About a year ago I bought my first pair of Hoka running shoes. A brand, that is noted for their light weight and maximal cushioning running shoes. Clifton 3 was and still is a great universal shoe, I am using it for shorter and longer runs, for road and trail running. Cliftons are soft and neutral shoes. But sometimes I want something stiffer, I want more ground feel. The Arahi seems like the perfect choice. But is it? Let’s see.
Hoka One One Arahi is a lightweight support shoe, it is the more stable version of Clifton. While the shoe lacks a traditional medial post, it is able to reduce overpronation through the use of a completely new EVA J-Frame construction. Combined with an active foot frame and broad base, this shoe helps reduce overpronation in a unique way. Arahi weights 9.3 oz and has a 5mm heel to toe drop, which is in the middle of zero drop and shoes with a 10mm drop.
Midsole & Outsole
The J frame is the main selling point of Arahi. It is designed to combat overpronation. The J frame uses the functionality of the active foot frame but adds support with a firmer density foam on the medial side – where the overpronation foot rolls in, all the way to the front of the shoe. This J also extends back with firmer sidewalls on the heel’s lateral side. It delivers support and protection while guiding your foot without the use of heavy, rigid materials.
The upper is with printed mesh and supportive midfoot wrap. The padded tongue offers enhanced comfort. The toe box is in-between wide and narrow, for me it’s OK and the fit is good. The breathability is good too, I didn’t have any problems with warm feet. Let’s talk about the design of the shoe too. It may not affect the performance, but it’s something important for most of the buyers. Arahi is the best looking Hoka shoe. Period. At least according to me. I love it so much that I am using it as an everyday driver. The fish like pattern and the dual color sole look very aggressive and sexy, especially in the MIDNIGHT NAVY / METALLIC GOLD color combination I have. The female option in lavender and blue is even sexier.
Let’s talk now about the most important aspect of this review. The ride of Arahi. Hoka One One Arahi is a special shoe, it’s not for everybody, it’s designed for overpronators. Some people have issues with blisters in the arch and hot spots in this area, but I didn’t have any issues. It is highly recommended to try the shoe before the final purchase. From the first moment when you put them on, you will know is this your shoe or not. For me, the fit is very good, so good I even decided to run two ultramarathons with them. Yes, the shoe is not designed for such a torture but those ultras were non-technical. The typical for a Hoka shoe stack height certainly helped. Unfortunately, in the middle of both ultras, It started to rain. The shoe was very slippery in the mud, but I managed to survive and finished. Durability wise I was very surprised. The outsole and upper looked perfect. According to Strava I have almost 350 miles in them, without counting the everyday usage for half a year. But a few days ago the upper broke near my pinky toe on right foot. Apparently, more or less the two ultras contributed to this tear. It looks like the upper in this area is not hooked well with the sole and the pinky toe is bending it when I am walking or running.
However, I am very pleased with the shoe. Most of the times I prefer to run in Arahi instead of Clifton, because I prefer more firm ground contact and more stable traction.
If you are looking for a plush ride, Arahi is not the best choice. In my eyes, it’s something like a bulky shoe for overpronators and variety of runs – both training and racing. It’s Clifton’s support brother. Clifton is lighter, but Arahi is more supportive and with better durability (at least in the outsole). At the moment the shoe retails for a little bit more than $100 dollars.