The Hoka One One Arahi strikes a pleasant combination of stability and comfort, in a relatively lightweight package compared to similar stability models. Like other Hoka shoes, the geometry of the Arahi is particularly suited for midfoot strikers, but heel strikers will still benefit from the dynamic guidance of the midsole technologies. Longtime Hoka fans who are seeking one more level of stability or support will love the feel and performance of this new model.
Fit The length is true to size. Width-wise, the Arahi uses Hoka’s new HR3 last which is wider in the toe box, but not quite at the level of the anatomic toe boxes used by Altra or Topo. The fit is snug through the rearfoot, and the laces cinch down the midfoot fairly well, but our testers experienced some movement of the tongue even when the laces are cinched tight.
Comfort Our testers felt the arch placement sits slightly too far posterior, causing some irritation in the rearfot. Padding is moderate and rides comfortably against the foot. The new upper materials on the Arahi are nicely flexible but tend to retain heat more than we like in hot weather. Dimensions of the toe box are generous enough to allow foot splay without chafing.
Responsiveness Hoka’s customary EVA midsole foam typically provides nice bounce, and the Arahi continues that standard. We also like the springy feel at push off. Some energy is lost at impact, especially for heel strikers, partially due to the material construction. The new J-frame positions very firm foam around the perimeter of your rearfoot, helping guide the heel into a central position where the EVA underfoot is much softer. This is in addition to Hoka’s active foot frame which causes the heel to sit deep in the midsole compound rather than on top of it.
Ride Quality One of Hoka’s strengths is its Meta Rocker structure of the midsole and outsole, which gives a smooth roll from impact to toe-off and creates very efficient transfer of energy for midfoot strikers. The J-Frame technology on the Arahi is interesting in that it guides the foot and provides stability elements without rigid components that are found in many other stability shoes. Our testers were impressed with how the Arahi successfully achieves a stabilizing effect without compromising its comfortable cushioned feel.
Speed Even though it’s a stability shoe, the Arahi isn’t out of place in the lightweight category. Its responsive midsole and smooth ride help to accelerate leg turnover, particularly for midfoot strikers. The Arahi probably won’t be a race-day model, but it’s more than adequate to support some uptempo training.