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Hoka Arahi 6 Review:
Consistent Stability
By Senior Contributor David Salas, Chief Editor Matt Klein, and Social Media Manager Bach Pham

Known for the J Frame technology, the HOKA Arahi series returns with its 6th iteration. The shoe appears to be mostly an upper update but does seem to provide some improved upper lockdown throughout the shoe. Though there are no major design changes to the midsole itself to my knowledge (David), the shoe does seem to ride a tad more stable in the rearfoot from previous versions. The Arahi  6 is still a solid daily training option for those that require mild to moderate stability.

Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.3 oz, 263 g (men's size 9), 7.6 oz, 206 g  (women's size 8)

Stack Height: 35 mm / 30 mm
Drop: 5 mm
Classification: Moderate Stability Daily/Lightweight Daily Trainer


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 6 returns as a lighter but highly cushioned moderate stability daily trainer. Featuring a secure and slightly snug fit, the new upper is comfortable and well locked down throughout the length of the shoe. A longer toe spring, a solid bevel and a unique J-frame stability system provide a rockered ride with full-length stability. A lighter daily training option thanks to a weight drop for those that need well-integrated stability at the heel, midfoot and forefoot, the Hoka Arahi 6 returns leaner and better fitting.

David: The HOKA Arahi has been one of the most sought-after stability shoes on the market for a couple of reasons over the last few years. On foot, the shoe has provided a large amount of cushioning, a rocker design, and a well-integrated stability system. A lot of these traditions are continued with the Arahi 6 and the new upper feels like it keeps the foot locked down on the platform even more than its predecessor.

Bach: Stability shoes are often challenging to recommend to runners because of their unique features that tend to prioritize a subset of runners. Unlike posts which really works for a specific individual, the J-Frame offers a stability system that is mild enough to fit a wider range of runners looking for a stable workhorse. The Hoka Arahi 6 doesn't mess with success, refining the upper to provided an even better lockdown and comfortable fit for logging all your daily miles in a stable package.


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 6 fits me true to size in my normal Men's US size 10. The width throughout is normal to slightly snug. The width in the heel and forefoot are slightly snug, while the midfoot fits more normal. The heel is fairly secure with that snugger fit. I did not have to lace lock this shoe at all for security. There is a moderately stiff heel counter in the rearfoot with only minor heel collar cushioning. I did notice the heel counteract times, but fortunately, the rounded shape seems to offset some of the pressure. Those who are sensitive to heel counters should approach with caution. The midfoot features a well-gusseted and thicker tongue. The laces interact with the upper well and they provided plenty of security without being tied down too tight. The forefoot is a little tapered like many Hoka shoes. The mesh does have some stretch to it and adjusted well to my feet. Despite the thinner feel compared to the previous version, there is a structure built into it with varying degrees of thickness throughout in strategic areas. This provides the Hoka Arahi 6 with a more performance-oriented fit, yet still stays secure and comfortable.  Overall the Hoka Arahi 6 has a normal to slightly snug fit with a lighter but secure upper.

The HOKA Arahi 6 fits true to size in my normal Men's 9.5. The upper does appear to be a little more plush than the 5 as it feels a little thicker throughout and the tongue also seems to have more padding. The width is normal to slightly narrow through the heel, normal through the midfoot, and normal through the forefoot. The material does have some thickness to it but still breathes well enough. The lacing system seems to have made improvements through the dorsal aspect of the shoe and seems to help more with getting a good lockdown. There is a decently rigid heel counter present that does hold the shape of the shoe well. With the more narrow heel configuration, I had a small amount of rubbing in the medial heel, but I think that may be more due to some medial bias in the midsole. I think that region through the heel counter could be padded slightly more though, or widened slightly.

Bach: The Arahi 6 also fit true to size for me in my Men's size 9.5. There is some comfortable, mild padding around the heel and relatively basic mesh from the mid to forefoot that's decently breathable. The lacing is excellent and locks down well for me without the need to lace lock. The shoe slips on incredibly easily, which I love, and yet does a really nice job of locking the heel down. Like David, I had a touch of pressure on the medial side of the shoe that was particularly present on first try, but it never came to bother me on my runs and disappeared after the first mile. The midfoot in general is a touch snug overall, which helps with lockdown but may deter anyone looking for a wider fit. There is decent width around the toes, but with a slightly low volume. I felt most comfortable in thinner socks or basic socks from Feetures, but also did fine in thick socks for those rare cold days in South Carolina.

The insole is indeed removable (note: we do not recommend orthos for stability shoes. please see this brief video for more details).


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 6 features a slightly firmer, stable and well-rockered ride. The full CMEVA foam provides slightly firmer cushioning with plenty of protection underfoot thanks to a large stack height. There is almost no flexibility to the sole outside of the most forward part of the toes, which is offset by a well-designed rocker. The toe spring is Hoka's Early Stage Meta-Rocker, which means the toe spring starts from further back. This provides an earlier roll forward than other shoes which makes for an extremely smooth transition through the forefoot. The heel features a large bevel that is slightly lateral. This makes for smooth transitions through the heel and takes you nicely through the midfoot and forefoot. The cushioning is flat and provides little responsiveness. This is compensated well by the rocker, making the ride far more rolling than bouncy. The ride feels efficient particularly over long miles, making this shoe best for long runs and easy mileage. The less aggressive and longer toe spring combined with the less responsive midsole and traditional boxy feel of maximal shoes like this make it difficult to pick up the pace beyond some mild uptempo work. The durability is decent as I have little wear over the 35 miles in my pair, although for whatever reason I have had some fraying at the laces despite only using this shoe on road. Overall, the Arahi 6 has a smooth rockered ride with a slightly firmer but protective midsole that excels on long runs and easy runs.

The Arahi 6 has always been a pretty good stability trainer for logging daily mileage and taking the pounding of longer runs. The Arahi 6 continues upon this. I am not sure why, but the Arahi 6 does feel a tad more firm to me throughout the configuration, though still very protective underfoot. The J Frame technology does still seem to be integrated well, increasing the density of the midsole from the lateral rearfoot and wrapping it around the heel through the medial aspect of the heel and midfoot. This J-Frame then tapers off to allow for a little bit of forefoot flexibility. The midsole does have some deep flex grooves throughout the forefoot integrated with the outsole that helps gives a small sense of flexibility when the shoe is loaded. The shoe still relies more on a rocker geometry though like most HOKAs. The crash pad in the heel is also integrated well and the centralized bevel is done well for initial contact upon loading. At easy paces the shoe does prove to have some smooth transitions throughout. The midsole itself isn't overly responsive and so the shoe certainly feels better at easier paces than when it is pushed. The weight is still light enough for long run efforts, but still carries a little bit of weight with it. I would describe the ride as a semi-rigid rocker with a nice wide base underfoot and a little bit of guidance from the J-Frame technology. This is a well-balanced daily training stability shoe for logging miles. Not a very responsive or bouncy ride, but a nice consistent one for many miles (and I've taken this on an 18.5 mile run already).

Bach: The Hoka Arahi 6 is an absolute workhorse for the 80-90% of your weekly miles. The basic Hoka design of mild toespring and rocker contributes to a somewhat natural feeling ride. While the J-frame portion is a bit firm, the forefoot has enough comfort to make miles pleasant. The J-Frame clearly provides some mild centering on the run which made the shoe feel best at easy to recovery paces. Picking up the pace, the guidance makes it hard to feel totally comfortable as you can feel the shoe forcing you to stay as centered as possible. The shoe does reward you though for landing as centered as possible with a nice pop in the forefoot that pushes you through the toespring. Once you get rolling it is very easy to see miles tick away. I did find that the shoe firms up just slightly on long runs, but the guidance late when I'm tired is welcome and the shoe rolls along well enough to make it a solid long run trainer for easy efforts.

There is outsole rubber in the forefoot and heel which provides a decent amount of traction that handles wet roads just fine.


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 6 is a moderate stability shoe through both traditional and unique means. Like most Hoka shoes, there are sidewalls present from the heel through the midfoot. The foot sits lower in the shoe and the elevated midsole on each side of the foot provides mild guidance. The last or shape of the shoe is inherently wider as a maximalist stack height shoe, with the sole flaring far beyond where the foot sits on both sides. This provides an inherently stable ride throughout the length of the shoe. The J-Frame is the true stability measure, providing medial support along the entire length of the shoe and guidance on both the medial and lateral side at the heel. The frame is a firmer piece of material in a wedge design that provides some resistance against motion and is extremely well-integrated. This provides a centered heel strike and a guided midfoot and forefoot transition. This is one of the few shoes that has true medial forefoot stability, so those looking for that will do well. The Hoka Arahi 6 features a moderate level of stability with everything added together along the entire medial side of the shoe with centered guidance at the heel.

David: The HOKA Arahi 6 is a moderate stability shoe that utilizes a few different components to achieve this. The first is using a wider platform underfoot creating a larger amount of cross sectional area to land on. The shoe also utilizes a dual-density midsole that is firmer in the posterior lateral region of the heel and wraps around to the medial aspect of the heel and midfoot. The crash pad design also seems to work pretty well with strategic placement both underfoot in the calcaneus but also with some gaps in the outsole providing just a little bit of give and a path of least resistance and softer underfoot feeling upon loading the shoe. The shoe also uses sidewalls well with good integration with the upper both on the medial and lateral aspect of the foot. The shoe does also seem to have an ever so slight medial wedge through the heel. Upon loading, it does seem to hold the rearfoot from having a quick pronation moment on landing. It took a little getting used to but seemed to integrate pretty well over longer mileage. The upper is also locked in well and should give any problems with slippage or translation. Overall, I am really happy with the stability of the Arahi 6.

Bach: David and Matt clearly covered the benefits of the Arahi. I wanted to add that the shoe worked well for me as a flat foot runner. Flat feet runners tend to get diagnosed with stability footwear, but I always have sensitivity to midfoot devices like posts and even sometimes plated footwear. A lot of recommendations that are popular in the internet tend to be the opposite of my needs. The Arahi's J-Frame system, however, is well integrated into the EVA foam in a way that almost makes it feel like a stable neutral shoe. That doesn't mean the shoe will entirely work for every flat foot runner due to the minor guidance that the J-Frame also provides, but for my personal needs I found the stability of the Arahi to be on point and accommodated my feet well. I also tend to pronate a bit more heavily in my left foot while my right foot tends to be neutral, and I found the gentle guidance to be beneficial here without making my neutral foot disrupted. The wide base, especially through the midfoot, along with the firmer density J-Frame provides enough rigidity that makes it a very solid stability shoe focused on guidance rather than posting.


Breaking Down the Unique Stability of the Arahi, by David Salas
HOKA does some interesting things with creating stability in the Arahi. The first is obviously using a dual-density midsole in their unique J Frame design. By changing the density of the midsole they create a little bit of inherent rigidity in some regions where people may have a hard time controlling some motion. The other is utilizing a crash pad configuration that is combined with this dual-density components of the rearfoot laterally and rearfoot/midfoot medially. Using EVA foams specifically, combining a crash pad design through the posterior-lateral aspect of the rearfoot may have positive impacts on stability and lower extremity kinematics without altering cushioning or biomechanical properties substantially (Sterzing, Thomsen, Ding, & Cheung, 2015). Per Sterzing et al., utilizing the crash pad design in combination with a dual-density midsole may have some positive implications for those with heel-to-toe running gait mechanics and stability needs. 

Source: Running Shoe Crash-Pad Design Alters Shoe Touchdown Angles and Ankle Stability Parameters During Heel-Toe Running. (2015). Footwear Science, 7, 81-93.

Underrated: Stabilizing the Forefoot, By Matt Klein
We often talk about shoes with stable forefoot designs. Most of the shoes these days are doing a fairly good job, between outsole flare, guidelines or plates. Most of these create natural stability, but few shoes out there have true stability measures in the forefoot. The Hoka Arahi 6 features the wedge-designed J-frame that extends all the way into the forefoot, providing resistance to medial motion along the majority of that side. The reason this may be important for certain populations lies in the kinesiology of the 1st MTP joint and 1st ray (1st metatarsal and cunieform bone). Normally, a stable forefoot comes from the ability to keep the 1st MTP joint depressed pushed into the ground during certain parts of the stance phase of gait. This is accomplished through a few different muscles, but the primary action comes from the perongus longus. This is an interesting and long muscle that helps plantarflex and evert the foot/ankle, but acts to plantarflex/depress this first ray. This keeps the front half of the medial arch down and stable. If this is not strong enough to control a hypermobility at this area, one a person transitions over the forefoot, the front half of the medial arch will not be held down and will dorsiflex (not the ankle, the 1st ray). With the collapse here, the great toe and first ray often go into both dorsiflexion and abduction (up and out) cause the front of the foot to roll in and point out. This often hits the bit toe and 1st MTP joint at an odd angle and the individual will frequently drive off the medial side of the big toe/1st MTP. This creates a poor and unstable area to push off from, rather than the rigid and stable base you want to blast off from.

For those people with hypermobility/weakness at this section, the Hoka Arahi 6 may be beneficial to help give them an idea of how to line up normal gait mechancis. The medial stability is helpful here, but please remember that strengthening and movement control should always accompany any shoe, whether it is classified as a stability or neutral shoe.


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 6 makes subtle updates that greatly improved the whole shoe over the previous. The upper fits better, the shoe is lighter and it transitions much better. Despite the lighter weight, it isn't as responsive as I would expect for a lighter weight trainer like this. I have seen many people use this as a marathon racer if they need more stability and would encourage Hoka to think about giving this a new midsole or a more snappy feel. That could come from decreasing the weight a little further, but a new midsole would be most helpful for giving it more bounce and a little faster feel. It has the potential to be both a trainer and an uptempo shoe, but requires a few more tweaks to dip into the latter.

David: The Arahi 6 is a good example of a traditional high mileage stability training shoe with a modern twist. Though the stability is good throughout and the ride is fluid throughout, it is a little unlively and I think would benefit from either softening the midsole a tad or utilizing a new midsole altogether. I would be interested to see a ProFly type design in this shoe to give it a little more pizazz.

Bach: I actually think the Arahi 6 is in a great place as it is as it serves the widest net of runners with a solid foundation for daily mileage. It's such a unique entry that I would not be opposed to seeing only small degrees of changes in the shoe. The shoe does have some slight room to tune the sole to be a touch softer along with a touch of width for added comfort.


Matt: The Hoka Arahi 6 is a maximal, moderate stability shoe for those looking for full-length medial stability, including the forefoot. A well-rockered design and slightly firmer midsole make for a smooth ride that works great for long runs and easy miles but less so for quicker miles. The J-Frame provides excellent well-integrated stability making the Hoka Arahi 6 one of the rare shoes on the market with true forefoot stability. The new upper is comfortable and provides a secure fit for those with normal to slightly narrow feet. An excellent high mileage/long run road shoe, the Hoka Arahi 6 provides an efficient ride for those who need stability over long distances. 

David: The Arahi 6 is a moderate stability shoe for those looking to have a rockered shoe that also incorporates stability throughout. The ride itself is a little flat as far as the midsole is concerned but the fluidity of the ride is done really well. The rocker design and stability elements are all integrated really well. The shoe also is able to tackle long mileage without beating up the legs either. This is a workhorse for someone who wants some stability and a rockered ride. The midsole does lean a tad on the firmer end, though still very protective underfoot.

Bach: The Hoka Arahi 6 is a moderate stability shoe that swaps traditional posting for a combination of Hoka's typical inherent stability elements along with a J-Frame that builds additional rigidity and guidance into the shoe. The Arahi is an excellent workhorse to shave miles away. The ride isn't particularly exciting, but gets the job done for those who need moderate stability. This is not a shoe for workouts or race day, but when considering its primary function of burning miles in a stable, guided package, there are few in the market that does it as well as the Arahi. For those who benefit from the stability, I found the Nimbus Lite 3 to be a great compliment for those who want a firmer, stable ride that can pick up the pace as a compliment. The Hoka Mach Supersonic, whose firm sole is more akin to the Arahi, would also make a decent pairing for those looking for a workout pairing within the Hoka line-up.


Fit: A-/B+ (Slightly snug fit with a comfortable, borderline performance upper. Heel counter a little irritating and could use a bit more cushioning at heel collar)
Performance: B+ 
(Smooth transition throughout the length of the shoe. Stable workhorse for mileage, but not responsive enough for picking up the pace. Best for mileage and long runs.
Stability: A (Extremely well integrated, full-length stability with an excellent bevel and centered heel guidance)
DPT/Footwear Science: A (Excellent continuation of the J-frame, providing a rare shoe with forefoot stability. Slightly lateral bevel and mild increase in flexibility at the toes greatly improves the transition with extremely small tweaks.)
Personal: B+/B (A great option for longer runs and recovery runs. Not versatile enough for me given the difficulting of pulling the pace down, but it is consistent.)
Overall: A-/B+ (A solid, smooth moderate stability maximal stack height daily training shoe for longer and easy miles)

Fit: A- (Dimensions are good throughout though just a tad narrow due to the wedge feeling in the medial heel)
B+ (Unlively ride, but fluid transitions with good stability throughout, this will certainly serve the purpose of workhorse training shoe)
Stability: A (Stability elements done very well with J Frame, sidewalls, crash pad design and bevel, upper lockdown)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (A lot of really good components mentioned above are integrated with the shoe, however I would like to see HOKA innovate to create a little bit more of a lively ride)
Personal: B+ (A solid training shoe for longer days where the pace is kept easy, otherwise it doesn't have too much use in my rotation, great long run easy effort shoe)
Overall: B+/A- (Solid option for workhorse daily trainer for those that want a rockered ride with good protection underfoot and stability elements)

Fit: A- (For standard feet, a comfortable fit with solid lockdown throughout. A touch snug through the midfoot for those looking for a wider fit throughtout)
B+ (As bare bones as Hoka rides go, but gets a nudge to a B+ when considering it as stability workhorse among its peers.)
Stability: A (J-Frame is excellent at providing a stable base and guided ride while the upper holds the foot down well)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (When it comes down to it, there aren't many changes here that makes the Arahi 6 a standout design wise over the 5. It's hard to knock the design though)
Personal: B/B+ (A reliable stability trainer that I found to be comfortable and easy to tack miles in. Loses slight points for versatility, but as far as just it's primary role, it does it well)
Overall: A- (In terms of what it is made to do - be a stable, guided workhorse for a large portion of your miles - it does its function well and is one of the few options in the market that combines gentle guidance with a unique framework that can work for people with medial and lateral needs)


Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse

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Matthew Klein, PT DPT PhD(c) OCS FAAOMPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

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

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 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, 

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

Bach Pham is a 140 lb male with PRs of 23 5K, 52 10K. He typically runs between 25-35 miles per week at a variety of paces between 8:30 (tempo) -10:00 (recovery) min/miles. He typically prefers shoes that provide some mild to firm cushioning underfoot that is lightweight and responsive. Currently, his goals are to complete the half and marathon distances.

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 area, I 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 a pair.  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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