Cheeky Run Club Road Tests the HOKA Mach 6

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A New All-Rounder Designed for Everyday Speed

Editor’s note: This feature is brought to you by HOKA and the new Mach 6. It’s the lightest, most responsive Mach to date. The shoe’s been fine-tuned for extra energy return with an updated performance foam midsole, and the addition of a durabrasion rubber outsole improves longevity and grip.

Together, Anna Coldham and Phoebe Pincus are Cheeky Run Club, and they’re bringing some much-needed joy to the running community. Firmly focused on the amateur runner (someone who runs for the love of it), their podcast – which has taken off like a rocket in its first season – literally promises there are No Stupid Questions, wherever you are on your running journey.

In 10 short weeks they’ve covered the unspoken rules of running etiquette, the darker side of running (touching on body image and eating disorders) and picked apart the importance of sports bras. They’ve also launched a Strava community that’s picked up more than 1,500 members, and they’re now planning their first running event in conjunction with Up There Athletics. They’ve even found time on the podcast to look at running shoe FAQs – something that should come in handy when it comes to getting their feedback on HOKA’s new Mach 6, which we’ve asked Anna and Phoebe to road test.

“We're trying to make running accessible for everyone and really home in on the amateur runner and all the challenges and joys that come along with that.”

Cheeky Run Club


The pair – who are training for the Berlin Marathon later in the year – met through their run crew, Hunter Athletics, and began to notice a gap in the way people understand or talk about running. In the media, there’s a focus on the elite runners who participate at the highest levels, despite this not reflecting the experiences of most people who run for fitness or any of running’s many other benefits.

“All they see is the professional runner who takes it really seriously. And especially, I would say, there weren’t a lot of being women spotlighted in this way,” Phoebe says.

“We're trying to make it accessible for everyone and really home in on the amateur runner and all the challenges and joys that come along with that,” Anna says.


“We've always said we want to talk about things that we personally would be interested in hearing about. Which is why it's fun researching some of the episodes –because it's stuff that we're interested in, so we like reading about it anyway,” she adds.

Explaining their chosen name, Phoebe distils the positive vibes that the pair’s podcast and social media embodies. “We wanted to capture that feeling of sitting at our local cafe Cheeky Monkeys on a Saturday after a long run, feeling on top of the world and so close to the people around you, and being so grateful,” she says.

Phoebe did some of those recent long runs – plus plenty of other shorter and faster ones, too – in the new HOKA Mach 6. Asked about her experience of the shoe, she jumps straight in to say she’s “obsessed” with her new pair. “I loved the HOKA Mach 5 as well, so a lot of my impressions are influenced by that,” she says.

Phoebe Pincus

“The Mach 6 is super light and comfortable. It's really fun to run in and, since I got it, I’ve found myself constantly reaching for it in the morning.”

“It's got a good balance of feeling soft and protective but it's also super light and easy to move well in. It's perfect for an easy run but I'm also quite keen to do some tempos in the Mach 6 because I liked doing faster stuff in my Mach 5 pair.”

Since that last edition, HOKA have upgraded the performance foam midsole to create a faster, snappier ride. Weighing just under 190g in a women’s size 8, and with a stack height of 35mm at the heel and 30mm at the toe, the Mach 6 is designed for everyday speed, as an all-round trainer.


“I was really surprised by the height,” Phoebe says, “because in my head I was thinking, ‘Oh, it's not as much of a maximalist shoe.’ It feels a bit lower, so I was quite surprised that the stack is actually quite high, but that explains why it feels so soft.”

“And I love that it's much less of a drop than a lot of other shoes I've been running in recently,” she continues. “I feel like it encourages me to run a bit more on my midfoot or forefoot, which suits my natural stride and doesn't feel like it's shifting the way that I run.”


While the Mach 5 was a widely loved shoe, one thing it lacked was a protective outsole, meaning some runners felt it lacked durability. HOKA have now fixed that with the addition of a durabrasion layer where the rubber meets the road.

“I would tear those shoes to shreds,” Phoebe remembers of the previous edition. “While I haven't had these new ones for long, the added outsole feels like it's exactly what it needed, and from a traction perspective as well.”

Unlike Phoebe, who had run not only in the Mach 5 but also in other models too, Anna’s experience of the Mach 6 was the first time she had pulled on a pair of HOKAs.

06 ALT Anna
Anna Coldham

“I really liked them as soon as I put them on," Anna says. "I was surprised at how light they were. They feel cushy without being soft, and they’re well supported. There's quite a bit of foam but it doesn't take away from the responsiveness. You still get a good rebound from the ground.”

She’s also a fan of the shoe’s aesthetics. “I love the Paddle Pop colours. The ones they gave me are sort of pale pink and grey and yellow, like a Rainbow Paddle Pop. It’s cute.”


Anna has been throwing her full range of running requirements at the Mach 6.

“I did a super easy jog this morning and I wore it. Did a long run yesterday – wore it. I'm going to do a track session tomorrow and wear it. The Mach 6 is a jack of all trades, and I reckon it'd be really good for people who want to buy only one pair of shoes because you could get a lot out of it.”

Phoebe had some thoughts at this point. “Something that I find a bit frustrating is the hyper-specialisation of shoes these days, she says. “It's like you need a separate shoe for every kind of run, which is fun but it gets to a point where it's so expensive it's a bit ridiculous for amateur runners. Part of what I love about the Mach 6 is it feels like going back to just needing one shoe.”


“The other thing I thought about, in terms of how I would use this shoe, is it's the perfect travel shoe because it's so versatile. Like, if you don't want to pack session shoes, easy shoes, long-run shoes. I'm about to go home for six days and this is the only sneaker that I'll bring.”

Phoebe’s holiday coincides with her and Anna taking a short break from the podcast before launching its second season on Monday 15 April.


“We've been really lucky to have a lot of podcast mentors and the only consistent piece of advice everyone gave us was to do it in seasons because then you just give yourself a chance to consolidate, reflect, learn, decide what you want to change, reset, go again,” Phoebe says.

Which sounds like some kind of masterful running coach, right? Enjoy your running, reflect on it, learn from it, and then – when you’re ready – go again.

Shop the HOKA Mach 6 here. The first ever Cheeky Run Club group run will leave from Up There Athletics on Friday 12 April at 6.30am. Everyone is welcome and there will be a range of pace groups catering to all speeds. Register here.

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