Released June 2018, the Hoka Torrent is a lightweight, low drop, trail shoe. An extra bonus is that the materials used to create the Torrent are 100% vegan.
According to Hoka, the torrent is a “nimble trail racer that incorporates cushioning and responsiveness.” After 75 miles, here are my thoughts on these shoes.
Look & fit
At first glance, these shoes look like the typical Hoka trail shoe - thick-soled and blocky.
The blue and yellow colorway that I received looked really nice, and overall, it looked like something that could last for a long time. Putting on the shoes at first was a little tricky, since the tongue is quite small, and was hard to get ahold of at times.
On my first few runs in the Torrents, I had a little bit of trouble with the fit. They would sometimes slip around when too big, causing some blistering. When I tried tightening the laces, my feet felt very cramped.
It took a little bit of experimenting with the lace tightness before I was finally able to run in them comfortably, blister-free. On the other hand, the laces were very easy to tie and never came loose.
The upper is made of breathable mesh material with water-resistant capabilities. They were nice and firm and didn’t have too much cushion that may contribute to the overall weight.
The overlays are placed on the bottom portions of the upper, to prevent dust from getting in. These worked well for the most part, but on the dustier trails, dust getting into the shoe was an inevitability.
Hoka uses a ProFly dual midsole material, consisting of softer foam on the heel, and a more responsive, lighter foam near the forefoot.
This technology was designed to allow runners to land softly, while still maintaining good propulsion on the toe-offs.
The midsole worked quite well for me. While descending on some steep downhills, I was able to comfortably land on the heel/midfoot area without much discomfort.
Landing on my midfoot on most flatter portions, and landing on my forefoot for the uphill sections, the Torrents felt light, snappy, and responsive.
I’m not completely sure if it was the arch support or the fit, as mentioned before, but my feet would sometimes blister while wearing the shoe. As someone that usually wears shoes with little to no arch support, the presence of the decent-sized support could’ve been a contributor to the blistering I felt.
After merely looking at the outsole, I could tell that they would work very well out on the trails, and they did not disappoint. The outsole consisted of 2 large columns of rugs, with another thin line near the middle at the front. I felt completely in control during both steep ascents and steep descents, feeling little to no slipping.
At 75 miles, I am seeing a little bit of wear on the outer heel corners of the shoe, but hopefully they will manage to survive through it all.
I am a little disappointed about this, as most outsoles I’ve seen don’t show this amount of wear in a localized spot until at least 100 miles. But then again, I don’t use most of my other shoes to tackle the rugged, steep terrain that this pair has been through.
I’ve taken these shoes out on every trail run I’ve done since receiving them. I look forward to being able to lace these up, because they are just so good at what they’re designed for.
Trail running felt secure and fast. During runs that lasted more than 10 miles, I noticed that my feet would get pretty stiff. The stack height is similar to a normal Hoka shoe, so the limited foot mobility caused by it was no surprise.
Now priced at less than $100 on most websites and shoe stores, the Hoka Torrent is a solid shoe for any runner that enjoys tackling the shorter trail runs at a decently fast pace.
They work well in rocky, sandy, and dirty terrain and are both lightweight and cushioned. Aside from occasional foot slippage and the faster than expected wear in the outsole, the Torrents do spectacularly well at what they’re made for. Especially at this price point, this pair gets my approval.
I have been following Hoka One One’s releases for some time, but for a reason or another, I have never managed to test any of their shoes. I have recently started to train for a multi-terrain 50 miler, and the higher training volume seemed like the perfect excuse to put one of their most popular shoes to the test.
As most shoes from Hoka, the Torrent comes across as fairly bulky and heavy. However, I have learnt not to judge a book by its cover.
The thick-looking outsole is described as ‘responsive’ by the manufacturer. Importantly, the composite outsole displays a good array of aggressive multi-directional lugs, which can be helpful companions on a multi-terrain race.
The Hoka One One Torrent comes in a reasonably wide variety of colourways. The nominal weight is 254 g, which is medium-low for a trail shoe. Heel to toe drop is 5 mm, offering a responsive cushion.
The list price is around £100 as I write this, which falls at the bottom end of Hoka One One’s trail running shoes. However, the next iteration of the Torrent (Torrent 2) is about to be released, so this probably explains the relatively affordable price.
According to the manufacturer, the shoe has been designed to combine cushioning and agility—exciting!
Fresh out of the box, the Torrent will please the eye of most Hoka One One fans, with an attractive interplay of colour patterns and variations. For example, my Moonlit Ocean/Dresden Blue has a dark blue upper, which matches the mudguard colour pattern; lighter blue stripes zing across the upper to match the electric blue outsole.
The external part of the outsole, instead, is painted bright yellow and, together with the ‘HOKA’ logo on the side of the shoe, creates a very appealing colour contrast.
To my surprise, the Torrent feels absolutely incredible from mile one—easily the smoothest break-in ever, for me. I found that fit was true to size and the Torrent felt immediately comfortable and light, offering a cushioned yet responsive ride straight out of the box.
The Torrent has a very pleasant upper (see also ‘first impression’). The mesh material is tightly knit but offers good breathability as well as low weight. The shoe is not waterproof but drains very quickly.
Despite the light material, the upper is reinforced around the toe bumper and all around the mudguard. Here, the mesh is tightly weaved, offering a firmer protective layer along the forefoot and the heel cage.
Importantly, this does not affect comfort or freedom of movement, offering both stability and protection. I really like this feature of the Torrent!
Tightly weaved toe bumper and heel cage
The laces of the Torrent are perfectly sized (i.e. not overlong) and easy enough to undo when the shoe is caked in mud, which is always a bonus. The lacing system and tongue keep the foot nice and comfy, but firmly locked at the same time.
On trails, this is an essential feature, as it provides stability on switchbacks. The toe box is not overly spacious but feels roomy enough to prevent toe jamming.
Laces and tongue
The low collar in a shoe is a feature I frequently moan about. While this, theoretically, can provide freedom of movement and control on the footing, this is the main entry point to much-hated debris on most trails.
I must admit Hoka One One has come up with a surprisingly good compromise. The collar of the Torrent is pretty much spot on and provides a good amount of control.
At the same time, the collar wraps tightly—but not uncomfortably—around the ankle, preventing unwanted debris from making their way into the shoe. Super!
The PROFLY™ midsole is where the magic happens: this offers the right combination of cushioning and responsiveness. The result is that the ride feels very comfortable, but crisp at the same time.
Cushioning is excellent, especially on descents, where landing feels both natural and safe. At toe-off, however, the foamy midsole offers a good amount of energy return, which provides some amount of propulsion.
This blend is achieved by modifying the stiffness of the midsole, which clearly feels softer at the heel (cushioned), but gets firmer towards the forefoot (responsive).
The outsole of the Torrent is just great! An array of multi-directional rubber lugs offers high traction in most conditions. Compact trails, mud, gravel, technical rocky trails, you name it. Throw anything at the Torrent, and it will remain unfazed.
Despite this, lightweight comes at a price for the Torrent. After just 50 miles, I can already see signs of wear and one of the lugs has been completely eaten away by mile 100. At this rate, the lifespan of the outsole is not going to be extremely long.
Aggressive composite outsole
Outsole wear at 50 and 100 miles
While the lug pattern allows the wearer to attack most trails with confidence, I found the shoe does not easily shed mud and becomes heavier in wetter conditions.
Wider spacing of the lugs would probably have solved this issue but would have likely affected traction. So, I think the Torrent design had to compromise slightly on the former.
Shoe retaining mud after a wetter ride
What I liked
The Hoka One One Torrent is a near-perfect long-distance running shoe for multi-terrain trails. It offers a perfect blend of cushioning and agility, providing excellent traction, control, stability, as well as shock absorption on descents whilst maintaining a good level of responsiveness.
What I would have liked
The outsole is just about the only thing falling short. I would have liked to see lugs more spaced out and definitely more resistance to wear.
Having said that, the Hoka One One team has definitely worked hard to design something that offers a great compromise between agility and functionality. I think the result is superb.
I was inclined to try the Torrent after I read some positive reviews about it. So, here’s my review of the shoe:
The design of the Hoka One One Torrent
The upper of the Hoka One One Torrent features a durable engineered mesh which aims to deliver breathability and comfort. The mesh is stretchable which gives the foot a nice wrap, and it has a quick-drying feature, keeping the foot dry and cool.
For added support and foot protection, seamless overlays are added to the shoe. The overlays are light, and since it is seamless, it does not create blister or irritation.
To secure the foot while running, the shoe utilizes a traditional lace-up closure. The laces are flat and stretchable; they stay in place throughout the run.
In the midsole is the dual-density PROFLY technology. It is a lightweight midsole foam designed for responsiveness and flexibility. Durable underfoot protection is also another characteristic of the PROFLY midsole.
For durability and traction, the Hoka One One Torrent makes use of a high-abrasion rubber material. The durable material covers the entire outer sole, and it features multi-directional lugs strategically placed for reliable traction on varied trail surfaces.
Comfort and Breathability
The Torrent is average when it comes to comfort. I have been wearing the shoe with thin socks, and so far, I found it comfortable (but not exceptionally comfortable). I’m just happy that the cushioning is not too firm and that I develop no blister or hot spot.
The upper mesh is not breathable too, making the shoe not ideal for hot weather. It wraps the foot smoothly, but after an hour of wearing the shoe, my feet were sweating a bit. I haven’t experienced this with my other trail shoes.
Performance of the Torrent
I’ve been using the shoes for a couple of months, and I think the Torrent is a well-rounded trail shoe. The shoe does not disappoint when used use on rocky trails and muddy surfaces. The lugs are consistent and aggressive.
The cushioning of the Hoka One One Torrent is responsive. I love the extra cushioning in the heel and the firmer feel in the forefoot area; this is exactly what I am looking for in a trail shoe.
The major problem I experienced with the Hoka One One Torrent is the fit. It is true to size, but I find the fit too tight for my liking. The heel is stiffer, and it is narrower than expected.
It gave a slight pressure while running. The forefoot is also narrow but not too tight to cause discomfort. The toe box gives no room for toe splay. As a trail runner, I prefer a roomy toe box.
Just like the other Hoka One One models, the Torrent is a durable trail shoe. The outsole features a high-abrasion rubber material. Impressively, after running 100 miles, the outsole looks the same - no sign of wear and tear. The upper mesh material is also mighty durable.
- Aggressive lugs
- Durable design
- Responsive cushioning
- Lighter compared to other trail running shoes
- Tight heel fit
- Not breathable
- Narrow toe box
Performance-wise, the Hoka One One Torrent is truly a game changer. However, the overall fit needs improvement. It is durable, responsive, and the traction is remarkable.
After primarily being a road runner for years, I finally gave in to the allure of hitting the trails. It only took a few runs for me to realize why they make shoes specifically designed for rougher terrains.
Through research and recommendations from trail runners, I settled on the Hoka One One Torrent as my first pair.
Usage & durability
The Torrent can handle moderate to slightly technical terrain with ease. Due to the lack of a rock plate, extremely rocky surfaces may not be ideal for the Torrent.
Additionally, due to the lugs on the bottom of the shoe, they would not hold up well on pavement.
The trails that I primarily run on tend to hold water for a while after it rains and can get pretty muddy. Fortunately, the few times I’ve run into this issue, the Torrents have had no problems holding up.
They may require some cleaning afterwards, but they tear right through mud and puddles. While they aren’t waterproof, they do tend to dry out quickly.
I did not test them in the rain, but puddles and streams were no issue.
Due to the combination of being lightweight, yet sturdy, the Torrent opens itself up to a variety of workouts. They feel great during long runs or at slower paces.
At the same time, they are light enough to really open it up and get in some speedwork. The Torrent is definitely a race-worthy shoe.
The ProFly midsole of the Torrent provides a softer, more cushioned feel in the heel and a firmer feel towards the front.
This makes for a good combination of cushion and responsiveness with a very efficient transition.
It gives the ability to feel the trails, almost like a minimalist shoe, but with enough cushion to where rocks, sticks, or any other obstacles won’t hurt your feet.
Since there isn’t a rock plate, the added cushion is a big plus.
The Torrents have a mesh upper with TPU overlays for added support and trail debris protection.
This is an ideal combination for a trail shoe as it allows for breathability while at the same time providing the needed support to hold your foot in place while navigating technical terrain.
While not waterproof, the upper is quick-drying.
The Hoka Torrent outsole is made of a high traction rubber and has multidirectional lugs.
The outsole is a highlight of the shoe and capable of providing traction and a grippy ride across almost any terrain or trail conditions—muddy, rocky, technical trails, hard-packed, and loose trails.
Fit & comfort
The Torrent runs true to size and is a neutral shoe. While typically the Hoka brand is synonymous with cushion, I found the Torrent to be surprisingly firm, however not uncomfortably so.
This was a positive for me in a trail shoe as it allowed for better grip and balance over rougher terrain.
At $120, the Torrent is a great value. After putting significant mileage on my pair over rough terrain and muddy conditions, they are still going strong with little wear and tear.
They appear to be very well made and capable of lasting many miles.
The Hoka Torrent is a solid shoe. Specifically for me, it was a great transition shoe to get into trail running.
I tend to favor a lightweight shoe, which I wasn’t sure would hold up on technical terrain. The Torrent met this and more, going well beyond my expectations.
+ Outsole provides excellent grip for technical terrain
+ Lightweight and fast
+ Sufficiently supportive
● While I do not have any issues and don’t anticipate most will, the lack of a rock plate could be an issue on extremely rocky terrain. Also, the lugs on the outsole are not ideal for those looking for a trail/road hybrid.
The Torrent arrived! Some months ago, I was able to get this pair of shoes from Hoka One One.
Just out of the box, the first thing that I noticed: it was L I G H T! It's 9 OZ or nearly ½ pound a PAIR! It's a W O W for a trail shoe!
- Brand: Hoka One One
- Model: Torrent
- Weight: 9 oz = 0.56 pound (size 9)
- Drop = 5 mm
First things first: weight. While taking this pair out of the box, you'll wonder why or how a pair of trail shoes are so light. Fears of uncomfortable or potential blisters crossed my mind, so we took it right the way to a quick trail run.
After an initial inspection, we saw the mesh at the top seems to be breathable—thus, no hot feet, no hot spots!
The outsole is extremely aggressive but creates an easy-going and very fast pacing feelings. It is very grippy on wet terrain, even if it is not a Vibram compound.
The Torrent uses the ProFly midsole as in other models for cushioned landing and propulsion (sounds like rocket science, isn’t?).
The shoe is covered with some layers of high abrasion rubber at the front and mid-front to protect the soft, mesh upper. It has a very decent construction and prevents unpredictive foot sliding on technical trails.
First runs with the Torrent were in a mix of gravel, muddy single track, and some pavement. I did some fast pacing and quick turns, steep uphills, and very steep downhills in wet soil tracks.
Even after first 30k, we raced on another 30k trail race. The results were impressive—no issues with traction, blisters, loose laces (we use double knot). We crossed several rivers, and the shoes drained water very fast and efficiently.
As for the durability of the shoes, there is still no problem after 200kms. There are only little lines of “cracks” on the midsole (no issues yet). Amazingly, the lugs from the outsole are still in very good shape given that this is not Vibram compound.
When it comes to the heel box, there was no heel sliding. It feels secure and does not cause discomfort nor blisters. Even if it has a simple construction, it has a smart heel box design.
The rubber band crossing up to down at the back of the shoes seem to provide stability to the upper mesh making you confident to take on those unpredictable trails.
The tongue is always good in all Hoka shoes that I tested and still remains nice in the Torrent, as well.
But, what about the laces? As I said before, we started to use a double knot on this pair since day 0. Some people complained about loose laces, and yes, we experienced it, too!
At the first 5k, we stopped three times to re-lace using a one-knot tie. On the second run, we started with a double knot and the problem was solved! So, lesson learned: use double knots on Torrent.
Even with the double knot, there was no extra pressure on the upper foot nor hot spots—nothing that could make us stop and take off the shoes from our feet.
The Torrent is a pair of fun shoes if you like light and fast pairs. They say that this is intended for mid-length distance runs. But, I will say that it is partially true.
I have friends that raced UTMB 100 miles on a pair of Torrent. Those are not so chunky like Mafate’s or SpeedGoat 3’s, but they are smart cushioned shoes for long distances, too!
There were no issues running on hard or rocky terrains. Don’t get tricked by the looks of the outsole—they grip very well.
From the weekend-warrior hiker or runner to the Ultra crazy distance runner, this pair will prove to be a good choice for multi-terrain use. And, again as a trend in all Hoka shoes, there are a lot of color choices. So, get the fun of color in trail shoes!
- Soft upper mesh
- Great outsole
- Wide range of colors
- Nice construction
- Loose laces required a double knot
- Cracks on midsole after some miles
- No Vibram compound
The Hoka One One Torrent was my first pair of Hoka shoes. Before these, I had been running in only Altra for road and trail for roughly two years.
Even though Hoka is a very popular shoe and gets many great reviews, I have always found them pretty ugly and could not convert. I had also grown to love the toe box of Altras and was reluctant to give them up.
So, after a lot of research, I decided that my first step into the world of Hoka would be with the Torrent. With that said, I have put over 400 miles on them.
I have broken down the shoe into what I feel are ten important components, giving each a score out of 10.
I pulled the trigger on the Torrent because I liked the look of them. They don’t look overly clunky, and the stack height isn’t excessive.
However, there is a thicker, rubbery type band along the outside just above the sole that I am not a fan of. I feel it takes away from the breathability (more on that later) of the shoe.
I prefer a shoe with a nice balance of feel for the ground and cushion. These were right there for me. I never felt too disconnected from the terrain, and after a 50-mile race, my feet were in great shape.
If you are looking for a super plush shoe that is going to absorb everything, then these are not the shoe for you.
After primarily running in Altras for a couple of years, I was skeptical about trying something new. I was pleasantly surprised as the toe box allowed for some toe splay while keeping my foot secure.
I had read a review that stated the Torrent is "the least Hoka of the Hokas." Yet, I found the fit in the toe to be almost perfect.
As I mentioned earlier, I have put over 400 miles on these with almost no sign of wear on the shoe or sole. The upper has no signs of a blowout, stitching coming undone, or separating glue.
*Note to the reader; I currently reside in central Florida, and the majority of my trails are sandy and not very rugged.
There are relatively aggressive lugs on the Torrent. But, honestly, these are a bit overkill for the terrain I generally run on.
Regardless, they were great for a 50-mile race in northern Tennessee that was technical and wet. They also gripped well over wet rocks and cut through mud nicely.
For how rugged these shoes are, they are amazingly light! They’re fast and perform quite well. During speedy efforts, I didn’t feel weighed down.
But, if your feet get wet, they will feel much heavier and will likely remain that way for the remainder of your run.
This is where the shoes are lacking. Running during the humid Florida summer, my feet got sweaty and were soaked. During creek crossings and rain showers, they filled up and stayed very wet.
Even though much of the water gets pushed out with each stride, the wet feeling never seemed to go away, and they just feel soggy.
The picture below shows the standing water after 2 minutes—about an inch with no sign of draining.
The stack height on the Torrent is great that I don't feel too far removed from the trail or unstable in any way.
While on trails that involved a lot of side to side and lateral movement, I never felt as though I’d roll an ankle. They’re stable in turns and over rugged terrain.
The shoe fits my foot relatively well. The lacing system allowed me to get a decent fit.
I would have liked to have had a slightly tighter fit in the forefoot area. When synching down on the lower laces, the material bunched up a bit. My foot was not sliding around inside or anything, but the fit wasn't ideal.
My heel was very secure in the Torrent. The lacing system allowed be to get a great fit without being too tight, and I never felt my heel sliding out from the shoe.
I was able to run in some muddy conditions and not once did I feel the shoe pull from my heel.
I'm definitely a very lucky trail runner cause after only a few kilometers of transfer on a rough road, I can start my adventures immersed in the wildest nature by gentle paths among the olive trees up to rough passages on rocks passing through all types of funds, from the grass, the compact hard to the rough and unstable.
I, therefore, need shoes that allow me to leave directly from my home and run on challenging ground: a well structured so-called door to trail shoes. I chose the torrent that seems to have these features.
Let's see in detail if I have met these needs.
First, impact with the colors ranging from dark tones to the most bright ones correctly juxtaposed, the shoe has pleasing proportions.
It has strong, but not exaggerated lines and is beautiful to look from the lowest to the tallest and most burly runners’ feet. There is no doubt, the Hoka shoes are becoming cooler and cooler, and the torrent confirms this evolution.
The Hoka Torrent weighs 260 grams and has a 5mm heel-to-toe differential - the lightest trail running shoe in the Hoka One One production. It deals with the first version.
It's a new shoe. Even if it is an early version, it's quite perfect at first sight. One word about the well-done shoebox, inside there two hard paper shapes that allow you to preserve the shoes after each runs. I like it so much!
Also, I would have preferred longer strings to allow the double knot and fix.
Open mesh for the upper, allowing this shoe to stay cool and drain incredibly well. The upper is made in a single piece of mesh, light and breathable, but at the same time resistant, a little rough to the touch, and not lined internally, except in the part of the heel counter.
The great breathability penalizes the compact of the mesh and when running in the tall grass. When it happens, you have to eliminate the thorns that have stopped in.
The pledge to pay for this extraordinary breathability is that they are not waterproof at all. The water enters very easily, but on the other hand, the water also comes out very quickly.
The rubber layer that encircles the upper just above the midsole gives more protection from rocks and prevent injuries from rolling stones, and it improves durability by making the upper mesh stronger.
Once worn, the torrent is a real cloud transmits a sensation of lightness and unexpected freedom; it seems lighter than it is. The tongue is not provided with great padding, and if you tighten the quest laces, they press on the instep.
I really appreciated the reinforcement that keeps the tongue in position and prevents it from moving to the right or left, leaving the instep exposed. Even the collar is not very padded, just enough to dress comfortably around the ankle.
This is to ensure that the compact heel counter, stiffened by an internal shell, ensures a stable grip on the foot, which never betrays, even in the most difficult passages.
The upper is very comfortable, thin but durable and allows very good breathability, keeping the foot cool at all times.
They are shoes that protect quite well from the ground due to a fairly high profile. We are talking about a height of 23 mm on the heel and 18 mm in the forefoot, therefore leaving a fairly low drop of 5 mm, as usual in the Hoka, the stuffing of the Torrent are really thin but offer an excellent comfort of the whole.
Overall, these are shoes designed rather for short distances, so they have not exaggerated in the padding, favoring weight and lightness.
The Hoka One One Torrent has a low profile and a 5mm heel-toe drop, not a minimalist shoe no transition requested.
The midsole is well cushioned in the heel support phase and very reactive, especially in the front, favoring speed above all on a well-leveled bottom, compact or rough and guaranteeing propulsion and protection - thanks to the Profly double density technology.
The rear area feels softer than the front when touched. The torrent has no rock plate. This is the worst fact I noted even if it performed really well on technical, rocky trails, and no bone bruising or anything poking through the midsole.
No support and control system, but Profly midsole makes these shoes stable enough when we run in hard and compact terrain. Instead, when we run in soils with so many stones, a little more unstable, the midsole does not adapt very well to the ground, producing a certain instability in the stride.
The sole has 5mm deep gussets, well-spaced, very flexible but not fragile. They do not make their presence felt by running on paved roads, but they do their duty in the off-road, efficiently ensuring an uphill power boost or a braked downhill support.
Aggressive design squares peg to the heel with a slanted, angular tread to the forefoot to help you dig into gravel without slipping. Also excellent in the medial support phase on obstacles, the grip in the wet is really impressive.
The torrent clings well to the heavy ground and doesn't slide on wet rocks. A little less effective on the mud that they collect abundantly and drain with difficulty.
The durability of the sole is excellent with no failure or breakage of the blocks even after passing over sharp rocks. The torrent outsole runs great on smooth, technical trails as well as on dirt roads. This is the outsole I like for any shoe.
The torrent fits wider than usual Hoka shoes not less than half size. It felt really good because there are kind of nerves inside the mesh, well anchored to the lateral welded seams that hold the foot very well.
The Hoka One One Torrent gives excellent sensations of fit, with a wide forefoot area, the right to contain the toes compactly but without subjecting them to pressure. From this point of view, it is the Hoka model with the widest toe-box and foot space I've worn, designed for runners who need a larger toe box.
Unfortunately, this comfort has a price in terms of stability. In fact, in fast and bumpy descents, it happens to have the feeling of reduced stability transmitting uncertainty and fear.
To sum it up, the Hoka One One Torrent is certainly an excellent choice for every running - fast or slow pace.
I bought it for shorter distance, but I also use it for a medium even if not yet for long runs. I enjoy difficult trails in rainy weather conditions, in wet and muddy paths. This is also suitable for all types of runners (even heavy ones) always offering good traction.
The Hoka Torrent was released earlier in 2018 as a replacement to the popular and well-received Hoka Speed Instinct series. The Torrent simplified the upper design, improved the midsole, added more aggressive traction, and surprisingly, lowered the price by 10 dollars
The Torrent fits into Hoka’s lineup as a lightweight and protective distance racing shoe, doubling as an excellent trail shoe for faster runs.
The Hoka Torrent was the primary trail shoe in my rotation this fall, seeing use in runs ranging from easy distance to mile repeats on grass. The Torrent improved upon the Hoka Speed Instinct 2 (my previous primary trail shoe) in nearly every category, making it one of my favorite shoes of 2018.
The Torrent keeps the winning formula of the previous Speed Instinct and Speed Instinct 2, it improves upon those shoes in a few key components. The simplified upper and significantly improved outsole fix the two complaints about the Speed Instinct series - durability and traction.
While improving on these two areas, the Hoka Torrent manages to lose half an ounce, dropping from 9.5 oz to 9 ounces in a US men's size 9.
Also, the Speed Instinct utilized a stack height of 22mm and 25mm in the front and rear, respectively. The Torrent lowers it to 19mm and 24mm, for a more aggressive, race-ready ride.
Therefore, the Hoka Torrent is a neutral shoe, meaning those who over or under pronate should consider another shoe.
Possibly the most notable upgrade from the Speed Instinct 2 to the Torrent is the improved upper design.
The Hoka Torrent utilizes a breathable engineered mesh upper, with dynamic TPU overlays, running diagonally across the midfoot, as well as TPU overlays surrounding the toe for enhanced protection and durability.
The entire upper is relatively stiff and provides an aggressive locked down fit while remaining comfortable for hours of activity. When traversing technical terrain, the shoe remained stable, and I experienced no slippage in the midfoot or toebox.
I did find the heel to be a touch roomy for me as I have a very slim heel and ankle. But this issue was quickly rectified by using the second set of lace eyelets.
While running in a heat spell in early September, the shoe breathed exceptionally well. I did not experience any issues with my feet overheating.
Due to the simplified overlays and more durable mesh, the Torrent’s upper is noticeably more durable than the Hoka Speed Instinct 2.
The Hoka torrent uses Hoka’s PROFLY midsole, which is made up of EVA foam. While the Torrent does not introduce any radical midsole technology, it provides an excellent balance of cushioning and responsiveness needed in a distance racing shoe.
The Torrent was comfortable enough to log easy miles in, yet still had the necessary speed and responsiveness for use in interval workouts or racing.
Like the rest of Hoka’s lineup, the Torrent employs Hoka’s Meta-Rocker geometry, making it one of the best transitioning trail shoes I’ve run in.
As a forefoot striker, I found this shoe glided through every step, with the stiffness of the midsole providing a satisfying snappiness, especially at speed. When racing in this shoe, it easily kept up with an aggressive turnover and its responsiveness aided in my finishing kick.
Personally, I gravitate towards stiffer shoes as I enjoy the added snap, but the Torrent might not be right for people who prefer a flexible and natural feeling shoe.
While I do like the responsiveness and found it to be comfortable, I occasionally wished the Torrent had a little more cushioning, or a slightly softer top layer, as it is noticeably firmer than many other Hokas.
However, The Hoka Speedgoat 2 and 3 retain numerous characteristics of the Torrent, but with an additional 5mm of stack height. While the torrent was a little firm for easy runs, it is currently my favorite trail shoe for racing and workouts, while remaining comfortable for miles on end.
The primary complaint I had with the Hoka Speed Instinct 2 was the outsole as performance in wet and loose conditions was underwhelming. The outsole of the Torrent is completely redesigned and performs significantly better in nearly all conditions.
While the Speed Instinct used small lugs without much purchase, the Torrent uses large, angular, and aggressive lugs, which dig into nearly any surface.The outsole on the Torrent performed well in nearly every condition I tested it in, excelling in hard-packed dirt trails, mud, wet grass, and rocky technical trails.
I found the outsole of the Speed Instinct held it back from being a do it all trail racing shoe, whereas the outsole of the Torrent performs well in a variety of difficult conditions.
While the Torrent’s trail performance significantly improves upon the Speed Instinct, it is best to keep it as a trail shoe, and not take it on the road. While running in the Speed Instinct, I found I could run on dirt roads comfortably.
Whereas the Torrent feels a little too stiff and aggressive for use on roads. I do not see this being an issue, as the Torrent was designed specifically as a trail shoe, and road performance is not important for this shoe.
Overall, the Hoka Torrent is an excellent aggressive trail shoe and improves upon the already good Hoka Speed Instinct 2 in nearly every way.
Improvements, such as a simplified upper and significantly more aggressive outsole pattern, make this one of my favorite trail shoes of 2018. After logging hundreds of miles in the Speed Instinct 2, I was generally quite impressed but did have a few criticisms, particularly with the outsole.
The Torrent fixes just about all of the issues I had with the Speed Instinct 2, while also making the shoe lighter and less expensive. While many brands add additional features and raise the price, it is refreshing to see Hoka improve a shoe and lower the price.
Although I have not run as many miles in the Torrent as I did in the Speed Instinct 2, the durability appears to be excellent, and the shoes are only showing minimal signs of wear.
The Torrent proved to be a highly versatile shoe, useful for speed workouts all the way up to longer easy runs and distance racing. I would highly recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a light and fast trail shoe with enough cushion to stay comfortable over long distances.
Good to know
- Hoka One One boasts of a running shoe that is formed through a collaboration with world-class athletes – the Torrent. Just like the popular Hoka One One trail shoe, the Speedgoat 3, this shoe is designed for race day, as it offers a unique combination of agility and cushioning. The versatile and sleek design of the Torrent enables neutral runners to achieve a speedy ride and more miles.
- The open-engineered mesh upper provides optimal breathability and delivers a quick-dry and comfortable foot environment. It displays a minimal layout yet gives a secure fit.
- Through the PROFLY™ midsole, the shoe is made user-friendly as heel strikes are more natural and toe-offs are bouncier. The midsole unit is coupled with an outsole that produces high-level traction, making the Hoka One One Torrent a nimble and adaptable running shoe.
- In the outsole of the Hoka One One Torrent is the hi-abrasion rubber zones which gives the shoe durability without adding too much weight. Incorporated into the outer sole are the multidirectional lugs which are designed for excepetional grip on varied surfaces.
The Hoka One One Torrent is constructed with a standard running shoe width and length. However, runners who have a high foot volume might find the shoe to be a little narrow in the forefoot. Wearers who are accustomed to Hoka One One shoes will discover the Torrent to have a similar fit. The Torrent is available in D – Medium for men and B – Medium for women.
The aggressive rubber outsole of the Torrent enables gripping and digging into various outdoor surfaces with ease. The heel and forefoot areas are reinforced with a high-abrasion sticky rubber for durability. It can survive even the toughest route.
The Torrent has deep, prominent lugs that work capably in supplying multidirectional traction. These lugs help the runner undertake soft, messy trails with no problem. The lugs also give added flexibility to the shoe.
Hoka One One presents the PROFLY™ midsole technology in the Torrent, which is a dual-density foam compound that is formed soft in the heel and firm at the forefoot. This layout reduces pressure when landing on hard, rocky terrains, but, at the same time, produces light and bouncy toe-offs. As a smooth transition is generated, the runner is able to log more miles, thus completing the PROFLY™’s concept of balance between protection and propulsion.
The PROFLY™ compound comes in the form of an oversized ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) unit that delivers an adequate underfoot cushioning but without the additional bulk.
The upper of the Hoka One One Torrent is a breathable mesh with a stripped-down design. This material offers lightweight comfort that promotes a comfortable running experience. The mesh also has a quick-drying capability, encouraging a healthy foot environment as it eliminates moisture buildup.
A set of overlays surrounds the upper in strategic locations. These synthetic elements protect the forefoot and toes from debris while supporting the rest of the shoe by providing a structural framework. The overlays are in seamless design, it gives the foot a smooth and irritation-free environment.
The tongue and heel collar of the Torrent is moderately padded. The foam padding remains to be smooth for added comfort. The heel collar and tongue also enhances the overall fit and foot lockdown.
To secure the foot while running, the shoe has a lace-up closure. The laces are durable and they stay tied while running. There are extra eyelets to further secure the ankle and heel area.