Hoka One One Arahi 4 Intro
Hoka One One is a growing brand you are starting to see more and more on runners’ feet. In the last year they have diversified to include many more options for runners.
The Arahi was the first of two support options in the Hoka lineup, the other being the Gaviota. While the Gaviota is the max stability offering, the Arahi is a moderate stability trainer.
The Arahi is a narrower and more responsive shoe to the wider and plush gaviota. This is the 4th edition of this responsive moderate stability trainer.
They all provide a moderate amount of stability. The Arahi provides more cushioning than the others.
Hoka One One Arahi 4 First Impressions
When I opened the box I was surprised by how bright they were. I prefer more color variation in my running shoes.
The neon yellow heel added visual interest to the shoes, I would have preferred more throughout the rest of the shoe. They looked and felt fast in my hands.
The big, lightweight sole was what I have come to expect from an Arahi.
I knew going into my first run from experience with Hoka that is takes some runs to adjust to the 5 mm heel to toe drop.
I took the Arahi 4 on a relaxed 10k for their first run. They were firm and responsive which made them a bit unforgiving on my feet.
Hoka One One Arahi 4 Sole Unit
The sole unit of Arahi 4 hasn’t changed from the previous edition. The material they use for the sole unit is RMAT, an EVA and rubber lightweight compound.
It is a stiff yet responsive compound which can lead to an adjustment period for the runner.
Like in the previous editions, Hoka patent pending J-Frame technology provides stability in the Arahi 4.
This is denser foam in the midsole which starts at the forefoot and runs down the medial side of your foot before wrapping around your heel.
You can tell where it is because of the gray part of the sole unit, while the rest is white. To provide a more natural way of support by cradling the foot is what they are accomplishing with the J-Frame.
The other major component of the sole unit Hoka utilizes in the Arahi 4 is the early stage Meta-Rocker geometry. This “rocker” like the shaped midsole allows for smooth impacts, transitions and toe offs.
This combined with the 5 mm drop allowed for a smooth ride on every stride. Many other brands have started to imitate this technology with some of their higher end offerings.
The outsole of the Arahi 4 is high abrasion lightweight rubber. Some areas in the forefoot and heel have a denser rubber for more durability. The Arahi 4 struggled with traction in wet conditions.
Hoka One One Arahi 4 Upper Unit
The upper of the Arahi 4 has changed since the 3rd edition. The engineered mesh of the upper of the Arahi 4 is a lighter weight and more breathable than in previous edition.
This was done in hopes of providing more airflow and breathability. It is a softer material and does what it is set out to do.
A softer material makes for a flexible and durable upper. There are no points of irritation in the engineered mesh upper. It struggles with providing structure to the upper because it is one piece engineered mesh.
Other moderate stability trainers out there will provide more structure which in turn provides more support by holding your feet in place. This is part of the reason the ride provided by the Arahi was unstable at times.
Around the heel collar and the tongue there is a minimal amount of cushioning. Luckily the heel counter made up for this some by the fit it provided.
Because of the lack of cushioning I found myself retying the shoe multiple times within the first few runs to find that ideal fit.
The Arahi 4 runs true to size. Even though the upper is less structured than other trainers out there I found the fit to be snug in areas, mainly the arches and toe boxes. This could bother many runners who try these shoes.
Hoka One One Arahi 4 Conclusion
The Hoka One One Arahi 4 continues the tradition of being one of the most responsive trainers I have run in. This serves you well if you want to push the pace.
But, I found them to be responsive to a fault because of the stiffness of the sole unit. Due to the stiffness of the sole unit and the 5 mm drop there was an adjustment period.
They can be versatile trainers used for many types of workouts. Ideally I would add them to my rotation for shorter mileage and tempo runs.
Last year while reviewing the Arahi 3 I said “at times the stability is slightly unsteady because of the height of the midsole and the narrowness of where the midsole connects with the upper.”, the same could be said the the Arahi 4.
The Meta-Rocker geometry found in the Arahi 4 is a strength of the sole unit. It provides a smooth transition from the moment your feet strike the ground to the toe off.
This resulted in a more natural stride. This is aided by the J-Frame technology is the sole unit as well.
The new engineered mesh used for the upper is an improvement from the previous editions. I found the material to be more breathable and flexible.
It is an unstructured upper compared to some of the other stability offerings out there. This combined with the lack of cushioning in the heel collar and tongue made it difficult to get an ideal fit.
The Hoka One One Arahi 4 is priced at 130 dollars which places them right in the middle of a crowded field of mid to moderate stability trainers.
This price tag opens them up to runners who may have never run in a Hoka before.
Overall the Hoka One One Arahi 4 was an average stability trainer for me. There were aspects I loved, the Meta-Rocker and J-Frame technology, and how cushioned the shoe was while remaining lightweight.
Meanwhile other aspects of the shoe I had issues with, the lack of a structured upper and the stiffness I felt from the sole unit.
The Arahi 4 will please longtime Hoka supporters while attracting some new runners to the brand. It is a responsive and versatile trainer built for many variety of runs.
The Hoka One One Arahi 4 will serve as many runners everyday trainer but for me there were many characteristics preventing it from being my day to day trainer.
We purchased a pair of Hoka One One Arahi 4 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.