Arahi and Gaviota, both these Hoka’s flagships have now become the centerpiece of discussion.
The Hoka Arahi and Gaviota are both stability shoes, but the Gaviota is considered to have higher cushioning than the Arahi. I recommend the Gaviota for those who prefer a softer shoe, while my teammates prefer the Arahi for its firmness.
Last September, I bought Hoka Gaviota 4, hearing about its thickest sole, and learned about the flagship. And I’ve been using Hoka Arahi 6 for the last couple of years. So, here we will compare Hoka Arahi Vs Gaviota, especially their latest models, and answer all the questions runners were asking.
Hoka Arahi 6 Vs Gaviota 4
If you’ve been confused about whether to buy the Gaviota 4 or the established Arahi 6, I’ll drift your confusion away.
The most precious thing that I see in Arahi 6 is its high-abrasion lightweight rubber in the outsole. It also has a midsole called EVA foam which is extremely lightweight and bouncy even after many years of use.
They also did the craftwork nicely by putting the sole strategically in the forefoot and heel portion. This also increases my height and provides me confidence while running.
I was also surprised by Hoka’s in-built J-frame with a blown rubber of the same color. This enhances the shoe’s stability and is adequate in the wet or dry season.
Overall my experience with this shoe is awesome as it provides firm and bouncy rides with its balanced foam.
Gaviota 4 has different colored soles with Durabrasion rubber. Honestly, I didn’t find much difference with abrasion rubber, but it seems more durable. And guess what? Gaviota 4 has the biggest sole of all the shoes.
This outsole is also flexible despite its immense size. As expected, an EVA foam in the midsole has a more plush vibe. The bounce is the thing that I like most about the sole.
There’s also a sign of firmness in the sole that provides a comfortable ride. Even though the sole unit is bigger, the shoe has an appropriate weight of slightly more than 11 ounces.
The additional feature I get from this shoe is the heel pull tab allowing me easier slipping while running.
I also like Arahi 6’s upper unit, as it comes in an arrow-shaped panel, which I feel is very smart to look at. It also has improved breathability from its previous version.
The engineered mesh they use in the upper part is pretty lightweight and has a smooth appearance.
Arahi 6’s toe box is also true to size and has a gusseted padded tongue with lots of softness. From the manufacturer, I learned that the tongue is slightly thicker than the previous version, making it softer.
Altogether, I feel the more plush feeling in the upper unit of Arahi 6. Although you may find little stiffness in the forefoot after a few days of use, the upper unit will loosen to your forefoot shape.
One of the main reasons why Gaviota 4 competes with Hoka’s greatest flagship Arahi is its redesigned feature in the upper unit. It has a breathable engineered mesh with a more supportive feel.
Last year, I was in Qatar to see the football World Cup and took a pair of these shoes. In the steamy middle east summer, I wore this Gaviota 4 and faced no problem breathing my feet through its mesh. This proves how excellent breathability its upper unit consists of.
Gaviota 4 also has an H-frame in the upper unit, allowing me to adjust my feet nicely. It blends appropriately with my forefoot and gets better day by day.
These frames are supposed to be placed outside the upper. But in this shoe, it is placed under the engineered mesh, making it a more appropriate fit.
The EVA foam of Arahi 6 provides firmer cushioning. It has ample protection underfoot because of its large stack height.
The flexibility and softness in the cushioning also emerge excellent transition and let me run faster at ease.
The stack of cushions underfoot is the thing I like about Gaviota 4. It’s soft and hight stable simultaneously. The meta-rocker shape also makes this an efficient shoe and smoothens the heel-to-toe transition.
With more padding and plushness to the heel collar, I find every step of mine softened than the Arahi 6.
From my experience, Arahi 6 has moderate stability. Though you may find it unorthodox due to its large stack height but it’s lightweight, as you can expect. The J-frame has dealt with overpronating and offers gentle guidance while running or walking.
The H-frame greatly impressed me in Gaviota 4 as it delicately adjusts the lacing system. I found it so fit the first time I wore it. Even the upper part has a medium cushioning layer, making this shoe stable all around.
And my guess became right when I heard this shoe is famous for its stability. Mostly its thickest tongue, heel collar, and redesigned upper are the reasons behind it.
Hoka Arahi 6 has a perfect drop size of 5 mm. It has 30-35 mm of stack height which is comfortable for me.
It surprised me once I got Gaviota 4 with the biggest stack height on the market. The shoe is the tallest I have ever worn, with 35 mm in the forefoot and 40 mm in the heel.
Regarding performance, Arahi 6 is responsive yet stiff sometimes. The J-frame engages whenever required, yet I’ve some fit issues in the arch. But it’s not obvious that you’ll face this issue too. Except for this, it’s quite an appropriate shoe for thousands of miles at various paces.
Gaviota 4, on the other hand, performs nicely with its supportiveness, responsiveness, and cushioning. Its height allows me to cover a few extra kilos with my intermediate steps and provides great comfort in the long run. I take this shoe for some intense performance on the ramp.
If you want something stable and swift, Hoka Arahi 6 is perfect. For overpronators like me, this is an adequate running partner. With its updated features, it can be your perfect road partner too.
Looking at the performance, Gaviota will always be on top of Arahi 6. But considering its weight and height, I wouldn’t suggest it to perfectionists. But I’ll always love its supportive nature and responsive vibe.