We sat down with Director of Product Bekah Broe to take a deep dive into the updates to the ever-popular series in the Mach 5.
Learn more about what we upgraded, what we made sure to keep the same, and more, below!
HOKA: Introduce yourself! What do you do for HOKA, and how long have you been with the brand? What does your day-to-day look like?
Hi everyone. My name is Bekah Broe and I joined in October as the Director of Product for Performance Footwear here at HOKA. I help lead a team of incredible product line managers focused specifically on running — it’s our job to understand and articulate the needs and wants of runners across the globe to identify and ideate next generation footwear solutions.
Every day in this role is a bit different. We spend a lot of time collaborating with different teams, from our incredibly talented design team to diligent developers and product integrity experts. It’s also crucial for us to stay oh-so close to the marketplace. We are in regular communication with our Consumer Insights team, leveraging their expertise to help us hear directly from runners in strategic focus groups, through surveys, and also through feedback from our awesomely engaged Field Experience team.
HOKA: What goes into updating a shoe with such legacy as the Mach series? How long does the process take? Was consumer feedback involved in the updates?
Keeping something like the Mach franchise fresh is a careful blend of art and science. We need to maintain what makes the Mach so special, while continuing to push the envelope with new solutions to improve energy return, reduce weight, and improve fit. All of this takes time — and teamwork.
HOKA: Tell us about the Mach 5 (weights, stack heights, materials, etc.) What are the key differences between the 4 and the 5? Compared to the Supersonic?
There’s some pretty powerful history in the Mach franchise. The Mach 4 featured an updated Profly+ construction with our signature SwallowTail geometry in the heel to provide a smoother landing, cushioned underfoot feel, and springy toe off. The Mach Supersonic was a great opportunity for the team to compliment these great geometries with an elevated underfoot foam experience in a limited release test. So where to go from there?
Well, the first step is making sure everyone can experience the springy and resilient ride created with the combination of Profly+ and a super-critically foamed top midsole from the Mach Supersonic. So we’ve maintained this great combination of learnings and put focused attention on an elevated upper experience.
A new lightweight creel jacquard engineered upper was designed brilliantly by our teammate Gabe Nicasio to provide a lightweight, breathable but structured feel. The eyerow has maximized articulation with improved tongue fit and feel with a gusset to make sure the midfoot is snug and secure for faster efforts.
HOKA: What are you most proud of in the Mach 5? Why do you think the Mach 5 is so great?
Updating an iconic franchise is no easy feat, but the team behind the Mach 5 did a tremendous job giving this old dog some awesome new tricks. Product Line Manager Jared Smith (an incredibly talented and speedy runner himself) did a great job providing direction for this project, while Developer Phoebe He worked tirelessly to bring it to life with incredible finesse and attention to detail.
HOKA: Who is the shoe for?
The Mach 5 team wanted this style to be cushioned, responsive, and above all else — fun. Runners don’t have to be elite to enjoy this everyday trainer, but it should put a smile on your face and provide some encouragement to pick up the pace.
Shop the new Mach 5 HERE.