Hoka One One Arahi 5 Intro
Hoka returns to the stability game with the Arahi. Updates include a new upper and some midsole tweaks.
It is one of two stability shoes that Hoka One One offers. The heavy workhorse Gaviota sits above the Arahi. It is moderately priced at $130, which is about average for this type of shoe.
It sits next to other mild stability shoes such as Brooks Launch GTS, New Balance 860, or Asics’ DS Trainer.
Hoka One One Arahi 5 First Impressions
I couldn’t help but notice how chunky these shoes looked out of the box. They looked heavy, but felt light in my hands. Despite looking like a big shoe, they felt incredibly light and comfortable on my feet.
Hoka always does a good job at assuring you to not judge a book by its cover. I liked that it rode much lighter than it looked.
The very bold, blue colorway that I got wasn’t anything special, but I didn’t hate it. Definitely contrasting to other shoes I own that are fun neons or darker muted colors.
My first run in them was a recovery run after going a little too hard the day before. They worked splendidly to fall into a relaxing, mindless pace and shake out my legs.
Hoka One One Arahi 5 Sole Unit
There is a lot of sole in this shoe. Despite having tons of cushion and support, it felt and rode incredibly light.
The outsole is a durable lightweight rubber material that is hard to the touch and had lots of grip. The pattern of the tread worked nicely in all conditions and provided lots of control.
I put these to the test in an ice storm and they handled great on barely plowed roads.
The midsole compound’s cushy material felt incredibly comfortable on my feet. I loved just walking around because of how much cushion they had but how light they felt.
Hoka goes with a dual density foam approach with their J frame. This firmer foam wraps around the shoe like a J (big surprise) and hopes to offer a more dynamic approach to stability than a medial post.
The J frame approach is accompanied with their “Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry” that rocks the shoe forward.
This and the 5mm drop found me landing on my midfoot, but pushing me forward ever so slightly to lift off closer to the balls of my feet.
On impact, the J frame definitely had me saying to myself “these are stability shoes” at times. I could tell when it was guiding my foot into landing properly – especially on tired legs.
It was never at a level where I didn’t enjoy running in them.
Since I normally run in shoes with slightly higher drops, I was fully expecting my calves to be on fire. Thankfully no issues at all.
Hoka One One Arahi 5 Upper Unit
The material of the upper is a standard breathable mesh that fits true to size. Plenty of toe box real estate and no issues with it being too narrow. I saw no need to have to size up in these.
The elf ear flared heel gave me some anxiety about whether or not this would cause blistering, but it worked great. It kept me locked in and most of it didn’t even touch my heel.
The sloppily designed lacing system was probably the biggest disappointment to me in this shoe. They didn’t look symmetrical and I was constantly re-tightening to make sure i got a good fit.
Putting these on was definitely a production at times. The padded tongue was at least comfortable and there were no hot spots once I found a good fit.
The laces were also comically large. Wearing a size 13 with a runner’s loop still had me triple knotting to make sure the extra laces had somewhere to go.
They lost most of their elasticity pretty early on; so by the end of testing, they were even longer than before.
As someone who typically uses the runner’s loop method of tying their shoes, I appreciate the long laces, but this was way too much.
Hoka One One Arahi 5 Conclusion
The Hoka One One Arahi is breaking the mold of the traditional stability shoe. Low drop, high cush, but low weight places it above the rest
I really enjoyed the dynamic approach to stability and how the shoe rocked me forward but didn’t destroy my legs in the process.
As someone who only needs a dash of support, I liked that the stability functions didn’t overpower the shoe and make them feel like clunky shoes.
I found it to work best for me on recovery days and on longer runs. It did great on runs where I just wanted to zone out.
Faster miles required a bit of a push, but the geometry helped me shift gears with relative ease. It did exceptionally well on hills thanks to the rocking geometry of it.
If you are looking for something with a nonconventional approach to stability, then the Arahi is for you.
We purchased a pair of Hoka One One Arahi 5 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.
Hoka One One Arahi 5 Price Comparison
This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.