Hoka One One Torrent

Jaden Anderson reviews the Hoka One One Torrent for Blister
Hoka One One Torrent

Hoka One One Torrent

Stack Height: 23 mm (heel); 18mm (toe)

Drop: 5 mm

Stated Features

  • Open engineered mesh for breathability and quick drying
  • Protective overlays around the toe box
  • PROFLY™ midsole for “Propulsion and Protection”
  • Hi-abrasion rubber zones on sole for durability
  • Multi Directional lugs

MSRP: $120

Size Tested: 9.5

Stated weight 255 g (9 oz)

Blister’s Measured Weight (Size 9.5)

  • Shoes + Laces (no insoles): 237 & 242 g
  • Stock Insoles: 14 & 13 g
  • Total Weight: 251 & 255 g

Test Locations: Wilmington, VT; Mt. Shasta, CA

Test Duration (So Far): 45 miles

Reviewer: 5’10’’, 155 lbs

Intro

Hoka has recently been expanding their line beyond the super-fat, maximally cushioned shoes that the brand started with, and the new Torrent is one of their most minimal trail shoes to date. They call the Torrent a “trail racer” that combines two rather contradictory elements: cushioning and agility.

So how well does this shoe blend comfort, low weight, and trail-ready stability? And should the Torrent be reserved for days when speed is your priority, or could it also work well as an everyday, do-everything trail shoe?

I’ve now run about 45 miles in the Torrent on a variety of terrain, so I’ll be weighing in here on where this shoe feels most at home, where it doesn’t, and how it compares to a few other Hoka trail shoes, the Speedgoat 2 and the Evo Mafate.

Fit

As always, we recommend trying on any shoe before buying it. But with that said, I’ll offer some fit notes here. For reference, I have pretty average-volume feet, but I have a wide midfoot and an average to low arch. In general, I tend to prefer wider shoes with roomy toe boxes.

The Torrent feels pretty wide, which was a pleasant surprise for me. Its toe box provides plenty of room for my toes to splay, and I’d say the Torrent feels a bit longer than most other shoes I’ve used in my typical size of 9.5 (e.g., Hoka Speedgoat 2 & Evo Mafate).

The Torrent’s midfoot area is also wider than most running shoes I’ve used, and that felt a bit odd to me at first. But after a few runs and some work with the lacing, I actually ended up liking the extra width, since it seemed to provide a bit more comfort, particularly on longer and / or technical runs (I’ll say more about this below).

With respect to the back of the shoe, my foot sits a bit deeper in the heel of the Torrent compared to the Hoka Speedgoat 2, and the Torrent’s heel hold feels very nice and locked in.

Compared to the Hoka Speedgoat 2 and Hoka Evo Mafate, the Torrent is higher-volume throughout the whole shoe, especially in the toe box.

Upper

The Torrent has a pretty thin mesh upper that’s reinforced with some minimal plastic wiring. Compared to the Speedgoat 2, the Torrent’s upper is a bit thinner and less structured. The Torrent has a small rubber bumper at the front of the shoe to help protect your toes from rocks, roots etc. The Torrent also features a rubberized strip around the base of the upper to help with durability, lockdown, and water resistance.

The Torrent’s upper initially felt pretty rigid out of the box, but it softened up a bit after my first run in the shoe. And it has continued to break-in and has gotten more comfortable with each run (as is the case with many running shoes I’ve used).

Overall, the Torrent’s upper and wider platform make for a shoe that feels comfortable and roomy. At the same time, the plastic wiring and rubber reinforcement around the base and toe of the Torrent have also provided the lockdown and protection I want for technical trails. The Torrent definitely doesn’t have the most lightweight and flexible upper on the market, nor is it the most stable shoe I’ve run in. Instead, the Torrent feels like it falls somewhere in the middle: not too flexible, not too rigid. And I think that makes it pretty versatile (more on that below).

Midsole and Cushioning

The Torrent is Hoka’s version of a more minimalist trail shoe that places more of an emphasis on ground feel and less on maximum cushioning. With a stack height of 23 mm in the heel and 18 mm in the forefoot, the Torrent is significantly less cushioned than most of Hoka’s other shoes. While the Torrent is still a long ways from being some barefoot shoe, its thinner midsole and wider footprint make it feel much more stable on technical trails compared to shoes with fatter midsoles (e.g., the Hoka Stinson ATR 4 and Speedgoat 2).

So while the Torrent may have a thinner midsole than other Hoka shoes, the Torrent does not feel very firm or rigid like some other minimal trail shoes. The Torrent’s PROFLY™ midsole feels pretty soft and springy, and has kept my feet from getting fatigued while still offering better ground feel than all of Hoka’s more cushioned trail shoes.

Jaden Anderson reviews the Hoka One One Torrent for Blister
Jaden Anderson in the Hoka One One Torrent, Mt. Shasta, CA.

The Torrent has no rock plate and a very flexible midsole, both longitudinally and laterally. The midsole is noticeably softer than the Speedgoat 2’s, and the shape of the Torrent’s midsole is flatter than other Hoka shoes like the Speedgoat 2, Evo Mafate, and Stinson ATR 4. The Torrent’s flatter profile provides more surface area on the trail, which makes it feel more stable and grippy than those shoes with more rockered profiles.

I typically run with Superfeet Running insoles in most of my shoes, so I initially tried the Torrent with the Superfeet insoles. But after my first run, the Superfeet insoles made the shoe feel a bit awkward. The heel height of the Superfeet insoles made my heel feel uncomfortably high, and I ended up having issues with my heel slipping and couldn’t get the locked-in feel that I like.

So I then switched to the Torrent’s stock insole, which has a deeper heel cup and is very thin. Running with the stock insole made the shoe feel more agile, more stable, and provided a deeper fit for better lockdown. The Torrent’s stock insoles obviously didn’t provide as much pronation support as the Superfeet insoles, but the stock insoles made the shoe feel much better overall, and going forward, I’ll be sticking with them.

Outsole

The Torrent’s outsole is made of a sticky rubber and aggressive, multi-directional lugs. The rubber feels extremely tacky on rocks, and also does a pretty good job of maintaining traction when the rocks are wet. In the Torrent, I was easily able to run up large boulders with steep faces, which inspired confidence on steep, rocky trails.

Jaden Anderson reviews the Hoka One One Torrent for Blister
Hoka One One Torrent — Outsole

While the Torrent’s lug pattern is aggressive and trail-oriented, the lugs are mostly directional, which helps the shoe feel fairly efficient when you don’t need / want a ton traction (e.g., on roads or packed singletrack). The Torrent’s lugs aren’t quite as aggressive as those on the Speedgoat 2 or Evo Mafate, but the Torrent has still provided good traction on a very wide range of surfaces including pine needles, dust, shallow mud, fist-sized rocks, and gravel. I’d say the only areas where the Torrent didn’t provide great traction would be really wet rocks or deep mud. But overall, I’ve been very happy with the Torrent’s grip.

Weight

The Torrent is one of the lightest trail shoes I’ve used, so it makes sense that Hoka would market it as their trail racer. I found that the lower weight of the Torrent was one of my favorite parts about the shoe. It didn’t feel too bulky, and I was able to nimbly hop from rock to rock and jump over fallen trees without really noticing the shoes.

For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per shoe, in grams) for some relevant shoes. As always, keep in mind the size differences to keep things apples-to-apples.

255 & 251 Hoka One One Torrent, size 9.5
297 & 297 Hoka One One Speedgoat 2, size 10
335 & 337 Altra Timp, size 10
333 & 348 Altra Olympus 3.0, size 10
333 & 357 Hoka One One Stinson ATR 4, size 10

On the Trail

I found that the Torrent stood out on technical trails for three reasons: ground feel, comfort, and agility.

The slightly more minimal (by Hoka’s standards) cushioning of the Torrent does a good job of providing a tactile sense of the trail beneath me, while still offering a comfortable and springy ride. The Torrent provides far more ground feel than the Speedgoat 2, which has a midsole that’s nearly 10 mm thicker than the Torrent’s.

At the same time, I was surprised that the Torrent’s cushioning was enough to protect my feet when running on sharper surfaces (e.g., small rocks, rough roots, etc.). The cushioning and extra width of the Torrent kept my feet from fatiguing on runs longer than 10 miles, which is not the case with most trail shoes I’ve used. I think the Torrent’s cushioning is pretty dialed for a fast, light trail shoe.

Jaden Anderson reviews the Hoka One One Torrent for Blister
Jaden Anderson in the Hoka One One Torrent, Mt. Shasta, CA.

And while the Torrent offers enough cushioning for my longer runs, its lower stack height and lower weight make it feel extremely agile and fast. After using both the Speedgoat 2 and the Torrent on a number of similar runs, I found that I preferred the Torrent on every run except one — a long run that included a significant amount of packed trail and road. For long runs on less technical terrain, I appreciated the more rockered sole of the Speedgoat 2, since it felt a bit more efficient than the Torrent.

Durability

I’ve only run about 45 miles in the Torrent so far, so I’ll be doing an update in the future to talk about its long-term durability. But that said, the Torrent is already showing a bit of wear and tear. Its midsole has a number of scratches and gouges from sharp rocks and sticks, though this damage is solely cosmetic, and hasn’t affected the performance of the shoe.

The Torrent’s upper is in great shape so far, and even still looks relatively clean. But its outsole has sustained the most damage. One of the lugs on the bottom of the left shoe is missing a pretty large chunk of rubber, and the outsole on both shoes is starting to separate from the midsole in some places. The outsole damage hasn’t yet been noticeable as far as performance goes, but I am surprised to see that amount of damage after only 45 miles.

While the quick wear on the Torrent’s outsole is a bit unusual, we’ve reviewed a number of other shoes that have shown somewhat similar initial wear but that never deteriorated much more after continued use. So the jury is still out on whether or not the Torrent will hold up to consistent, extended use, and we’ll be addressing that in our long-term update.

Who’s It For?

The Torrent is a versatile shoe that does a great job of combining cushioning, low weight, and stability. And this versatility makes it a solid choice for a wide range of runners.

The Torrent really sticks out from the rest of Hoka’s trail shoes in that it has a more moderate stack height, offers good ground feel, and doesn’t have a very rockered sole. So if you want a bit of the cushioning that Hoka is known for, but you want more sensitivity, more stability and less weight, check out the Torrent.

I also think Hoka’s talk about the Torrent as a “trail racer” make sense. Thanks to its low weight and moderate cushioning, the Torrent seems like a great shoe for people who want to run fast on trails, but don’t want some minimalist racing flat.

If you want a ton of cushioning and don’t prioritize ground feel, then shoes like the Hoka Speedgoat 2 or Altra Olympus 3.0 will be better options. And if you want a truly minimal shoe and don’t need much cushioning at all, there are also plenty of shoes that will serve you better than the Torrent. But if you want a shoe that fits into the middle ground between those two categories and does a great job of blending certain traits from both sides, the Torrent is definitely worth a look.

Bottom Line

In my opinion, the Hoka Torrent represents a new and very well executed direction for the brand. The Torrent is lighter and more stable than many of Hoka’s other shoes, but it still maintains a bit of the springy cushioning for which the brand has become known. The Torrent’s midsole is thin enough to provide good ground feel, but it’s not so thin that I find myself grimacing in pain as I run over sharp rocks. Combined with its comfortable, wider fit, excellent traction on most surfaces, and low weight, the Torrent’s moderate cushioning makes it an excellent option for runners looking for a fast, all-around trail shoe that sits near the middle of the cushioning spectrum.

3 comments on “Hoka One One Torrent”

  1. I can give some first impressions on this shoe.

    I used these out of the box on a 15 mile run yesterday. It’s longer than I would usually go with a brand new pair of shoes, but the fit seemed great and I decided to take the chance. This run had a good amount of terrain – rolling not-too-technical trails, rocky uphills that I could still run, some loose and rocky cross-country travel, and some super chunky hiking terrain that was too steep to run up but OK to run down with caution.

    I think this is an excellent shoe. I like Hokas in general. I’ve used the Stinson ATR 2, Stinson ATR 4, and Speedgoat 2. extensively. I’ve also got 3 short runs in the Mafate Evo. I tend to prefer a more cushioned ride. But I was looking for an in-between shoe, something to use on more technical mid-distance runs that still had enough cushion and protection to keep my feet comfortable. The Torrent seems to fit the bill so far.

    I like the fit. Toebox and forefoot have more volume than the Speedgoat 2 or Mafate Evo, but it’s not sloppy. Less volume than the Stinson 4. I have a wider than average forefoot and these didn’t give me any pain ion the 6th toe area.

    This might be the Hoka shoe for those that never really liked Hokas. It’s more responsive than all of the shoes mentioned above. More stable as well. It handled the cross country travel quite well, much better than the shoes above would have. It has less of a tendency to roll on off camber terrain. I could move quickly on the rolling terrain. It offered enough protection on the chunky stuff. It had enough cushion to keep my feet happy at the end of the day as well.

  2. Great review. Covered what I was looking for (width of toe box), blend of ground feel combined with cushioning. Have been using the Altra Superior 3.0 and wanted an alternate with a little more cushioning. I need a wide toe box and Hoka has never worked for me, but the Torrent just might.

Leave a Comment