Running shoes that focus on stability are never traditionally all that sexy. They tend to come in just a few colors and are always a bit overweight due to the support elements that have been added. HOKA over the years has really leaned into it though and the last release of the Arahi 4 was quite well received, but with the Arahi 5 they have really produced something that pretty much any Runner can enjoy and without sacrifice.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- A stability shoe that really anyone can enjoy and can even hang with the Clifton.
- Weighs in at 9.7oz or 275g for a US Men’s 9, 7.8oz or 230g for a US Women’s 7.
- Features 29mm of cushion (27mm for Women) and has a 5mm heel/toe drop.
- Retails at $130.00 USD and comes in 4 colors for Men and 3 for Women.
The thing that makes the Arahi 5 really successful is the fact that it doesn’t sacrifice in the name of stability. What you essentially have in this shoe is a Clifton 7, but with stability elements and sure there are a few more changes in there as well, but for the most part, the running experience and the specs are almost identical. This makes the shoe more accessible to really a broader spectrum of runners than just those that need support for pronation or supination issues.
From the time we pulled these out of the box, we could tell that we would enjoy the shoe except for one glaring issue visually which we will get into in a moment. On the foot, the shoe bears a striking resemblance to the Clifton 7 there is no question about it. The prior iterations of the Arahi were a different shoe altogether, but here we find something that takes an existing platform and simply augments it. The upper feels very open on the foot and it will accommodate varying widths due to the roominess in the upper. It still sports the same elf heel and collar design from the Clifton and you can get a nice tie-down up top. You do notice some slight stability elements, but it is more supportive than intrusive, especially the J-frame on the medial side. it still feels good though and not overly rigid.
Out in a run, the Arahi 5 functions really well. It could easily hang neck-and-neck with a Clifton in almost every scenario. If you don’t need any extra support, then the extra weight, as small as it is, really makes no sense to have, but if you were looking for a shoe that is easy going and can really help on the slow recovery days this can be a great choice. Those additional support elements over distance will compensate for tired heavy legs and that inward foot crashing a lot of people experience. We actually started struggling with whether to grab these or the Clifton’s for a run and a lot of it comes down to how the legs are feeling on a given day. Bottom line, if you need stability and we’re looking to try a HOKA, then there is no better time.
As for the bad, there is honestly only one glaring item we have to point out because it feels like such a design afterthought. It doesn’t affect performance and is all aesthetic, but it is so noticeable that it bears saying. On the upper, where the mid-foot and forefoot meet, HOKA has added an overlay to help with side to side stability support which in itself is a great idea. The problem is it looks like a piece of Scotch tape has been stuck on the shoe. They should have extended the overlay from the lacing column down the side but instead stuck a semi-transparent piece of what looks like tape there instead. We actually thought it might have been a pre-production sample issue, but we were wrong, this is as designed. Again, there is no effect on performance, it just seems like a really weird choice.
The upper on the Arahi 5 is all engineered mesh. The toebox does open up quite a bit which allows for a nice amount of toe splay. The tongue and heel collar are lightly padded and the elf heel, like it or not, does make on and off simpler. Laces run a touch long, but this does allow you to open them up a bit and account for wider feet.
The midsole on here is HOKA’s standard EVA formulation and it features their early-stage rocker design. You get 29mm of stack on here much like the Clifton, but the big difference is the addition of their J-Frame. This is a firmer EVA compound literally shaped like a J extending further up on the medial side, swinging back around the heel, and then up a bit on the lateral side. It is a lightweight way to add a bit of extra support.
The outsole features targeted rubber contacts at key points along with rubberized EVA to increase durability. Traction is solid and while the EVA will wear quicker, it isn’t a huge issue in our experience.
Style & Aesthetics
Again the Arahi 5 looks a lot like the Clifton 7 and HOKA is offering 4 colors for men and 3 for women. Our biggest glaring issue is that overlay, but on the lighter models, it is less in your face. Something they should definitely resolve in v6 though.
The HOKA Arahi 5 does an amazing job replicating the Clifton 7 in a stability package. HOKA’s J-frame technology adds just enough stability without affecting overall weight. This makes it more accessible to those runners who don’t need a ton of support but might be on the lookout for a well-cushioned recovery runner that can still take on some distance. There is that one aesthetic issue we are a little bummed about it, but overall the Arahi 5 is a really easy running shoe.
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.