Overview of the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent
It’s been awhile since I’ve published an individual, detailed shoe review. The main reason for that was because I was dealing with ongoing injuries for a while that prevented me from logging quality miles on my feet. Well, I seem to be on the mend at last (knock on wood) and now I’m re-building my running fitness slowly while cross-training a lot. During this time I’ve been putting nearly all miles in the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent. TheHOKA ONE ONE Torrent is a fantastic new shoe from HOKA that builds upon its predecessor, the Speed Instinct 2, in nearly all ways. TheHOKA ONE ONE Torrent is a lightweight and grippy speed machine that can handle a wide variety of use cases equally well. If you are looking for your next quiver-killer shoe – this could be it!
- Weight: 213g / 7.5oz (US women’s 8.0); 258g / 9.1oz (US men’s 9.0)
- Category: neutral
- Drop: 5mm (26mm / 21mm)
- Fit: true to size (i.e., your normal running shoe size)
- Upper: mesh upper with TPU overlays
- Midsole: PROFLY (i.e., lightweight EVA foam of a different durometer in the heel vs. the forefoot)
- Outsole: Multidirectional, spaced out 5mm lugs with excellent grip in nearly all conditions
Presenting the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent
Now for more details. In this review, we’ll break things down in to six areas:
- What’s good: the new, differentiating, or simply well designed or built features or aspects of the shoe.
- What could be improved: tweaks or improvements that could be made to make the shoe better.
- When to use it: the situations or scenarios where the shoe excels.
- How it compares: head-to-head comparison with similar shoes
- Should you purchase? My overall recommendation on whether to purchase this shoe or not.
- Purchasing Information: where to go to purchase this shoe.
I’ll try to be as succinct as possible. After all, you’ve probably got more running you can do today!
- The fit. HOKA advertises they “Designed and built [the Torrent] with the collaboration of world-class HOKA ONE ONE® trail athletes” and I don’t doubt that. The fit of the toebox is more rounded than other recent HOKAs (e.g., the more tapered fit of the Speedgoat 2 and the Speed Instinct 2). I think that’s a good thing because it should appeal to a wider variety of foot types. The mesh, gusseted tongue is a nice touch as well and contributes to the solid fit.
The gusseted tongue contributes to the solid fit
- The ride. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a lightweight, well-cushioned shoe. The HOKA ONE ONE Torrent ticks both of those boxes. With 26mm of foam in the heel and 21mm in the forefoot it strikes a great balance of being just cushioned enough for long runs but not overly built up. The PROFLY foam is cushioned yet responsive. It’s a really nice midsole and ride.
The PROFLY midsole in the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent is cushioned enough for longer runs yet responsive enough for pushing the pace
- The upper. We see a nicely engineered mesh upper in the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent. I know knit uppers are all the rage right now in running shoes but a finely engineered mesh upper, with a good use of TPU overlays, is still probably the best combination of materials for a trail running shoe upper I would argue. This is because a trail shoe often has somewhat different demands than a road shoe (e.g., it needs to have more lateral stability/midfoot hold, dry faster, etc.). HOKA nailed it with this upper. The mesh is airy but dense enough to hold the foot well. The TPU ‘band’ around that connects the upper to the midsole also provides the needed support to keep your foot in the shoe on off camber trails.
The engineered mesh upper in the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent is well designed and built
- The grip. We haven’t seen this lug pattern from HOKA before. Well, we’ve been missing out. It works very well in a wide variety of terrain. The multi-directional nature of the lugs aids when climbing and facilitates good ‘braking’ when needed on descents. The lugs are deep enough to really bite in to softer terrain yet not overly noticeable in drier, hard pack.
The outsole of the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent utilizes a new lug pattern we haven’t seen on a shoe from HOKA before. It works very well in nearly all conditions.
- The value. At $120 this shoe is a decent value when compared to its closest competitors on the market.
What could be improved?
- A touch more of a midfoot wrap. The midfoot support is OK but with the way the laces interact with the mesh and TPU overlays on top of the eyelets I don’t think the midfoot is as locked in as it could be. The best example I can point to is the way the mesh and eyelets interact on shoes with Flywire.
The inclusion of some vertical overlays would help lock in the midfoot fit even more
- Inclusion of a forefoot rock plate. This might compromise the ride a bit but it would be great to see a thin rockplate included to expand the use cases to include really technical terrain.
When to use it?
- Nearly all trails and conditions. The combination of being lightweight, cushioned, and grippy makes the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent suitable for nearly all types of trails and conditions. It is a good choice for daily trail runs, speedwork, long runs, and races up to 50k to 50 miles for most folks I think.
- Note: I would probably avoid excessive door to trail miles as the lugs would wear down prematurely with too many pavement miles I suspect.
Similar shoes to compare with
- HOKA ONE ONE Speed Instinct 2: The Torrent has a better, more accommodating fit, a more breathable upper, and getter grip. The Torrent is also a touch lighter and has a MSRP that is $10 less. Unless you have a very narrow foot I’d recommend the Torrent all day here.
- Nike Terra Kiger 4: Very similar shoes in a lot of ways. The grip, responsive cushion, and price / value are comparable. Ultimately it’s probably going to come down to fit between the two. The Kiger 4 has less volume overall but it also wraps the foot really nicely in the midfoot due to the way the Flywire cables work with the laces. It’s a toss-up – I’d suggest trying them both on to see which one fits you better.
Should you purchase?
So, the $120 question – should you purchase the HOKA ONE ONE Torrent?
In a word, YES! It’s a really good shoe for all the reasons stated above.
Questions, comments, or feedback on this shoe? Please share! And thanks for reading!
If you’re interested in purchasing this shoe, please check availability at your local, independently owned running specialty store. They need your business and are a great resource for the community.
Thank you for reading and thank you for your support!
Meet Your Reviewer: Ben Zuehlsdorf
I am an avid running gear junkie. When I’m not smelling new shoes I’m usually running or racing around the local trails in Marin County, California or talking shop with the San Francisco Running Company community of friends. I was once a road marathoner but now have transitioned almost exclusively to the trails and racing ultras the last few years.
Disclaimer: This shoe was provided to URP/Ben for testing purposes. All words and thoughts are my own and no compensation was offered nor received.