HOKA Arahi 7 Review

The HOKA Arahi 7 sits on a stoop.

Everyone appreciates some extra support while running, whether it be from cheering crowds at a big city marathon or the encouragement of your best running buddy. For some runners, the need for support extends beyond psychological and into their running shoes.

Stability shoes like the HOKA Arahi provide support for runners who overpronate, which is the excessive inward rolling of a runner’s feet after impact with the ground. The HOKA Arahi 7 offers gentle guidance for your feet, just like the inspiring incantations of your favorite supporters during a tough race.

But while the HOKA Arahi 7 is plenty supportive, can it hold up to long efforts and faster paces? Read on to find out what we thought of the latest update to HOKA’s bestselling stability model.

Tech Specs

HOKA Arahi 7

Weight 8.1 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot) 34 mm/29 mm (W), 37 mm/32 mm (M)
Heel-to-toe drop 5 mm
Category Stability
Surface Road
Price $145
Comparable to... ASICS GT-2000 12, New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6

Ride

Cushioning

Energy

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

The HOKA Arahi 7.

When President Jimmy Carter’s advisor coined this phrase in the seventies, we think he was predicting the updates from the HOKA Arahi 6 to the Arahi 7. Okay, while he may have had more important things to think about, HOKA designers took his advice to heart and kept the midsole the same in the latest version of the Arahi.

A compression-molded EVA midsole takes center stage in the HOKA Arahi 7. We found it to feel quite firm, which is typical of most stability shoes as it creates a more stable base than a soft, squishy slab of foam.

While I’m not personally a fan of firm shoes, the Arahi 7 is great for runners who prefer a rigid platform for takeoffs and landings.

“The underfoot cushioning felt great and kept me comfortable while covering longer distances. I ran up to eight miles in the Arahi” says Spencer, who runs exclusively in stability shoes. “The cushion felt somewhat stiff at the beginning of each effort, but softened up after a couple miles.”

Ashley agreed with this sentiment, noting that “the more I ran in the Arahi, the more it seemed to soften up.”

The latest version of the Arahi utilizes HOKA’s patented J-frame technology, the same technology used in previous versions of the shoe. This J-shaped hook of foam wraps around your heel and lines the medial side of the shoe, creating additional rigidity to keep your foot from pronating inward as you land.

I prefer this type of stability over the more traditional medial postings (a firm piece of plastic extending from the midsole) used in older model stability shoes. It feels a bit more flexible and forgiving, but still provides the inherent stability needed for overpronators. Luckily for me, more brands are moving away from rigid medial postings and towards more innovative methods, like the J-frame.

“During my test run, the first thing that stood out to me was the stability directly under my arch,” says Max. “It almost felt like a massage. The J-Frame technology cradled my arch and it almost felt like a hug, but not like a tight, overbearing hug from your great aunt. It was an inviting feeling.”

Just like the Arahi 6, the Arahi 7 has earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (AMPA) seal of approval. According to the AMPA website, the seal of approval is only granted to products that have been evaluated by AMPA podiatrists and found to promote good foot health.

The HOKA Arahi 7 J-Frame.

What is the HOKA Arahi 7 best for?

Now, here is where things get interesting. While we all agreed that the Arahi 7 offered comfortable support underfoot, we couldn’t agree on what the shoe can be used for.

Max and Ashley were steadfastly against using this shoe for anything other than easy runs.

“With the shoe’s high stack, I would think I’d feel more foam being compressed underfoot or more energy return in general, but this midsole foam just felt flat,” says Max.

But Spencer argued that the shoe’s meta-rocker created a propulsive, energetic feeling on the run.

HOKA’s meta-rocker technology is present in almost all HOKA running shoes, and the Arahi 7 is no exception. This rocker helps ease your foot forward from heel to forefoot, making it easy to transition into your next stride.

“Upon each landing, the Arahi 7 helped propel me forward by rolling off my toes,” says Spencer. “This created an extremely smooth transition with each step. Once I got going, it was easy to run fast because of the shoe’s forward tilt. I spent less time on the ground and more time accelerating.”

While the shoe won’t give you any special speed advantages, it can handle an uptempo pace thanks to its rocker shape and firm midsole foam. And, while it’s not a shoe I’d pluck from my lineup for a challenging workout, I wouldn’t mind wearing it for a tempo run or some strides at the end of an easy run.

Flat-knit upper rocks the boat

The HOKA Arahi 7 from the side.

While most of the HOKA Arahi remains unchanged, the upper has been completely redesigned. While the Arahi 6 used an engineered mesh upper, the Arahi 7 switches things up with a flat-knit upper.

The tongue is noticeably thicker than previous versions, and it features a dual gusset design. This means that the tongue is attached to the upper on both sides rather than just one side to limit movement within the shoe.

“I’m always a fan of a dual-gusset tongue,” says Max. “No one likes that bunching feeling on a tongue, right?”

When we spoke with HOKA at the 2023 Running Event, they described the new upper as “super soft and supple.” I can definitely attest to this statement, as I found the upper to feel plush and luxurious without being too heavy.

With that being said, the Arahi 7 weighs about a half ounce more than its predecessor. And since the only major update is to the upper, it’s safe to say that that’s what caused the increase in weight.

HOKA Arahi 7 vs HOKA Arahi 6

A side by side comparison of the HOKA Arahi 7 vs the HOKA Arahi 6.

Tech Specs

HOKA Arahi 7

HOKA Arahi 6

Weight

8.1 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)

7.6 oz (W), 9.3 oz (M)

Stack height

34 mm/29 mm (W)

37 mm/32 mm (M)

34 mm/29 mm (W)

37 mm/32 mm (M)

Heel-to-toe drop

5 mm

5 mm

Price

$145

$140

Not much has changed for the HOKA Arahi on paper, minus an extra half-ounce of weight (that we didn’t even notice on the run) and a slightly higher price tag.

The HOKA Arahi 7 offers the same stable midsole runners have come to love from the model, complete with J-frame stability technology and a smooth meta-rocker shape.

The revamped upper creates a plusher, softer step-in feel that adds an aura of luxury to the shoe, perhaps explaining the five dollar increase in price. But, more likely, the price increase is a result of industry expenses increasing across the board.

Regardless, I think fans of the HOKA Arahi 6 will be pleased with the updates to this shoe.

How does the HOKA Arahi 7 compare?

We took a look at some comparable models to see how they stack up against the HOKA Arahi 7. Here’s what we found:

Tech Specs

HOKA Arahi 7

Karhu Synchron 2.0

New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6

Weight

8.1 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)

9.9 oz (W), 12.5 oz (M)

8.5 oz (W), 10.6 oz (M)

Stack height

34 mm/29 mm (W)

37 mm/32 mm (M)

23 mm/15 mm

38 mm/32 mm

Heel-to-toe drop

5 mm

8 mm

6 mm

Price

$145

$170

$165

Reviewers found the ride of the Arahi 7 to feel similar to the Karhu Synchron 2.0 and the New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v6. All three shoes have gentle rocker shapes and innovative approaches to stability.

The Synchron 2.0 uses an H-shaped fulcrum piece in the midsole, using your body’s natural momentum to keep you rolling forward, all while reducing excessive side-to-side movement. The Vongo v6 uses a thin, rigid, plate-shaped EVA film to keep the shoe steady in the face of any excessive inward motion.

The Arahi 7 is the lightest shoe of the three, and reviewers appreciated it.

“The Arahi 7 is a comfortable stability shoe that doesn’t weigh me down,” says Spencer. “It doesn’t feel bulky, despite the added inner structure and significant underfoot padding. Someone who is seeking support yet does not want a large shoe will like its compact design.”

Who is the HOKA Arahi 7 best for?

The Arahi 7 is best suited for runners who need extra support for overpronation, the excessive inward rolling of a runner’s foot upon landing. If you’re not sure whether or not you need extra support, head into your local Fleet Feet for an expert one-on-one outfitting. Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.

As Spencer noted earlier, the Arahi 7 is a great choice for runners who need extra support but don’t want any extra weight. Despite being slightly heavier than the previous version, it’s still quite a bit lighter than most competing stability models.

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