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Still looking fresh after 150 miles. Photo credit: James Eacott.

Hoka One One Torrent Trail Shoe review

12-Sep-18

Last updated: 08-Apr-19

By James Eacott

According to HOKA ONE ONE, the Torrent is a ‘super lightweight, nimble, and technical trail racer which allows you to tackle a variety of terrain at any speed’. Let’s see, shall we!

Features

  • Open engineered mesh construction
  • PROFLY midsole
  • Multidirectional lugs
  • Protective outlays
  • Weight: 254g (size EU 42)
  • Forefoot height: 18mm
  • Heel height: 23mm
  • Drop: 5mm
  • RRP £99 from online retailers

HOKA have amassed an impressive trail running team, and it’s this team (including the likes of Jim Walmsley and Sage Canaday) that has contributed to the development of the Torrent trail shoe.

I’ve been using them in as wider range of situations as I could find. I hiked up Ben Nevis, and ran up and down Snowdon in them. I also hit the flat canal path trail for faster efforts and even took to the roads a couple of times.

They excelled on all the trails I could find and, even though they’re not designed with asphalt in mind, they were still very good on the roads.

As I’ve been accustomed to find with HOKA, their size don’t correlate to their weight. Even though this is a relatively small, compact shoe by HOKA standards, it’s still large compared to competitors but they’re super light.

The fit is excellent too – the toe box wide enough to allow foot splay while holding you firmly in place. The mesh construction on the entire upper of the shoe is comfortable, breathable and quick-drying (as they needed to be on Ben Bevis).

I’ve been wearing these shoes for a couple of months now, and they’re really become my go-to shoe for most sessions apart from short, fast treadmill or track workouts. Everything else, they’re the ones hauled from the pile of shoes in the closet!

So let’s discuss what’s particularly good about them.

RUNULTRA-Hoka-One-One-Torrent-shoes-review

Out of the box they're not your usual huge HOKAs.

Pros: What’s good about the Hoka One One Torrent trail shoe

Predominantly it has to be about the ride: they’re flippin’ marvellous. The midsole provides a plush cushion but in the same breath it’s a very responsive shoe, not sluggish at all.

Even if you’re a bit of a slow, grind-out-the-miles kinda ultra runner, you’ll feel sprightly and nimble in the Torrents!

I’ve found HOKAS difficult in the past on technical trail due to the reduced proprioception on some of their larger, thicker shoes, but gone are those days.

I was confident and could feel enough of the trail to make the necessary micro-adjustments as I bombed down Snowdon, but also reaped the benefit of a cushioned landing.

On the flats, this plush ride just means no severe joint impact but all the benefits of a lightweight racing shoe.

The PROFLY midsole is what gives the shoe and softer landing while keeping a responsive transition phase from landing to take-off. It works, and you can actually feel it – this isn’t all jargon for jargons sake!

The multidirectional lugs provide good traction both up and down hill and aren’t so aggressive you feel sharp points and develop hot spots on your soles.

I have to say I rarely notice the difference in breathability between upper materials from one shoe to another. But I did notice the Torrent allowed water to drain and my feet didn’t get that hot, suffocating, sweatiness they sometimes do (maybe that’s just me!).

It’s worth taking a moment to tip the cap to the aesthetics too. I know, I know – looks shouldn’t come into it, but it matters that I’m able to stagger into the supermarket for an energy bar without people wondering what this dude with “massive boat-clogs” on his feet is doing.

Considering this is a premium shoe that, with a little shopping around, can pick up for less than £100, the Torrent is exceptionally good value for money when compared to its competitors.

Finally, I’m also pleased to see the durability appears to have been improved upon over previous models. Early HOKAS suffered after a couple of hundred miles, but these are well on their way to those milestones and still in top-notch condition.

Chapeau, HOKA ONE ONE.

RUNULTRA-Hoka-One-One-Torrent-shoes-review

Great durability, sole intact after 150 miles.

Cons: What’s not so good about the Hoka One One Torrent trail shoe

I literally have nothing to say here.

Conclusion

I’d use the shoe in pretty much all ultra running races. The Torrent will gobble up short, technical races as well as it will carry you over 100+ miles of flat. It’s like a jack-of-all-trades shoe, but it’s actually a master of them all too!

A balance between agility, traction and lightweight is something many brands aspire to meet, but often miss. The Torrent ticks the boxes and I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Score  
Design 10/10
Features 10/10
Performance 10/10
Value 9/10
Total 9.75/10

 

RUNULTRA-Hoka-One-One-Torrent-shoes-review

They look even better with matching socks.

Other trail shoes you may want to consider:

Topo Athletic Terraventure
Columbia Montrail Caldorado III UTMB Ltd Edition
HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 4

All images James Eacott except when stated.

Have you used the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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“this plush ride just means no severe joint impact but all the benefits of a lightweight racing shoe”

Where to buy

HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes for women View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes for men View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes for women View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes for men View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes for women View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes for men View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent trail running shoes View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent trail running shoes for women View deal
HOKA ONE ONE Torrent running shoes View deal
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Review Hoka One One Torrent Trail Shoe review

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Comment Arrow

Lazygreyhound

03:54 08-04-19

I have covered around 200 miles in my Torrents and absolutely love them. The sizing is, for once, true to size. My feet are perhaps on the slightly wider side but these fit perfectly without the usual need (with Hokas) to go half a size bigger. The durability has been excellent with no issues at all. They certainly would cope with races up to 50k but, personally, I wouldn't say much further.

On the whole one of the best shoes I have run in for years and would definitely recommend.

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petem

06:07 04-11-18

The Torrent is a great all-round trail shoe, and unlike most Hoka's has enough room in the toe box for my wider feet. They are light weight and cushy, but lack the pillow like feeling of the Challenger ATR 4, and can feel quite firm by comparison. They also lack the rocker effect of the ATR4, which for me is a good thing as it allows a more natural foot movement, rather than the feeling of being thrown of the shoe at toe off.
Only downside to the shoe is the upper tends to stretch during the first 100 miles or so, meaning it can become a more sloppy fit through the mid foot.

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Eryri_Runner

12:58 17-09-18

Hey guys, thanks for a great review.

Whilst most of what has been written by James is bang on, there are one or two things I’ve found out after 210 km.
Sizing, for once, I would say is bang on for Hoka. Normally, I will always go a half size up to a UK 9 ½ but have found with the Torrent, I probably never needed to. A few kilometres into a run, I’ve found I need to cinch up the laces quite considerably to the point of where I get pressure on the top of the feet. Other users have also found this. Also, even with a heel lock, the laces are very long!

The ankle collar is quite high and on off-camber terrain/off-trail such as steep grass, this can dig in to the ankles. The shoe can be quite firm underfoot, much more so than the Speed Instinct that it replaces, and I sometimes find myself wishing for just a tiny bit more give. Whilst the Speed Instinct had a shocking upper, stability issues and poor grip, the Torrent absolutely blows it out of the water: the upper is so far holding up incredibly well, the outsole shows almost no wear with no de-lamination of the rubber which can plague for example the Challenger (my ATR 4 however, are still fine yet a friends completely fell apart?). I think Hoka fitting the rubber rand all the way around the shoe was a brilliant move, as this prevents damage from scuffs and should completely prevent blow-outs. More like this please Hoka 😊

I think the lug design is also fantastic and are very grippy so far on almost any North Walian mountain terrain I have thrown at them, however, wet rocks as usual are its downfall, but show me a shoe that sticks to greasy, wet rocks in the mountains?? No chance.
I also think that the lugs go some way to contributing to the shoes firmness.
The shoe generally is pretty stable, however there are times when that extra ‘give’ I mentioned in the outsole would go some way to soaking up smaller rocks and stones, instead of feeling like my ankles may roll. But with Hoka stack heights, there’s always going to be some element of instability, so you just have to pick your lines better…

I love these shoes though and have been one of my favourite Hoka trail shoes to date (and I’m a big Hoka fanboy!). I’m even contemplating using them for the Trail Events Co Ultra here in Snowdonia on 6th October: simply due to the terrain the race goes over, they will fare better than my ATR 4 or Speedgoat 2.
So for me, I’ll give them an 9/10 overall, just due to a couple of niggly bits that may be ironed out in the next iteration. I have the duck egg blue ones btw; got to have those loud colours!

Highly recommended.