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Hoka Arahi 7 Performance Review

Annie Keris
Hoka Arahi 7

The Hoka Arahi 7 is sometimes described as Hoka’s stability-focused counterpart to its equally popular neutral shoe, the Clifton. The comparison lies mostly in the shoes’ fairly similar weights and stack heights, with the Clifton 9 being just a few grams heavier as well as a few millimeters taller. They also share their role as daily driver for their respective target audiences, though the ride experience of course differs significantly between the two (as is to be expected when considering a stability and a neutral shoe).

Hoka Arahi 7

Release Date: January 2024

Price: $145

Weight: Men’s 9.9oz., Women’s 8.1 oz.

Drop: 5mm

Sizing: True to size

Buy Men's Arahi 7 Buy Women's Arahi 7
  • Rundown: Support that doesn’t look and feel like a behemoth on foot with some fit and outsole issues that you may be able to overlook.

Compared to what the word ‘stability’ may conjure for many of us, the Hoka Arahi 7 promises a streamlined approach. Hoka even declares it to be, “[n]ot your average stability shoe” in its promotional materials and makes clear its aim to provide support in an atypically lightweight, nimble package.

That was likewise the aim of the previous version, the Arahi 6. And this latest iteration represents a relatively minor update overall. The main changes lie in a new flat-knit upper and plusher tongue for version 7, but what’s underfoot remains consistent with its predecessor.

Hoka Arahi 7 Lateral Side View

While different brands use their own nomenclature and pick and choose exactly how and where to implement their preferred approaches to stability, the ultimate goal of each is to guide the foot where its path could most easily go astray. This is generally done by strategically integrating more rigid or structured materials into the shoe’s design.

Here in the Arahi 7, Hoka employs its patented J-Frame technology to provide that guidance. The J-Frame is essentially a denser piece of foam in the shape of – you guessed it – a ‘J’ that runs from around both sides of the heel and up the medial side of the shoe to just about even with the ball of the foot.

The difference in density between the J-Frame foam and the rest of the midsole foam is marked, and I could feel the contrast both in hand and on foot. That extra medial structure, along with internal shaping that nestles the foot down into the footbed, are meant to combat overpronation via a lighter form factor than other traditional means may offer (such as sturdy medial posting or the like).

Hoka Arahi 7 Heel View

The Ride

The resultant feel underfoot is certainly on the firmer side but thankfully never harsh. And while, in the interest of full disclosure, the Hoka Arahi 7 still has a far more structured ride than I personally prefer, it does feel fairly light on foot and successfully achieves a smoothness that avoids that dreaded feeling of, let’s say…“clompiness”…which is a totally official term.

I wouldn’t go so far as to describe this as a joyful or dynamic ride, but the rocker provides nice turnover and gives the forefoot a more natural feel than I have sometimes experienced when testing other stability shoes.

If you’ve read, um, almost any review on which I’ve been a contributor, you’ll know that prominent arch support is anathema to me. Interestingly, I didn’t have a problem with the arch of the Hoka Arahi 7 and in fact hardly noticed it. Yet, I have an inkling that the shoe still provides arch support in some sneakier fashion, given the nature of the J-Frame. So, I’ll be very curious to learn how other reviewers – particularly those who do enjoy substantial arch support – find the Hoka Arahi 7 on that front.

Hoka Arahi 7 Getting Dirty

Pros

  • Stability and support in a comparatively lightweight package
  • Excellent lockdown with no fiddling required
  • Firm, but protective cushioning suited to daily efforts (and longer runs, if the fit agrees with you)
  • Well-executed rocker
Hoka Arahi 7 Outsole

Cons

  • Rather narrow fit (a matter of perspective, of course, but more on this in a second)
  • Outsole (traction on wet surfaces was dicey, and the outsole held onto mucky winter detritus like it was scrambling to store up until spring)
  • Sort of uninspired ride, in general (I realize this is not exactly the most quantifiable metric, but it’s what I got, folks)
Hoka Arahi 7 Upper

Is the Hoka Arahi 7 wide foot friendly?

Kind of, owing to the fact that the Hoka Arahi 7 comes in a wide version. But I think even some runners who don’t typically need wide sizing might need to opt for it here due to the noticeably straight, narrow fit (especially since the length is true-to-size).

I have an only slightly wide forefoot myself and have always done best in standard width shoes. But if I were to continue running in the Hoka Arahi 7 – especially if I wanted to regularly take it out for efforts in the 90-minute(+) range – I’d need to consider my first foray into a wide version. That makes me think that our friends with legitimately wide feet will certainly need to start there, and even then may find another model more accommodating.

Hoka Arahi 7 Medial Side View

Is the Hoka Arahi 7 worth $145?

The Hoka Arahi 6 had a list price of $140, and we’re never thrilled to see a price increase – even one as restrained as $5. But, in fairness to Hoka, that modest uptick in price is not out of step with the industry on the whole in today’s climate. Given that this latest version bears fundamental similarities with the previous one, though, fans of the Arahi 6 may want to take advantage of reduced prices on that model. Otherwise, $145 is at least in the range for today’s typical daily trainer.

Hoka Arahi 7 On Foot

Hoka Arahi 7 Summary

The Hoka Arahi 7’s fit and outsole could use a little fine-tuning, and I can’t pretend the midsole offers the most inspiring run experience. But Hoka undoubtedly knows how to make use of a rocker, and it also makes good on the promise of support that doesn’t look and feel like a behemoth on foot. Runners who crave stability that doesn’t bog them down will be pleased that the Hoka Arahi 7 has stayed true to its roots.

Disclosure

While Hoka did send a pair of the Arahi 7 to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

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