HOKA Arahi 7 Multi Tester Review
The HOKA Arahi is back on the scene in its 7th iteration, and we’ve put it through its paces to find out just how it holds up on the run. As a key stability shoe in the HOKA line-up, it’s plenty supportive but how does it handle speedy sessions and further distances? Read on to find out exactly what we thought about the latest iteration of HOKAs flagship stability shoe.
Weight: Men’s 280g | Women’s 229g
Foot Type: Structured
Key Tech: HOKA's J-Frame™ Technology, updated flat knit upper, CMEVA midsole & zonal rubber
Dive into the world of stability running with the HOKA Arahi 7, often hailed as the counterpart to its neutral sibling, the beloved HOKA Clifton. The secret sauce? Similar stack heights, weights, and a shared aesthetic design, making them both ideal choices for your daily running escapades. But here's the kicker – the Arahi takes the spotlight with its stability superpowers.
Enter the stage, the 7th edition – a subtle makeover with a keen eye on enhancing that already stellar upper. Say hello to a fresh flat-knit material and a plusher tongue, elevating the comfort game to new heights. While the tech beneath your feet is where the Arahi truly flexes its muscles, fear not, loyal fans of the past – the core remains intact, preserving the magic that won your hearts.
Now, let's talk about the star of the show – the HOKA J-frame. It's not just a sole; it's a stability maestro. Featuring a denser foam sculpted in the form of a 'J,' strategically placed along the medial side of the foot extending around the heel. The reason? To guide your foot throughout your gait, steering clear of overpronation without resorting to outdated methods such as a traditional medial post.
But enough of the technical jargon! We've enlisted the real MVPs – Ben Campbell and Sammy Nicks from the Pro:Direct Running club – to take the Arahi on a joyride. Curious about their firsthand experiences? Buckle up and scroll down to soak in their thoughts!
Having been a HOKA loyalist over the past year, with the Clifton 9 being a firm favourite, the Arahi 7 marks my first venture into stability shoes! I definitely employed some doubts about this transition as traditionally, I’ve thought of stability shoes as heavy, clunky and altogether unpleasant to run in but I’m happy to say after some initial miles in the Arahi 7, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Right off the bat, I noticed a significant departure from the noticeably softer cushioning of the Clifton, as the Arahi 7s certainly felt firmer both in hand and underfoot but by no means in a bad way as you might expect. With an arduous return from a stress fracture in my femur after completing my first marathon, I’ve been advised to test the waters with stability shoes so there was definitely an initial adjustment period for the first few KMs but I have since learnt to love this extra feeling of security.
Jumping into the HOKA Arahi 7 after a year of blissful commitment to the 6 feels like reuniting with an old friend. I'm a bona fide Arahi 6 enthusiast, but I promise to keep the bias in check and give you the lowdown on the latest edition. Cracking open the box was an instant sigh of relief – the things I love about the 6 are back for another lap around the block. To all my fellow Arahi aficionados out there, rejoice! It's a classic case of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it," and HOKA seems to have taken that to heart.
I was drawn instantly to the updated flat-knit upper and new tongue which both look and feel like an absolute improvement to comfort on the previous iteration. I was initially concerned to find that these changes have increased the weight of the shoe but it's a trade-off I'm willing to make. This is my everyday go-to mileage companion, not a speed demon, and I'll gladly trade a smidgen of weight for a plush and comfy cruise through the miles.
So, Arahi fans, the sequel is here, and it's waving the flag of familiarity with a dash of fresh flair. Buckle up, this is a shoe that brings together a reunion with the past and a step into the upgraded present. Cheers to comfort, reliability, and the joy of hitting the pavement in style!
I tend to be between sizes dependent on brand, but I went with a UK 5.5 in the Arahi, similar to the Clifton and this proved to be the right decision so I’d recommend going TTS here! The shoes felt lighter than I initially expected and this certainly translated to underfoot feel. Lockdown was secure, despite my sometimes troublesomely narrow feet. The real star of the show was the immediate comfort upon initial step in. No hot spots, pressure points or areas of remote discomfort.
Slipping into the HOKA Arahi 7 felt like stepping into the familiar comfort of the Arahi 6. Yet, this time, the experience has been improved upon thanks to the overhauled upper which provides a plush, softer step-in feel that retained the essence of the familiar with subtle improvements to boot. The new plush tongue ensures tying the laces tight brings a sense of security without any discomfort or restriction.
The heel counter of the HOKA Arahi 7 benefits are two-fold. It doesn't just make slipping into the shoes a breeze; it's the unsung hero that adds a snug, locked-down feel once those laces are tied. Nestled within the J-frame setup, my foot found a cozy home, and the stability it provides is evident enough that any attempts to rock my foot within the shoe felt like trying to move a mountain – it just wasn't happening. This secure fit is what I look for as it helps reassure me that my overpronation will be looked after. The Arahi is like a flexible fortress for your feet, yet wobbling is not in their vocabulary.
As mentioned previously, I was initially skeptical about how I’d fare with a dedicated stability shoe but these doubts were quickly silenced once I got moving on my first run. Despite a firmer feeling to the foam, the shape of the midsole HOKA are using felt really smooth underfoot and honestly, I barely noticed the shoe the entire run. Traction was adequate enough to avoid any slipping on some treacherous icy roads and the overall reassuring fit of the shoe continued to shine through.
I finished the run with a sense of balance and support that I don’t remember experiencing in a shoe before.
Taking the Arahi for their first spin, the midsole initially, greeted me with a firmer handshake than expected. However, after a few runs, the shoe broke into a softer groove. Despite the firm first impression, it still managed to sidestep the usual rigidity associated with stability shoes.
As for comfort, the Arahi checks all the boxes for a daily runner – plush, soft, ample cushioning, and responsive enough to kick it up a notch when the need arises. This shoe has secured its spot in my running rotation, reserved for easy efforts and longer runs where that extra support is a welcomed companion. However, for those speedier sessions, I might just reach for a speedier pair to satisfy the need for a little extra zip.
The HOKA Arahi 7s have successfully won me over as my first stability shoe. The snug fit, lighter than expected design, and excellent support for my high arches will no doubt make these shoes a staple in my running routine. Overall, the HOKA Arahi 7s is a reliable choice for those seeking stability without sacrificing comfort!
In wrapping up my rendezvous with the HOKA Arahi 7, it's clear that this shoe is a worthy successor to the Arahi 6, with just the right blend of familiarity and refreshing upgrades.
The meta-rocker and J-frame setup proved to be the unsung heroes, seamlessly combining to deliver a snug fit and unparalleled stability. As a daily runner, the Arahi 7 lives up to expectations – soft, cushioned, and responsive enough for varied paces. It effortlessly earns its place in my running shoe rotation, becoming the go-to companion for leisurely jogs and extended runs where reliable support is key. However, for those days when speed takes the lead, a speedier option might still claim the spotlight.
In essence, the HOKA Arahi 7 is a triumph, seamlessly blending stability and comfort for a running experience that's as reliable as it is enjoyable. Whether you're a loyal Arahi aficionado or a newcomer to the series, these shoes are poised to make every stride a delightful adventure. Cheers to another great run!
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