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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
They look even better with matching socks.
Other trail shoes you may want to consider:
All images James Eacott except when stated.
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