HOKA ONE ONE ARAHI 4 – SHOE REVIEW
by BRIAN METZLER | JANUARY 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What New: HOKA Arahi 4?
- Who's it Best For?
- Pros and Cons
- Shop HOKA Arahi 4
- About the Author
The Arahi is the classic stability shoe from HOKA ONE ONE. It's been the go-to shoe for runners who appreciate the HOKA style and cushioning but need the dialed in support that a true stability shoe can offer.
Reviewer Brian Metzler takes the latest version of the Arahi – the #4 for some test runs and reports back on the new edition.
If you think a maximally cushioned shoe can’t be lightweight and also offer supreme stability, think again. HOKA has been perfecting the concept for several years and the latest edition of the Arahi is the without peers.
HOKA's patent-pending EVA J-Frame stability technology the surrounds the heel offers support and agility and a smooth, uninhibited ride. It allows your feet to move through its natural gait cycle without the use of rigid and unforgiving materials.
WHAT'S NEW: HOKA ARAHI 4
The HOKA Arahi 4 has the same midsole and outsole as the previous edition, but it has a new upper that increases its breathability, fit and overall feel.
The 2020 edition of the Arahi has a simpler, stripped back design compared to the previous model, offering a lighter and more refined feel with a tad more structural support. The J-Frame is slightly more firm but also lighter this time around, so it offers more stability with none of the drawbacks.
The bottom of the HOKA Arahi 4 features strategically placed lightweight high-abrasion rubber for increased traction and durability. It helps keep the weight of the shoe down below tolerable levels without putting the exposed-foam sections of the outsole in harm’s way.
To suit as many people as possible, the Arahi 4 is also available in regular and wider versions for men (EE) and women (D).
With a padded tongue and cushy moldy sockliner, the new Arahi provides a soft, snug, wrap-like fit with just a little bit of wiggle room in the toe box.
The fourth reiteration of the Arahi has a better true-to-size fit than its predecessor. Stepping into the shoes and lacing ‘em up serves up a plush, lightweight sensation. Once you start running, you’ll be amazed at the sublime combination of cushioning, smoothness and support. HOKA's signature Meta-Rocker design creates a rolling sensation that feels like it’s boosting your forward propulsion.
The HOKA Arahi 4 does not feel boxy or clumsy like most traditional stability shoes, but they do a great job at keeping your feet stable as they roll through the gait cycle from touch-down to toe-off.
It’s not a super-light shoe, but it is light enough so it doesn’t feel cumbersome on longer runs.
WHO'S IT BEST FOR?
When it comes to what type of runner will benefit from the set up of the HOKA Arahi 4, moderate to severe overpronators will appreciate the shoe as a reliable everyday workhorse, no matter how many miles you’re running.
This style is an ideal long-run shoe and could work great for your next half marathon or marathon if your primary goal is to finish in style and comfort.
PROS AND CONS: HOKA ARAHI 4
Pros: HOKA Arahi 4
This is a very lightweight shoe for a model that provides so much stability. At times our wear-testers found it similar to a footloose-and-fancy-free neutral model, even though we definitely appreciated the subtle but reliable guidance in every stride.
The midsole of the Arahi is built on a dual-density platform that combines both soft and firm layers of EVA. That allows it to dampen impacts, provide stability and also provide a touch of responsiveness.
The molded Ortholite sockliner of the Arahi 4 helps with odor management while providing additional underfoot cushioning. This shoe won’t become a stinky pair of shoes that you have to stash in your garage or the trunk of your car!
Cons: HOKA Arahi 4
Although this is one of the lightest maximally cushioned stability shoes on the market, it's not quite agile enough for short and fast running.
Although it can handle faster long runs and tempo runs with aplomb, the HOKA Arahi doesn’t have the quickness or the giddy-up for fartlek runs, short races or track repeats.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRIAN METZLER
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “Running Colorado's Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner.”