Today, I’ve got a really exciting shoe comparison of two of my favorite road running shoes, it’s the Hoka Mach vs Saucony Endorphin Speed.
The Mach 4 and the Endorphin Speed are both neutral road running shoes and two of the best options you can get at the moment.
But which one is worth your investment and which is more versatile if you could get only one shoe?
I’m going to start talking about the performance and then cover the specs, the midsole, the upper, and the outsole.
Then, I’m going to throw in a bonus little comparison of the Mach and Endorphin Speed vs the Brooks Hyperion Tempo.
Let’s dive right into it…
Hoka Mach vs Saucony Endorphin Speed
In a hurry? These are the main similarities and differences between the Novablast and the Invincible…
- Both are daily neutral road running shoes.
- Mach is 5mm drop and the Endorphin Speed is 8mm.
- Endorphin Speed is slightly lighter than the Mach 4.
- Mach is more cushioned in the forefoot.
- Both are very versatile.
- Endorphin Speed has more energy return.
- Endorphin Speed is more poppy, faster, and more responsive than the Mach.
- Endorphin Speed has a nylon plate and the Mach doesn’t.
- Mach has a softer more comfortable ride.
- Both are breathable.
- Mach is sturdier and more structured in the heel.
- Mach offers a better lockdown.
- Both tongues are semi-gusseted.
- Both fit true to size.
- Endorphin Speed has a more durable outsole.
- Endorphin Speed is about $30 more expensive than the Mach 4.
For women’s size 8, the Mach is 7.2 oz (204 grams) and the Endorphin is 7.1 oz (201 grams).
As you can see, there’s a slight difference in the weight of the shoes and so the winner for the weight is going to the Endorphin Speed by a hair.
Stack Height & Drop
The Hoka Mach 4 comes in with a 5-millimeter drop with 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot. For the Endorphin Speed, we’re looking at an 8-millimeter drop with 33.5mm in the heel and 25.5mm in the forefoot.
|Hoka Mach 4||Endorphin Speed|
|Everyday training||Everyday training|
|Men (size 9)|
→ 8 oz (226 g)
|Men (size 9)|
→ 7.9 oz (223 g)
|Women (size 8)|
→ 7.2 oz (204 g)
|Women (size 8)|
→ 7.1 oz (201 g)
|5mm drop||8mm drop|
|True to size||True to size|
|Arch: Medium||Arch: Medium to low|
|Midfoot: Medium to low||Midfoot: Medium|
|Toebox: Medium||Toebox: Medium|
|Heel: Medium||Heel: Medium|
The Saucony Endorphin Speed is a fantastic shoe and an amazing versatile do-it-all option. It’s pitched as this fast training companion to the Endorphin Pro.
I used it for a lot of easy running and found it to be very comfortable. I also used it as a racing shoe for 5k distance and it was impressive.
You may be losing a slight bit of performance compared to a full carbon shoe when it comes to race day but not that much.
I’ve done a lot of speedwork, a lot of track sessions, and I’ve taken it right up to a sub-five-minute mile pace and it did great.
The Endorphin Speed has got a slightly softer ride than the carbon-plate Endorphin Pro, it’s a bit bouncier, and it’s not as stiff. The main sensation I’m getting is a smooth comfortable efficient ride that really just lets you do what you want.
The Mach 4 is another very versatile shoe that I’ve really loved using as well. I found it to be one of the best all-rounders out there with the Endorphin Speed being the top of the tree in that front at the moment in my opinion.
The Mach 4 is a softer ride than the Endorphin Speed, but it’s less snappy because there’s no plate inside to propel you through.
I find that the Mach 4 excels for marathon pace and below. Half marathon pace and anything quicker in the Mach 4 just doesn’t do it.
It’s not quick enough, it’s not poppy enough, it hasn’t got enough snap in the shoe and that’s down to two things in my opinion.
First, I feel this rubber EVA kind of kills and nullifies any pop that you might get from that midsole.
Second, while the early-stage meta rocker geometry makes the Mach a beautiful gliding shoe, it lacks that cutting edge when it comes to that aggressive pop and snap.
Again, the Mach 4 has got a little bit of bounce to it and it really allows for a nice range of running. I just don’t think it has the absolute top-end speed of the Endorphin Speed, but it is probably more comfortable on easy runs.
Overall, the Mach 4 is a good ride. However, from performance and speed and running faster, the Endorphin Speed is winning.
Related: Hoka Mach 4 vs Hoka Clifton 8
The Mach 4 and the Endorphin Speed are both very versatile. They actually cover the bases really nicely and work well together very nicely as a two-shoe rotation.
You could use the Mach for really easy days, long steady days, and your tempo days and save the Endorphin Speed for speed sessions and races even though neither is a pure easy-day or a pure racing shoe.
Related: Hoka Mach 4 vs Asics Novablast
This is where the big distinction comes in.
The Endorphin Speed has a PWRRUN PB foam which is Saucony’s top foam and it’s used in the Endorphin Pro as well.
It’s light, soft, and springy. Then Saucony’s Speed Roll is there to roll you through your footstrike in an efficient manner and then kind of get you exploding off your toes.
We’ve also got a plate in the Endorphin Speed. It’s a nylon plate rather than a carbon plate, which means it’s less stiff and more comfortable to use for a lot of training.
Overall, the nylon plate, the Speed Roll technology, and the PEBA material in the midsole work together to give you that super snappy feeling.
While the Mach 4 doesn’t have any type of plate to help with the snappiness, it does have a dual-density midsole to make the performance better.
So the Mach is softer at the back and firm at the front, which means the Mach is soft for your landings and firm for your toe-offs.
The Mach has their ProFly foam which is really soft as that top layer and then you have a more durable and responsive rubberized EVA foam on the outside that also doubles as their outsole.
Overall, the Endorphin Speed is a shoe that gives a lot of energy return and a faster ride. But it’s almost not even a fair battle because the Mach does not have a plate of any kind inside.
But between that soft cushion and then that more dense rubberized EVA foam, I just think the Mach 4 gives you a nice propulsive ride and helps just to keep you smooth through your gait cycle.
It’s not a softness where you’re kind of squishing in and then having to work to kind of push on through the shoe. It’s a softness that’s protective but still responsive.
Also, the Mach 4 has this swallowtail design on the heel that Hoka claims it’s designed for heel strikers to help them land losing less energy and, again, rolling through the footstrike more efficiently. However, it’s really hard to feel whether this swallowtail is really making a difference or not.
So, while the Endorphin Speed is quick and snappy, it isn’t quite as soft as the Hoka Mach 4, especially in the forefoot. The Mach just feels a little bit smoother and a little bit more natural.
Nonetheless, the winner for the midsole goes to the Endorphin Speed.
They both do a really nice job in terms of the material and breathability. They both have an engineered mesh material and you can see there are a lot of perforations in the toe box of both shoes.
The Endorphin Speed does have this one plastic overlay with their Saucony logo on it. And then it’s got some structure built into the heel as well with a little bit of plastic overlay there and as well as a bit of a heel clip in the heel counter.
With the Mach 4, I felt like this shoe has lots of perforations but it’s just not as noticeable. I’ve had plenty of airflow to keep my feet comfortable while I was out running.
I did have a chance to run in a little bit warmer weather in the Mach 4 and I had no issues in terms of breathability on the upper.
On the Mach 4, there’s a little bit of a plastic overlay with their Hoka logo. The shoe has a little bit more structure with that plastic piece that wraps around the heel counter. That piece is pretty stout and it gives you a nice secure feeling in your heel and it creates a nice solid heel pocket for your heel to sit on.
I think combined with that snug feeling across the midfoot and the heel pocket that they developed, you just feel really snugged in and secure when you run in the Hoka Mach 4.
The tongues of both shoes are about the same in terms of thickness and padding. They’re both semi-gusseted and they’re really close. Both tongues lay flat on your feet, they don’t migrate around, and they’re really comfortable.
Heel Collar & Tab
The amount of padding that they included on each of the Mach and Speed is pretty much equivalent. I didn’t really notice much difference in terms of the amount of padding around those areas.
The biggest difference lies in the heel counter…
On the Endorphin Speed, we’ve got a real traditional heel that a lot of runners seem to really prefer. The Mach 4 has an Achilles heel flare, which just adds a little bit of extra comfort whereas the Endorphin Speed does not have a heel flare.
It took me a while to get used to that heel flare, but now that I am, I like that and I find that it cradles my Achilles and protects my Achilles from rubbing on the shoe. It just feels really soft and comfortable to me.
You can also use that flare to grab a hold of to help you pull your shoes on because there’s no pull tab to do that on either one of these shoes. That’s a small thing, but it does make a difference for some people.
The Mach 4 has far more structure in the heel. But on the Endorphin Speed, you don’t have quite as much structure in that heel counter to stop any kind of roll or overpronation issues.
So, while the Endorphin Speed is faster than the Mach 4, the Mach feels more stable underfoot and in the heel.
This is where I think Hoka did shine over previous shoes that this shoe was modeled after. Now they kind of took cues from the Rocket X as well as the Carbon X, but they tweaked that cage system and I really like what they did.
With those shoes, I felt like that material and the cage eventually were going to overlap, but I don’t have that issue with the Mach 4 at all.
With the Endorphin Speed, Saucony did a good job and I don’t have any issues necessarily with the cage on the shoe. The shoe has got some plastic overlay on the outside to give it a little extra durability as they do with the Mach 4.
The lockdown of the Mach 4 is truly butter to the bread. I’m going to say it’s barely beating out the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush as the best lockdown out of all the shoes that I’ve tested.
On the Endorphin Speed, I think there’s a little too much material happening through the eyelet chain.
While I did feel the Endorphin Speed also feels very snug and secure across that midfoot, I think that the nod though goes to the Hoka Mach 4.
So, although both shoes are semi-gusseted, I felt I have a more secure lockdown feeling across my midfoot in the Mach 4 than I did in the Endorphin Speed.
I did order both the Mach 4 and the Endorphin Speed true to size. However, I think that the Saucony Endorphin Speed gave me a little bit more of a race feel.
So, in terms of fit, I’m going to give the nod to the Mach 4 for the amount of space that I have in that toe box. This is not something that Hoka is normally known for, but they did something different when they shaped the toe box of the Mach 4.
I just feel like I have plenty of room to splay my toes when I want to but yet it still feels snug and secure across my midfoot. Again, Hoka just did a terrific job with that.
There’s just no arguing that the overall fit goes to the Mach 4.
In terms of comfort, I have to give it to the Hoka Mach 4.
The Mach is one of the most comfortable Hoka shoes that I’ve had on foot. However, that’s not really taking much away from the Endorphin Speed.
The Speed is also comfortable, but between the two, I’m going to give the nod to the Mach 4.
So the overall score winner for the upper is going to the Mach 4. I really don’t understand how Hoka pulled it off frankly in this upper.
Outsole & Durability
The Mach doesn’t actually have any extra rubber on the outsole as you’re going to run directly on that rubberized midsole foam. However, the grip is still very nice.
The big drawback of the Mach 4 could potentially be its durability though. So, after 50 miles, I have noticed the pattern of the shoe wearing off in my key impact zones. I don’t know if that’s really affecting anything yet because I’ve had no loss of grip or anything like that.
But this gives me a little bit of pause for concern about how long the outsole is going to last. I’m hopeful that I can still get 400 miles on the Mach without having too much issue.
Saucony has included a lot of rubber on the bottom but in key impact zones. It’s a really lightweight thin layer of rubber that while it doesn’t really add a ton of weight to the shoe, I think does add a ton of durability and grip if you’re running on wet roads or slick surfaces.
PWRRUN is unprotected in the middle but has so far proved okay in terms of durability as I haven’t seen any notable wear and tear on that area.
I’ve taken the Endorphin Speed to more than 300 miles and I’ve seen no wear and no real reduced level of performance from the shoe. I believe the Endorphin Speed has got what it takes to last the distance whereas with the rubberized outsoles, it’s probably not going to last as long.
Again, with the Endorphin Speed, you’re not going to have to worry about the outsole getting chewed up prematurely.
So from the perspective of lifespan, I am going to say that the Endorphin Speed wins the outsole battle. However, that might be compensated for the fact that the Mach 4 is actually cheaper than the Endorphin Speed. This brings us to the price…
I wish the price was less, but I think because the shoe is performing so well, I think Saucony can get people to buy the Endorphin Speed at that price.
But it’s always hard to argue with a $30 discount.
So, the Mach 4 win the price battle.
Hoka Mach vs Saucony Endorphin Speed (Winner?)
Again, the Endorphin Speed is one of the best shoes of 2021 and I think it’s one of the most versatile running shoes out there at the moment. The Mach 4 is a new contender to that versatility crown, but it hasn’t edged it out yet basically.
The Endorphin has the durability and comfort to use for your daily training as well and that’s what really makes it an outstanding shoe. I really think the Speed is only very slightly behind full carbon-plated shoes when it comes to performance.
While the Mach 4 is a fast and comfortable shoe, it kind of leans slightly towards the comfort end of things. I actually think it’s very like what I use the Nike Pegasus Turbo for, which is to say it’s a very versatile shoe used for everything but excels probably more on the daily trainer side of things and less on the speed side of things even though it does still have the speed for that kind of stuff.
I think the Endorphin Speed is still better just because it has got that edge on fast runs even if it’s maybe slightly less comfortable in easy runs. But I’ll take a little less comfort for a little more speed at the high end of things.
But the Mach has got so much good going for it whether it’s comfort or price point. It’s hard to argue from a value perspective for the Hoka Mack 4.
I just can’t stop myself. Let me try one last time…
If speed is your only concern, then I think the Saucony Endorphin Speed is the right pick for you. It’s snappy, it has a nylon plate, and it’s a very quick shoe to run in.
If comfort, smoothness, and a soft ride through your gait cycle is really what you’re looking for, then I think the Hoka Mach 4 is the right shoe for you.
The Mach is a very nice shoe for easy runs and it’s probably slightly nicer than the Endorphin Speed for pure easy efforts but lacks the same top-end speed of the Endorphin Speed.
The Mach 4 is a great shoe, but I’m comparing it to maybe the best. So, I’m really leaning to the Endorphin Speed as my best all-rounder shoe at the moment.
Bonus: Hoka Mach and Endorphin Speed vs Brooks Hyperion Tempo
For me, the Hyperion Tempo actually comes out on top mainly because I have used this pretty much from week one of my marathon training and I have not put this shoe down.
As a side note, the Hyperion has nearly 300 miles in it and it is losing absolutely zero pop and absolutely zero performance. It still feels as good. So for those of you spending the premium price on the Hyperion, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s holding up really well.
But why do the Endorphin Speed and the Hyperion Tempo do it so well compared to the Mach 4?
In my opinion, you haven’t got much midsole that’s going to nullify any bounce or pop you get from the Hyperion and the Speed. You’ve got a really decent stack in the forefoot which as you toe-off gives you that pop and bounce that you’re looking for in a speed shoe.
Compared to the Endorphin Speed, the Hyperion is probably slightly more aggressive in terms of the pop and snap that you get.
However, both of them provide that quick turnover feeling and that pop-off that you want from those speedier-day shoes and that is the big difference between these and the Mach 4.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Hoka One One Mach 4. Actually, this can be a complementary shoe to the Endorphin Speed and the Hyperion Tempo.
Yes, I have to say the fit on the Mach is absolutely beautiful, but when it comes to those faster speeds, the midsole just isn’t quite as comparable.
It’s just a typical standard gliding Hoka shoe just like what you’d expect with the Rocket X or even the Carbon X 2. It’s just kind of a lighter weight slightly quicker version of those but certainly doesn’t handle those really fast paces well.
So, when you couple the Mach 4 with the Endorphin Speed or the Hyperion Tempo during your half marathon or marathon training, you’re going to get a fantastic combination.
The Mach is going to pick up the easy moderate and marathon pace miles while the Tempo and Speed are going to step in at the marathon pace miles and quicker interval work, speedwork, and the long runs.
The Endorphin Speed is going to do exactly the same job. The direct comparison in terms of speed really is between the Tempo and the Speed.
To be honest, if you’re only going to have two shoes in your rotation, the Mach and the Endorphin Speed or the Hyperion Tempo will be a fantastic combination.
So there you have it, this is our Hoka Mach 4 vs Saucony Endorphin Speed. Have you used either or both of these shoes? Let us know in the comments which you prefer.