Hoka Arahi 5 review and lab test 

Max cushioned stability in a lightweight package. Yes, please! Arahi 5 is built for recovery days and long slow runs even though the design may invoke feelings of swiftness.

This is a plush stability shoe built off the Hoka Clifton platform designed to give your feet and legs a sweet enjoyable ride. It’s a category known for 11-12 ounce shoes, so it’s exciting to see Hoka nail this under 9.5 ounces (270g).  

Arahi 5 pieces of the shoe

This shoe is ideal for pronators looking for: 

  • minimal to moderate support
  • a modern, cushioned, lightweight shoe 
  • a wide, stable platform underfoot and ample room for wider feet. 

Don’t buy this shoe if you: 

Fit is too wide

Hokas seem to be hit or miss on fit for me. This shoe felt great sliding it on for the first time, but after a few runs, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a bit too wide, or voluminous because it feels a touch sloppy unless I really crank down the laces (another problem I’ll talk about later). 

Familiar HOKA softness: Arahi 5 is super plush 

One thing Hoka typically does right is comfort. The Clifton 7 was one of my favorite shoes last year, it’s like a spa for your legs (watch the review) so I had high hopes for the Arahi 5 as well. 

Although it’s super plush and has a very similar upper, the midsole on the Arahi 5 is a bit stiffer than the Clifton and that annoyed me because I was constantly comparing the two in my HEAD. I even did a run with one on each foot to see if the difference was just mental, but it wasn’t. 

The Clifton is a softer ride. This all makes sense as the stiffer midsole helps with the Arahi’s stability ability, (nice rhyme right??), but I just wanted it to be a touch softer. 

Although it doesn't take much away from the Arahi 5, I still feel bad that pronators are not getting the same sweet treatment as the rest of us do in the Clifton. To combat this, Hoka does put in an extra-soft Ortholite insole (12.8HA vs an average of 28.4, and whopping 55% softer) but it’s just a different feeling than the pure joy I get out of Clifton’s midsole. 

Hoka Arahi 5 cut in half

It would seem, however, that Hoka is aware the midsole on the Arahi is not as cloud-like as its neutral counterpart since they obviously are compensating here with the insole (that weighs 0.8oz or 22g).

Insole in the Hoka Arahi 5

If I wasn’t so picky though I’d say this is a very plush shoe with a soft midsole. At 20.8HA on the durometer, the only shoe we’ve tested with a softer midsole material was the New Balance 1080v11

Good grip as long as you don’t make sudden turns

These perform fine on standard surfaces like asphalt and concrete where I tested them. 

I’m glad they added generous amounts of siped rubber over the bottom since I’m not a huge fan of exposed EVA. 

Outsole on Hoka Arahi 5

I will mention that the shoes felt a bit sloppy to me, and although this is not a grip issue, I was sliding around sharp turns on the inside of the shoe. 

Arahi 5 with its weight proves that looks can be deceiving

Coming in at 9.4 ounces (266g), the Arahi is crushing it in the weight department. 

Weight of the Hoka Arahi 5

Stability shoes like the Gel Kayano or the Adrenaline tip the scales, so it’s great to see a max cushioned, a plush shoe like this closer to 9oz than 13oz. 

The lightness messes with your senses a bit, The Arahi seems big and chunky on your foot, I expected to feel them more than I did, and as I tried to speed up, they really start to disappear on your feet. 

Lockdown issues: sloppiness and laces too stretchy 

The shoe felt a bit too wide, and I have wide feet. Because of this, it felt a bit sloppy around turns. 

Arahi 5 forefoot width

In my side-by-side run, I noticed this compared to the Clifton, and I have the Clifton in 2E!

I could solve this issue, but it required me to really crank down the laces. The laces are ridiculously long and stretchy. I pulled them out to see just how long they were. At 48’’ they actually were not overly long, but they have 30.2% stretch, the most of any shoe we’ve tested, and nearly double of the average. 

Lacing system on Arahi 5

So, back to the problem, the loose fit. It was hard to get them tight enough as the laces just wanted to stretch. I hate having to tuck in laces as well, and it’s required on the Arahi 5. 

Heel slips but you can fix it

The one caveat to the long laces is you can utilize both upper lace holes, a nice feature many shoes’ laces are too short for, and it was needed as there was a touch of heel slip in the Arahi 5. 

The heel counter is extremely stiff (93.1N, compared to the average of 62.2N) thanks to its 2mm thick plastic heel counter, which is needed to help make the shoe perform as a stability control shoe, but in my experience, an extra stiff heel usually leads to a bit of slip. 

Stable and balanced ride  

I didn’t feel unstable at any point. The wide platform was balanced and a joy to run in. 

The Arahi 5 has a smooth, consistent ride thanks to the Meta-Rocker design that helps you roll easily through your transitions. Soft shoes used to have issues with speedy transitions, but the Arahi 5 doesn't. 

Profile photo of Hoka Arahi 5

Although it isn’t a speed shoe, it rolls along without too much fuss thanks to the firmness of the shoe’s flex. 

Although the foam itself is fairly soft, it's stiff overall with a flex test measurement of 35.8N, which is 37% stiffer longitudinally than the average shoe. I’m stumped to be honest and not totally sure where this stiffness comes from since the EVA foam itself is not particularly firm. 

“Junk in the trunk” adds extra stability 

There’s an interesting extended heel that adds to the stabilized feel when you’re going extra slow, or for those heel strikers out there. 

Heel design on Hoka Arahi 5

I haven't run in many shoes with this extra junk in the trunk, but I have to say, it felt balanced no matter how fast or slow I went, so it seems to be working!

Long happy life predicted 

The upper is well built, complete with some nice welded overlays, and the outsole, although it's not full coverage, is mostly covered in dense rubber, leading me to believe these shouldn’t have any premature wear issues. 

One plus to the midsole being a bit denser than the Clifton is I think it will last longer, there are no packing marks yet that I can see, and I had creases on my Cliftons after just the first run. 

Great for long slow runs

Ideally, the Arahi 5 is an LSD (long slow day) shoe. It wants to go straight, for miles and miles on flat, hard surfaces. It’s a trainer, not a race shoe, and although you could push this shoe to a moderate pace, it’s not designed to break PRs. 

No complaints in the breathability department 

I had no issues with the breathability of the Arahi 5, but back to comparison mode, the Clifton’s upper does have wider spaced venting holes in the mesh, and some added welded overlays on the toes that the Arahi is lacking.  

Upper closeup on Arahi 5

If I could pick, I’d want the Clifton’s upper over the Arahi’s. 

Transparency test on Hoka Arahi 5

Overall though, it's a nice design and shouldn’t be a concern in cool or warm temps. In our lab, though, the shoe let 26.3LUX out. When compared to the average of 100.9, it seems it’s on the less breathable side of the spectrum. 


Overall, I’m impressed with these new, lighter stability shoes like the Arahi 5 and the Kayano Lite. Having a max cushioned shoe that’s not breaking scales is impressive, and hopefully, plastic medial posts are a thing of the past! 

In the end, to me, the measure of good stability is like the measure of a good child, they should be neither seen nor heard (that’s a joke for those of you who now hate me). In this case, I forgot I was running in stability shoes altogether, which, if they are doing what they should without anyone noticing, means they deserve praise and a pat on the HEAD.  

So well done little Arahi 5, well done!

Complete lab-specs overview 

Hoka Arahi 5
Weight - Left 263g
Weight - Right 266g
Weight - Insole 22g
Weight - Lace 4.2g
Length - Overall 296.86mm
Length - Insole 276.49mm
Width Midsole - Forefoot  116mm
Width Midsole - Heel 97.2mm
Width Midsole - Middle  87.8mm
Width Upper - Forefoot 97.5mm
Width Upper - Heel 79.1mm
Width Upper - Middle 76.3mm
Stack - Forefoot with insole 28.8mm
Stack - Heel with insole 33.8mm
Stack - Forefoot without insole 23.1mm
Stack - Heel without insole 29.8mm
Drop 5mm
Outsole thickness (Forefoot) 3.7mm
Outsole thickness (Heel) 3.7mm
Lugs Depth N/A
Insole Thickness 4.5mm
Laces (without stretch) 48inches
Laces (with stretch) 62.5inches
Lace Stretch % 30.21
Laces - Thickness (Height) 1.4mm
Laces - Width 6.1mm
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Room Temp) 78.5HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room Temp) 79.5HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Room Temp) 20.3HA
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Room Temp) N/A
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room Temp) 21.2HA
Durometer Insole (Room Temp) 12.8HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Room Temp) 35.8N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 80.5HC
Durometer Outsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 84.5HC
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (Freezer 1 hour) 26.8HA
Durometer Midsole Forefoot 2nd layer (Freezer 1 hour) N/A
Durometer Midsole Heel (Freezer 1 hour) 25.5HA
Durometer Insole (Freezer 1 hour) 14.7HA
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 1 hour) 65.8N
Durometer Outsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 2.55
Durometer Outsole Heel (% change with temperature) 6.29
Durometer Midsole Forefoot (% change with temperature) 31.97
Durometer Midsole Heel (% change with temperature) 20.47
Durometer Insole (% change with temperature) 14.29
Flexibility of the shoe (% change with temperature) 83.59
Thickness - Heel Counter/Insert 2mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (min) 9mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (max) 11.2mm
Thickness - Ankle Collar (Range of taper) 12.3mm
Heel counter material plastic
Thickness - Tongue 7.9mm
Flexibility of the heel counter  93.1N
Light test (transparence) 26.3LUX
Lace slip test with the knot 73.0N
Longitudinal flexibility (0-5) 1
Torsional flexibility (0-5) 1
Tongue: gusset type both sides
Laces: profile  Flat
Laces: extra hole  yes
Laces: are they long enough to use the extra hole  yes
Heel tab type pool tab
Insole: removable yes
Control devices:
Multi-density midsole
Rigid heel counter
Elevated medial insole under arch
Supportive tensioned medial upper
Medial flare
Thermoplastic medial post
How minimalist the shoe is in % 24

Note: all the tests were done on a men's shoe US size 9. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 275g / Women 221g
Drop: 5mm
Arch support: Stability
Update: Hoka Arahi 6
Forefoot height: 24mm
Heel height: 29mm

Compare popularity Interactive

Compare the popularity of another shoe to Hoka Arahi 5:

Hoka Arahi 5 video reviews

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.