The RW Takeaway: The soft, lightweight Arahi 5 provides cushioned support and houses your foot in a resilient open mesh upper.
- Firm EVA J-Frame on the heel and medial side of the shoe
- New upper has breathable, durable mesh and a pull tab on the heel collar
- Early stage Meta-Rocker
Weight: 275 grams (M), 221 grams (W)
Drop: 10mm (M), 9mm (W)
I used to save cushioned stability trainers for slow-pace days or recovery runs following a marathon. Lately, however, I’ve been reaching for these shoes as an everyday trainer, even on fast days. The latest models have me gliding down the road. Hoka’s Arahi 5 is no exception. This new iteration is just tenths of an ounce lighter than its predecessor, but I didn’t feel weighed down or encumbered as I ran.
As a stability shoe, the Arahi lends overpronators support with a dense EVA J-Frame, so called because it wraps around the heel and medial side of the shoe in a J-shape. A padded tongue and heel collar lock in your ankle without causing friction. The new pull-tab, reminiscent of the spoiler on a sports car, allows you to slide into the trainer without creasing the back. The shoe’s early stage Meta-Rocker, a slightly curved sole that encourages fast and smooth heel-to-toe transitions, had me, along with other testers, up the tempo.
New Mesh Upper
The Arahi has a more streamlined look compared to its predecessors, with structured mesh on the heel and midfoot. Preserved is the Arahi line’s straight last, Hoka’s “flat-waisted geometry,” which provides a more accommodating fit around the midfoot. “The shoe felt secure when winding corners,” said a tester, commenting on the Arahi’s stability.
Even though the 5 feels a little stiff (I had taken issue with the Arahi 4’s inflexibility), I found this rigidity a plus for my metatarsals, which were sore from overuse.
Grippy Rubber Outsole
In the past, I found myself running cautiously on wet roads when I tested Hoka’s shoes, not putting much confidence in their traction. The outsoles on the Mach 2 and 3, for instance, had smooth triangulated tread that tended to slip.
The Arahi 5, however, has a more textured tread pattern, which provides a tackier grip on slick surfaces. Testers had also commented on how they felt secure running in the rain and didn’t lose their footing on wet blacktop roads and concrete.