Hoka Kawana 2 VS Mach 6: What Should I Buy?

The Hoka Kawana 2 and Mach 6 are two of the latest lightweight running shoe models released by Hoka in 2024. Both shoes provide the signature Hoka cushioning and support, but with some key differences.

This in-depth comparison looks at the specs, features, and performance of the Kawana 2 and Mach 6 to help you decide which one is the better choice for your running needs.

Similarities And Differences Between Kawana And Mach 6:

SpecsHoka Kawana 2Hoka Mach 6
Launched InFebruary 2024March 2024
StabilityModerateVery stable
FlexibilityFlexibleLess flexible
SizingTrue to sizeRuns small
Weight9.8oz (M), 8.8oz (W)8.2oz (M), 6.7oz (W)
CushionPlush EVA foamFirm Supercritical foam
OutsoleRubberDurabrasion rubber
MidsoleEVA foamSupercritical foam
UpperEngineered meshCreel Jacquard mesh
Retail Price$160$140

Features Comparison:

Materials:

The Kawana 2 has a standard rubber outsole that provides good durability and traction. In the midsole, it uses a softer EVA foam material which gives plush cushioning and shock absorption. The upper uses an engineered mesh for breathability and flexibility allowing it to conform comfortably to the foot.

HOKA KAWANA 2
KAWANA 2

MACH 6
MACH 6

The Mach 6 outsole utilizes Durabrasion rubber which is extremely durable and abrasion-resistant for hundreds of miles. Its midsole features Hoka’s Supercritical foam which is responsive and stable underfoot. The Mach 6 upper uses a Jacquard mesh material with less give, prioritizing structure and security over flexibility.

Durability:

The Mach 6 wins when it comes to durability, thanks to the Durabrasion rubber outsole which is extremely resistant to wear and tear, even after hundreds of miles. The Kawana 2’s rubber outsole will still be quite durable, but probably won’t last as many miles as the Mach 6.

The Supercritical foam midsole on the Mach 6 maintains its bounce and energy return for longer than standard EVA foam like in the Kawana 2. However, the upper on the Kawana 2 may hold up slightly better over time versus the mesh upper of the Mach 6.

Fit:

In terms of fit, the Kawana 2 runs true to size for most runners while the Mach 6 tends to run small. The Kawana has a roomier toe box which accommodates wider feet better, while the Mach 6 has a snugger fit through the midfoot and heel. The engineered mesh upper of the Kawana 2 is softer and conforms to the foot for a flexible, sock-like fit.

HOKA KAWANA 2 TOP VIEW
KAWANA 2 TOP VIEW

MACH 6 TOP VIEW
MACH 6 TOP VIEW

The Jacquard mesh of the Mach 6 has less give and is better for runners who prefer a secure midfoot wrap. Both shoes have comfortable, padded collars around the ankle. The Mach 6 may work better for runners with narrow or low-volume feet compared to the Kawana 2.

Stability:

The Mach 6 provides significantly better stability than the Kawana 2 thanks to its firmer Supercritical foam midsole which gives a very stable feel underfoot, especially for overpronators. The 5mm drop also promotes foot stability during transitions.

Meanwhile, the Kawana 2 has more plush EVA foam cushioning around the heel which softens landings but makes it less stable. However, the Kawana 2 still has moderate stability from its streamlined shape and beveled heel. The Mach 6’s Jacquard mesh upper also wraps tighter through the midfoot for less wobbling during foot strikes compared to the flexible engineered mesh of the Kawana 2.

Cushioning:

The Kawana 2’s plush EVA foam midsole provides superior cushioning and shock absorption compared to the firmer, responsive Supercritical foam in the Mach 6. The Kawana 2 does an excellent job of softening impact while still providing energy return.

The Mach 6 feels lower to the ground with less cushioning on foot strikes, but still has adequate padding thanks to its supportive foam stack height. Also, the Mach 6’s firmness makes it efficient for speedwork.

Overall, the Kawana 2 has more versatile, well-rounded cushioning while the Mach 6 prioritizes ground-feel and bounce. Runners wanting maximum softness for long distances would prefer the Kawana 2’s ultra-plush EVA foam cushioning.

Value:

At the same $140 price point, the Hoka Kawana 2 provides better overall value for most runners. For the same price, you get more durable EVA foam cushioning, a roomier engineered mesh upper, and superior shock absorption for long miles in the Kawana 2.

While the Mach 6 has an edge in stability and responsiveness with its Supercritical foam and Jacquard upper, the Kawana 2 is the more versatile option that can handle slow jogs and faster speeds. Considering both shoes will likely last around 300-400 miles, the Kawana 2 gives you more comfort and versatility per dollar spent compared to the Mach 6.

Performance Comparision:

Walking:

For walking, the Kawana 2 is the much better option with its plush heel and forefoot cushioning absorbing impact comfortably even during long walks. The Mach 6 has a firm ride that may feel too stiff and unforgiving for regular walking.

The Mach 6 is made for efficient running turnover rather than leisurely walking. Also, the roomier toe box of the Kawana 2 allows toes to splay naturally when walking which provides comfort and balance. For all-day wear or walking shoes, the Kawana 2 is hands-down the winner.

Running:

For running, the Mach 6 has the edge in performance and speed thanks to its lightweight build, snug fit, and responsive Supercritical foam midsole. The Mach 6 feels more efficient during mile repeats or tempo runs where you want a fast turnover in each stride. The firmness also provides stability on uneven trails or gravel paths.

However, the Kawana 2 isn’t far behind for running, with its balanced cushioning managing both slow jogs and faster paces. The Kawana’s more flexible upper also allows a more natural running motion. So while serious runners will gravitate towards the Mach 6 for its speed, the Kawana 2 can certainly hold its own as a daily running shoe.

Plantar Fasciitis:

For runners with plantar fasciitis, the Kawana 2 would likely be the safer choice due to its softer heel cushioning and raised collar padding around the ankles.

The plush EVA foam provides better shock absorption, taking pressure off the heels and arches with each step. The Mach 6’s firmer heel could aggravate pain from plantar fasciitis over time.

However, the Mach 6’s stable build does help control overpronation which can help manage plantar fasciitis in some runners. Overall though, the Kawana 2’s superior cushioning makes it a better pick if you have or are prone to plantar fasciitis.

Standing All Day:

Similar to walking, the Kawana 2 is better suited for people who will be standing all day, whether at work or running errands. The plush foam cushioning around the heels and forefoot maintains comfort even when on your feet for hours at a time.

The Mach 6 is just too minimalist and firm to provide adequate comfort for extended standing throughout the day. Its lightweight performance priorities make it inefficient for wear outside of running. The Kawana 2 is specifically designed for versatile all-day wear which makes it the obvious choice for jobs or activities requiring lots of standing.

Final Verdict:

Overall, the Kawana 2 is the better option for most runners thanks to its blend of plush EVA foam cushioning, flexible engineered mesh upper, and comfortable feel during any activity. It provides versatile cushioning for both slow jogs and faster training paces.


The Mach 6 still excels as an affordable stability shoe with its Supercritical foam midsole and Jacquard mesh upper, making it a great choice for tempo runs or speedwork.

But for superior shock absorption and all-day comfort across a wide range of mileages, the Kawana 2 takes the win for most runners over the Mach 6. Both are quality shoes, but the Kawana 2’s well-rounded performance gives it the slight edge.

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