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Hoka Arahi 7 Review
By Matthew Klein, David Salas, and Bach Pham

The Hoka Arahi 7 is the long-awaited update to one of the more popular stability training shoes. Although primarily an upper update, which is slightly disappointing after a two-year wait, those wanting consistent stability will still love the J-Frame posting that wraps the lateral heel and the full-length side of the medial aspect of the shoe. The new flat knit upper will divide long-time Arahi wearers as the fit becomes more narrow but those wanting that type of fit will love the upper update.

Hoka Arahi 7
Price: $144.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.6 oz, 272 g (men's size 9), 8.3 oz, 235 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 34mm / 29 mm
Drop: 5 mm
Shoe Purpose: Moderate Stability Maximal Daily Trainer


The Hoka Arahi 7 is a moderate stability, higher stack height training shoe for those who want full length medial stability a maximal, centered ride. The upper update creates a snug fit with the new flat knit upper, working best for those with narrow feet or wanting a slightly narrow fit. Despite a slight weight increase, the Hoka Arahi 7 maintains a lighter weight for a stability training shoe allowing for some slight versatility into paces beyond just easy runs. Outside of those small changes, the Hoka Arahi 7 remains consistent for those who love this shoe.

: Salomon DRX Bliss
PAST MODEL: Hoka Arahi 6


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 7 fits me true to size in my normal US men's size 10. The upper is the major update, featuring a thicker, flat-knit upper. The knit does stretch a little but the overall fit is snug to slightly narrow fit, particularly in the forefoot. The toe box is a bit tapered but this widens slightly into a normal width midfoot. I did have to tighten down the laces for a secure fit as I experienced some slippage in the midfoot. The tongue is moderately thick and gusseted. The heel fits normal to slightly snug with a large, thick heel counter. The counter extends almost to the midfoot on both the medial and lateral sides. The counter is well-padded and did not bother my sensitive heel bone. The inner aspect of the upper is a little scratchy, so I would highly suggest using socks with this shoe. Overall, the upper fits normal to slightly snug with a tapered forefoot that

The Hoka Arahi 7 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The overall fit is on the snug side however. The upper has relatively low volume throughout. The length of the shoe is normal. The width in the heel is slightly narrow, midfoot normal, and forefoot slightly narrow. The upper material is comfortable enough, but I would not classify it as plush or soft. The tongue is padded well and the lacing system dose a good job of locking the midfoot down. There is a heel counter present that does integrate with the heel collar and lacing system well. The lockdown is good throughout with minimal translation or slippage. The upper does pull in tight and can create some irritation to the medial arch the integration with the medial sidewall. The upper construction is not bad, but I would like to see more forgiveness with the fit and the platform, for I did blister through the medial aspect of my foot multiple times.

: The Hoka Arahi 7 does technically work for my usual US Men's 9.5, but it fits snug from midfoot-to-forefoot. The fit of the heel is fine, but the midfoot through forefoot volume is on the lower end. Time does help break in that volume a bit and while snug on the run, it felt fine for all day use - which I have done often. The heel locks down well and I had no issues with slipping. The midfoot does feel a bit tight, which was fine for normal daily mileage runs, but it did make me want more volume the longer my run went. If you tend to be between sizes, I would definitely consider going up the half size, or even for most runners suggesting taking a look at the wide model for the Arahi 7. Those who lean narrow should be okay. I felt more than fine on length here. I will add that over time the shoe has stretched out nicely and gotten a little less snug, but more volume still would be appreciated when it came to longer efforts when the feet really want that extra space.

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Yes
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing:
Is the Forefoot Flexible: No
How Flexible is the Shoe: No Flexibility
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Mostly
Recommended for Haglunds:
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Above Average


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 7 is moderate stability, higher stack daily training shoe. The CMEVA foam provides a slightly firmer ride compared to many of the newer foams on the market. Being a higher stack height shoe, the midsole is quite stiff with little flexibility. The is offset by a rockered midsole. The heel bevel is centered, which combined with the back half of the J-frame (added stiffness) and extensive sole flaring does make for a slightly clunky heel transition. This moves into a wider midfoot and a stiff forefoot. Although the shoe fits true to size in the upper, the sole feels like it is slightly long, which makes the ride and forefoot transition feel stiff. This does break in with time, although the early stage meta rocker feels more light than early. This does make the lower heel drop (5mm) feel more apparent despite the rocker profile. However, the trade-off is that it feels slightly more snappy underfoot than prior versions. Although I would not call the midsole responsive as it feels like a traditional EVA, the slight snappiness does give the shoe a little versatility into faster efforts.

The Hoka Arahi 7 really shines best for moderate distance runs at easy to moderate paces. The midsole is a bit dead for extremely fast stuff but can handle uptempo workouts due to the relatively lighter weight and mild snappiness/firmness mentioned. For me, it was a bit firm for longer runs initially but now that the foam has broken in after 25 miles, I can see it being a consistent ride for longer efforts. those who have run in the Arahi before already know this. The durability is better than prior versions thanks to a supposedly new outsole (which may be adding to the slight firmness). I barely see any wear on this shoe despite some mild trail use. The traction is fine for road but I would suggest a trail shoe for more aggressive terrain (unless you are David).

 The Arahi 7 is a stability training shoe. For the most part I think it does its job pretty well. You have a decently wide base underfoot, good lockdown, and the J-Frame does seem to provide a a little extra rigidity medially and laterally. The sidewalls and bucket heel design to give a sense of centralization. The ride is still a classic rockered HOKA ride. The midsole is a little on the flat side and does not feel the most responsive. The outsole traction is decent and should serve most of your needs. The J-Frame and medial sidewall seem to do their job well, but do undercut on the foot. Because of this I did get some blistering through the medial longitudinal arch and do think about it when running in this shoe. For daily miles the shoe will get the job done though with a balanced rocker profile that is consistent with previous HOKA's. I will say the shoe does do a good job with transitioning to walking and standing as well. I have worn it in the clinic several times without issue.

Bach: The Arahi has always been and continues to be a steady, reliable daily training shoe for logging tons of miles. The shoe features their traditional rocker that is essential to the shoe feeling good on the run. The foam is not particularly responsive, leaning more protective which it very much is. Being a stability shoe, the wide base and rocker is very confidence-inducing, facilitating a simple ride that you can really turn your brain off and feel at ease running just about anywhere in. It's not exciting, but it is very steady and very predictable.

The snug upper does somewhat limit longer distances for me. I would absolutely recommend trying wide or a half size up, because the shoe would be absolutely fine otherwise for longer efforts.

The traction was fine for me. The exceptionally wide base with the standard outsole did fine gripping the road on wet days and I was even able to take it offroad on some light gravel roads okay. This overall is a solid daily trainer for stability users who just wants a shoe to log lots of easy miles in and an exceptional shoe for walking and standing.


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 7 is a moderate-to-high level stability shoe with guidance/stability along the entire medial side of the shoe and the lateral heel. The EVA J-frame runs on both the medial and lateral aspects of the heel, provide a centered ride at the back. The heel counter also adds to this as it wraps fairly far forward into the midfoot. The medial aspect of the J-Frame runs all the way into the forefoot, providing noticeable medial support. This is integrated well with the large sidewalls, providing a highly centered ride throughout the length of the shoe. The Hoka Arahi 7 provides noticeable medial support from medial posting that is now rare in today's stability shoe offerings. What is even more rare is the forefoot posting, which provides a true stability shoe for those who medial support farther forward. The combination of the medial post and the medial sidewalls does make the midfoot quite stiff. I have noticed some mild abrasion at the medial midfoot, but those who run extensively in Hoka will be used to this. The heel is even more stable thanks to the sole flare, heel counter and J-Frame on the both the medial and lateral sides. Overall the Hoka Arahi 7 is quite a stable shoe for those who need stability along the entire medial length of the shoe and a centered ride overall.

The HOKA Arahi 7 does a pretty good job of creating a stable environment for the runner. The shoe does use a wide base platform with some guidance measures in place. These guidance measures can be seen in the form of sidewalls and the heel construction. The heel has good lockdown surrounding it with a well reinforced heel counter and surrounding midsole sidewall. The J-Frame and sidewalls do a good job of giving you a centralization feeling when running. I will say they are very noticeable medially through the arch. This did give me some irritation, but it did do its job. The traction is good enough for most uses. The upper has pretty good lockdown throughout without issue. The shoe does deliver a stable experience. There is still a lot of foam under your foot and that takes away from proprioception and ground feel, but the shoe does pretty well where it can. 

Bach: The Arahi 7 is, for me, the most stable non-posted running shoe in the market I've tried so far. The one positive of the snug fit is that you are really dialed into the center of the shoe. The sidewalls lock you firmly center on the platform and the very generous wide base and early rocker do a great job of focusing on keeping you forward. I felt less guidance in the J-Frame system in this edition from the Hoka Arahi 6 which was surprising, but the combination of wide base, big sole flaring, sidewalls and rocker along with firmer sole dials in stability extremely well. The shoe also did not cause me irritations for my flat feet. For a higher stacked shoe, this does a good job of making you feel very stable from front-to-back.

Thoughts as a DPT: Forefoot Stability and Posting
By Matthew Klein

While most people focus on the rearfoot and midfoot when it comes to stability shoes, the forefoot is also an area that contributes a significant amount to the stability of the foot. The front half of the medial arch of the foot is in the forefoot, specifically the front half of the 1st metatarsal, the metatarsophalangeal joint and hallux (big toe). These joints and bones are all controlled by a variety of muscles including the fibularis (peroneus) longus, adductor hallucis, abductor hallucis, flexor and extensor hallucis muscles. This muscles all help add stiffness to the front half of the arch and keep the big toe lined up for optimal muscle length and function of the abductor hallucis in particular. Loss of stability here can cause a collapse of the front half of the arch, potentially causing the body to transition off the medial side of the metatarsophalangeal joint and pushing the big toe lateral (bunion progression maybe?). Collapse at this area can also be problematic for the propulsion phase of gait as the forefoot needs to stiffen up to be a stable area to push off from. 

Forefoot stability is a bit rare on the market, although we still have a few options. The Hoka Arahi 7 is one option that provides moderate stability through a wider sole, medial posting at the forefoot (especially rare) and large sidewalls even that far forward. This is a nice mix of traditional and new age concepts. Another option is a shoe like the Puma ForeverRun. Although the heel is not my favorite, the forefoot has a wedge (higher on the medial side) which functions differently that the stiffer post in the Arahi 7. This elevates the first toe, potentially keeping it from collapsing for those who need this. There are others like the Gaviota 5, Guide 17 and others that do not use posts of wedges. These shoes rely more on sidewalls and internal geometry to provide stable rides up front. These will be more subtle than what the Arahi 7 and ForeverRun provide, but may work better for those who are sensitive to correcting measures even if they need it. This variety on the market is great as no single method will work for everyone. The key is to ask where specifically does the individual need stability, if at all?


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 7 is still an Arahi. However, I was pretty disappointed to see minimal changes and even some updates that appear to have moved the shoe in the wrong direction. The new upper feels more snug, which will work great for those with narrow feet but will not work for others. The foam feels old/clunky and I would have expected more from a company that is doing great in their faster shoe departments. The foam is at least consistent, which I will admit is the purpose of this shoe. I still love the J-Frame as a great option as posts are disappearing even among stability shoes. So at least the Arahi 7 is consistent. The changes I would encourage Hoka to consider are to increase the volume of the upper and to update the CMEVA (leave the J-Frame alone). Those who need stability don't always need a dead feeling shoe, so even a mild foam update would be nice. Those of us with normal to wider feet would appreciate a bit more room, (wide sizing is the way). The foam is the biggest thing I would focus on while leaving the EVA J-frame alone. This has been done in several stability shoes and even a PEBA update with the EVA J-Frame would be interesting to drop the weight back down into the borderline performance realm the Arahi series used to be in.

For the most part I feel the Arahi did a decent job, but I do have some recommendations. The first is the upper. I do think the fit can improve and integrate with the platform better. The volume felt too low for most of the shoe and the snug fit a little too noticeable. I had some irritation through my medial arch and some rubbing on my lateral forefoot. The foam also is pretty flat, but plenty protective for daily miles. It might be nice to see an update there, but it gets the job done where it is at.

Bach: The biggest recommendation goes towards the upper as the others have mentioned. More volume in the toebox and a bit more accommodation in the midfoot would help make the Arahi better for longer efforts and for general comfort. I don't mind the shoe feeling a little snug which does help with security, but there's gotta be some room for the foot to fit comfortably. I would like to see a foam update, but only if it doesn't burden the cost, which is currently a good value for the shoe itself.


Matt: I would only recommend the Arahi 7 for those who want a snug/narrow fit. If you want something lighter overall with a lighter upper, I would recommend version 6 given that it is on sale. I will give Hoka credit for being consistent, but the newest version is too similar to prior versions. What I would especially recommend the Arahi 7 for is a narrow alternative to the Gaviota 5. This is the positive of the Arahi 7 design given that the Gaviota fits far wider than prior versions. Those with narrow feet need options too, so perhaps that is the gap the Arahi 7 refills. 

David: I would recommend the Arahi more as a standing and walking shoe. Those that are familiar with the feel and like the medial riding sidewall undercut like that will still enjoy the Arahi series and J-Frame as a running shoe. This is an excellent daily wear shoe for standing/walking though. The balanced rocker and stiffer hold do well in that realm.

Bach: The Arahi is a firmer, but reliable option for new runners who also want a great walking and standing shoe. The Arahi 7 has excellent stability that is very well-rounded. I do encourage runners to try various fit options in-person if possible, or start with a wide unless you have fairly narrow feet. If the shoe fits well and doesn't feel too snug, you'll walk away with a solid, stable option on your hands. The Hoka Arahi has always been a recommendation for the team for newer runners as well that wants something highly stable and solid for new runners to start their running journey. I think the Arahi 7 is no exception as long as you find the right fit for you. It's a no-frills trainer that will likely meet the needs of a lot of runners out there who aren't too worried about technology and speed and just want something to help their running journey.


Fit: (Snug/narrow fit with midfoot that needs to be locked down. Knit upper does stretch a little)
B (Traditional EVA foam, stiffer and slightly firmer ride)
Stability: A (Wide base, full-length sidewalls, J-frame with full length medial support and lateral midfoot support)
Cost to Performance: B- (Similar shoe with more narrow upper to Hoka Arahi 6)
Personal: B+ (While I would reach for v6 if I still had it, Version 7 is consistent and I know what to expect. Still a great stability shoe that is on the lighter side, just wish the foam was upgraded and I had a little more room in the upper)
Overall Design:  (A consistent stability shoe that provides stability throughout the length of the foot, just nothing new)

Fit: (Lockdown is good, but volume too low in most regions of the foot, a little too snug, narrow forefoot)
Performance: B 
(Gets the job done, but flat feeling to shoe, medial sidewall digs into arch.)
Stability: A (Wide base, J-Frame and sidewalls integrated well, sole flaring good)
Cost to Performance: B+ (Comparable with most shoes on the market, though it would be nice if it had something to make it stand out a little more)
Personal: B (A little too much irritation medially for running, but a favorite for standing/walking)
Overall Design: (A good stability shoe, though nothing that gives a big WOW.)

Fit: B- (Very snug fit is find for casual use, but does make the shoe harder when it comes to purchasing the right size)
Performance: B 
(A solid steady performer for daily easy mileage)
Stability: A (Just a really balanced stability that makes you feel confident at all times)
Cost to Performance: B+ (The lack of versatility holds it back a little)
Personal: B+ (I've used this a lot for daily errands and walks on top of my runs. For my slow running life it works. Just wished the fit was a little more accommodating)
Overall Design: (Foam is a little dated, but the stability design is still a strong performer)


Hoka Arahi 7
Price: $144.95 at Running Warehouse

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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 Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review. We thank the people at Hoka for sending us pairs. This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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.

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