Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

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Anta Mach 4 and G21 2 Pro Review
By David Salas and Matthew Klein

Anta is a Chinese Sportswear brand that has been seen on the feet of several good athletes in running and basketball. Although many in the US may know the Mach series to be from Hoka, Anta has had its own Mach for several years as well. The Anta Mach 4 is a running shoe that is designed to be able to do a little bit of everything, but does lean towards more up-tempo efforts. A completely different shoe than the Mach many may know, those wanting a more snug shoe with an updated foam may be interested in Anta's lightweight trainer. Also in this review, David will also be talking about the G21 2 Pro, a daily trainer for the company. The shoe uses a high cushioning foam with decent traction underfoot to give you something to use as your workhorse. The shoe features a winged TPU plate for some rigidity and stability. 

Anta Mach 4 Review

Anta Mach 4
Currently only available outside of US.
Weight: 8.39oz, 238g (men's size 8)
Stack Height: 30mm heel / 24mm forefoot
Drop: 6mm drop
Shoe Purpose: Plated Performance Trainer

Pros: Good upper security, traction, decently versatile as a training shoe
Cons: Midsole can feel a tad flat compared to competition, overly tapered forefoot


The Anta Mach 4 is a lightweight training shoe aimed to be able to tackle up-tempo paces with some versatility into training and workouts. The shoe is meant to be a training companion, but should also be able to tackle races as well if needed. A low-volume, snug, slightly thicker upper sits up top, making for a fit best for those with narrow feet. A nitrogen-infused midsole provides some pop while a W-shaped plastic plate attempts to stabilize the shoe. A companion shoe to the C202 5 GT, the Mach 4 is tuned for almost anything that may come your way.

: Adidas Adios 8
PAST MODEL: Anta Mach 3


(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

Matt: The Anta Mach 4 fits me mostly true to size in my normal men's US size 10. The width overall is snug, particularly up front. The fit feels slightly short at first due to a narrow and tapered toe box. The volume in the forefoot is quite low and I felt pressure across the top of my first toe. Those with wide feet or wanting an anatomic toe box will not do well as the Mach 4 does crunch the toes a little. This transitions into a slightly snug midfoot. The tongue is thin and gusseted. While secure, it has folded on itself a few times while putting the shoe on and some care has to be taken to make sure it is flat. The heel is slightly snug with moderate heel collar cushioning and a stiff heel counter. Although the counter is rounded, it caused immediate noticeable pressure. Those who want a stiff counter will do well here while those that are sensitive to them will not. The security is good due to the snug fit of the upper and I did not have to tighten or lace lock this shoe. The inner liner is scratchy and I would highly suggest the use of socks with the Mach 4. 

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Matt well: Saucony Guide 17, ASICS Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, Saucony Endorphin Elite, Nike Ultrafly
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Saucony Kinvara 14
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, Altra Timp 5

David: The Anta Mach 4 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The upper material can come off a little course, but does hold its structure really well. Upper security is very dialed in with turns and I had no issues with slippage. The width can be a little on the narrow side throughout the shoe, though I'd still place it on the the narrow side of "normal". The tongue is thin, but padded just enough to keep from lace biting. The laces are organized a little strange on the final eyelets and does pull a little on the front of the talus and ankle joint. It was not a deal breaker, but I do think the comfort around the instep and lacing system through the tongue could be better. Anta calls this upper design their "A-Web". The shoe dose have good security throughout and is trustworthy. I do think it could be a little more comfortable though. 

David's Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit David well: Nike Vomero 17, Saucony Ride 16, Puma Velocity Nitro 3

Shoes that have fit snug: HOKA Arahi 7
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon Aero Glide

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Average
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: Average
Is the Forefoot Flexible: No
How Flexible is the Shoe: Stiff
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Yes
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Average to Above Average


Matt: The Anta Mach 4 is a lightweight trainer with a nitrogen-infused foam (Nitroedge) and a long plastic W-plate. The ride is slightly soft and stiff. The heel transition is somewhat quick and smooth thanks to a decent sized heel bevel. This transitions into a stiff midfoot and forefoot. The foam underfoot does not feel overly bouncy but does feel cushioned. This is an interesting experience as it feels cushioned but low to the ground (despite the moderate stack height) because the foam compresses a great deal. There is an early forefoot rocker but the transition off the front is stiff. This makes this a decent shoe for those with toe mobility issues but can feel awkward for anything but uptempo paces. The foam is not the most responsive, so attempting to run faster paces feels awkward with the overly stiff midfoot and forefoot. The stiffness also makes this shoe feel slightly uncomfortable running easy for anything beyond short to moderate distances. The distances should be kept to smooth surfaces. There is good traction on the outsole but the smaller lugs make this a shoe best for gripping smoother surfaces like road and track. The narrow heel/midfoot is not stable enough for trail, so this shoe should stay on stable surfaces. The durability is great thanks to the thick outsole. I have 20 miles on my pair with no wear at all, so I would expect a ton of miles out of this shoe if it is something that matches your mechanics. 

David:  The Anta Mach 4 performed pretty well, but does fall short in some areas. The shoe is aimed to be a performance trainer that can tackle a little bit of everything. I do think the shoe does this for the most part. The shoe has a quick transitioning heel into a really stiff forefoot. When loading the shoe you are able to turn over pretty well because of how much stiffness is in their from the W shaped plastic plate. This stiffness is not always the most comfortable though. The shoe is rounded through the heel well, but there is not too significant of a forefoot rocker. This makes the shoe feel quite nice when you are really pushing into it, though it can feel a tad jarring at slower paces. The one thing that felt inconsistent with the Mach 4 was the midsole. It feels durable and structured, but it does not necessarily feel fast. The platform itself responds pretty well from the stiffness, though I would not say you get much bounce or responsiveness from the foam itself. The cushioning is very moderate on the Mach 4 and I see this more as a short distance training companion for track work. I struggle to see this being a long run workout shoe or a half marathon up racing shoe.

(Learn more about stability in our full guide)

Matt: The Anta Mach 4 is a neutral shoe. There are some methods of guidance but those are offset by other geometrical features. The heel features mild sidewalls on the both the medial and lateral sides of the shoe. These do transition slightly into the midfoot but are less noticeable. The most stable feature is the long extended W plastic plate that creates a higher level of stiffness/rigidity throughout the length and width of the shoe. It also extends/wings out medially and laterally in the heel. This provides a somewhat stable heel transition. However, the midfoot sole is incredibly narrow and this is immediately noticeable. The plastic W plate does not offset the midfoot narrowness and I have found my feet collapsing over the inner side of the midfoot with anything over shorter miles. The rigidity does help make the forefoot slightly stable with the smooth forefoot rocker. However, the Mach 4 is best for those who want a stiff shoe with a little bit of heel guidance and a highly neutral midfoot. 

David:  The Anta Mach 4 is definitely a neutral shoe, though does run with decent stability. The outsole traction is good and the platform is very stiff and firm. The foam cushions the shoe just enough for it not to feel hard, but does hold its structure. The upper has good security throughout and I never had issues with slippage or translation medially or laterally. The midfoot is on the narrow side. You can feel this underfoot, but some of it is offset from the plastic plate system. There really is not much sole flare in this model either. I think the shoe could benefit from widening the midfoot platform and maybe adding some sole flare through the forefoot. 

Thoughts as a DPT: Shoe Requirements for Speed 
By David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS

One thing I did want to highlight on the Mach 4 is the usage of platform stiffness and upper security. Though I think the shoe could improve its design to be more friendly towards longer distance efforts, the shoe does do quite well with speedy sessions. The shoe has a few things going for it. The big 3 I will highlight is the upper security, platform stiffness without dramatic forefoot rocker, and good traction. 

When running fast on a track or anywhere for that matter, it is really important to make sure that our foot is connected to the platform underneath us. The upper of a shoe takes on that role. The upper in the Mach 4 is a little snug, though there is not much stretch to the material and the A-Web does seem to keep you locked in. I have found this with hard turns, tracks, etc to hold true. The other thing is the forefoot stiffness. In some ways this shoe reminds me of a track spike in feel when you start getting closer to top end speeds. The shoe is very rigid and snappy, though not overly rounded up front. It really lets you get up onto your toes and drive through the forefoot.

The other thing is outsole traction. When you are going fast you also want to make sure your foot is not sliding on the ground. The rubber is grippy and I have not had any issues on slick road, track, or runnable trails. Combining all of these factors creates an environment that gives you a lot of security on your foot and a lot of feedback from the ground under you. This is why the shoe feels really nice as a track companion shoe. You can turn up the pace without worry. Would I like to see the shoe a little more forgiving for longer distances? Of course. But I do think it shines as a non racing speed shoe for those specific kind of interval efforts. 


Matt: The Anta Mach 4 has a great deal of room for improvement. The upper is far too thick and narrow, which makes for a fit that crunches the toes. I would highly suggest reducing the thickness of the upper and adding some width/volume/shape to the forefoot to improve comfort with training efforts. The plastic W-plate design is interesting but is nullified by the incredibly narrow midfoot. The midfoot should be filled in and then the plate won't have to be so stiff. This would also greatly improve the transition and stability of the midfoot. The plate in a lightweight trainer does not need to be as stiff. This gives the foam less room to compress and rebound and makes the transition stiffer than it needs to be, especially up front. The foam is mostly good but does not have as much responsiveness as competitors. I would put less emphasis on the stiffness of the plate and add some resiliency and compliance to this current midsole compound to make it more enjoyable for both training and uptempo efforts. 

David: The Anta Mach 4 was good, but could definitely see some improvements. I do think making the tongue and lacing system a little more comfortable could make the ankle feel more comfortable. I would also like to see them play with the midsole. The platform itself is rigid and snappy, though you do not seem to get too much from the foam itself, in terms of responsiveness. The other thing I would do is fill in the midfoot some to help stabilize the shoe. 


Matt: The Anta Mach 4 is a lightweight trainer for those who want a lower volume, tapered upper with a slightly soft, lower-to-the-ground feeling, stiff ride. This shoe has a small window of function as an uptempo shoe pace-wise due to the overly stiff plastic plate. Those who can handle a really stiff and neutral shoe may do well in this shoe. Given the existence already of a training shoe with a plate and Nitroedge foam (G21 2 Pro) and a racing shoe with a plate and a similar foam, this shoe is a little redundant unless someone wants something a little lighter than the G21 2 Pro and feels closer to the ground. Anta is making some strides and the excellent nature of their racing shoe, the C202 5 GT, gives me hope they can get their Mach series up to speed.  

David: The Anta Mach 4 is a training shoe that is for someone that likes a stiff platform without a largely rockered forefoot. The shoe feels good at fast paces because of the rigidity, though this can feel a little off at slower paces or longer efforts. this does run well on track. Those also wanting a shoe with a more moderate stack height and overall firmer feel may like this as well.


Fit: B- (Thick upper with tapered forefoot best for those with narrow feet)
B- (Stiff plastic plate performs better at uptempo speeds but midsole still feels a bit flat)
Stability: C+/B- [Neutral] (Narrow less stable midfoot offset by slightly guided heel)
Value: B (Decent deal for $110-120 bucks but there are better shoes)
Personal: C- (Tapered forefoot, thick upper, unstable midfoot and awkward transition not a shoe for me. )
Overall Design: C+/B- 

Fit: (Decent fit throughout with good upper security, material itself isn't the most comfortable, lacing system could be integrated with the tongue better.)
B (Stiff platform feels good at fast paces, midsole a little flat for a speed shoe, loses some versatility at longer efforts)
Stability: B (Stiff platform, good traction, upper security solid, narrow midfoot and no sole flaring through forefoot)
Value: B (If you can find it in the US online it usually floats around $100)
Personal:  (Not bad, Not great. Stiff platform for turning over, but limited in longer distance usage.)
Overall Design: (Some promise, though I would like to see the midsole with more live and some geometric changes)

Anta G21 2 Pro Review

Anta G21 2 Pro
Currently available only outside US
Weight: Not provided
Stack Height: 33mm heel / 23mm forefoot
Drop: 10mm
Shoe Purpose: Daily Trainer

Pros: Good Traction, Durable foam with good cushioning
Cons: Narrow platform that many may struggle with, really snug volume


The G21 2 Pro is a very neutral daily trainer from Anta. It features their Nitroedge midsole which is nitrogen-infused EVA and a winged TPU plate in the heel and midfoot. The model is part of a family of G21 shoes, which the Pro being the most cushioned currently.

(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

David: The Anta G21 2 Pro did fit about a half size small on me. The upper is pretty snug throughout every region and the length does seem to brush the toes some in my Men's 9.5. The upper material is decently comfortable, but does squeeze the foot more than I would like it to. There is an external heel counter that holds the structure in the heel cup well without being irritating. The lacing lockdown is pretty good and the moderately padded tongue prevents any biting from the laces. There is an overlay medially and laterally in the forefoot that helps keep the structure of the upper, but does create a bit of hot spot as well. There is some upside to the upper but ultimately this one was a miss for me. 

David's Typical Size: Men's US Size 9.5
Shoes that have fit David well: Nike Vomero 17, Saucony Ride 16, Puma Velocity Nitro 3

Shoes that have fit snug: HOKA Arahi 7
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon Aero Glide

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Average
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: Average
Is the Forefoot Flexible: Mild
How Flexible is the Shoe: Mild to moderate
Is This a Good Heel Bevel:Yes
Recommended for Haglunds: No
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Above Average


David:  The Anta G21 2 Pro is aimed to be a daily trainer that can take the bulk of your mileage. The shoe does have some positives and negatives on how it performs. The positives are that the foam and traction is quite good. There is also a decent heel bevel that transitions you onto the midfoot pretty quickly and smoothly. There is a lot of upside to where the platform of this shoe can go. The downside is the platform through the midfoot. There is a winged TPU plate to help stabilize the region, but the midfoot platform is quite narrow. The foam in the midsole reminds me of Floatride Energy at Reebok and does have a good firm cushioning feel to it. Despite not being overly compliant, the midfoot does feel like you may roll inwards or outwards as you transition over it. Because of this I find my stabilizing muscles working harder. The tibialis anterior in my shins work pretty hard because of the fast heel transition into the unstable midfoot, and then my tibialis posterior and fibularis longus get sore from the medial/lateral stabilization. The forefoot has decent width and mild to moderate flexibility for a pretty nice toe off though. The combination of the off upper fit and unstable midfoot do make for a bit of incomplete experience. There is a lot of upside, but the shoe is not there yet. 

(Learn more about stability in our full guide)

David:  The Anta G21 2 Pro is definitely not a neutral shoe. The traction and TPU plate help offset some of the instability, but this ultimately is very neutral. The narrow midfoot has some give to it and you feel like you have to stabilize yourself from rolling in either direction. The upper also does have some stretch to it. This wouldn't be a problem if the platform was better situated, but the lower leg is doing a lot of work in this shoe. The heel and forefoot seem to run pretty well though.

Thoughts as a DPT: The Components of Gait
By David Salas, PT, DPT, CSCS

When you are running you go through what is called the gait cycle. The gait cycle refers to what your body is doing at different phases as you run. The phases can be broken down into initial contact, loading response, mid stance, terminal stance, pre swing, initial swing, and terminal swing. For the sake of this conversation I will focus on the stance phases. 

Initial contact refers to your first contact with the ground. Normally this is with your heel. At this point the muscles that are the most active are your gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and tibialis anterior, in preparation for absorbing the load of your limb moving into the ground. The next phase of gait would be considered loading response. Many consider this a continuation of initial contact, and does refer to to the initial absorbing of the load from the lower extremity. At this point, the same musculature as above is highly active, and many of the stabilizing muscles began to also get activated in the lower leg in preparation for midstance. Midstance is a phase of gait that is a bit of a translatory process between the initial contact on the ground and the pushing off of the forefoot. At this point many of the stabilizing musculature in the side of the foot and lower leg are working hard to help with controlling forces against gravity. This movement functionally translates into pronation and internal rotation of the femur for shock absorption. At the end of this middle stance phase, the midfoot will begin to rise supinate, and other musculature will begin to activate in preparation for pushing off. Terminal stance is a phase where concentric motion begins to happen in the foot and ankle. The foot and ankle move into plantar flexion to lift up the heel, and the glutes work together with the hamstrings to help with hip extension and knee flexion for push off and preparation for lifting the heel off of the ground into initial swing. 

The Anta G21 2 Pro struggles in the midfoot, because it is making a phase in the gait cycle that has already hard to stabilize a little bit harder. As noted, this is a phase where the intrinsic musculature of the foot and the calf musculature are working hard to help with controlling the force into pronation. If a platform is narrow through that region this capacity, it can create a balance beam effect along the inside of the foot and lower leg. The Anta G21 2 Pro is certainly not a bad shoe, but does have to rethink the midfoot to appeal to a larger audience. 


David: The Anta G21 Pro is a daily training shoe for someone that wants a forefoot driven shoe for their daily miles. The heel is rounded well and quickly transitions you into a thin midfoot. The midfoot can certainly be unstable, and so those with neutral mechanics will be the only ones looking into this shoe. The foam feels durable and does have a structured cushioning feel to it. The upper is also on the snug side, so if there are worries, going a half size up could easily be warranted.

My biggest recommendation is to make the upper a bit more accommodating and to widen the midfoot platform some. Despite the TPU plate, it is not enough to keep the platform from feeling unstable.


Fit: C+ (Upper material decently comfortable, but snug throughout to where it fits a half size small, some hot spots from the forefoot overlays)
Performance: C+ 
(Good foam and traction, can definitely be a daily trainer, though instability in the midfoot makes the lower leg work more than you would like it to. Forefoot toe off pretty smooth.)
Stability: C (Heel stability and forefoot stability is pretty good, though midfoot and upper is quite difficult. )
Value: C (Not a bad shoe, not a great shoe. This falls right in the middle.)
Personal: C (Midfoot is just to unstable and upper to snug to justify use over other shoes for me)
Overall Design: C+ (Definitely promise to be a really good shoe, just not there yet)


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Anta C202 5 GT | Review
Anta's surprisingly solid super shoe. Light and fun.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Anta for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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