The second version of the Torrent could well be viewed as a gateway to those curious about Hokas but not sold on the brand’s well-known stack height.
With a 5 mm drop, the Torrent has a stack height of 23 mm/18 mm in men’s and 21 mm/16 mm in women’s.
That gives the Torrents a more similar appearance to other trail shoes. Additionally, its combination of lightness and strong lugs allow runners to scoot down the trail with speed and ease.
With all of that said, the Torrents (about 9.3 ounces for men, and 7.6 ounces for women) come across as stiff and harder to break in than other Hokas I’ve tried like the Challengers and Speedgoats.
Even after 50 miles, the shoes felt stiff.
Kudos to Hoka for improving the upper from the original Torrent. While I never had the opportunity to run in that model, there were complaints that it contributed to an even stiffer shoe.
Hoka kept its Profly midsole unchanged but used a blend of recycled post-consumer polyester for a smoother feel for the upper.
Hoka did not change the Torrents’ Profly nimble midsole from the original.
For runners interested in Hokas, the Torrents do serve as good test.
There is certainly a lot to like about Hokas and overall, the Torrents do not disappoint — just be sure to match them with an appropriate distance.
One of the most notable upgrades from the original Torrents is the outsole, where Hoka created more aggressive multi-directional lugs.
In my test runs, I took the Torrents uphill, downhill, over rocky sections, through grassy sections, around loopy trail bends and everything in between.
The lugs did their job remarkably well, and I never felt that they were holding me back as far as speed goes.
The best endorsement actually comes from a run I had, a day after I ran in the Torrents. When I was running in another Hoka model, I slipped and fell on a slick section of mud.
Literally the day before, I went through the exact same area with the Torrents and did not slip or slide one bit.
One thing to note for runners who regularly run in very rocky sections — there is no rockplate in the Torrents.
While there is overall solid protection, I would not recommend running in these on rocky technical terrain.
Like other Hokas, the Torrents are built to last. They should hold up under most trail conditions and perform well through various trail obstacles like roots, rocks and the like.
The shoes’ thickness helps repel water, pebbles and other debris, adding to the runners’ comfort as well as the long-lasting durability of the shoes.
After 50-plus miles, I have not noticed any discernible wear and tear on the shoes.
The Torrents do offer a bit more speed than other Hoka counterparts on mostly flat and moderate trails.
I had no trouble hitting the high gears when the trail allowed as the Torrents were able to respond, regardless of the softness, hardness, wetness, or dryness of the trail.
So, based on my review, while one may be looking at the Torrents for a shoe for short races. It can also be used as a mid-week trainer, especially for speedwork.
It would be a good option for a series of hill repeats of short speed intervals on trails, while I’ll save my Challengers or Speedgoats for longer weekend runs.
As noted previously, the overall comfort is lacking, even past what I would consider a normal break-in period.
On the bright side, the toebox does provide enough room to allow the runners’ toes to splay out, so that is a benefit.
Because of this firmness, I would also caution against using it when having to run from roads to trails.
When I run from home over to our local cross-country course, I have a couple of road crossings I need to get by.
Those are OK but I wouldn’t want to do an extended run (mile or longer) in the Torrents on roads, or even a paved trail.
If you are interested in a fast, lightweight Hoka for distance up to 10 miles (or perhaps a half marathon on an easy trail), the Torrents are a solid option.
For me personally, I would gravitate toward other Hoka models like the Speedgoats or Challengers but after all I do prefer longer distances.
I also prefer a less-rigid feeling shoe. But if you can get past that, the Torrents are a terrific option.
Here’s how they compare to some related models:
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