Since I have spent most of my life hiking — from neighborhood trails up to the summit of Mt. Everest (twice!) — I value superb, durable, versatile hiking shoes. As an aging athlete who is a few months out of a pelvis reconstruction surgery with artificial hip joints, I already depend on my Hoka One One shoes to keep each one of my foot strikes cushioned, so it was such a joyous blast to try the new Hoka One One Arkali hiking shoe.
I hiked on a wide variety of surfaces including snowpack and wet creek beds with the Arkali. The traction is excellent on dirt and also on smoother surfaces, reminding me of my climbing shoe grip on technical terrain and scrambling surfaces. The lug patterning in the Vibram sole is very thoughtful for maximum traction.
The Arkali fits true-to-size with good arch support, and has an above ankle cuff, good for keeping out scree and sand, which I found comfortable and protective. It can be adjusted easily in the front and back. The upper cuff also adds stability, especially while side-hilling and down-hilling.
It’s very easy to have articulation in the forefoot with the Arkali, which makes it an excellent shoe for technical surfaces. It is crafted with a very durable rubber/material on the front of the foot and on toe of shoe, which again reminds me of my climbing shoes. The shoes look sharp, with nice thick laces and a colorful design!
Another feature of the velcro cuff closure in the front is that it keeps laces tucked away. Hoka One One is the gold standard for lightweight athletic shoes with specific cushioning, and the durability of this company’s shoes is notable. The Arkali fit is good — I felt no hot or tight spots with them and I wore them for over eight hours. I appreciate the toe-box roominess, and as with their Tor Summit hiking shoe which I work in year-round: The weight is light and cushioning is right!
Photos by Ellen Miller.