Lightweight shoes with excellent cushioning
The Arahi is a striking shoe with an upper made of thin strips of synthetic material and an over-sized thick sole, the latter typical of Hoka One One footwear. It’s designed for road running but has a tread that gives good grip off-road and is deep as on some trail shoes. I’d say it makes an excellent hillwalking shoe, especially on hard paths and rocky terrain. The sole gives really good cushioning, something that will be appreciated by anyone who suffers from sore feet. It does mean there’s less contact with the ground than with thinner soles and there is a slight give when the shoe is weighted. I wouldn’t choose the Arahi for scrambling because of this. The shoe only flexes at the toe rather than the forefoot but as the sole is quite curved I didn’t notice this when walking. The sole is stiff laterally too, which somewhat offsets the slightly spongey feel when on rough terrain.
The uppers are a bit more wind-resistant than mesh ones though still quite breathable. There’s a hard heel counter but toe protection is minimal. The tongue is only sewn in at the base and is held in place by the laces. The latter are flat and stay tied well.
Fit is on the narrow side, especially at the midfoot, and the Arahi are too tight for me to go far in them. However there is an Arahi Wide model that should fit me better.