*** Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge as part of my partnership with JackRabbit. My opinions and review are all mine and are not influenced by JackRabbit or Hoka One One in any manner. ***
Have you ever wondered, am I wearing the right shoes? I, a seasoned runner for 20+ years wonder that at times, too. I know a lot about injury and feet because I feel like I’ve had it all but when it comes to shoes and what works for me, it’s often like Cinderella’s glass slipper trying to find the perfect fit.
With running shoes there are so many terms and types, too. Consider how much you run, where you mostly run and how you run. How you run means how your foot strikes when it hits the ground during your natural gait. There are neutral, motion control, stability, trail shoes and racers, and some people even break them down even more. Hoka One One is a brand for all runners, from joggers to elite athletes looking to improve their performance. Hoka just released their lightest shoe within the maximum support category, the Hoka One One Arahi. It’s technically a stability shoe so some people may think “it’s not for me.”
Why? Because stability shoes have a history of being supportive, yes, but heavy to the point of almost uncomfortable. The Arahi are completely different! Here are the specs:
- Weight : 7.6 ounces (Women’s size 7). 9.3 Ounces (Men’s size 9),
- Shoe Category: Stability
- Offset: 5mm heel to toe offset
- Forefoot Width: Medium (wide model available)
- Forefoot Height: 29mm forefoot height
- Heel Height: 34mm heel height
- Model: 1st version
Arahi Initial Impression
When I first got the Arahi I was a little worried that they’d be clunky. I have a pair of Hoka Constant 2s that I never wear for this reason (and that caused blisters because the toebox was too narrow for me). Conversely, I loved my Cliftons (2 and 3s) but I did need a little more stability as I wore out the inner soles unevenly due to my overpronation. Well, wide forefoot runners rejoice, Hoka has delivered! Finally a Hoka that is wide, and I mean wide, in the toebox! If you are an overpronator (your foot rolls inwards when you run) and need a little more cushion than in your current shoe but don’t want a heavy shoe, the Arahi is one to try . It is one of the lightest max support shoes on the market at under 10oz. If you’ve ever tried the Clifton 2, it is similar to that shoe with a touch more firmness in the midsole.
The Arahi reduces overpronation by using a new EVA J-Frame Construction. The “J” of firmer-density EVA foam wraps around the heel and delivers support and protection while guiding your foot without the use of rigid and unforgiving material and the shoe has more durable rubber on the outsole. They use Hoka One One’s Early Stage Meta-Rocker technology, which the company describes as being “specifically engineered with a low heel-toe differential and a sculpted outsole radius in the heel and toe, creates a unique fulcrum effect and encourages a guided foot gait cycle.” This technology is used in many of the company’s other shoe lines and is what really sets them apart from other shoe brands.
On the exterior, the printed mesh upper offers excellent breathability and reduces weight. It comes in several color options for the ladies (I chose the pink/yellow) and men (the blue/red is patriotic – love it)! Another cool feature of the Arahi is that a wide width is available (in only one color) but for many, especially bunion sufferers, this is a very cool lightweight shoe option!
Running in the Arahi
I initially took the Arahi out for an easy 4 miler two days prior to my most recent half marathon. I loved the responsiveness, the shoes’s featherweight feel, and the ability for my toes to splay. I didn’t blister and I didn’t feel like they slowed me down. (I didn’t use my orthotics in the shoes).
I noticed that the midfoot in this shoe can be tricky. It is an art of loosening and tightening the laces in this area to get the fit right for your foot to avoid lateral pinching. The heel fit is generous but utilizing a lock lace technique snugged it right up. These shoes run true to size with just more width in the forefoot in my opinion. I’m an 8.5 in other Hokas, and other shoe brands, and an 8.5 in these.
True story here: I made the dumb and rookie mistake of wearing these shoes to my half marathon. I know, I know, never wear new shoes to a race. I am a coach and I know this but I loved how they felt on my training run, they matched my race outfit and I wasn’t looking to PR. Well, what do you know, I blistered a bit on my insteps. Was it the shoes? Probably not. It was likely my feet and the newness of the shoe (and perhaps I had them laced to tight in the midfoot) matched up with 14+miles in them. But I wanted to be honest.
Since then I’ve let the blisters heal, I’ve loosened the midfoot lacing, and have taken the Arahis out for about 20 more miles over the course of 4 more runs. No blisters, and no issues. Just like any shoe, I suggest easing into wearing them and don’t race in any new shoe!
If you are in need of a shoe change and fall into the most popular category of runners that overpronate (and have so many of the problems associated with that), you would be a great Arahi candidate. Stability doesn’t have to mean heavy and ugly. Those wanting a lightweight, cushioned yet supportive running shoe with a wide toebox (and even in a wide width), look no further. This is your shoe. #feelthej
Soon I’ll be hosting a giveaway in partnership with Jackrabbit for a pair of Hoka One One Arahi (men’s or women’s), so stay tuned to my social media and blog for details! If you enter and win, comment below and tell me what color you’d pick out! (3 colors offered at JackRabbit in links above)!