Hoka One One Torrent 2
Test Locations: Gunnison — Crested Butte & Colorado Springs, Colorado
Test Duration: 150 miles
Stated Stack Height: 23 mm (heel) / 18 mm (forefoot)
Stated Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5 mm
- PROFLY™ midsole
- Mesh upper derived from recycled plastic
- Updated lug pattern for improved traction
- Lightweight design for trail racing
Reviewer: 6’1″, 143 lbs / 185 cm, 65 kg
Size Tested: US Men’s 11
Stated Weight per Shoe (US Men’s Size 9): 263 g / 9.3 oz
Blister Measured Weight (US Men’s 11):
- Shoes + Laces: 268 g (left) & 266 g (right)
- Insoles: 16 g (left) & 17 g (right)
- Total: 285 g (left) & 282 g (right)
In it’s now 11 year history, Hoka One One has been known for making one thing: highly cushioned shoes. Their trail lineup has been dominated by ultra-cushioned trail shoes like the Speedgoat and Mafate for years.But the Torrent, now in its second iteration, continues to represent the more minimal end of the spectrum compared to most of Hoka’s shoes.
Designed as a light and nimble trail racer, the Torrent 2 retains the lightweight and energetic ride of the original Torrent with an improved fit and modified outsole for improved performance on more technical trails, at least according to Hoka.
So where does this lightweight, low cushion Hoka fit into the trail running market as a whole? Should you be saving it for race day or using it as a daily trainer? After nearly 150 miles in the Torrent 2 I have some thoughts on where it performs well, where I might go for another option, and how it compares to other shoes both from Hoka as well as some other brands.
Hoka One One Torrent 2 vs. Torrent
The original Torrent (check out our full review here) was released about 3 years ago and while I never ran in it for an extended period of time, I did have an opportunity to put my foot in it and to see how it performed for a couple of my trail running partners. The original Torrents were a hugely popular shoe for their lightweight, comfortable ride, and capable outsole. The Torrent 2 maintains the same general design as the original Torrent with a few key updates to the upper, midole, and outsole — mostly aimed at improving fit, durability, and traction. While these updates do slightly tweak numerous aspects of the shoe, it still has quite a bit in common with the original version.
As with every product we review that’s available in multiple sizes, we recommend that you try on the Torrent 2 before buying it to make sure that it fits your foot. With that said, I do have some thoughts on how the Torrent 2 fits my foot. For reference, I have a fairly low volume foot with a high arch, and I tend to prefer shoes with a slightly wider toe box.
A lot of trail shoes struggle to find a balance between providing a locked-in fit and providing enough room for your toes to comfortably splay. In my opinion, The Torrent 2 strikes a really good balance between the two. The Torrent 2’s has a straight last, which keeps your big toe straight instead of curving inwards. From the top, this gives the Torrent’s toebox a more rounded shape (more like an Altra or Topo shoe) rather than the pointed toe boxes that are common in many more traditional shoes. While I don’t have a particularly wide foot, I thought that the Torrent 2’s shape makes the toe box surprisingly roomy without sacrificing much in the way of a precise fit.
When running on more technical or off-camber terrain, my foot didn’t slip around much at all in the shoe. The sloppy fit of the original Torrent was much bemoaned among fans of the shoe — so I’m happy to report that it seems like Hoka has addressed this issue.
With a stated weight of 263 grams, the Torrent 2 is on the heavier side for a racing-oriented trail shoe — but it’s also substantially more cushioned than ultra-lightweight racing shoes like the Salomon S/Lab Sense 8. With that in mind, here’s how the Torrent 2’s stated weight compares to other similar shoes on the market (all stated weights are based on a US Men’s size 9):
195 g / 6.8 oz — Salomon S/Lab Sense 8
255 g / 8.9 oz — Salomon Sense Pro 4
260 g / 9.2 oz — ON Cloudventure Peak
260 g / 9.2 oz — La Sportiva Kaptiva
263.4 g / 9.3 oz — Hoka One One Torrent 2
270 g / 9.5 oz — Inov-8 Terraultra 270
280.6 g / 9.9 oz 一 Topo Athletic Mtn Racer
Out on the trails, the Torrent 2 feels very similar to a shoe like the Salomon Sense Pro 4 weight-wise — and in my opinion, the extra 10 grams are more than worth it for the extra bit of cushion that the Torrent 2 provides. While it is far from the lightest option on this list, I feel like the Torrent 2 really excels in its cushion-to-weight ratio (more on that later).
The Torrent 2’s upper is probably the most significant update from the original Torrent. The thinner mesh upper of the previous version has been swapped out for a thicker, softer, and more durable-feeling mesh upper made from a yarn derived from recycled plastic. Out of the box, this upper is a bit stretchier than the upper found on other Hoka trail shoes like the Speedgoat 4.
The pliability of this new upper helps with the fit through the toe box, but it also doesn’t hinder my ability to get a secure fit — which is an issue I’ve had in other shoes with a wider toe box like the Altra Lone Peak 4.5. Personally, I haven’t experienced any issues with blistering or hotspots while running in the Torrent 2. With that said, the Torrent 2 doesn’t have the most breathable upper on the market — I have certainly found myself reaching for shoes with a more breathable upper like the Salomon S/Lab Sense 8 or even the Salomon Sense 4 /Pro on hotter days.
The Torrent 2 maintains the same stack height as the original, with a 23 mm stack height and the heel and 18 mm at the forefoot. The PROFLY™ midsole consists of a softer foam under the heel and a firmer foam under the toe, which reportedly helps to give the shoe a faster, more efficient feel. Many have noted that the Torrent 2 does provide a bit more energy return than the original Torrent, and based on my limited experience with the original version, I agree — the Torrent 2 does feel a little less plush, but more energetic than the original.
The Torrent 2 is less rockered (i.e., it has a flatter sole profile) than other Hoka trail shoes, which helps to give it a more stable feel on technical terrain. The Torrent 2 is also very flexible, both front-to-back and side-to-side, which helps the shoe conform to the terrain in a way that a higher-cushion trail shoe like the Speedgoat 4 does not. I found this to be particularly useful when running across off-camber sections of trail.
The Torrent 2’s outsole features a multi-directional lug pattern made from a fairly sticky rubber compound. The Torrent 2 had a more directional lug pattern, and I think the Torrent 2’s more varied lug pattern helps to improve the new shoe’s traction in more inclement conditions.
The Torrent 2 stands out to me as a great shoe for a couple of reasons. It is incredibly lightweight for its level of cushion (something I have been fond of in most Hoka shoes I have run in); it has a snappy, efficient ride while still being comfortable; and it has a grippy enough outsole to tackle most terrain without weighing the shoe down too much on more runnable, smoother trails. As a result, the Torrent 2 really stood out on my daily trail runs as a lightweight, yet comfortable option — both for interval workouts and for days where I just wanted to run a little bit faster.
With that said, I think the Torrent 2 really shines in a mountain-racing environment. I was fortunate enough to race one time this fall in Crested Butte’s Camp 4 Coffee 19-mile trail race. The course includes 3,500 feet of vertical gain over the technical and rooty trails of the lower mountains walling the upper Gunnison Valley. The shoe’s blend of cushion, traction, and speed made the Torrent 2 an excellent option for that race, and it has since become my go-to trail racing shoe for more technical trail races under 20 miles. I found the Torrent 2’s extra cushioning to be well worth the extra grams when compared with other, more minimal racing options.
At 150 miles, the Torrent 2 is holding up about as well as I would expect. The durability issues that plagued the original Torrent in the upper may be gone (I’m optimistic so far, though more time will tell), but the Torrent 2 is still a lightweight trail-racing shoe. Based on my experiences with other lightweight, minimal gear, I think it’s safe to assume that there are going to be durability costs for all the shoe’s lightweight features. So far, those costs have been most evident on the outsole.
After 50 miles, I began to notice some significant wear on the lugs under the forefoot, and at 150 miles, the outsole as a whole is nearing the end of its life. I would imagine that you could probably push these shoes to around 300 miles tops, and I will report back as I put some more miles on them. Again, this is a shoe that is designed for racing, and from that perspective, it is certainly more durable, (and affordable) than something like the Salomon S/Lab Sense 8.
Who’s It For?
In my opinion, the Torrent 2 is a really great option for a wide range of trail runners. Its accommodating yet precise fit means that it should fit comfortably for runners with a pretty wide variety of foot types. The comfortable, lightweight construction of the Torrent 2 makes it a great option for someone looking for a fun and fast daily trainer — with the caveat that it won’t hold up to a ton of mileage like some other heavier options might.
If you are looking for a nimble and fast trail racing shoe with a little bit more cushion than some of the lighter, more stripped-back racing shoes on the market, the Torrent 2 is definitely worth considering.
In my opinion, the Hoka One One Torrent 2 is a reflection of the solid updates that Hoka has been making to all of its trail shoes over the past several years. It is a great update to an already fantastic trail shoe that addresses some issues with the previous version without drastically changing the nature of the shoe.
In my opinion, the Torrent 2 provides a really effective blend of comfort and speed / efficiency that makes it stand out in the world of trail racing shoes. While I think the durability of the outsole limits its efficacy as a daily trainer, that will be less of an issue for those who reserve it for races or specific workouts. The Torrent 2’s combination of ground feel, comfortable cushioning, a versatile, aggressive outsole, and a precise yet accommodating fit make it a very enjoyable shoe to run in.