Hoka Clifton vs Arahi – Two Flagship Shoes For Different Runners


In today’s article, we’re going to be comparing and reviewing the Hoka Clifton vs Arahi.

For the purpose of this comparison, we’re going to be comparing the Hoka Clifton 7 vs Arahi 5.

The Clifton and Arahi have the same oversized Hoka midsole but they serve different runners.

First, we’re going to talk about who these shoes are for, the specs, the upper, the midsole, and the outsole.

Sounds good? Let’s dive right into it…


Hoka Clifton vs Arahi


Hoka Clifton

Hoka was making running shoes like the Bondi before the Clifton even came out. But when the Clifton hit the market, it really changed the game.

The Clifton brought in this whole new category of running shoes that were lightweight but also max cushioned.

Then, every other major running brand followed suit and tried to kind of mimic what Hoka was doing with the Clifton.

But I’ll be honest, I don’t think anybody does max cushion better than Hoka and I don’t think that there’s any max cushion shoe that’s really truly better than Hoka’s.


Hoka Arahi

It’s pretty much tried and true that stability shoes weigh more than neutral shoes. Companies put some extra components into the midsole, outsole, and even the upper to provide the foot with the stability needed.

So the fact that the Arahi is coming in under 10oz is awesome actually.

The Arahi is a classic daily trainer and it’s a little bit heavy for a tempo day. If you need that hint of support for your flat feet or stability for your overpronation issues, the Arahi is spot on.


Who Are The Clifton and Arahi for?

Hoka Clifton

The Clifton 7 is certainly designed as a neutral cushioned trainer with lots of midsole cushioning underfoot.

It’s meant for long road efforts with a little bit of responsiveness to allow you to keep going and pick up the pace on the days that you need to have a little kick to your step.

It’s going to work well for those of you looking for a neutral cushioned road running shoe whether for training and racing but primarily in the training realm.

But if you want to pick up the pace a little bit, this new semi-responsive midsole that’s really balanced is going to work well for those speed days.

Again, the Clifton 7 definitely feels a lot softer than before. It is a very soft protective shoe, which for me falls best into my easy-day category of shoes.


A Bit Stable

One great thing about the Clifton 7 is that I feel like it’s pretty stable for being a neutral shoe.

So if you’re looking for a little bit of stability but you don’t really want to go full stability or don’t want to go the stability route at all, the Clifton is a perfect option.

However, If you need a real stability shoe, the Clifton 7 might not be your best bet, but I did find this to be a lot more stable underfoot than a lot of the other shoes that I’ve tried recently.


Hoka Arahi

If you know anything about the Arahi series, you know it’s one of the lightest models in the stability daily training lineup.

This is for moderate to mild overpronation. So, if you overpronate, the J-Frame technology on the midsole and outsole is creating just a little bit of stability which you’re going to feel compared to the neutral Hoka Clifton.

With the Arahi, Hoka wanted to design a stability shoe but they wanted to do it in such a way that the end result can help redefine what a stability category means to runners.

The problem Hoka wanted to solve was to create an inherently stable shoe that’s not heavy and not stiff.

Stability shoes used to have a big old plastic post stuck into the midsole to help with overpronation or supination.

So, Hoka wanted to create an inherently stable shoe that’s not heavy and not stiff. The J-Frame is that simple solution.

J-Frame is what’s going to create that stable ride and that high level of inherent stability.

The result is a shoe that’s incredibly stable while also being lightweight and incredibly efficient and comfortable.

For somebody who’s looking for a daily trainer that’s not going to have intrusive stability, then I think that the Arahi 5 is a really nice option, especially if you like a softer feeling underfoot.

The Arahi is not for people that overpronate excessively, but runners with mild overpronation are going to appreciate the shoe’s gentle touch of stability through the midsole.

Now let me give you some of the stats…




The Clifton 7 is 8.7oz for men and 7oz for women.

The men’s version is 29mm stack height in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot for a 5mm heel-to-toe drop.

The women’s is 27mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot for a similar 5mm heel-to-toe drop.



The Arahi is 9.5oz for men and 8oz for women, but it has lost .05oz from the Hoka Arahi 4.

The men’s version is 29mm stack height in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot for a 5mm heel-to-toe drop.

The women’s is 27mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot for a similar 5mm heel-to-toe drop.

As you can see from the stats…

  • The Clifton 7 is about an ounce lighter than the Arahi. (Arahi has a heavier stability element called J-Frame)
  • They both have the same stack height for men and women.
  • They both have the same 5mm heel-to-toe drop.
  • Both shoes are true to size.

Make sure you check this running shoe heel-to-toe drop comparison chart.


Hoka Clifton


The upper of the Clifton 7 is a fairly seamless breathable engineered mesh that’s also very comfortable.

I was feeling air passing through the material on this upper regardless of what sock I was wearing.

It’s not the most breathable shoe that I’ve ever worn though, but being and feeling moderately thick, it was actually breathable.

We don’t see a ton of overlays and we just have somewhat of a toe cap. The toe cap design kind of reminds me of the Hoka Clifton 5 a little bit.

Another thing that I really liked about this material was that it’s soft and it feels extremely comfortable on the top of your foot. It just kind of hugs you there.


More Room

Something that I did notice was that the Hoka One One Clifton 7 has a little bit of volume in that toe box.

If I wear regular socks, it’s fine and it’s workable. If I cinch down the laces pretty tight, then I don’t really have an issue, but if I wear a thicker sock, it feels better and more filled out.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s wide, but I felt I had an average amount of room for my toes to splay a little bit.

My toes had space and they didn’t feel crammed in, but I really appreciated that because, in a couple of other Clifton versions, everyone was basically saying that the toe box was really narrow.

Having a narrow toe box has been an issue before and I’m glad that Hoka has fixed it.

So, even though I had a lot of room, I felt pretty secure because of this lockdown area and also because of the sturdy heel counter.


Laces & Tongue

The laces are flat and thin and they stay tied. Then, you have some reinforced eyestays by the lace holes to give you a nice lockdown fit.

The tongue has just enough padding. I really liked it because when I slipped my foot into the shoe, the padding laid on the top of my foot was very comfortable.

It’s also gusseted so it’s not sliding around everywhere while you’re running. A gusseted tongue gives you a nice good lockdown fit through the midfoot once you cinch down the laces.

Heel Counter


A big plus with this upper is there was no heel slippage.

As we can see, Hoka’s done away with the traditional pull tab and we have this flair outward that you can pull instead of a pull tab.

I think the webbed pull tab was more practical than this flared heel.

The heel counter is very sturdy and holds your ankle in place.

Overall, I do really like this upper. The material is soft and breathable.

The Clifton 7 is designed more efficiently than the previous Clifton’s and I can understand that technology has changed and maybe the Clifton 1’s upper wasn’t dialed in as this is.


Hoka Arahi


The upper of the Hoka Arahi 5 is an engineered mesh as well. It’s very lightweight super-breathable and a pretty comfortable feeling material.

On the midfoot, there are some overlays to provide structure and keep you locked down on that platform.

Like I said, the Arahi is breathable, especially through the toe box. It’s breathable but not jumping off the screen as your toes are going cold in the winter months.

But while this might not be amazing for the super colder climates that some of us are experiencing, I do think that a thicker sock does alleviate that.

Then, when the weather starts to get warmer, the Arahi will do just fine in those climates.

I do have a narrow foot, but as far as the room in the toe box area goes, I felt like I had plenty but it wasn’t too much. I wasn’t swimming in it.

So, I did welcome that little bit of extra room there. And even with the room and the space of this upper, I was still able to get a nice locked-in fit through the midfoot.


The laces are flat, thin, and pretty stretchy. I think they’re basically the same laces that Hoka has in all of their shoes.


There’s a padded tongue, but it’s not crazy plush. It’s a semi-gusseted tongue, which is great for lockdown through the midfoot.

Ankle Collar & Heel Counter


We do have some nice padding on the ankle collar and the heel counter with this little flare as you can see, but I like it because it’s not overly padded. The heel flare is just so comfortable.

It’s not a plush collar, but it is a very comfortable collar wrapping around your ankle.

It’s just enough and it’s perfect for a daily trainer. It’s not going to swallow your foot whole, but it’s going to be comfortable and that’s what we want.

It’s pretty strong through the heel counter, which does create a nice lockdown feel in the heel pocket.

Other than that, I had no issues with hot spots, blisters, or irritation and I think the upper does a nice job of being a stability shoe upper but also not being too bulky and crazy.

The new Saucony Hurricane 23, which is another great stability shoe, has an upper that is very beefed up, very padded, and dense.

The upper on the Arahi 5 is a different take on stability uppers and I think that I would kind of prefer this better for everyday use.


Hoka Clifton


The midsole of the Clifton 7 is made of Hoka’s full-compression EVA delivering you a nice soft Hoka signature feel.

Every single step just feels like a pillow under your foot. It feels like you’re walking on a bunch of marshmallows.

What I will say is that I don’t feel a ton of response in the Clifton, which I don’t really think I did in many of the other Clifton’s. It’s more of just a soft shoe.

While I don’t think the Clifton 7’s midsole has the same versatility that the Clifton 1’s midsole had, I do think that if we’re just looking at this shoe for what it is and we’re forgetting about the past, this midsole does really well.

Early Stage Meta Rocker


We have an early stage meta rocker as well that helps to roll you forward in your stride and a slightly beveled heel for a smoother transition.

However, I didn’t really feel this rocker geometry too much in the Clifton 7.

I tried to ask myself when I was picking up the pace especially, do you feel that roll forward? Do you feel any kind of help in your stride?

Maybe I felt it ever so slightly because I was really over-analyzing it, but it’s really subtle in this shoe.

For me, it wasn’t a big deal. This would mostly be an easy-day shoe for me and I don’t really need too much help when running on easy days. But it’s just something that I wanted to point out.

Regardless, if you’re looking for plush, you’re going to find it in the Clifton 7. Again, nobody does plush better than Hoka.

Midsole Durability

If you’ve been in a Clifton before, you know it can crease and kind of compress over time and it starts to feel a little firmer than when you first take it out of the box.

On the midfoot area where the exposed EVA is, I am seeing some fraying like I do in all of my Clifton’s, but I think the majority of it is cosmetic.

If anything, I think maybe it’s just gotten a tad bit softer, but I don’t think it’s compressing and dying out too quickly, which I was concerned about because of how soft it is.

Hoka Arahi


The midsole is not a stiff ride but it’s a dense ride.

It has a lot of different technologies that we need to talk about.

The first one being that the foam is a full-length EVA material and it is very soft, plush, and comfortable.

These shoes are perfect for daily training mileage.



Then, of course, we have the stability element, which is the Hoka signature J-Frame.

Basically, what that is is that it’s a firmer piece of EVA that wraps from the medial side of the shoe to the back of the heel, around the heel, to the beginning of the lateral side of the shoe.

That’s what helps to keep your foot from overpronating and rolling inward. You have this bumper to sort of lift you back up onto that platform and correct your stride.

I love when a company can find a way to do stability without putting plastic medial postings and all these different systems into a shoe.

I was skeptical that a Hoka stability shoe would not really feel like a Hoka and it would just be firm and kind of a ride that I’m super into.

But actually, I was wrong about that. It’s pretty soft in that forefoot area into that midfoot. It’s very plush and very comfortable.

I wouldn’t say that it’s as soft as the Clifton 7, but it is definitely still plush and comfortable.

Maybe the Arahi is a little bit softer than a Rincon. It’s somewhere in between the Clifton and the Rincon.

Heel Striking?

One thing that I do want to point out about this midsole with the J-Frame is that while I find the forefoot of the shoe to be pretty soft, I found the heel area of the shoe to be a little too firm and that’s obviously because of the J-Frame.

I’m mostly striking in my midfoot to forefoot so this wasn’t really a problem for me.

But if you are somebody who is a heel striker, I don’t know that you’re going to get all the plushness and the benefit of that EVA midsole.


Hoka Clifton


Hoka has some strategically placed lightweight high-abrasion rubber in the forefoot and in the heel for some extra protection. But we do have some exposed EVA material in the midfoot.

In almost every version of the Clifton, the midfoot has been completely exposed EVA and the reasoning for that is because Hoka believes that the Meta Rocker technology helps to promote a forefoot running stride.

So, they think you don’t really need anything heavy in this area.

I would agree with that. I think even though I can’t really feel that Meta-Rocker technology much, I do find myself more up on the forefoot of the shoe and not really landing in the midfoot too much.

Hoka sees an opportunity to cut down on weight and lose rubber in the midfoot area and I’m all for it.


The rubber on the Clifton 7 is sticky and grips onto pavement pretty well. I did hit some wet patches due to sprinklers and I didn’t have any problems with grip.

So, this outsole has pounded pavement, grass, sand, dirt, wet conditions and I had absolutely no problems with traction at all.

I felt like it gripped on to every surface perfectly fine.

Another great thing about this lightweight high abrasion rubber is I don’t feel like it gets in the way of the ride of the shoe.

Outsole Durability

The rubber in the forefoot and the heels seems to be holding up fine.

Hoka Arahi


Hoka is using their lightweight high-abrasion rubber.

They have some in the forefoot, some along the lateral side of the midfoot, and then some in the heel.

I think this rubber does just fine on your standard pavement, gravel, and grass sort of terrain.

I don’t think you’ll have a problem there, but I don’t think this is going to be the best shoe for icy conditions and other wintry sort of vibes like that.

I don’t think that this is the best rubber for that since there’s not really any real lugs on the shoe, but for your normal weather days, this is going to be just fine.

Wider Platform

Another thing I do want to point out that I like about Hoka’s in general and in the Arahi especially is the wide platform.

With Hoka’s, the more surface area that my shoe can touch on the ground the better, especially in a daily trainer where I’m not trying to pick up the pace so much and just like to get the miles in.

So, I want to cover a lot of surface areas so that I’m stable and so that’s just another nice little element that they added and I always appreciate.

Outsole Durability

The rubber on the Arahi 5 seems perfectly fine and it doesn’t really look like there’s any real wear on it and even the exposed EVA is fine as well.


I think it’s a pretty standard price for the Arahi.

Usually, stability shoes are up there in price, but I like that Hoka kind of kept this in the middle of the road and didn’t go too high.

I’m not sure when you’re going to be reading this Hoka Clifton vs. Arahi comparison, but you can check today’s prices on Amazon:


Hoka Arahi

I do think that the Hoka Arahi 5 just allows you to not think about where you’re stepping and be stable without feeling like it’s forcing your foot.

This is a nice theme that I’ve been seeing in a lot of the newer stability shoes out on the market.

I have to say that the Arahi is definitely up there in terms of the stability shoes that I have experienced and I am digging what Hoka is doing here.

Hoka Clifton

The Hoka Clifton 7 did absolutely get me excited about the Clifton’s again.

I think it’s a nice fairly lightweight package that will protect your foot and give you that nice cushiony pillowy feeling that Hoka’s are supposed to give you.

It gives me hope that Hoka is back on track with this Clifton lineup.

If your legs are feeling banged up and maybe you’ve done a bunch of hard efforts that week and you just want something that’s going to baby your foot and you’re going to feel like you’re walking or running on a pillow, then the Hoka Clifton 7 is exactly the shoe that you should be putting on your foot.

This concludes my thoughts on the Hoka Clifton vs. Arahi comparison.

I hope you’ve learned something new today.

If you’ve ever run in the Hoka Clifton or Arahi, please do tell us your experience in the comments section below.

Stay safe and see you on the next one 🙂

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

2 thoughts on “Hoka Clifton vs Arahi – Two Flagship Shoes For Different Runners”

  1. very helpful! I have two pairs of both with me right now, and can’t decide which I want to keep. I’m just looking for basic every day walking and around the house. though I have plantar fasciitis and severe big toe arthritis…..so walking is painful. 🙁

    • Thanks for the comment Sharon. You’re very lucky to have them both. Try them on and walk in them and see which one works best with your foot mechanics. The Arahi of course has features to help with your Plantar Fasciitis, but try both and see.


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