Review: Hoka Arahi

The Arahi is a new stability shoe from Hoka, utilizing their “J-Frame” technology and bringing support to a very plush ride.

The J-Frame is essentially a hook-shaped component of denser foam in the midsole. The long end is on your medial/arch side and it wraps around your heel a little bit so that there’s a short piece on your lateral/outer side. This lets the stability be potent, without causing an uneven feeling because you’re standing on two different densities of foam. Plus, it keeps the transition smooth, instead of just having a square block of hard foam, like many other stability shoes.

Photo courtesy of Hoka One One
The J-Frame adds stability, while keeping smooth transition through your step and weight down.

Man, does this shoe feel great. It has a lot of bounce, so it doesn’t feel like you’re sinking into all that cushion. On the upper, stretchable overlays reduce sloppiness for people who have narrower feet, while preserving width for those with wider ones. Don’t be fooled by how bulky they look, either. They’re actually on the lighter end of the spectrum, even compared to most standard cushioned shoes.

Although the shoe is a stability model, you may feel as if you’re pronating when walking. However, as you increase speed to jogging or faster, this resolves itself. On the other hand, the shoe isn’t built to go TOO fast. While the Arahi feels both bouncy and cushy, it isn’t very responsive.

If you’ve been looking for an ultra-plush shoe with a bit of support, this is a fantastic option. It can take the miles, just not the speed.

Score: 8.5

Photo courtesy of Hoka One One
The men’s size 9 weighs in at just over 9oz/255g, only about an ounce more than the popular Nike Free.

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