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Review: Hoka One One Arkali

The hiking and trail running shoe so comfy you'll forget you're wearing them.

By: Aaron Rickel Jones + Save to a List

If you take a pair of Air Jordans and leave them in the backcountry, they'll emerge a few weeks later as the Hoka One One Arkali's. These lightweight and tough hiking shoes look like basketball kicks gone rugged. I took the Arkali's for a few trail runs through Griffith Park and a backpacking trip in the Eastern Sierra to see what they were capable of.

Turns out, they're capable of a lot.

To be honest I was skeptical of the Arkali's when I first opened the box. A flashy Frankenstein mashup of a trail runner and a basketball shoe wasn't the first thing I imagined for mountain-worthy footwear. I hadn't seen velcro on a hiking boot in... well, ever.

A few miles onto the trail my reservations disappeared. These shoes are awesome.

In my opinion they look even better with a little grime and mud on them.

The Hoka One One Arkali's are incredibly lightweight for a shoe marketed toward hikers and backpackers. Clocking in at 15.24 oz, walking long distances in these shoes feels like floating. Even after tromping around for miles at 10,000 ft, my legs felt agile and responsive.

The Arkali's manage to feel both nimble and flexible while also rugged and supportive. I've yet to get a blister or even a hot spot while wearing these shoes. Even carrying a 30 lb pack, the shoes never felt squishy or unsupportive. The Vibram soles and 5mm multidirectional lugs provided excellent traction on the slick Sierra granite. I love that they're not waterproof—they managed to dry out quickly after squishing through mud and splashing through a stream.

I was unsure how I'd feel about the velcro ankle and heel straps, but they quickly became my favorite features of the shoe. The stretchy wrap-around ankle strap provides just the right amount of resistance and cushion to inspire confidence in uneven terrain.

Oh, and it turns out the velcro is awesome. Being able to do ankle support adjustments on the fly was something I didn't know I needed in a hiking shoe, and now I don't want to go without it.

If you're okay strapping on a shoe that looks like it's from the year 3000, I'm sure you'll be impressed with where the Hoka One One Arkali's will take you. I liked mine so much that I decided to backpack the 93 mile Wonderland Trail in them next month.

Official product photo taken from Hoka One One's website.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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