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Road Running Shoes • January 31, 2024

Hoka Arahi 7 Review: J is for Jinkies, Scoob

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What You Need To Know

Weight

9.9 oz. (282 g) for a US M10,

8.1 oz. (228 g) for a US W8

Stack Height / Drop

Men: 37 mm in heel, 32 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Women: 34 mm in heel, 29 mm in forefoot (5 mm drop)

Best For

Everyday stability miles

Key Features

J-Frame midsole support, Dual-gusseted tongue, Flat Knit Upper, Zonal Rubber outsole

On The Run
Comfortable, plush upper A little heavier than its predecessor The ride, we cannot abide
Price

$145

Introduction to the Hoka Arahi 7

SAM: A few months ago, we had the pleasure of reviewing the Hoka Gaviota 5 and its brand-new H-Frame for stability. I had never run in a Hoka stability shoe before, so I was excited and mildly nervous about what the Gaviota had in store. The H ended up standing for Hopping along, as that shoe had us cruising comfortably through easy miles.

Now, we have the updated Arahi. Hoka’s Arahi 7  stuck with the older J-Frame, offering streamlined stability to contrast with the Gaviota’s bulky build, but what does the J stand for? Journey? Jello? Jaded? Let’s find out.

MERCER: In the late summer/early fall, I got the pleasure of reviewing the slog king, the Gaviota 5, and its beautiful new H-Frame. I had a hard time finding runs to go on in the Gaviota just because I don’t do a lot of slogging or nursing, so I was looking for something a little lighter and something a little more flexible. As such, I was pretty excited about the new Arahi — the stability version of the Clifton — which is one of the most run-in shoes on Strava. And that excitement ended just like the Sopranos.

What we like about the Hoka Arahi 7

SAM: Sadly, the J stands for “Just a few” when it comes to the positives. I had a really hard time finding good things to talk about when it came to this review. I felt that the upper was one of the hits, though. I found it light and comfortable, and I love the double gusset. You could say the fit was… Just right. I also found the tongue plush, yet not too much, which can often happen when brands pack more cushion into their tongues. Besides that, I’m out of positives. Let’s get to what I really think.

MERCER: The color is nice, that’s about it.

OK, there are some other things I like about this shoe. The upper is something I haven’t seen much from Hoka. Recently, there have been a lot of scratchy plastic uppers or some engineered mesh, if we’re lucky. But in this new Arahi, we get an open and breathable flat-knit upper that reminds me a lot of the old Hoka Cavu. The tongue fits nicely and snugly across the top of the foot with a double gusset system.

That’s all I got, folks, and Hoka, I’m sorry.

Shop Hoka Arahi - Men Shop Hoka Arahi - Women

What we don’t like about the Hoka Arahi 7

SAM: J stands for “Joke” when it comes to the cons of this shoe. I could not stand running in it. I ran around 40 miles in this shoe, and each one was more painful than the last. I’m not even sure what the issue is. Stability shoes can often be clunky, with the stability technology sticking out from the rest in the running symphony like a trumpet that is out of tune. The Arahi 7 takes this effect to another level for me. The Arahi is not even close to being a coherent mix of parts. It’s a jumble as opposed to a jambalaya. A jam band made up entirely of crash cymbals.

While running in this shoe, my gait felt awkward and thrown off, and my stride wasn’t stable at all. I was excited to review the efficacy of the J frame vs. the H frame, but I couldn’t even think about anything other than how much my feet hurt. If you’ve been a fan of the Arahi, stock up on some discounted older versions. This one is not worth acquiring.

MERCER: Throw this shoe away. Some people like a firm ride like the Kinvara or AltraFWD Experience, but this isn’t firm. It’s just hard. There was no softening up over a break-in period. No temperature change fixed the midsole. It just straight sucked. Hoka says it’s the same foam as the Arahi 6, but after trying them on back to back, something is just off; just like the original Brooks Hyperion Elite, the foam felt like it arrived dead.

With the set-up of the J-Frame, including hard and harder foams, it just didn’t work. The shoe felt super clunky and never got better. The best stability shoes help your body move how it’s supposed to without feeling like you’re forced to, but every run I went on with this shoe, I felt like I was fighting it — it wasn’t a love-hate relationship, and there was no good to balance out the bad. This was that one book your English teacher made you read in high school that killed the joy of reading forever.

It’s time to kill the J-frame. We had fun with the H-frame, and I hope we see it in more shoes. I know it takes a while to make a shoe, so this shoe was probably complete when the Gaviota came out, but something needs to change sooner rather than later.

The upper was so close to being good, too. I loved the material Hoka used, but it was just too tight all around; my foot took up more room than most people in both height and width, my toes felt cramped lengthwise, and the pressure from the top of the other was messing with my little piggies as well. The collar was also fairly tight, and I got some crazy rubbing in my Achilles.

Last but not least, having to pay five more dollars for a heavier and worse shoe is a slap in the face, so stock up on the Arahi 6.

Shop Hoka Arahi - Men Shop Hoka Arahi - Women

Final thoughts on the Hoka Arahi 7

SAM: Dear Hoka, I am sorry for being as critical as I was in this review. I tried to give your shoe the benefit of the doubt and break it in, but the phantom pains of a tight plantar and sore calf are haunting me as I type this. The J stands for “Junk” for the Arahi 7. Like I said, pick up an older model on the low if you are a fan. If not, there are better shoes in the world for your money.

MERCER: I’m sorry, Hoka. I don’t hate you, but I need you to hear this. I tried to make this shoe work and even tried Aldren’s advice of “running softer in it,” but no luck. And I’m in the same boat as Sam with lingering Achilles and plantar tightness. If you liked the Arahi 6, buy more pairs or jump ship to another shoe or brand.

You can pick up the Hoka Arahi 7 for $145 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.

Shop The Shoe

 

Shop Hoka Arahi Men
Shop Hoka Arahi Women
6
Comments

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Geoff Livingston says:

    I was afraid of this. I love the Arahi 6, it resolved a great deal of running pain I had from another brand, and I still use it as a recovery shoe.

    On the hard sole of the 7, I bought a discounted pair of 6s in December and have been experiencing the same issue. I am 40-50 miles in and the sole will not break in or soften like my prior 6s, and these are my 6th pair of them (no pun intended). I don’t get pain, but they are no where near as plush as the Cliftons. The soles on my prior Arahi pairs were about equal with the Cliftons.

    I did buy my kid a pair of the 7s just this week, and they love running on the tread with them.

  2. Dan Rieke says:

    I felt the same issues in the Arahi 6. Clunky and tight in all the wrong places. (And I have narrow “C “ width feet!)

  3. K. Tanglis says:

    Arahi 6 – loved them, had three pairs. Bought the Arahi 7 and was so disappointed. Sole of this shoe is hard with no give. Is also narrow. My shins started to hurt after 2 miles. Wore four times and never got better. Will be returning. No 6’s available unless you are a male or a female size 6 or 12. Have read so many bad reviews. Wish I had bought a couple more 6’s when they were available.

  4. Vangie says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for, an honest review of a running shoe! Been running over 30 years and my body mechanics are changing. Because shoe manufacturers change the technical specs of the shoes so often, a shoe I wore with good response ten or even five years ago, I can’t wear today. I wore Mizuno Wave Alchemy 5 to ground, and they discontinued the shoe. The Paradox sucked and it was discontinued only after a year. I’ve worn Saucony Omni through its iterations starting with 5 which I also loved, New Balance and Asics, but.. stability bar, no bar, J frame, H frame…just awful. Also, the heel drop. I’m a forefoot runner with ease, but when the drop of a known shoe is changed from 5-10 -Saucony, seriously! I got the worst calf strain and had to sit out five months. My left foot loves anything I put on it; my right pronates excessively. I read tons of reviews about the Arahi and I actually tried out the Gaviota for a week…not for my feet. The reviews I’ve read on these as well as others, just don’t give the bare bones facts. Its all “tongue and gussets” and I don’t care. If a stability shoes is marketed as a stability shoe, please don’t write it up as a neutral shoe. Review for its stability or lack of. Just ordered an Altra Paradigm. Its a zero drop and I tried the 5 a year or so ago. but I can’t recall if I tested it with my Spenco inserts. It was also too bouncy (over-cushioned) so I’m trying it again with the insert. Fingers crossed as I’m running out of testers. the NB FuelCell 4 is alright but not great. I may have to tape my right arch as I’m not ready to stop running. All of this to say, thank you for your honest opinion on the Arahi’s. Won’t waste my time testing them out.

  5. Ruth McGuinness says:

    Have been running in some discounted Arahi 5’s for the past year and they have been amazing. Decided to wait for the 7s to come out and bought a pair on release day. They went STRAIGHT back. The 7 toe box is SO small. They were so different from the 5s I didn’t even want to try running in them. Nice to know it wasn’t just me

  6. KR says:

    Love the Arahi 6! Hate the Arahi 7’s

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Authors

sam sheldon3
Sam Sheldon
Baltimore Road Reviewer
  • Strava

Sam tried every other sport before settling on running as a senior in high school. He’s never looked back. He can be found doing workouts in Patterson Park, talking shop with the Faster Bastards, or hitting long runs on the NCR trail. When not running, Sam is a teacher in the Baltimore City Public School District. His other loves are cooking, coffee, breweries, books, basketball, and alliteration. 

All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, Nike Vaporfly Next%, Asics Novablast 3

More from Sam
Shoe Size

9.5

Fav. Distance

Mile

PRs
  • 2:54

    Marathon
  • 1:10

    Half Marathon
  • 14:58

    5K
  • 4:21

    Mile
mercer
Mercer Alden
College XC/Track Reviewer
  • Strava
  • Instagram

Mercer is a collegiate athlete at the University Of Lynchburg, majoring in being awesome. He’s also extremely talented at folding shirts during GRIT packing at the Believe in the Run HQ.

All-time favorite shoes: Asics Gel-Kayano Lite, Hoka Clifton 6, On Cloudmonster

More from Mercer
Shoe Size

9.5

Fav. Distance

5K

PRs
  • 57:50

    10 Mile
  • 15:55

    5K
  • 9:01

    3K
  • 4:35

    Mile
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