Extra Cush All-Terrain: Hoka ‘Tor’ Boot Reviewed

Traction, cushioning, and some weird looks are guaranteed with these boots.

boots-hoka

A massive midsole on the Tor Ultras make them stand out, and the flashy colors don’t help either.

But get beyond the visuals and the hikers, made by Hoka One One, are a unique experience on the trail. They roll as you hike, the sole a rocker shape to promote a fast pace.

New Genre Of Hiking Boot?

The company calls the boots “category-defining.” They come with a defining price tag, too, at $230. But for that cost you get solid construction and a boot unlike most anything on the trail.

Hoka is known for its running shoes, which have massive cushioning to absorb terrain. The Tor boot does the same, in our review sucking up bumps, rocks, and other obstacles underfoot.

hoka-hiking-boots

I tested the Tor boots over a month, including hiking, backpacking, and even for some trail runs. It performed as promised by the brand with a “blend of running shoe cushioning and supportive trekking uppers.”

A Vibram outsole was good for grip on gravel, mud, and dirt, yet at 5mm the lugs are not too knobby when the trail was smooth and I wanted to go fast.

Hoka Boot Review

The thick foam midsole makes you tall. It’s at first noticeable, and you feel like you could roll an ankle. But the shoe’s construction compensates for that, and the high-top design supports and protects.

Hoka Tor

Underneath the boot’s leather and nylon-mesh upper is a waterproof-breathable membrane. I stood ankle-deep in a river for a few minutes on an initial hike; not a drop seeped through.

For a boot, the Tor is of average weight, measuring at about 19 ounces (in men’s size 12) per foot. The company designed the Tor with a 4mm offset, or drop, meaning the foot sits fairly flat inside the boot.

hoka-boot

In the end, I like the Tor boot in concept but also had a hard time finding a use for its in-between design. Most of my pursuits require fast motion and light footwear, for which I grab running shoes, or else big backpacks and long, rocky trails in the mountains or snow, where beefier boots are needed.

The Tor Ultra is not as burly as the mountain boots I prefer, though it is much heavier than my trail-running shoes. Its waterproof upper is great for wet grass and lowlands, though this footwear was not designed to stand in for winter boots or for long use in snow.

Who Should Wear Hoka Boots

Fans of the big-sole Hoka running shoes might love the hiking boot adaption when they want to slow down and go long distances. While not my personal first choice, I could see backpackers and thru-hikers, especially on rough and rocky trails, syncing with the design, too.

These are “fat tire” boots, big and cushioned, but they still roll fast. Hike or run in them, and the Tor Ultras are a platform to crush out the miles, and they’ll be sure to turn heads on the trail like nothing else.

Specs

  • Weight: 17.00 oz (US 9)
  • Offset: 4 mm (Forefoot: 28 mm, Heel: 32 mm)
  • Price: $230
  • Full grain leather and textile upper
  • E-Vent waterproof membrane with full bootie construction
  • Protective rubber toecap
  • Full length EVA top midsole
  • Vibram outsole with 5mm lugs
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By
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.
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