Our verdict

The Hoka Arahi 7, with its mild stability, really shines for those who favour a snug upper alongside a firm midsole. Despite its incredibly comfy knit upper and solid stability, it's not a shoe for everyone—it's tailored for specific runners. We found that this version has a unique ride and feel, setting it apart from previous Arahis, so don't expect an automatic match—we advise being ready for something different!

Pros

  • Premium and comfy upper
  • Still surprisingly light
  • Subtle yet effective stability features
  • Versatile for all footstrikes
  • Reasonably priced
  • Excellent fit and security
  • Plush tongue
  • Cushioned

Cons

  • Limited breathability
  • Low energy return
  • Slightly snug fit

Audience verdict

79
Decent!
  • Top 6% most popular running shoes

Who should buy

We've found the Hoka Arahi 7 to be an excellent choice for:

  • Runners seeking a snug yet comfortable fit for long distances.
  • Individuals needing moderate stability in a lightweight daily trainer.
  • Hoka fans who appreciate a stable experience in a durable shoe, and don't mind riding a firmer midsole.

Hoka Arahi 7

Who should NOT buy

The Hoka Arahi 7, while not a bad shoe, is definitely tailored for a specific runner profile. We noticed that those requiring ample toe room might find this shoe restrictive. For a roomier fit, we suggest the Brooks Adrenalite GTS 23 as a better alternative.

We also feel the Arahi 7 falls short for runners seeking a dynamic, responsive ride. The midsole's firmness leads to a lacklustre feel, lacking the bouncy ride many desire. In contrast, the ASICS Gel Kayano 30 offers a more engaging experience, combining stability and fun in a way the Arahi 7 doesn't quite match.

Hoka Arahi 7 parts

Breathability

At first glance, Hoka seems to have crafted the Arahi 7 with plenty of ventilation holes, suggesting top-notch breathability. Despite the promising design, our real-world test with a smoke machine was disappointing, leading us to rate it a mere 3 out of 5.

Shining a light through the shoe, we noticed a dense knit paired with these ventilation holes. Yet, the holes didn't allow much light to pass through, unlike other more breathable shoes.

So, what's the real story here? To find the answer, we turned to our microscope.

Hoka Arahi 7 microscope

This deeper inspection revealed the surprising truth. Despite the presence of ventilation holes, the Arahi 7 earned just a 3 out of 5 in our tests. We discovered that the holes were more for show than actual airflow, as evidenced by our microscopic images.

Hoka Arahi 7 microscope 2

Yet turning our attention to the shoe's flat knit upper, we were genuinely impressed.

It snugly wraps around the foot, offering both stretch and comfort, and the material feels premium. However, it does fall short on ventilation as we proved before. In our view, there's room for improvement in this area for the next version.

Test results
Arahi 7 3
Average 3.8
Compared to 221 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Thick uppers often stand out for their incredible durability, and we were optimistic about this one—even though knits tend to be less robust than engineered mesh.

When we put the Arahi 7 to the test with our Dremel at 3.2N and 5K RPM, the results were outstanding. We were thrilled with the performance and unanimously gave it a perfect score in the lab—a well-deserved 5 out of 5.

Hoka Arahi 7 Toebox durability
Test results
Arahi 7 5
Average 2.3
Compared to 155 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

With the Dremel still spinning, we dove into our next set of durability tests, focusing on the heel padding—a key concern for many runners.

Once again, the Arahi 7 left us in awe as it held up remarkably well, earning another stellar 5/5 rating. This outstanding performance suggests it's built to last forever.

Hoka Arahi 7 Heel padding durability
Test results
Arahi 7 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 151 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Next, we examined the outsole of the shoe. Hoka has a reputation for using less rubber compared to other brands, but the coverage in the Arahi 7 seems enough.

Hoka Arahi 7 outsole

Our testing with a durometer revealed the rubber's hardness to be 85.6 HC, indicating it's on the hard side.

Hoka Arahi 7 Outsole hardness
Test results
Arahi 7 85.6 HC
Average 80.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 272 running shoes
Number of shoes
54.9 HC
Outsole hardness
92.8 HC

Outsole durability

To understand how the rubber's hardness impacts durability, we used the Dremel one last time in our lab review.

This test left a 0.9mm gap in the rubber—a solid result, indicating the shoe should hold up well throughout its lifespan, even for extreme heel strikers.

Hoka Arahi 7 Outsole durability
Test results
Arahi 7 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 133 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

In our final assessment of the outsole, we measured its thickness—an essential factor when combined with our previous durability test.

Hoka Arahi 7 outsole

While a 0.9mm indentation might seem average, it's quite promising when coupled with a robust 3.5mm thickness. This combination assures us that the outsole will withstand wear and tear exceptionally well.

Hoka Arahi 7 Outsole thickness
Test results
Arahi 7 3.5 mm
Average 3.2 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole thickness
6.6 mm

Weight

Initially, the shoe impressed us with its remarkable lightness despite its size. And our concerns about the substantial outsole thickness quickly dissipated once we weighed the shoe.

To our delight, it tipped the scales at only 9.4 oz (266g)—an exceptional figure for a daily trainer that offers moderate stability and enough cushioning.

Hoka Arahi 7 Weight
Test results
Arahi 7 9.38 oz (266g)
Average 9.38 oz (266g)
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
5.26 oz (149g)
Weight
12.56 oz (356g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

We've already noted the ample cushioning in the Arahi 7, and our caliper tests confirmed it with a 34.2 mm stack height.

This provides the perfect balance for a daily trainer—neither too bulky nor lacking foam. And it works well for heel strikers.

Hoka Arahi 7 Heel stack
Test results
Arahi 7 34.2 mm
Average 33.6 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Heel stack
42.7 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot design mirrors the heel, featuring plenty of foam that's substantial yet not excessively tall.

Hoka Arahi 7 forefoot

Our measurements showed a forefoot height of 27.9 mm, aligning well with the standards of contemporary road daily trainers.

Hoka Arahi 7 Forefoot stack
Test results
Arahi 7 27.9 mm
Average 24.9 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
7.6 mm
Forefoot stack
35.8 mm

Drop

Following the earlier measurements, a straightforward subtraction revealed a 6.3 mm heel-to-toe drop, nearly matching Hoka's stated 5 mm. This mid-range drop is a hallmark of Hoka, ideally suited for midfoot strikers yet accommodating all runners effectively.

Hoka Arahi 7 Drop
Test results
Arahi 7 6.3 mm
Average 8.7 mm
Compared to 291 running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.8 mm
Drop
16.1 mm

Insole thickness

In Hoka's quest for comfort, we discovered a 5.3 mm insole in the Arahi 7. This thickness is on the higher end of the spectrum.

Hoka Arahi 7 Insole thickness
Test results
Arahi 7 5.3 mm
Average 4.5 mm
Compared to 287 running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Insole thickness
7.3 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Returning to the midsole, we decided to assess it with a durometer after our initial test runs suggested the CMEVA foam Hoka uses felt somewhat firm.

Our suspicions were confirmed with a 26.6-HA reading, indicating a firmer foam. This makes perfect sense for a moderate stability daily trainer, which often opts for a less plush foam to provide added support.

For those who prefer a softer ride without the need for stability, the popular Clifton 9, also by Hoka, might be the ideal alternative to the Arahi 7. And it's also a bouncier, way-more-fun shoe.

Hoka Arahi 7 Midsole softness
Test results
Arahi 7 26.6 HA
Average 21.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 219 running shoes
Number of shoes
8.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
41.5 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

While Hoka unfortunately continues to embrace EVA-based midsoles as of 2024, their dedication to refining the formula is evident.

Our 20-minute freezer challenge revealed that the EVA midsole impressively only hardened by 17.3%, showcasing Hoka's success in enhancing the material's performance in cold conditions.

Hoka Arahi 7 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Arahi 7 17.3%
Average 25.6%
Compared to 218 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Rocker

We discovered that Hoka, a pioneer in integrating rockers into running shoes, takes a different approach with the Arahi 7. This model features a discreet, late-stage toe rocker that we hardly noticed during our runs.

This design choice is logical, as rockers, while aiding forward momentum, can sometimes compromise stability...

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Arahi 7's design as a mild stability shoe led us to discover its reliance on Hoka's J-Frame technology. Essentially, the J-Frame consists of a firmer foam segment shaped like a "J," extending along the shoe's medial side and wrapping around the heel.

This design offers a fresh approach to providing support without the intrusive feel of a traditional medial post or the H-Frame from the Gaviota 5. The J-Frame, paired with high midsole sidewalls, ensures a secure and stable experience for runners with mild pronation or those neutral runners seeking additional support on certain days.

Torsional rigidity

However, the Arahi 7's defining features extend beyond the J-Frame and midsole sidewalls. Our first test runs highlighted its exceptional rigidity, a characteristic further validated by our torsional rigidity assessment.

While moderate stability shoes tend to be rigid, the Arahi 7 sets a new standard with a 5/5 rigidity rating. This suggests that wearers should be prepared for a shoe that offers virtually no twist.

Test results
Arahi 7 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 270 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter's also super stiff, scoring a solid 5/5 in our tests.

For a shoe positioned as offering moderate stability, this might seem over the top. However, in the absence of traditional medial posts, Hoka had to integrate several alternative features to achieve exceptional stability—and they succeeded! The trade-off, however, is a notably stiff shoe.

Test results
Arahi 7 5
Average 2.8
Compared to 254 running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Next, we tackle another crucial element of the stability equation, which we think is straightforward for everyone to grasp—the broader the shoe, the more stable the ride, correct?

This led us to measure a forefoot width of 120.7 mm, placing it more in line with dedicated stability shoes than a moderately stable daily trainer.

Hoka Arahi 7 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Arahi 7 120.7 mm
Average 113.6 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
100.5 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.5 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel boasts a generous width of 97.5 mm as well, making the Arahi 7 a welcoming choice for heel strikers.

Hoka Arahi 7 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Arahi 7 97.5 mm
Average 90.5 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
74.9 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.6 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

After checking how rigid the shoe was when twisting it, we worried it might be too stiff to run in every day.

Good news, though—we have a special test for this. We bend each shoe to a 90-degree angle and see how hard it is to do that. For this shoe, it took just 33.5N of force, which is just right—not too stiff, not too flexible. Great for daily miles!

Test results
Arahi 7 33.5N
Average 29.3N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
2.2N
Stiffness
94.4N

Difference in stiffness in cold

In cooler conditions, the CMEVA (Compression-Molded EVA) foam impressively maintains its feel, stiffening by only 21.1%. This minor change should be almost imperceptible, even in the coldest temperatures, ensuring a consistent experience from the Arahi 7.

Test results
Arahi 7 21.1%
Average 36.3%
Compared to 274 running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
148%

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Despite the shoe's overall wide and spacious feel during runs, the toebox presents a contrasting snug fit.

It's not excessively narrow at 97.3 mm, yet it leans more towards a performance-oriented, snug fit than a spacious one. Therefore, we mainly recommend the Arahi 7 for runners with narrow to average foot widths—unless you're able to secure the Wide version, available in select regions.

Hoka Arahi 7 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Arahi 7 97.3 mm
Average 98.3 mm
Compared to 292 running shoes
Number of shoes
89.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
109.1 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The Arahi 7 serves as a testament to the thoroughness of our testing method, trying to capture every nuance of running shoes. A second measurement of the upper revealed a notable detail: the shoe narrows to 74.7 mm at the big toe area.

Hoka Arahi 7 toebox

This pronounced tapering underscores the snug fit we've felt in a very Hokaesque way. It's an essential aspect to bear in mind before purchasing the Arahi 7, particularly if you have a wider toe region.

Hoka Arahi 7 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Arahi 7 74.7 mm
Average 78.0 mm
Compared to 166 running shoes
Number of shoes
60.4 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.5 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue on the Arahi 7 is truly outstanding. It's not just the generous padding that impressed us—but its semi-gusseted design also plays a crucial role in securing a flawless fit. Remarkably, it remains perfectly positioned, no matter the pace of our run.

Hoka Arahi 7 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Arahi 7 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue boasts significant padding, crafted from a substantial foam piece encased by two slimmer layers, totaling 10.0 mm in thickness.

Hoka Arahi 7 tongue

We suggest that Hoka might consider reducing it to 6 or 7 mm. This adjustment could maintain comfort while contributing to an even lighter shoe.

Hoka Arahi 7 Tongue padding
Test results
Arahi 7 10.0 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 289 running shoes
Number of shoes
0.5 mm
Tongue padding
14.2 mm

Heel tab

The shoe's rear boasts the iconic Hoka swallowtail heel collar, simplifying the process of slipping the shoe on while reducing pressure on the Achilles tendon. However, its design can unfortunately act as a magnet for debris while running off-road.

Hoka Arahi 7 Heel tab
Test results
Arahi 7 Extended heel collar

Removable insole

Discovering that the insole is detachable was a pleasant surprise. This feature allows for the effortless removal of the original insole to swap in personalized orthotic inserts.

Hoka Arahi 7 Removable insole
Test results
Arahi 7 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Regrettably, our examination revealed that the Arahi 7 lacks any reflective elements. This oversight renders it a less-than-ideal option for those evening runs post-dusk.

Hoka Arahi 7 Reflective elements
Test results
Arahi 7 No