When it comes to stability trainers, you’ll have a hard time finding one with as good of a reputation as the Hoka One One Arahi 5.
Now that we have set the tone, we can acknowledge that the Hoka Arahi stability shoe has changed over the years and it feels like it’s made some positive refinements along the way.
I was excited to get my feet into a pair of the Arahi 5’s because it has an updated upper to be more lightweight and breathable, and the EVA midsole was modified to feel slightly more responsive than its predecessors.
The Hoka Arahi series comes with a young, but strong reputation for comfortable stability and reliable cushioning.
Just a heads up, Hoka ranked as one of the top running shoes in my survey of 3863 runners nationwide. So I fully endorse the quality of shoes that they produce.
- Stack Height: 29 mm (Heel), 24 mm (Forefoot)
- OFFSET: 5mm drop from heel to toe
- Weight: 9.6oz / 272g (US M9) and 7.8oz / 221g (US W8)
- FIT: True to size
- Category: Stability
Hoka has made some promising changes to the new Arahi 5, but is it actually making a positive difference? Let’s find out!
UPPER - Materials and Lockdown
The upper material has been a point of contention for the Arahis of the past. Hoka never seemed to get the upper right, but that may have somewhat changed this time around.
Hoka’s updated Engineered mesh on the upper feels far more lightweight and the toe box has a super solid level of breathability. The lacing system is smooth, although the laces are a little too long if you aren’t someone who uses the top eyelid chain.
Over the top of the ankle the Padded Tongue and heel collar did deliver a nice lockdown.
I think they got the padding level pretty right with this one, but there does seem to be some excessive material around the bottom of the tongue and eyelid chain, which lead to some rubbing on the top of my feet.
The liped heel flare gets its own little paragraph because it is absolutely delightful in this shoe, and it eliminates even a hint of achilles rubbing, friction or irritation.
Also it just looks cool too, so for some a big and clunky looking shoe it gets a little “performance” style as well!
The Molded Ortholite Sockliner is removable and increases the stack height a little bit as well. It feels like Hoka has been dialing in on its sock liners well in the last couple of years, evident in the Carbon X 2 so that’s a welcome sight from the cheaper feeling stuff of the mid 2010’s.
POSITIVE: Heel Flare and Ankle Lockdown
DRAWBACK: Bunching material through the eyelid chain causes rubbing
I would point out that if these drawbacks make you hesitate the Arahi, I would take a peek at the Rocket X instead.
MIDSOLE / OUTSOLE - Snappy and Responsive
This is where the stability shoes earn their names in the running history books.
The Arahi is well on its way to reinventing the stability shoe game with its innovative EVA J-Frame which is some denser EVA foam providing dynamic stability along the medial side of the shoe and around the heel to guide the foot naturally without using a standard medial post.
Right off the bat, I just have to say how fluid this stability felt throughout all of my runs. It definitely does not “overcompensate” your gait cycle, but it definitely got me through the runs when I felt tired and sloppy.
The best part about this for me is that Hoka has found a way to implement this stability system while also minimizing the weight impact it has overall. This means we no longer have to clog around in beefy/cumbersome shoes when we want stability.
To help with the performance aspect, Hoka implements its well-known Early Stage Meta-Rocker Geometry midsole design.
This feels extra smooth when I am landing closer to the back of my foot and using the whole rocker to roll me forward. Mid to forefoot strikes feel a little less propulsive, but it does not hinder my stride at all, and it makes running on a slight downhill extra fun!
You will not get a ton of energy return from the midsole, it will not feel super plush either. This will be a trainer that feels great for just getting out there and getting the job done!
For outsole protection and grip there is some Hi-Abrasion Lightweight Rubber placed on high wear areas on the bottom of the shoe.
That foam placed on the lateral (outside) side of the shoe is there because the J-Frame will move you slightly out and that may put more wear in that area. Of course the normal high wear areas like the heel and toe box are both also covered.
I love how there is actually a ton of outsole rubber, but they still manage to keep the shoe feeling lightweight. That is a thumbs up!
POSITIVE: J-Frame StabilityDRAWBACK: No standout energy return or plush cushioning
Durability Prediction - 500-600 miles (805-965km)
I think because the midsole is pretty firm and the outsole is packed with plenty of rubber there is an opportunity for at least 500-600 miles in this shoe.
Durability of a shoe is of course impacted by personal biomechanics and general use, but this has felt like the kind of trainer that can handle much of what I have thrown at it. So it gets a pretty positive score from me!
Best Uses - Daily Training, Recovery Runs
The Hoka Arahi 5 checks all of the boxes to be a great daily trainer and recovery run shoe.
Because of its metarocker and fairly lightweight design for a stability shoe, you can also pick up the pace a little on the days where you are just out there and feeling a little zesty.
It has not gotten in my way for those kind of “run to the barn” type efforts at the end of a recovery run (which I may not actually recommend for your recovery runs…).
Conclusion - An Solid Daily Training Stability Shoe
Overall the Hoka Arahi 5 is just a good option for anyone needing a stability trainer in their life. It can accommodate a wide range of foot types, I think most neutral runners could wear it along with those who overpronate.
It just feels like a solid “get the job done right” type of shoe and it is as simple as that.
Should You Get The Hoka One One Arahi 5?
Short answer is yes. I think most people would feel pretty happy with their experience in the Hoka Arahi 5.
Longer answer is that it depends. If you enjoy some extra stability to log your miles in and also seek some more cushioning in a relatively lighter weight package then you’ll enjoy the Arahi 5!
If you overpronate drastically then you should seek out a shoe with even greater stability features.