HOKA Arahi 7 Review: Your Daily Stability Companion?

If stability is your thing, there are a plethora of options available. HOKA brings their 7th iteration of the Arahi to the shelves. Is it your best choice?

HOKA Arahi 7 – Strong and Stable?

Josh: HOKA’s latest addition to the Arahi line hasn’t left much to be excited for. A rather dull ride results in a shoe which doesn’t feel particularly special underfoot. Meanwhile, the firm ride leaves me wanting more cushioning underfoot. However, this leaves no question as to whether this is a stability shoe or not. The extremely firm midsole helps to reduce the strain on the ankle when running. This is something which can be an issue in some of the more cushioned and softer max-cushioned shoes on the market today.


Andy: This is the second stability shoe I have tested in recent weeks. Whilst I an not a regular stability shoe user, I have found that the firmer midsole of the Arahi 7 has some advantages for me. Despite this, I am not sure that this iteration of HOKA’s  stability shoe will be the one that converts me. HOKA set out to create a lightweight, sleek and comfortable stability shoe with the Arahi 7. It is fair to say that they have accomplished this in some ways, but does it make it a great running shoe?

HOKA Arahi 7 (1 of 2)


Weight in HOKA’s sample size: 9.9oz/282g

Official Stack: 34mm/29mm (5mm drop)

MSRP: $144.95/€150

Arahi 7 Upper – Comfy, Pretty and Narrow

Josh: I was pleasantly surprised with the upper of the HOKA Arahi 7. The premium feeling engineered mesh offers a plush and well supported feel. Characteristics which you would expect from a stability shoe from HOKA. Pairing this with the secure fit offered by the lacing system and the rigid heel cup made it lockdown well. I experienced no problems with heel slip or unusual rubbing in any areas of my foot.


However, the fit is a bit of a let down. Much like other HOKA’s which I have tried, I found this latest iteration of the Arahi to be extremely narrow and long at the forefoot. Therefore, not leaving much room for my toes to spread. While this wasn’t so much of an issue for my feet up to 10km (I believe the soft upper helped this). I can see it being uncomfortable for people with wider feet or when running longer distances in the shoe. For this reason, I would recommend you to size up at least half a size when your purchase a pair.

Andy: Firstly, I agree with Josh about the plushness of the upper. It is a comfortable mesh which holds the foot securely in all the right places. HOKA have fitted the Arahi 7 with a gusseted, very thickly padded tongue. This adds to comfort and ensures that there is no lace pressure on top of the foot. However, the thickness of the tongue does make it a very warm upper. Even in winter months, when the temperature hasn’t risen much above low single figures, I have never felt a pang of cold through the shoe. If you do a lot of summer running, it is worth keeping this in mind. Similarly to Josh, I have not felt any discomfort in the shoe. Overall,  it holds the foot where it should and is generously padded in the right places.


Where I diverge from Josh’s opinion is on the fit. In my regular size, I have found that the Arahi 7 actually fits my foot well. Despite this, I can’t really talk about how the fit changes over distance. Mainly because I haven’t taken the shoe over distances of 10km. But, more on that later. Overall, I have found the upper comfortable and well fitted. Although, I’d have my doubts about using it as a warm weather shoe due to the thickness of the tongue and depth of padding around the heel collar.

HOKA Arahi 7 (9 of 13)
HOKA Arahi 7 (10 of 13)

Midsole: Flat, Firm and Lacking in Bounce

Josh: When first trying this shoe out I was surprised by how firm the midsole was. This is most definitely one of the firmest shoes I have tested to date. Especially when comparing it to other easy run/daily trainers. As a stability trainer, I wouldn’t say that such a firm ride is a bad thing. It means there isn’t too much lateral rotation. When my legs were feeling quite fresh, I enjoyed the firmer ride of the full EVA-based midsole. However, I found it quite jarring and uncomfortable when my legs were feeling a little the worse for wear and all I wanted was some extra cushioning underfoot.


The shoe boasts J-frame stability technology to offer a more stable ride. Put together with the firm foam and the harsh ride of the shoe, I didn’t feel the benefit of the stability frame. On the other hand, maybe that’s a sign of a good pair of stability shoes.

Andy: As with Josh, I was not over enamoured with the midsole of the Arahi 7.  I understand that the purpose is to stop over pronation. However, I have, so far, found the midsole to be very unforgiving and offering very little back to me as a runner. That being said, over the testing period so far, I have noticed a little break in with the midsole. Perhaps, over the coming weeks, it will soften out a touch more. Furthermore, I have had a recurring bout of PF in my left foot. While the ride isn’t the most lively or energetic, I have found that the firm EVA compound has soothed the sore foot somewhat. 


As I mentioned earlier, I can’t really comment on the performance of the Arahi 7 over longer distances. Echoing Josh’s opinion, the firm, flat and rather harsh ride in the shoe has made my usual daily run the limit of distance I was happy to run. Around the 9.5k mark is a reasonable distance for the lack of cushioning and energy return. However I use the Arahi 7 in the future, it will not become a Sunday long run shoe for me. 


That being said, it will have life as a walking shoe for me.  Added to that, with the firm, flat midsole, it would probably make a good gym shoe too for those who want something to run and lift in. Whilst the stability features of the Arahi 7 are not as prominent as those of the Salomon DRX Bliss, the midsole is also not as forgiving or assistive. Perhaps a mingling of the two would make a shoe for me?

HOKA Arahi 7 (2 of 13)
HOKA Arahi 7 (4 of 13)

HOKA Arahi 7 Outsole: Slippery!

Josh: The rubber coverage of the outsole is rather limited, causing them to lose traction when running on wet grass and pavement. This limited coverage of the bottom of the shoe also leaves a lot of exposed midsole. This, I fear, will be worn down quickly, especially if this shoe is used on gravel paths where the midsole will get chewed up. 


Andy: With my previous experience of HOKA shoes, I have found that the outsoles are rather less than durable and sometimes lacking in grip. My experience of the Arahi 7 has not changed this opinion very much. On slick pavements, I have found a lack of traction. This has meant the power I am putting through the shoe is lost in slippage rather than propulsion. Furthermore, I have already noticed a degree of wear in my high strike zones as I have approached the 50km mark. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for long term durability.

HOKA Arahi 7 (2 of 2)

HOKA Arahi 7 Conclusion: Maybe Next Time

Josh: I have no doubt that there will be very mixed opinions about the HOKA Arahi 7. The firm midsole paired with the premium feeling but narrow upper means that the shoe isn’t anything especially exciting or innovative. This is an issue especially in the extremely competitive market which we see at the moment in the daily trainer/stability shoe range. I believe that the Arahi 7 is made for someone who is getting into running but still wants a shoe which they can use for other activities such as gym, crossfit or tennis. Personally, based on the value of these shoes I believe that there are better alternatives available such the Puma Velocity Nitro v3.


Andy: Firstly, the HOKA Arahi 7 is a quite good looking shoe. If you are looking for something for the gym, running and maybe some casual wear, you could do a lot worse. However, if you are looking for a shoe to solely wear  for running, the £130 mark brings a lot of options to the table. If a touch of stability is what you require, the Arahi 7 is less controlling than the DRX Bliss. Whilst the shoe offers great comfort, the ride and midsole are rather lacking. In a world of low priced PEBA shoes and lively rides, the EVA of the HOKA family feels a little dated and lacking in joy. I am sure that there will be people out there who find the HOKA Arahi 7 perfect. However, I do not think I am that person.

HOKA Arahi 7 (7 of 13)
HOKA Arahi 7 (6 of 13)
Josh corporate picture


20 years old

178cm (5′ 10″) – 65kg (143lbs)

Mid/Forefoot striker – Stride runner




45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner


Get in touch

Want to find out more about how Meta Endurance can help you?  Get in touch with our team today, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.