Hoka Carbon X3 VS Mach 6: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka Carbon X3 and Mach 6 are two of the latest lightweight, responsive trainers from Hoka. With carbon fiber plates and low stack heights, these shoes are built for speed.

But with two great options to choose from, which shoe is right for you – the established Carbon X3 or the new Mach 6? This in-depth comparison highlights the key differences so you can decide which will help you fly across the miles.

Similarities And Differences Between Carbon X3 And Mach 6:

FeatureHoka Carbon X3Hoka Mach 6
Launched In20232024
FlexibilityGood flexibilityGood flexibility
SizingStandardRuns small
Weight8.5 oz8.2 oz (M), 6.7 oz (W)
CushionModerateSupercritical foam
OutsoleRubberized EVADurabrasion rubber
MidsoleProFly XSupercritical foam
UpperKnitJacquard mesh
Retail Price$200$140

feature comparison:


The outsoles on both shoes provide good grip, with the Carbon X3 using rubberized EVA and the Mach 6 utilizing Durabrasion rubber. The Mach 6’s outsole seems more durable.



Inside, the midsoles use different foam technologies – the Carbon X3 has ProFly X while the Mach 6 uses a supercritical foam. Both provide responsive cushioning.

On top, the uppers also differ, with the Carbon X3 using a knit material and the Mach 6 featuring a Jacquard mesh. The knit on the Carbon X3 provides a soft, comfortable feel but the mesh on the Mach 6 will likely be more breathable.


When it comes to durability, the Mach 6 seems to have the edge. The Carbon X3’s rubberized EVA outsole is not known for its longevity and some wearers experienced an early breakdown.

The Mach 6’s Durabrasion rubber outsole should hold up better over time and high mileage. The knit upper on the Carbon X3, while comfortable, is prone to holes and tears which reduce the lifespan.

The Mach 6’s Jacquard mesh upper is more tightly constructed for better structural integrity. Overall, while both are designed for racing, the Mach 6 seems built to go more miles before retirement.


In terms of fit, the Carbon X3 runs true to size for most in a standard D width. However, some found the knit upper stretched over time, reducing stability and control.



The Mach 6 is known to run small, so consider sizing up half a size. The Jacquard mesh upper has minimal stretch so provides a consistent locked-in feel, even during faster paces. Both models have integrated tongues attached to the uppers so you avoid irritation from the tongue slide.

The Carbon X3’s knit upper adapts more closely to different foot shapes while the Mach 6’s mesh has less give. For wider feet, the Carbon X3 is likely the better option for accommodating shape. The Mach 6’s slimmer profile suits average to narrow feet best.


When comparing stability between the shoes, the Carbon X3 comes out ahead. This model has a broader platform including in the heel area to create smoother landings and transitions. Testers noted the Carbon X3 felt more stable at slower paces. The Mach 6 is still a stable shoe but doesn’t have the same wider base.

Additionally, the Carbon X3’s knit upper holds the foot securely, minimizing inside movement. The Mach 6’s slimmer fit allows for a bit more interior foot motion.

Both models incorporate foam sidewalls in the midsole to enhance support but the Carbon X3 implements this better for steadier balance. For overpronators, the Carbon X3 also likely provides more medial support for better control.

Cushioning :

When it comes to cushioning, the Mach 6 and Carbon X3 take different approaches. The Mach 6 has a supercritical foam midsole that provides a soft yet energetic ride that testers found had more bounce. It excels at faster paces where high-energy return is appreciated.

The Carbon X3 uses ProFly X foam which offers moderate cushioning – enough softness to cushion impact but not so much your foot sinks in. It provides a smooth, consistent ride at varied paces rather than the Mach 6’s lively feel. The Mach 6 better suits high mileage needs where extra softness is welcome while the Carbon X3 offers just enough cushioning for comfort and support.


When considering value, the Mach 6 is the better option at $140, a full $60 less than the Carbon X3’s $200 price tag. You still get the key technologies like a carbon plate and responsive foam cushioning but at a more wallet-friendly cost.

The Mach 6 also has upgraded features like the durable outsole and breathable upper to justify its value. The Carbon X3 doesn’t offer anything unique over the Mach 6 to warrant its much higher price point. With similar performance but a far lower price, the Mach 6 delivers better value for your training dollars.


For walking, the Carbon X3 would likely be the better choice between the two. With its more stable platform and broader base, it provides smoother heel-to-toe transitions when moving at slower paces.

The ProFlyX foam is moderately cushioned to remain comfortable mile after mile without getting unstable. The knit upper accommodates swelling feet well and won’t irritate.

While also a stable shoe, the Mach 6’s energetic foam and carbon plate seem optimized for running so don’t feel as smooth at walking speeds. The snugger fit also doesn’t work as well for lower-impact walking.


For running, the Mach 6 gets the nod over the Carbon X3. Testers found the Mach 6’s energetic foam and snappy carbon plate delivered excellent energy return to help push you forward with less effort.

The shoe felt fast and responsive at speeds while still providing cushioning for a comfortable ride. The locked-in Jacquard mesh upper secures the foot over any distance without compromising breathability.

While also a capable trainer, the Carbon X3 leans more towards daily mileage rather than race-day speed. The ride doesn’t quite have the pop and excitement of the finely-tuned Mach 6. Go with the Mach 6 if chasing PRs is the goal.

Plantar Fasciitis:

For plantar fasciitis sufferers, the Carbon X3 seems the wiser option. The moderate ProFly X foam cushions heel strikes without being overly soft or unstable. This provides arch support and shock absorption to reduce pain with the first step.

The wide base improves stability for better foot alignment and distribution of pressure. While also cushioned, the Mach 6’s lively foam compresses quickly under the heel which can aggravate plantar fasciitis. The slimmer profile is also less stable. Go with the Carbon X3 for running with plantar fasciitis.

Standing All Day:

Considering a long day standing, the Carbon X3 again gets the nod for its superior stability. The broad footprint and knit upper securely hold the foot in place to avoid fatigue.

There’s enough ProFly X foam to add comfort and support without sacrificing stability. The Mach 6’s lively cushioning starts to feel less consistent after hours of standing.

Its energetic rebound can make keeping the foot steadily grounded a challenge. The Carbon X3’s balance of comfort, support, and stability caters better to all-day wear whether you’re running errands or on your feet at work.

Final verdict:

While a stable and cushioned option for daily training, the Hoka Carbon X3’s $200 price tag is hard to justify when the Mach 6 offers similar technologies for $60 less. The Carbon X3’s ProFlyX foam and knit upper get the job done but don’t feel particularly special or innovative.

Meanwhile, the Mach 6 brings exciting upgrades like a snappy carbon plate and energetic midsole at an affordable cost. Unless you need maximum stability for overpronation, the Mach 6 is the winner here for its lively responsive ride that excels at tempo days and races, all while delivering better value over the dated Carbon X3.

Leave a comment