The new for summer 2018 HOKA ONE ONE Torrent is a trail-tackling beast of a shoe. But this technical prowess comes in a pretty lightweight package.
HOKA ONE ONE designed the Torrent with progressive trail runners in mind. But the trail kicks are also adaptable. That means athletes are wearing the shoes for technical training, racing, and an active life in between.
Two-time USA Track & Field trail national champion David Roche called the Torrent “unbelievably comfortable, like an extension of my feet.” He said the combination of the shoe’s balanced profile and ultra-low weight makes it a go-to for all kinds of terrain.
“The Torrent combines responsiveness and speed with grip and protection as the Goldilocks shoe for technical trails,” he said.
Roche used the Torrent on Boulder’s infamously technical Mesa Trail.
“Known for rocks, mud, switchbacks, and steep climbs, this trail is extremely challenging,” he said. “The Torrent didn’t care about all that. It blasted up and down technical terrain.”
Top Trail Athletes Assist Torrent Technical Design
Two of today’s top trail runners — Jim Walmsley and Sage Canaday — provided critical input on the new trail shoe’s design.
The speedsters are part of a new generation that sees no boundaries in running. These mountain goats seem to be on a mission to achieve personal goals — FKTs on their terms — while exploring unconventional terrain.
To meet these demands, the Torrent has to deliver speed, agility, and comfort — all at the same time. The latter comes from the HOKA’s signature cushioning and meta-rocker profile. The lightweight nature of the shoe (just 7.4 ounces in a women’s size 7) delivers responsive speed in a competitive environment.
Trail Shoe Strives for Agility With Aggressive Grip
Torrent designers tried to marry agility and ballast in a lightweight package. In her review of the Torrent, trail-running maven Magdalena Boulet said it worked.
“It’s the perfect combination of weight, traction, and cushioning for running on technical trails,” she said. “I also find them great for faster runs on any trail surface, but especially when ascending to the top of a mountain. The wider toe box is really comfortable when I’m running long but still secure enough for singletrack trails.”
The Torrent also incorporates HOKA PROFLY technology, which is touted to give the heel a forgiving landing with a responsive toe-off. This makes the next step a little lighter. The shoes’ bold lugs dig into technical terrain with high-traction rubber.
The Evolution of HOKA ONE ONE’s Lightweight Racing Line
Jared Smith, associate product line manager at HOKA, calls the Torrent lightweight and capable. It’s an evolution of the Speed Instinct, which the brand is phasing out.
“This is a multidirectional shoe that’s great for climbing, descending, and moving laterally across the trail. It has both traction and aggressiveness in a lightweight, breathable, and secure mesh package,” he said. “And the outsole, well — it’s gnarly, it’s technical, it speaks for itself.”
Compared to other popular trail shoe models, the Torrent is a little lower in profile than the HOKA Speedgoat 2. It has the same drop (5 millimeters) and weight (9 ounces for a men’s size 9) as the Challenger ATR, but with a little more race-ready, responsive cushioning.
The Torrent also sports some new color combinations in a graduated blueprint. The women’s “canton” and “dress blue” version, for example, is a fresh teal with a pop of raspberry at the flashy lug. There’s also a “love potion” orange Torrent and an understated, steely gray. Men have four modern hues too — from muted to loud.
But what buyers really need to know is the Torrent is a complete trail-running shoe at a price point that won’t break the bank: $120 with a 30-day guarantee.