For a stability shoe with such thick soles, the Arahi is shockingly light and bouncy.

Hoka One One’s first stability shoe is a game-changer, writes Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan.

Who would have thought these shoes could be so light?


The stability feature allows this road running shoe to be taken to the trails.

REVIEW

HOKA ONE ONE ARAHI

TERRAIN Road

SHOE TYPE Stability

USE Daily training

WEIGHT 264g for Men’s shoes, 221g for Women’s shoe

HEEL DROP 5mm

PRICE RM769

AVAILABLE AT World of Sports outlets

RATING *****

WHEN trail runner Tahira Najmunisaa Mohd Zaid won a 100km trail race in Koh Chang Island, Thailand in February, she wore the Hoka One One Arahi which, at that point, has yet to reach stores.

Tahira got first dip because she is the brand’s local ambassador but what’s more surprising was that the shoe is made for road running, not to navigate tropical trails.

Not only did the shoe survive the long run, it helped its wearer clinch the winning spot and emerged fourth overall.

So it is no surprise that this shoe’s reputation preceded its in-store arrival three weeks ago.

There was a wait list and endless enquiries. And there is a good reason for the attention.

A favourite among avid runners, Hoka One One is a running shoe brand known for maximum cushioning but minimum weight. And the Arahi is the long-awaited shoe that provides stability for runners, especially for those with low or no foot arch.

“The foot doesn’t feel constricted and the best thing is you don’t feel like kicking off your sneakers after a long run.”


The Arahi is Hoka One One's first stability shoe.

THE TECHNOLOGY

The Arahi is shockingly lightweight for the support it delivers. I say shocking because as a flat footer, I am used to heavy stability shoes. Until Hoka One One rolled out the Arahi, that has been the accepted norm in the industry.

The lightness is a result of the brand’s J-Frame technology which is designed to further enhance the active foot frame, making the shoe bouncy and responsive.

The shoe delivers support and protection while guiding foot without the use of unforgiving materials that weigh it down.

The company calls this technology Dynamic Stability and it believes that this is the future of stability running shoes. And I wholeheartedly agree.


The shoe literally allows you to bounce while you run. Pix by Christian Adam

THE RUN

The Arahi requires no break-in period. I logged on 16.5km the first time I wore it and the only blistery feel I got was because I wore socks that were too thick. The shoe is so light and bouncy I keep imagining it to be a pogo stick.

If perfection exists in a stability shoe, this would be it. The toe box is wide and comfortable. My toes could wiggle in it. In fact, I had to take it one size down from my Vanquish 2 because the Arahi is so roomy.

Like other Hoka One One shoes, this one uses a single piece of material for its upper, with no stitching, allowing natural movement of the foot. The foot doesn’t feel constricted and the best thing is you don’t feel like kicking off your sneakers after a long run.

I anticipate that this will be the new favourite of many flat footers, although I must say the Vanquish 2 (which isn’t a stability shoe but is sturdy all the same) provides more weight which will come in handy when your legs start getting tired.

The shoe is expensive, but Arahi is not alone. The Adidas Boost is also priced over RM700 and Asics Gel-Kayano is RM649.

I think in a few years’ time, a pair of stability shoe could set a runner back RM1,000.

At 221g with thick soles to help cushion your runs, I believe Hoka One One has changed the stability shoe game. Now let’s see what other brands will come up with.

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