Hoka has always done a great job balancing cushion and weight when it comes to shoe design, but they have taken it to another level by also taking into account stability. The Arahi model has gone through a number of iterations over the years, some looking a bit odd, but all with the same goal to give runners who need a little support a highly performant shoe. The Arahi 4 looks to build on this and it looks more streamlined than ever and we are happy to report, it runs better than ever.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A lightweight support shoe with a ton of cushion, yes please
- Comes in at 9.6oz or 272g for a US Men’s 9
- Retails at $130.00 USD and comes in 3 colors for Men and Women
- Features a 5mm drop and Hoka’s J-Frame stability tech
All of our testers were surprised when these arrived as they just looked so clean and so unlike what we have seen prior in the Arahi lineup. The color selections are solid and we were honestly stoked to see support shoes stop looking like, well, support shoes.
On foot, the Arahi 4 fits true to size. The upper is breathable, but it is definitely a little stiffer than you might expect. Laces are definitely longer than necessary for some reason and the collar has just enough padding to feel comfortable. The midsole is really the key here and that J-Frame implementation is just as nice as before. Standing in the shoe it is barely noticeable, but in run, it definitely plays a role.
As the miles add up, your legs and feet get more and more tired, and those who need that little bit of stability typically feel their knees and feet start to crash inward. That extra firm frame steps up to provide that additional support you need. We found that testers who both specifically skewed support and even neutral runners liked this as the miles wore on. Couple that with the sub 10oz weight and generally plush ride and well, pretty resounding thumbs up from the crew.
If we have any negatives, then it is probably in the upper which feels a bit stiff overall and doesn’t seem to give much during the run. Thankfully, the toe box is wide so it is not a major issue, but would love a little more comfort out of it.
The Arahi 4 features a fully stripped down upper that looks way more like a traditional neutral runner than ever before. It starts with a breathable engineered mesh that then adds structural elements at the midfoot before ending in a supportive heel cup. It s finished off by a pull tab to make on and off that much easier. The upper is a bit stiff as is the heel cup and even the collar and tongue itself, all in the name of stability.
The midsole on the Arahi 4 uses a collection of Hoka technologies but hides all the stability elements out of sight to maintain a clean aesthetic. They have their patented Meta-Rocker which aids the transition from heel to toe during the stride. Their J-Frame support has been added and essentially this is a denser EVA implementation literally in the shape of a J which gives you that additional support along those key areas.
Hoka has a very similar recipe for outsoles in that they combine reinforced EVA with zonal rubber at key contact points and the Arahi is no different. This provides durability in key areas as well as additional traction for an improved run experience.
Style & Aesthetics
The Arahi 4 looks more like a normal Hoka than ever before and all of those visual indicators of support have disappeared. What is left is something that looks more like a Clifton or Rincon than the Arahi of yesterday. It comes in 3 colors for men and women.
This latest update by Hoka with the Arahi 4 is one of the strongest steps forward they have made on one of their platforms to date. The Arahi has jumped around over the years and looked even strange during some of those iterations, but this version feels lighter, more supportive, and even more responsive than prior versions. If you are in the market for a shoe with a bit of stability, then give these a look as it is a nice balance of cushion and structure that can also perform.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.