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Road Running Shoes • February 14, 2020

HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 Performance Review

hoka one one arahi 4 - feature 1

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 10.8 oz./306g for a US M10.5
  • Same exact midsole and outsole as the Arahi 3
  • New engineered mesh upper for better breathability
  • Deja shu affects over 4 people every day

JARRETT: Have you ever experienced deja shu? You know, where you swear you’ve already got a shoe even though the manufacturer claims it’s brand new. That’s exactly what happened once I opened the HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 box.

I had to pull out the Arahi 3’s from my closet to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind. The good news is that I’m still sane (Politifact check: PANTS ON FIRE).

The Arahi is HOKA’s lightweight stability shoe. A lot of people loved last year’s model and rightfully so. For the fourth iteration, HOKA didn’t change much. So little is different, in fact, that this is going to be very very similar to my previous review. Rather than getting into the technical mumbo jumbo again, you can just read this.

What’s changed is a more simplified and updated upper. Also, HOKA made the pull tab horizontal. That’s about it.

ERIN: While I don’t typically choose a stability shoe to run in, I’ve reviewed a few in my day; they tend to give me pain on the lateral edges of my feet (right foot in particular, for whatever reason) so I’m usually wary. That being said, I was nervously excited to try the Arahi, because, in addition to being a life-long New Balance fangirl, I’m also now a mostly full-time HOKA fangirl.

hoka one one arahi 4 - side

The Good

JARRETT: Let’s chat about the upper. HOKA made it slightly more breathable through the midfoot. It really isn’t much different, but I’ll take it. I’d previously mentioned my foot felt a bit hot, but now it’s as cool as a cucumber––whatever that means. (EDITOR’S NOTE: That last sentence proves that Jarrett may not be as cool as anything, cucumber or otherwise).

It also might have a tad bit more give to it. I think. Honestly, I can’t tell.

The midsole is the same as the 3, providing some nice cushion while still being responsive. It’s got the same EVA J-Frame for stability and the early stage Meta-Rocker for a nice toe-off feeling.

My size 10.5 2E weighed in at 10.8 oz. Not too shabby for a stability shoe that’s far from minimal!

ERIN: Lemme bore you all with some backstory: The Clifton 5 is my holy grail daily trainer. I have one pair left and I am dreading the day I have to start putting miles on them. The Clifton 6 just doesn’t do it for me. I wear them on easy days because, well… I have a pair (don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good shoe, it just… isn’t the 5). But no more. Dudes, the Arahi 4! It’s so good! It feels like something halfway between the Clifton 5 and the 6. I’ll take what I can get. It’s my new easy day shoe. It’s got that meta-rocker with that midsole firmness that made everyone else hate the Clifton I love.

AUSTIN: Fans of the Arahi 3 will appreciate the familiarity that comes with the 4. The midsole and outsole go unchanged, with the stack height again at 32mm in the heel and 27mm in the forefoot. At 9.8 oz in a men’s nine, I’d compare it to the recently updated Brooks GTS Adrenaline 20. However, given the choice between the two, I’ll reach for the Arahi 4 every time. At nearly an ounce lighter and equally––if not more––stable than the Adrenaline (courtesy of the EVA J-Frame), the Arahi 4 delivers a soft, silky ride, no matter the pace.

The plush cushioning is what you’d expect nowadays from HOKA, and it doesn’t hurt that their color game has improved. You’d be forgiven for thinking I’m a Vols fan because of the supplied orange/grey/white colorway, but (thankfully) no one around town asked.

According to HOKA, the Arahi 4 features a retooled upper for increased breathability. I enjoy the padded tongue, and while the laces are a bit stiff, I can tolerate them. Because of the wider standard width, the Arahi 4 will accommodate a variety of foot types. For the Believe in the Run fanbase in need of a little more space, this model is also available in a 2E width. Hooray for Jarrett!

Shop HOKA Arahi 4 – US

hoka one one arahi 4 - toe

The Bad

JARRETT: The Arahi 4 has the same length issue as the 3: I could have sized down to a 10. Even so, the midfoot felt a bit tight for a wide. It just doesn’t have the true wide feel like New Balance, ASICS, or Brooks. It was ok for 13 miles, but I was playing with fire.

That said, the toe box may have been a bit too spacious for me, because I ended up with a blister on the outside of both big toes after my long run. While the sizing issue may have been the culprit, blisters suck– especially when you’ve got a matching set!

As much as I liked the midsole on my more relaxed run, it threw me off when I tried to pick up the pace. I felt like I was easily going sub-8 pace and I kept looking down at my watch after each mile vibration. Nope. I was hovering around 8-8:15/mile. Frustrating to say the least. Could the sweet spot for this shoe be between an 8:15 and 8:45 mile pace?

ERIN: Well, it’s just kind of a big shoe. Sort of like the Clifton 6. It isn’t cute. It’s wide. Voluminous even. So much so that it requires some serious cinching of the laces. Like the Clifton, the upper is not at all minimal. What it is, though, is comfortable. Damn comfortable.

AUSTIN: I noticed some rubbing along my Achilles tendon in the right shoe. With feet that skew narrow, I figured the width might be why I experienced the heel friction. It didn’t become a blister, but I figured that changing sock type might remedy the discomfort. Usually, a sock with a heel tab (like the Balega Hidden Contour) will do the trick. I’m averse to the lock lace method, but that’s another approach to consider should a change of socks fail. Adding a little more padding around the stiff heel collar might improve the fit for me in subsequent models.

Shop HOKA Arahi 4 – US

hoka one one arahi 4 - outsole

HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 Conclusion

JARRETT: If you liked the Arahi 3, you’ll like the 4. Why? Because this should have been called the Arahi 3.1.0. I’m going to assume the 5 will have some sort of radical update. It has to!

I’d recommend scooping up all the 3’s on sale unless a horizontal pull tab is a must-have or you have super sweaty feet.

ERIN: If you need/want stability shoes and you’re running in anything other than the Arahi, stop that shit! You deserve better than that.

AUSTIN: What more can I say? With minimal changes, the Arahi 4 delivers lightweight stability in an exceptional package. If you’re looking for an Adrenaline or ASICS GT-2000 replacement, look no further.

You can pick up the HOKA ONE ONE Arahi 4 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) for $130 by using the link below.

Shop HOKA Arahi 4 – US

hoka one one arahi 4 - feature


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Mike says:

    I had to return, unfortunately. Super comfortable when standing but the worst blisters of my life when running. I ran about 60-70 miles in then and it never got better 🙁

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