Clinical Analysis of Running, Running Footwear, and Injury Prevention/Performance. The Doctor(s) of Running, using knowledge of human movement, clinical biomechanics and performance to bring you cutting edge reviews, science and knowledge.

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 Review

The HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 is a uniquely designed daily trainer geared toward creating dynamic stability from initial contact to toe off. The shoe features a surprisingly responsive ride for a stability trainer with a 5mm drop ratio and a relatively firm landing with maximalist like protection. The dynamic stability system also acts as a full length platform, rather than just a single posted region. Weighing only 9.6 ounces, this may be one of the faster true daily stability training shoes out there. 


Specifications (HOKA ONE ONE)
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Stack Height: 29mm heel, 24mm forefoot
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Daily Stability Trainer

GRADING

Fit: Tight, snug +, snug, normal, mildly wide or long, wide or long, spacious
Cushioning: Hard, firm +, firm, average, mild plush, plush, soft
Transition: Very stiff, stiff, average, smooth, flexible
Responsiveness: Flat, minimal propulsion, average propulsion, springy, explosive
Stability: Unstable, Minimal Stable, Average stability, Mild stability, Max stability
Durability: Low, Mild, Average, Above Average, Roman Gladiator



HOW DOES IT FIT?

Forefoot: The HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 fits true to size with perfect width. However the shoe does run a little long in the forefoot. This doesn't cause any problems on roads, but in steep hill or unstable grass/mud situations this may result in some heel slippage.

Midfoot: The midfoot is beautifully constructed in this shoe, having no wasted space or encroaching regions. The midfoot is delicately snug without excessive rubbing. The tongue is light and form fitting around the dorsum of the foot with just enough padding to cushion tight laces for those who like to lock down.

Heel: The heel counter is a nice blend of rigid and flexible with more of a roomy/comfort feel. Outside of the potential length issue mentioned before, the heel does a good job of staying put in medial and lateral directions. With that said, it may be a little more roomy than other heel counters. Perfect on roads with just a little translation in more uneven surfaces.

Upper: Light breathable mesh that does a great job with breathability. The upper is soft and does not irritate the skin with rubbing. One major plus to this shoe is that there is no regions of creasing or rigidity in this upper. The only major crease is in the dorsum of the forefoot where there is enough room to avoid any rubbing anyways.


HOW CUSHIONED IS IT?

Forefoot: The forefoot (though highly cushioned), is a firm portion of the shoe. There is a lot of durable outsole located here, making it a more firm landing/transition. This helps provide a responsive feel to a maximal shoe noted later.

Midfoot: The most cushioned region of the shoe, the midfoot does not feature nearly as much durable outsole.  The foam landing points provide a little more cushion under the foot and provide a transition point for heel to toe off.

Heel: The heel is also firm, relative to the rest of the shoe. The dynamic stability system is set up from posterior lateral heel and wraps around the medial foot the remainder of the way to the forefoot. Picture below.

I will discuss the ride more below, but these firm components help create a slightly rigid and responsive ride for an otherwise highly cushioned shoe.


HOW DOES IT RIDE (TRANSITION)?

Heel to toe: Cushioned firm landing creates a pleasant transition into the midfoot. The dynamic stability ends just at the end of the forefoot allows the midfoot to resupinate late in the gait cycle for propulsion.

The dynamic stability system is set up from posterior lateral heel to just before toe off. This creates a stable environment for nearly the whole duration of the gait cycle. In a weird way, the ride of the shoe almost feels neutral because of how smooth the stability feature is. The midsole has two distinct portions (grey dynamic stability) and the orange thickened stable portion of the foam. This gives the shoe a nice cushioned landing into a firm system.

The outsole also reflects this. There is more durable rubber outsole in the heel and forefoot (rigid areas that help propel) and a more cushioned midfoot to ease the transition.

HOW RESPONSIVE IS IT?

The 5mm drop ratio in a stability trainer is very sneaky. It makes the shoe much more fluid late in runs and makes the athlete feel faster and lighter. The shoe has a slightly firm ride with maximalist qualities, making it very unique. I find that this shoe runs smooth like butter at normal training paces. I have been able to pick up the pace to slower tempo paces, but this shoe is definitely more of a responsive daily feel.

41 miles

HOW STABLE IS IT?

The Arahi 4 provides a very stable ride. The stability system begins in the posterior lateral heel (common landing point) and continues all the way through the metatarsal heads on the medial aspect of the foot (balls of the foot roughly). The plush midsole makes this shoe surprisingly nice and smooth. The shoe acts more as a dynamic stability system, rather than just a single post that locks out a certain portion of the foot. I am a big fan of the dynamic set up, for it still allows the foot and ankle to go through its motions without being restricted in any specific motions.

HOW DURABLE IS IT?

The Arahi 4 is a very durable trainer. The midsole shows no signs of wear in the foam and the ride has maintained, if not gotten better with breaking into the firmness of the dynamic stability system. The outsole is great and shows hardly any signs of wear at 40 miles. The midfoot does have a foam portion in the midfoot, which will wear down much faster. This portion of the shoe greatly contributes to why it is so smooth though, so I actually like the foam landing portion through the midfoot.


THOUGHTS AS A DPT 

I am excited for this portion of the review. This is the first full length stability shoe that I have actually run in. Usually I see a midfoot or hindfoot post with the rest of the shoe similar to a normal neutral shoe. The Arahi is nothing like normal. The dynamic stability system is very unique and allows a normal foot experience, while still adding stability for runners who need it. The shoe has thickened foam and stability features from lateral posterior heel to the medial metatarsal region and a plush midsole between the thickened post region. This allows the shoe to have some give into the stability system without locking the foot down in any specific region, hence dynamic. The shoe is allowed to pronate (controlled), and then re-supinate right at the end of the dynamic system. Couple that with a 5mm drop, you've got yourself an aggressive, yet plush, yet responsive stability trainer. It is rare, and honestly an honor to run in. I was more than surprised how impressed I was with the ride of this shoe.

RECOMMENDATIONS/WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

This is a shoe for nearly everyone who likes stability shoes or even a hint of stability. The shoe runs like a neutral shoe with added stability throughout, not a normal stability shoe posted in one region. The shoe is durable enough for the high mileage folks out there and can get the wheels turning for longer runs. It may be just a little too much shoe for workouts, but is a great training shoe.

I have minimal recommendations for this shoe. Please... keep the dynamic stability system, for it is awesome. The length of the shoe does run a little long with a heel cup that may be a little spacious if one is running on multiple surfaces outside of roads. Overall, this is a shoe I am going to remember.

Final grade: 92% (length, great daily, not the most versatile in terrain, slower workout/tempo speeds ok)

TESTER PROFILE

Dr. Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs of 3:54 1500m, 14:56 5k, 31:06 10k, 1:08 for half marathon. He typically runs 40 to 50 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Inland Empire area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at HOKA ONE ONE  for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 35-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 41 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.


Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @doctorsofrunning Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

Featured Shoe Review: Skechers GOmeb Speed 6 HYPER

Running Movement Impairments

Running Movement Impairments: Overstriding

A great deal of attention in the running, biomechanics and medical world is being paid to how people move and how that can affect performanc...

Bottom Ad [Post Page]