Shoe Review: HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4
The HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 is the latest iteration of HOKA’s popular stability shoe, and it’s well-suited for long miles.
HOKA built on the previous Arahi by simplifying the upper and making it more breathable. But the stability features didn’t change. J-frame stability technology maintains the shoe’s easy ride, and familiar HOKA cushioning lends the Arahi a soft feel.
Fleet Feet testers stepped into the HOKA Arahi 4 to see how the new shoe fits and rides. Here’s what they thought.
HOKA Arahi 4
8 oz (women’s), 9.6 oz (men’s)
HOKA Arahi 4 Fit and Materials
The Arahi 4 fits similarly to other HOKA running shoes.
One tester with wider-than-average feet says the fourth edition was more narrow in the forefoot than he would have liked.
“My feet are on the wider side, and I felt a little squished right at the ball of my foot,” he says. “But it felt like it loosened up after a few miles.”
(For runners with high-volume or wide feet, HOKA also makes the Arahi 4 in EE width.)
A smooth fabric covers the heel cup, which gives the shoe a comfortable inside feel. There’s no excess padding inside the heel cup, either, which relies on an internal heel counter to lock your foot into place.
Like all HOKA running shoes, the Arahi has a lot of midsole foam. The big stack height makes the shoe feel tall, but there’s also a wide base for an extra stable feel.
The J-Frame—named because of the J-shaped hook of foam that makes up part of the midsole—is made of a firmer foam designed to compress less under your weight, which ultimately keeps the shoe from wearing down unevenly. This makes it ideal for overpronators.
Unlike some stability technology, which can feel intrusive and cumbersome, the J-Frame blends seamlessly into the look and feel of the shoe—and it doesn’t add any excessive weight. The women’s Arahi 4 weights just 8 oz, and the men’s model weighs 9.6 oz.
“It feels really light for a stability shoe,” one tester says. “Even faster intervals felt normal in these.”
[You can see the J-Frame in the picture below. The blue foam that wraps around the heel is firmer than the white foam, which gives the shoe its stability.]
HOKA Arahi 4 Ride and Performance
The foam beneath the Arahi 4 is firmer than other HOKA shoes, like the Clifton 6 or Bondi 6.
Part of that firm feeling can be attributed to the J-Frame technology embedded in the midsole. The foam that makes the Arahi a stability running shoe is significantly firmer than the rest of the midsole.
The firmness of the midsole also makes it feel quicker and more responsive than stability shoes typically do.
“The Arahi got the firmness right,” one tester says. “It’s definitely firmer than other HOKAs I’ve worn, but it doesn’t ever feel hard.”
HOKA Arahi 3 vs. HOKA Arahi 4
There are only subtle differences between the outgoing Arahi 3 and incoming Arahi 4, which don’t noticeably affect the performance.
The biggest change is to the upper. Designers this year added more perforations to the midfoot to improve the breathability. Last year’s shoe had a large vent over the forefoot that transitioned into a smooth midfoot, but the new model has a more uniform perforation pattern from the toe through the midfoot.
Another small difference between the two shoes is the pull tab on the heel. The Arahi 3 has a small vertical loop sewed onto the back of the shoe, but the new Arahi 4 switches to a horizontally oriented loop. The new pull tab is much easier to slip a finger through to help tug the shoe on.
To give the shoe its stability, both the 3 and 4 use HOKA’s J-Frame that wraps from the lateral side, around the heel and up through the medial side of the shoe. Underneath, HOKA used identical outsoles on both models.
Each shoe employs a lightly padded tongue and slim heel collar, and the weight from model to model is the same.
HOKA Arahi 3
HOKA Arahi 4
8 oz (W), 9.6 oz (M)
8 oz (W), 9.6 oz (M)
With only a few slight aesthetic tweaks, the new HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 is every bit the easy-riding stability shoe that its predecessors were.
The mellow J-Frame gives the shoe consistent stability without weighing it down, and the mesh upper is lightweight and soft.
The improved pull tab on the heel is a thoughtful touch, but most of the design and details were carried over from the tried-and-true Arahi 3, which means fans of the third version will likely be comfortable in the fourth.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.
By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.