausting trail run later. The UA Flow Velociti had the the best fit and feel of the three and we all agreed the UA Flow would be the one shoe we would buy based on overall performance, functionality and durability. We were very impressed with the outsole, and were surprised when we took it on some gravel and light trails to test the advertised durability and toughness of the rubber.

Hoka Mach 4

Ultimately, if you are looking for the fastest shoe, we would recommend the Carbon X2 for those race cats working on 10k times of 40 minutes or under, while the UA Flow would be perfect for runners in the 10k range of 38 minutes to 62 minutes. The Mach 4 is a great workhorse and would be ideal for any runner whose pace is 40+ minutes for a 10k. We liked the Mach 4 for longer runs of 50k on the road best and the UA Flow and Hoka Carbon x2 tied for second. The best daily driver of the three was for sure the Mach 4, with a close second of the UA Flow. However, our vote for overall pick was the UA Flow due to its ability to be both a daily driver and performance shoe with an amazing fit.

Hoka Carbon X2

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