Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Hoka One One Torrent - A Breakthrough, Versatile, Light, Great Fitting Trail Race and Training Shoe

by Jeff Valliere, Dominick Layfield, Dave Ames, and Shannon Payne

Editor's Note: Our testers ran the Torrent on a wide variety of trails and surfaces in Upstate New York, Colorado, and California.

Hoka One One Torrent
Estimated Weight: 9.2 oz/261g US M9, 8 oz./227g US W8
  Sample Weights:
  9.74 oz/276 g US M10 (Jeff)
  9.84 oz/279 gUS M10 (Dom)
  8.9 oz/252 g US M8.5
Stack Height: 24mm heel/19mm forefoot. 5mm drop
$120 Available June 2018

Introduction/Initial Impressions:

Jeff:  Light and on the minimal side (for a Hoka), the Torrent looks sleek and fast, has a great feel to it in the hand and especially on the foot.  Tread is substantial, but not overly done, looking to be versatile on a variety of surfaces and still work in rough terrain.  The upper is minimal yet secure and the yellow color is classy and not overly bright.  I have long been a fan of Hoka and there have been a handful of top hits for me (Huaka and Speedgoat 2 come to mind), but I have often found minor nitpicks with just about any of the shoes.  
The Torrent seems to have solved most of the minor quibbles I have had in the past and let's just say I am quite impressed, this is a legit contender for shoe of the year, certainly at or near the top of all time hits.

Dave:  I’ve had the opportunity to test a ton of Hoka One One over the past 6 months.  I think I’ve said this a bunch of times, but in my mind Hoka is a brand that either works with you or it doesn’t.  I’ve struggled with a few of their shoes such as the Clifton 5 or Cavu, because for me they are way too soft and lack a quick heel to toe transition. The Napali, I absolutely loved though. So, with that said, I was not expecting much out of the trail line from Hoka. Well, boy was I wrong! Why do I like the Torrent?  It doesn’t feel like a Hoka. My size 9 is spot on and I have had the ability to put this baby to the test on both the West and East coasts.

Dom:  This is a striking shoe.  I loved the lime-green color, which reminded me of the original Montrail Rogue Racer.   Overall, shoe is fast and fairly light, consistent with Hoka positioning it as successor to the Speed Instinct 2.  The forefoot has a nice balance between ground feel and rock protection.  The rear is slightly overbuilt for my taste, but obligate heel-strikers may like this.  Traction from the new outsole is amazing.

Shannon: I was intrigued by this shoe ever since I saw it at The Running Event. Despite being a tremendous Hoka fan, I've been a wee bit let down by some of their less Hoka-ish Hokas, and I was curious as to how this one would stand up. Out of the box, the Torrent was light, with a nice, airy upper, an aggressive outsole, and nothing unnecessary to its construction.


Jeff:  The open mesh upper with seamless overlays is minimal and airy, with a reasonably substantial toe bumper that blends seamlessly with a rubberized band that wraps the perimeter of the shoe, just above where it meets the midsole forming a sort of "bathtub".

Dom:  I agree with Jeff that upper breathability is excellent.  The rubbery overlay around the perimeter should help with durability, and minimises water ingress if splashing through puddles.  It’s possible that this may make the shoe slow to dry after full immersion, but I haven’t had a chance to test this.
Shannon: Agreeing with both Dom and Jeff, the upper on this guy is super light and breathable, but didn't feel flimsy and doesn't sacrifice durability or protection. I'd feel confident traipsing through any manner of mud, muck, brush and bramble in the Torrent.


Jeff:  The Torrent has a fit that is overall true to size.  
I find that the toe box is a little more rounded and more forgiving, providing more room for splay and swelling than most of the Hokas I have used previously.  Foothold is excellent, in the heel, midfoot and this despite the added room in the forefoot, I don't have any problems with my foot sliding, even when running fast on steep, technical descents or off camber terrain.
Top: Hoka One One Torrent  Bottom: Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2
Dom:  The Speed Instinct 2 had a tapering toe box that was almost pointy.  This helped avoid ‘toe bang’ on steep descents, replacing it with ‘toe squeeze’ instead.  The Torrent, on the other hand, has a more conventional, rounded toe box. Toe bang is less of an issue because the upper fabric is no longer stretchy.  I did find that I needed to tighten the laces a little more during steep descents. Whereas the SI2 upper arguably had too much stretch (I switched out the stretchy laces), I think the Torrent might benefit from a little more give to it.

Dom:  Like Jeff, I found the Torrent fit true to size.  If you have wide feet, or are used to Altra/Topo forefoot roominess, you might find the Torrent slightly narrow.  But fit is consistent with the rest of the Hoka line-up.

Shannon: Echoing Dom and Jeff once more, the fit is spot on in terms of sizing. Having slightly more of a narrow foot, but still favoring a wider toebox, I really loved the overall fit of the Torrent and found it to be perfect. The heel was narrow enough to feel super secure and have zero slippage right out of the gate, but the forefoot had plenty of room to allow the foot to move around freely with no constriction at all, yet did so without feeling the slightest bit sloppy.

Dave:  Jeff is absolutely right….it’s like having your feet protected by a “bathtub.”  The open air mesh upper does an outstanding job molding well to my foot, the way I like a trail shoe to be.  The “bathtub” support makes every footfall very confident, yet smooth, not feeling bulky or sensing plastic overlays or support guards as some trail shoes have.  Where the Torrent upper really shined is on the East Coast. I ran for almost 4 hours in my hometown on trails that have a ton of elevation gain, river beds, dashes to summit and repeat, and rocky rooty single track as the East Coast is known for.  If that wasn’t bad enough to test the Torrent, there was 4 to 5 inches of packed snow on the trails, with drifts of a foot or more in some spots. It was a 30 degree day, with sun, but cold in the shadows. The upper never once got wet when I hit the slop and mud.  The snow was also in a melting stage so it was sticky and wet. My feet were warm the entire 4 hours! To me, that is huge!

Jeff:  The heel cup has structure to it for a bit of protection and security, but is on the thin side and semi malleable.

Dom:  The heel counter is where I thought the Torrent was imbalanced.  It is notably higher and stiffer than the counter in the outgoing Speed Instinct 2.  In my opinion the Torrent’s heel is overbuilt and not consistent with the lightweight philosophy of the rest of the shoe.

Jeff:  The tongue is on the thin side of medium padding, which is sewn into an inner mesh layer that holds the tongue in place in a bootie like fashion.
Dom:  Hooray!  A recurrent problem I’ve experienced with Hoka shoes (and particularly the Speed Instinct 2) is that the tongue tends to migrate off to the outside.  In the Torrent, the tongue is now held in place by lightweight mesh connecting to rear liner and directly to footbed. so this problem is solved.
Jeff:  The heel collar is a good height for me, somewhat on the thin side of medium padding, but is quite comfortable, just enough for no blisters/rubbing.  I found heel hold to be just slightly loose at first, but once I employed the extra eyelet, I have had no issues or movement whatsoever.

Dom:  Agree with Jeff that heel is slightly loose, although I didn’t try lock-lacing to remedy this.  I also felt the heel collar was slightly higher than it should be for a fast shoe. This construction seems more appropriate for a 100-mile enduro shoe.

Jeff:  The dual densityProFly midsole, softer at the heel firmer up front provides a remarkable combination of response, ground feel, protection and all day cushioned comfort.  It is amazing how well the Torrent protects from hard landings in rocky terrain without any rock plate and without tiring my feet or feeling too harsh. Yet at the same time it contours remarkably well over the tops of rocks, undulations and with good ground feedback.  Though not as maximal as many other Hokas, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the Torrent for racing or training at any distance.  Response is excellent at toe off, uphills, flats and downhills.

Dave:  The ProFly midsole is freaking nice!  I was skeptical thinking this shoe would feel like to much cush on the trail.  I like a ton of stuff coming from Altra for the trails, and as of late, I like the Superior 3.5.  But whoa, Torrent doesn’t feel maximal to me at all. To mimic what Jeff said, the ground contact is stellar.  The Torrent has the feel of a minimal trail shoe, but boasts the protection needed for longer runs in the dirt.  I covered rocks and roots quite well, never once feeling the impact of a sharp rock or root. The ProFly allows an uber smooth heel to toe transition that is real quick, just the way I like it.  I spent a great deal of time landing perfectly midfoot forefoot, with each stride feeling powerful, yet effortless. The ProFly has left my legs feeling mega fresh after every single run, no matter the distance.  I’m going to race a 15 mile Trail Race next weekend in the Santa Monica Mountains because it is just that good!

Shannon: The midsole provided a ride that was outstanding, so far the Torrent is really crushing it in my opinion. I loved the low-to-the-ground feeling of the shoe, which gave a wonderfully nimble feel resulting from that sense of enhanced proprioception, but there was enough underfoot that I'd feel absolutely confident in doing everything from something short to grinding out longer miles.

Dom:  Four for four here.  I really liked the balance of cushioning and ground feel in the Torrent.
The footbed is substantial and adds a nice bit of added cushion and is supportive.
Jeff:  The outsole comprises of an aggressive array of deep 4-5 mm lugs that provide incredible bite and adhesion to just about any surface.  I have run everything in the Torrent, from steep rocky technical trails, mud, snow, ice, slush, wet rock, dry rock, desert slickrock, steep off trail, dirt roads, paved roads and the Torrent handles it all remarkably well.  Durability of the outsole so far is very good, with around 40 rough and rocky miles on them.  I only see very minor signs of wear where I toe off.
Dave:  These deep lugs are the real deal. They seriously grip!!  As mentioned above, when I was in the trails with a ton of snow last month, the Torrent gripped like a god damn snowshoe!  On dryer West Coast stuff with some steep vert, I have had no issues just bombing up hills and coming back down the other side with complete confidence that the Torrent would grip.  Hoka did a great job with this outsole.

Dom:  I can’t think of a shoe that I’ve worn that matches the traction of the Torrent.  Grip is tremendous, even on wet rock. This is a substantial upgrade from the Speed Instinct 2, which seemed optimized for dry conditions and struggled outside its comfort zone.   My only concern is that there may be a trade-off with durability, as with most outsoles that have such prominent lugs. Some shoes with very prominent lugs can also cause hot spots or pressure points underfoot on top of the lugs: I haven’t experienced this in the Torrent.

Shannon: To me, the outsole of this shoe is reminiscent to the Salomon Speedcross. In other words, it's aggressive. What I like about it though is that it felt great on everything from mud to snow to hard-packed trails. Most of my time in the Torrent was spent on harder packed dirt trails typical of Colorado, and I saw no issue with unusual wear or signs that the lugs were on their way to being ground off as though by a cheese-grater, which often proves to be the case for more aggressive Trail shoes on harder, dryer surfaces. At least in the mileage I have put on them thus far, I don't see an issue with durability.


Jeff:  The outsole comprises of an aggressive array of deep 4-5mm lugs that provide incredible bite and adhesion to just about any surface.  I have run on everything in the Torrent, from steep rocky technical trails, mud, snow, ice, slush, wet rock, dry rock, desert slickrock, steep off trail, dirt roads, paved roads and the Torrent handles it all remarkably well.  Durability of the outsole so far is very good, with around 40 rough and rocky miles on them, I only see very minor signs of wear where I toe off.

Dave:  These deep lugs are the real deal.  They seriously grip!!  As mentioned above, when I was on the trails with a ton of snow last month, the Torrent gripped like a god damn snowshoe!  On dryer West Coast stuff with some steep vert, I have had no issues just bombing up hills and coming back down the other side with complete confidence that the Torrent will grip.  Hoka did a great job with this outsole.

Dom:  I can’t think of a shoe that I’ve worn that matches the traction of the Torrent.  Grip is tremendous, even on wet rock. This is a substantial upgrade from the Speed Instinct 2, which seemed optimized for dry conditions and struggled outside its comfort zone.   My only concern is that there may be a trade-off with durability, as with most outsoles that have such prominent lugs. Some shoes with very prominent lugs can also cause hot spots or pressure points underfoot on top of the lugs: I haven’t experienced this in the Torrent.

Shannon: To me, the outsole of this shoe is reminiscent to the Salomon Speedcross. In other words, it's aggressive. What I like about it though is that it felt great on everything from mud to snow to hard-packed trails. Most of my time in the Torrent was spent on harder packed dirt trails typical of Colorado, and I saw no issue with unusual wear or signs that the lugs were on their way to being ground off as though by a cheese-grater, which often proves to be the case for more aggressive Trail shoes on harder, dryer surfaces. At least in the mileage I have put on them thus far, I don't see an issue with durability.

Dave:  The Torrent may be labeled a trail racer, but to me it’s an overall well rounded shoe for the trails. It definitely doesn’t just need to be a shoe you race in. It’s so smooth and so subtle on the trails, boasting that quick heel to toe transition that it makes me want to pull it almost every time I head for the dirt.  The forefoot pops oh so well, which makes miles feel effortless. It rewards your stride on the trails, that’s for sure.

Shannon: Absolutely agree with Dave. I most definitely would not hesitate to race in this shoe as it feels light, fast, and nimble. But I would no doubt use it as an everyday trainer so long as the terrain was appropriate. I loved the quick, snappy ride that I just didn't feel like the Torrent’s predecessor, The Speed Instinct, really had. There is an absence of “mushiness” to the shoe and a feeling of great inherent stability that makes it feel sprightly, energetic, and induces confidence in every step.

Overall Impressions/Recommendations:
Jeff:  The Torrent has been on my radar, but I will have to say that the all around performance of this shoe really caught me off guard.  It is one of the quickest, most all around competent, versatile race ready trails shoes I have run in, as if Hoka threw a Speedgoat 2, Huaka and a Speed Instinct into a blender and this was the result.  The Torrent runs very well on mellow terrain and even OK for short stretches of road, but really shines in rough, technical terrain, off trail and all around fast trail running.  The upper has a great fit, forgiving and comfortable, but secure and breathable.  The midsole provides a remarkable blend of cushion, comfort, response and protection, while the outsole puts out confidence inspiring grip on just about any surface.  I would not hesitate to reach for the Torrent as a racer or high performance trainer for just about any distance on about any terrain (the more technical the better).  This is a top tier shoe, all for $120 and will give anything out there on the market a run for it's money.
Jeff's Score:  9.9/10
- .1 foothold in forefoot.  Though not much of an issue for me and I don't experience any loss of control (I am nitpicking here), I do find there is slight movement when pushing really hard technical downhills, but I guess that comes with having a little extra wiggle room, a reasonable trade off for me and suspect most people most of the time.

Dave:  Kudos to Hoka One One for making a trail shoe that is going to be one of the best this year and definitely one of the best I have ever put on my foot in almost 25+ years of running.  Yes, they call it a racer, but those looking for a righteously solid trail shoe, the Torrent is it! I am planning on racing my first Ultra, the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile in Texas next February and I’m thinking this may be the go to for that (Hoka EVO Mafate in the running too...review soon) - - Recommended for the runner looking for a versatile trail shoe, whether an elite looking to race in it, or just the casual cruiser shoe for those trail miles, no matter the terrain.   Also recommended as a great light hiking shoe, with the awesome reduced weight. Don’t like a clunky hiking boot? Grab the Torrent. I would personally say the Torrent is runnable up to a 50 miler, depending on gait and the runner.
Dave’s Score:  9.75 / 10
-.25 for the forefoot foothold as Jeff states.  The first few runs I had to stop a few times to tighten up to make sure I was secure.  I think I have it figured out now, but this area could be improved,

Dom:   A very solid well-rounded shoe from Hoka.  Highs: Excellent ride. Nice balance of trail feel and rock protection.  Looks beautiful. Outstanding traction. Lows: vulnerable to a little toe-bang on steep descents, heel felt a little high and stiff for a nimble trail trail shoe.
Dom’s Score: 9.8 / 10 -0.1 for overbuilt heel. Slightly too high and stiff compared to the rest of the shoe. -0.05 for lack of stretch in upper or laces. A little give would make shoe more forgiving, and enlarge the sweet spot of lace tension. -0.05 for small susceptibility to toe bang on steep descents
Shannon: Previously, my go-to Trail shoes have been the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra and the Sense Ride. I definitely plan to throw this one into the wheelhouse with those guys. While the tread may be slightly more terrain-specific than the aforementioned shoes, the ride and fit are very similar, and there is the perfect mix of lightness, snappiness, cushion, and protection that would make me not hesitate to bring it out for nearly anything excluding asphalt and/or concrete.
Shannon’s Score: Here goes…. 10/10.
I loved this shoe and I hope it sticks around in Hoka’s line for a while. I was tremendously surprised as, again, while I have loved many a Hoka, I hadn't been overly impressed with their more traditional shoes, or the Speed Instinct, which this replaced -- and for the better! The Torrent has restored my belief that Hoka can make a less Hoka-like shoe, and do it well. There isn't much I would change about this shoe. To me, it has all the versatility of an everyday trainer, the lightness of a racer, and a really fantastic fit. I'm tempted to continue to use it as a road shoe after I wear off the lugs.

Comparisons (RTR reviews at links)
Hoka One One Torrent vs. Hoka One One Speed Instinct / Speed Instinct 2
Jeff: The Torrent is lighter, has better protection while still maintaining good ground feel.  The Torrent is also more stable, breathable, better foothold, better fit, is more responsive, has better traction and the tread is more durable.
Dom:  The Torrent is lighter, grippier, better looking, and a better shoe.  I preferred the heel on the SI2, though.

Hoka One One Torrent vs. Saucony Peregrine 8 
Jeff: The Torrent is lighter, faster and more stable, but the Peregrine has comparable or even better traction with a more aggressive tread and slightly better protection, though with a weight penalty, more slim fit and is less responsive.

Hoka One One Torrent vs. Brooks Mazama 2 
Jeff: The Mazama 2 is close in weight and is more responsive, likely a better shoe for faster paces on smoother terrain or primarily uphill, but the Torrent offers more cushion, more durable and versatile traction, better stability, security and costs $20 less.
Dom: Mazama 2 is almost exactly the same weight as the outgoing Hoka Speed Instinct 2, but is heavier than the Torrent (by 27 g / 0.96 oz per US M10 pair).  The comparison is somewhat apples to oranges: the Mazama 2 is a specialized tool, snug-fitting, low to the ground, with a very stiff sole. The Mazama seems designed to race shorter distances on trail, but the ride is too unforgiving for ultradistance use.  The Torrent could be used for racing ultras and daily training.

Hoka One One Torrent vs. Salomon S/Lab Ultra
Jeff:  The Torrent is lighter, faster, has better traction and a more accommodating fit and would save you $60.

Hoka One One Torrent vs. Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra 
Jeff: The Sense Ultra has a superior upper, more precise secure performance fit and the rubber compound more sticky and will adhere better to rock and wet rock.  The Torrent is stiffer with more protection and cushion and is probably a better choice for longer distances.

Hoka One One Torrent vs. New Balance Summit Unknown
Jeff: The Summit Unknown is a bit lighter and costs $10 less, but cushioning is not as plush and the Torrent has a more accommodating fit, while still retaining security.

Hoka One One Torrent vs. La Sportiva Lycan 
Jeff: Close in stats and both with a great fitting upper, the Torrent provides better cushion, protection and traction, though the Lycan would be a more appropriate choice for more moderate terrain or door to trail.

Jeff Valliere is a former pro cyclist and competitive masters trail runner with some top 5 masters results at the Pikes Peak Marathon, two wins at the Aspen Backcountry Half Marathon, and an 8:15 Rim to Rim to Rim.  He is also the father of 7 year old twin daughters who love to make fun of his obsession with shoes and will soon be outpacing him on the trails.  Jeff runs rough trails and off trail above Boulder, Colorado on a near daily basis and all over the highest peaks of the Colorado Rockies as time and conditions permit and has been testing and reviewing gear officially since 2005, but a critical aficionado of running, mountaineering and cycling gear since the mid 80's.
Dom Layfield is an accomplished trail runner with a background and PhD in bio mechanical engineering from MIT.  His 2017 achievements include first place in the dead of winter 2017 108-mile Spine Challenger race in the UK, breaking the course record by an hour, first place in the Quicksilver 100K in California, and 14th at the Western States Endurance Run. 
Shannon Payne is a two time winner of the Mt Washington Road Race, was 3d in the World Mountain Running Championships and a 7x All American at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She currently works in the running industry.
Dave Ames is the Founder and Head Coach of Ame For It Run Coaching, a nationwide run coaching business, training athletes of all ability levels from 5K to Marathon.
Photo Credit: Jeff Valliere
The Torrent were provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments Questions Welcome Below!
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Chris said...

How does it compare to the Nike Kiger 4?

Anonymous said...

Exactly what I was looking for...Kiger 4 comps. Seems to be close to a Kiger 4.

rianne said...

I would like to try that running shoe.

Jeff Valliere said...

I have not run in the Kiger 4, but I think Sam has run in both, so will ask him to answer.

Dom Layfield said...

Hoka Torrent vs Nike Terra Kiger 4

Stack heights are (according to official stats) very similar. Torrent is 24/19 mm; Kiger is 24/20 mm. But TK4 feels closer to the ground, and offers better ground feel.

Weights are in the same ballpark, but Torrent is slightly lighter (558 g vs 574 g per pair in US M10) by about 1/4 oz per shoe.

Kiger fit is snugger. I've found that I like to move up 1/2 size in Kiger series, whereas Torrent runs true to size. Torrent upper is less accommodating than mesh in TK4, which seems to have a little more give to it, without sacrificing any foot hold.

Outsole grip is far superior in Torrent. If you regularly run in mud or wet, there's no comparison. On dry trails, Torrent is slightly grippier, but difference is less overwhelming.

Personally, I prefer the heel of the TK4, which is slightly less stiff than the heel of the Torrent. I also found that the toe box of the TK4 was unusually shallow and rubbed on the tops of my toes. No such problems with Torrent.

sam winebaum said...

Regarding Kiger 4. I agree with all of Dom Layfield's comparisons. While shallow I did not have toe box rubbing with Kiger 4 on runs up to 13 miles including in very steep terrain both wet and dry
Sam, Editor

Dom Layfield said...

I might add that I've owned the original Terra Kiger, Terra Kiger 2, TK3 (three pairs!), and the TK4. The TK4 is the only version with which I had a toe rubbing issue, and that was likely because I purchased the TK4 in a size 10.0, and all the others were size 10.5.

Anonymous said...

How is flexibility compared to montrail fluidflex ii?

Tobit said...

Great review, many thanks. The comparison I’m interested in is with the Scott Supertrac RC...

Dom Layfield said...

Compared to Montrail Fluidflex II? Really? I loved that shoe! I think I bought three pairs and was very sad when Montrail killed it.

Anyway, I'm afraid the Torrent is much stiffer. Not that it's a stiff shoe, just that the FluidFlex was marvellously simple and unstructured. The Torrent is very different. It offers much more rock protection, and less squishiness in the midsole. Torrent is also about 100g per pair heavier that the FF, which is still a benchmark of lightness for a trail shoe.

If you want something close to the FF in character, the most similar current shoe I've tried is the Topo MT-2.

Anonymous said...

Toebox looks very narrow, almost identical to the Speed Instinct 2.

Jeff Valliere said...

Tobit, the Supertrac RC is a little more agile, with a more snug, secure race ready upper. The RC has a more grippy rubber compound, so sticks a little better on rocks, slabs, in the wet, but the rubber also wears faster and the lugs are smaller, so not quite as versatile as the tread on the Torrent. Torrent would be my pick for longer outings where I might encounter anything, but for shorter outings (a few hours) in more technical terrain where I want the ultimate grip and foothold, the RC for sure.

Tobit said...

thanks Jeff - really helpful - I have a 50KM mountain run in mid June - across Snowdonia (the route is called the Welsh 3000s if you wanted to look it up). so, I'm trying to make the right shoe choice for that!

Jeff Valliere said...

Tobit, man, that looks like an amazing run! I think either shoe would work great for that. Have you considered the XA Elevate? That would be another great option, with amazing traction and protection (though not quite as light as the other two, I wouldn't hesitate to pick for this either). http://www.roadtrailrun.com/2017/11/salomon-xa-elevate-review-handles-all.html

Tobit said...

thanks Jeff - the choices are getting narrowed down!


Thank you for this great review. I always value your analysis and opinions. Excellent work. I have been hoping for a RTR review of Hoka's Challenger ATR 4. Is it possible that there is a review of this shoe in the works?
Thanks again for your thoughtful work.

sassafras!! said...

Sounds like this would be a good pick for the Mogollon 100? Recently I tried the XA Elevate in a very rocky/ technical 26 mile race and I think that shoe is good enough only up to a 50k distance for me. I like the Peregrine 7 but it just keeps gaining weight, and the Inov8 Roclite 305 I find are flat & uninspiring.

Stefan Store said...

Great review - Interested to see how this stacks up against the Mafate Evo!

Anonymous said...

Cushion-wise, Hoka Torrent or Salomon Sense Ride ? The Sense Ride is my Go-to shoe at the moment for nearly everything...

Jeff Valliere said...

The Torrent has more substantial cushion and better protection than the Sense Ride.

Chris Lord said...

How do they compare fitwise to the Speed Goats 2?

Jeff Valliere said...

Chris, the Torrent is a bit more forgiving and accommodating in the forefoot.

Chris Lord said...

Thanks Jeff. Hows the midfoot...that's where I tended to feel the squeeze?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comparison with the Salomon Sense Ride.
You already made a comparison with the Saucony Peregrine 8, I wonder how you would see the main differences to the Peregrine 7 (apart from the Rockplate), which sound after all more than a similar shoe to compare to, so usage for longer runs ?

John Kinnee said...

How would you compare the sizing to the Speedgoat 2? Sounds like the Torrent fits slightly bigger. I have a 10 in SP2, 10 in Terra Kiger 4.


Jeff Valliere said...

I would still go with 10, as sizing is the same, just a little bit of a more accommodating upper and not quite as tapered.

Rachel said...

How does the Torrent sizing compare with the Challenger 4 and Mach? I’m 7.5 in both of those, plus 7.5 in the Altra Lone Peak 3, though I’m an 8 in the SG2 and Nike TK4.

I’m actually about to return the SG2 after several runs in them. I just can’t get comfy in the toe box (toe squeeze is causing numbness and “burning” in my toes and I’m getting weird hotspots on the balls of my feet), even though it’s a definite improvement on the SG1. I’ve a normal-to-narrow heel/midfoot, but need a fairly accommodating toe box to avoid blisters and toenail bang during ultras.

Jeff Valliere said...

Hello Rachel, the Torrent runs true to size, so you should be good with a 7.5. The toe box is a bit more accommodating than the SG2, good luck!

stephane said...

Could one imagine to take those to do hiking? Or is it a stupid idea...

Jeff Valliere said...

Hiking, no problem!

Stéphane said...

Thank you very much, Jeff. Will buy them then.

Chris Lord said...

So I got mine yesterday from RW and I have to say that unless I got a size defect, they are not the same size as the SG2. Absolutely they have a wider more accommodating fit, BUT my size 10.5 was noticeably longer than my size 10.5 in the SG2. I would also say the fit seemed almost “sloppy”. I would say closer to an 11, so I would recommend trying them on. Ive ordered another 10.5 and a 10 to compare.

Dusty Sandals said...

"This construction seems more appropriate for a 100-mile enduro shoe."
I bought these cause my Salomon's were killing my feet on longer stuff like 50k+ distances. I've put 50 miles on these shoes around Boulder, CO and they are a perfect balance between squish and responsiveness. Hoping to wear these on a 12 hour run I'm training for, so far I haven't been disappointed. Great shoe!

Rachel said...

Hi Jeff, I went with the 7.5 as you recommended and the fit is perfect. Definitely a more accommodating toe box than the SG2, so no need to size up from, say, the Challenger/Clifton 4/Mach. I’m completely sold on the Torrent; it’s nimble and fun, yet comfy on smoother surfaces. Great all-rounder and trail beast!

Jeff Valliere said...

Great to hear Rachel! Thanks for reading.

Johnnie Jones said...

Hey guys! Great review. I pre-ordered the Torrent in my regular shoe size (Men's 9) and they fit, just a little snug in upper around the lower laces. It's not horrible but was wondering if I should go up a half size. How does the upper feel after the initial break in period? Does the mesh give any? I think the 9's would be perfect if they break in and open up a bit. I'd hate moving up a half size only to have them be too big if they break in well.


Chris Lord said...

Now that I’ve put 50 miles on my pair I thought I would share my observations. I live in Vermont and so trails are all gnarly roots and rocks. Lots of moisture in the air and on the ground so slickness abound!

The GOOD: The outsole is bomber. I’ve hit the slickest roots and rocks, as well as mini bridges and haven’t even faltered at top speed. The teeth dog in but don’t feel like cleats when your on flat, dry ground. They stable and nimble. I’m able to meander or pick up the pace and they handle both really well. I can cut corners and there’s no rolling over or drifting. The laces are excellent. The lock down and don’t move. The upper seems mighty durable. They are “wide” and full up front. I generally have had to stick with Nike trail shoes or Altra because I find most brands are just too narrow. The Torrent give the toes space to splay and breathe. They’re not Altra wide but they are not Hoka narrow. Light! Can barely feel them on my feet and that helps whether or going long or fast. The midsole isn’t Hoka, but I feel like there’s a nice balance of cushion and propellant. AND they’re flexible. BUT...they don’t quite fulfill the hype.

The OK: They do not breathe well. I imagine the durability has something to do with that, but after a fast run this morning my feet and shoes were completely soaked in sweat. Six miles. Granted it was very humid and I was wearing Stance socks which are not my normal extra thin Smartwools, but I’ll get to that. Still the dampness wasn’t ideal. They also don’t dry that quickly, which will lead to stink. The colors? Eh. Uninspired at best. I have the orange and blue which I think is the best of the men’s colors. But the Speedgoat 2 is far cooler in comparison. The insole is cheap and blah.

The Badish: Fit! Hoka what’s up?! I have to wear a 10.5 in the SG2, which to be fair is likely a 1/2 size larger than my natural 10 to give me some width. But Hoka recommends same size. Nope, 10.5 giant. So I ordered the 10. WAY too big. There was well over a thumb up front, the laces touched when I cinched them and on the first run, the volume was ridiculous. My foot was all over the place and the ride was sloppy, but I couldn’t tighten the laces anymore without cutting off the circulation. A roomy forefoot I can handle (Altra Superior!) but the mid-foot does NOT lock you down or inspire confidence. But then I discovered men were sizing 1/2 down...sooo, I ordered the 9.5 (I wear a 10 in Altra and 10.5 in the Nike WH and Kiger) and at first it seemed right. Maybe a little more than a thumb up front, but “I never wear a 9” I said to myself. But here we are after 50 miles and I’ve ordwrwd a 9 to compare! My foot, STILL not secure and as you run the shoes stretch out and especially when wet, I had to tack the laces to the point of discomfort to get the shoe locked down. And because of the sliding I’m getting hotspots and IVE NEVER HAD ONE BLISTER in 25 years of running. This may also be partly because of the dampness. So we’ll see. Maybe the 9 will be perfect, but I’m worries it won’t gove me the room up front, but we’ll see next week when they arrive. Will they be too snug? Will I be jammed against the front? For all the movement I’m getting now, fingers crossed.

So Hoka is SO close, but all the hype that proceeded this shoe I would argue was less warranted.

Chris Lord said...

Johnnie if you haven’t purchased them yet check out my thoughts below. The sizing is odd. But short story is when they run (and get damp) they stretch.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Chris,
Thanks for your comments. I took my Torrent at my usual true to size 8.5 out on smoother single track with rocky sharp patches yesterday and except when pushing the downhills where I am timid! they worked marvelously well. I was a half size up in the Challenger 3 and found them uncomfortably snug and narrow up front, at the limit for me.
Sam, Editor

Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Chris, thanks for your input. Your experience with sizing is quite interesting and goes to show how different ones experience might be with the same shoe. I wear a 10 in just about every Hoka, or any shoe in any other brand for that matter and after beating on the Torrent now for nearly 4 months, they still fit be great and hold my foot quite well, well enough that I have set a few of my best downhill times on very steep, rocky technical trails and off trail with no slippage or hesitation despite the more spacious and forgiving toe box.

As far as them running hot, I have not really found them to be hot either, perhaps not the most airy shoe, but average at least, but a lot of that could be our drier climate here in Colorado. Last summer I was running in the Arahi (on roads and flat stuff), found them warm here, but took them on vacation to NH/Maine and with the same temps and added humidity, my feet were soaked with sweat all of the time.

I say none of that to contest your experience and perception of the Torrent, more of an interesting contrast that I appreciate hearing about. These are the things that make it so tough to recommend a shoe!

Anyways, thanks again for your detailed input.


Anonymous said...

May I ask how does it compare with speedgoat 2?

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Good question about Speed Goat 2. We should include in the comparisons. The Torrent is more flexible and agile up front and less bouncy soft in its midsole. It is easier, faster, and more fun for me to run. I struggled with the stiffness of the Speedgoat and the softness. It's upper is considerably more comfortable and roomier while still very secure. I think only those with extremely narrow feet would prefer the SG2 upper.
Sam. Editor

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quick response.

Chris Lord said...

I agree with Sam. I wanted to love the SPG2 but the large stack height and super cushion just wasn’t for me? But the Torrent has a nice bounce that doesn’t feel harsh or abrupt. The SG2 has the rocker but as a midfoot/forefoot striker, the Torrent transitions as well if not better for me. The SG2 is far narrower up front and I would say locks down the foot better at first, but once you get there sizing dialed in the Torrent you can really leap all over trail no worries. The Torrent allows for the splay and is really stable. It’s also FAR more flexible, especially after break in and climbs like a goat. No pun intended...Where has the stiffness of the SG2 I felt on steep climbs. Whether the Torrent can handle ultra distances I can’t say.

Chris Lord said...

I’ve gotten the 9 in the mail and it may be the right fit! Shoe reviews are always tricky because there are SO many variables and so many different feet.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Chris,
Indeed so many variables of fit and preferences. Do you have a narrow or low volume foot? Wear very thin and/or "slippery" socks?
High or low arches?
I am very surprised that you would have to go all the way down to a 9. I might go down half a size with thin socks with mine.
Sam. Editor

nikolaj sundberg said...

Not for duck feet (narrow heel, wide forefoot).
Hope this helps someone. I have quite wide (duck)feet but am able to run in Nike Kiger 4 and Salomon S-lab Sense Ultra (they are quite snug), but my main shoes are Altras. The Torrent does not fit my feet. It's to rectangular. Too long or too snug. But wider than most Hokas though. So they don’t quite fulfill the hype for me.

Karina Hath said...

How’s the drainage of this shoe when it gets wet? That’s my thing about my Altras, they dry super fast, so puddles weren’t really a problem for me.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Karina,
Thanks for asking. Haven't gotten them super wet yet but can say that 1) the "rand" or overlay all the way around the bottom of the upper will keep shallow water splashes out 2) on the flip side it may keep the shoe from draining as fast as some 3) the upper is really a single layer with inner open mesh partial bootie and a very light lining elsewhere with no overlays so they should and when I have gotten them wet dry quite fast.
Sam, Editor

Pierre Subileau said...

Hello Road Trail Run team
I have to change my Nike TK4 i like the confort of the midsole but i feel a lack of stability in the midfoot, i prefer the mid foot wrap of the Peregrine 7 or Nike Wildhorse 3 .
I've got a wide foot the Salomon are too narrow for me...

Between the Torrent and the Peregrine 8 who's got the best confort in midsole and the best snugness in midfoot?

Sorry for my english i'm french and i do my best....

sam winebaum said...

Hi Pierre, Thanks for asking and reading RTR. I ran a 30km quite technical trail race in the Torrent today with over 1650 m+/- and they were great especially climbing as they are so light and the outsole grips like crazy. No rock push through to speak of and there were plenty of rocks. The mid foot hold and volume is quite broad but no issues and better than TK4 for me which while not as broad stretched more. This said the much heavier Peregrine 8 has a superior foot hold and more cushioning underfoot. Depends on your terrain and pace really.
Sam, Editor

Pierre Subileau said...

Thanks Sam , great blog
you are my "wikirunningshoes"

sam winebaum said...

Thanks Pierre! Sam

Chris Lord said...

I’ve put a good number of miles on my Torrents and recently through some gnarly, rocky sections in NH. I’ve really found them to open up on a run as they warm up or maybe get sweaty? I like them, but haven’t at all been sold on their use on really technical trails at speed. I have a normal/small heel, wide as hell mid foot and wide/normal forefoot. I bought them in a size that’s the smallest I can go upfront (anot 1/2 thumb to thumb) and they only do an OK job of holding my foot securely in the mid foot. Another reviewer described them as “rectangular” and I think that’s partly true, but I’m always surprised by their tendency to “relax” the material as you run. I agree that the TK4 also lacks a good snug mid foot (saw the Kiger 5 photos today and they look substantially changed, so I’m excited) but I don’t wiggle the way I do in the Torrent. I wear Stance run socks, medium width. But you can’t beat the torrents weight or traction.

Kimisan said...

Do the Torrents have better forefoot protection than the TK3s? On technical trails, roots and rocks are making my feet sore in the TK3s. Thanks.

Chris Lord said...

I run in both in Vermont where the rocks and roots can be a menace. I would say that it’s close, but that the Torrents are slightly more protective? I’ve always felt the Kigers give you the ground feel, but the trade off is that you really can FEEL the ground, especially on longer runs. The Torrent as more forgiving cushioning up front, but without a rockguard I wouldn’t say that they are bulletproof by any means. But if I had to give it to one I’d say go Torrent. Excited to see that the TK5 will have better cushioning and a shield.

sam winebaum said...

Hi Kimisan,
Despite not having a rock plate the Torrent rock protection is very good. I think the outsole plays a big role as it is stable and decently dense with the midsole in the mix. I found the Zoom Air while protective tended to deflect which may be causing foot soreness. The new Kiger 5 preview here will have a rock plate in place of a front Zoom Air. Heel will retain Zoom Air. Preview here https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2018/07/nike-trail-running-spring-2019-previews.html
Sam, Editor

Kimisan said...

I ordered the Torrents and really liked the build of the shoe but had to return them. They just never felt as comfortable on my feet as the TK3s. The wide toebox of the TK3 feels awfully good even though the my forefeet take a bit of a beating descending technical trails. I am looking forward to the TK5. Thanks, Chris and Sam!

Σπύρος said...

Just tried the Torrent. Much better fit than the Speedgoat 2. Wider toebox and the tongue, although short, is gusseted. Laces could be longer for the lock lace method.

Bobcat said...

For everyone who likes the Torrent, but finds the fit a bit too "rectangular", it's worth checking out the North Face TRIII. Very similar cushion, a bit more forefoot flex, but a much more foot-shaped/banana fit. They run slightly large though.

John K said...

Hey Sam - excellent review. The Torrent is my first Hoka and absolutely love it. Perfect balance of cushion and responsiveness/performance. In your opinion, is there a Hoka road shoe with similar DNA to the Torrent? Would the Mach be similar? Any insights would be appreciated.


geoff cordner said...

I hated this shoe. Interesting that you guys are calling it true to size. I had to go a full size down compared to what I wear in Speedgoat, Speed Instinct, Nike Terra Kiger and Wildhorse, Salomon, and most other shoes. The fit is extremely sloppy, and I was fighting the shoe on every run. Supper unstable. Terrible upper. Fit got worse with time as upper stretched out. Worst Hoka I have ever bought, and the shoe that finally convinced me to never spend money on Hoka shoes again. Awful, awful, awful shoe. I cannot be negative enough about my experience with this shoe.

Bobcat said...

Did you try doing the lace lock trick? I found it essential as the opening of the shoe is very wide.

Jeff Valliere said...

geoff, bummer to hear about your negative experience with the Torrent, just further affirmation to the subjectivity about giving shoe recommendations and the variations of different runner's foot shape and preferences. FWIW, Altra is a wildly popular brand among trail runners and I appreciate them as a company and admire the quality of their product, however their shoes just do not work for my foot, compounded by the type of running that I do (steep, rocky technical trails and off trail). Good luck in your search. Bobcat, yes, I too found fit to be a touch off, but using that last lace eyelet pretty much solved my issues (though I don't lace lock, just employed the last eyelet).

Geoff Cordner said...

Bobcat - Yes. Lace lock just creates pressure on the top of my foot. Extensor tendon, I think it's called, gets irritated if I try to lock the shoe on my foot with lacing. The problem is that in my normal size, it is a size too large, and still a sloppy shoe.

Unknown said...

I've always run in Inov8's as they have been the best at accommodating the metatarsal on my big toe and offer wide toe box. How does the Torrent compare with regards to these areas to the Trail Talon 250 (which is perfect) or Roclite 280 (little to roomy in the toe box)?

Bobcat said...

Compared with the Trailroc 285, the Torrent has very similar toebox (very slightly higher and narrower). The big difference is the Torrent is wider through the midfoot. The Inov8 metcradle gives a nice locked down feeling along the arch.

Dennis Chui said...

I bought this when it was on sale. I did a run in the mountain with the torrent over the weekend and felt really great running with it. I really hate my bondi 6 but torrent is a great surprise to me. I am very happy with it.

Sam Winebaum said...

Great Dennis! Very different and much more fun on trails than Bondi! Let us know how they work out please

Basti said...
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