The Torrent 3 (23 mm/18 mm men’s, 21 mm/16 mm women’s) would be an ideal match for those transitioning to trail running who are looking for the Hoka quality at a discounted rate.
Training for a technical or long race? Look elsewhere for a shoe that will handle rocks, challenging terrain and adventures 50K or longer.
The Hoka Torrent 3 offers a slight upgrade from its predecessor, meaning that if you liked the Torrent 2, you will find comfort in the new version.
Conversely, if the Torrent 2 didn’t work for you, the third iteration does not include any upgrade that will change your opinion.
The fairly lightweight Torrent 3 (9.6 ounces for men’s size 10) includes very minor updates to the upper and the outsole. The upper has been changed in an effort to improve breathability, which was evident during my 50ish miles of testing on minimal trails.
The Torrents seem to know their place in the Hoka lineup.
Need a tough shoe for handling technical, mountainous terrain? Go for the Speedgoat, not the Torrents. Looking for a shoe that will transition well to and from paved and trail surfaces? The Challenger is calling you. Need a fast shoe for sub-ultras? Add some zip to your step with the Zinals.
So who — or what — are the Torrents for? They are a lower-cost option for runners seeking Hoka’s well-known cushioning for short to medium distances that don’t deviate from grassy or dirt trails. Think a half marathon or marathon course on easy trails. They could also be a go-to for those looking for a shoe for midweek short runs on trails.
The fit is pretty true to size and the foot feels secure inside. There is no rock plate so if you venture into rocky or even rooty trails, be forewarned. On the other hand, the Torrents don’t perform well on paved surfaces, so look for better options for runs or races that necessitate running on harder surfaces.
Hoka didn’t change the midsole from the second version. The ProFly midsole is quick and responsive, yet firm. Do note that there is no rockplate. Still the protection is enough for basic trail running.
If, however, you crave the plush feeling of Hoka, this midsole is for you. The Torrent does deliver a stable platform with enough material between your foot and the ground to allow for a decent ride.
The Torrents do offer 4-mm lugs, so they have the potential to provide support. The lugs have the same pattern as their predecessor so runners an expect to have some grippiness on the trails, but it is not a strong suit of the Torrents.
Take note of the overlays. The updates appear to leave something to be desired. There is an overlay that boosts the upper atop the mesh. However, I can already see some wear and tear on the medial and lateral sides. This deformity isn’t from technical terrain, either. My experience has been on a combination of grassy cross-country courses and soft and plush single track dirt trails.
Another thing to keep in mind is how your running surfaces and durability add up to the overall value of the shoe. Running on softer surfaces will keep the integrity of the shoe so you can enjoy it for a fairly typical life of a running shoe.
But venture out into harder-core areas and the shoes will break down, and end up being added to the donation pile or used for yardwork sooner than you might have anticipated.
As a neutral midsole, the Torrent’s ProFly foam can be considered rubbery.
You can push the pace, not as much as in the Zinals, but a decent amount.
After all, it comes from a good lineage. Hoka’s carbon shoes and faster road running shoes also include this same type of foam. The foam combines with a moderate Hoka stack height for a good ride.
If you want a bit of a boost of speed, a good amount of comfort and just enough traction for up to moderate trails, you could find a good fit in the Torrents.
Just like all Hokas, the Torrent’s cushioning provides comfort on the go. The fit is true to size for me. But if your experience with Hokas necessitates an adjustment up or down a half size, I would recommend doing the same with the Torrents.
The Torrents have established their own identity. They can be considered an entry-level shoe for the Hoka curious, or for runners beginning their own journeys on trails.
But for the seasoned ultra runner or those seeking out adventures with some combination of snow, mud, gnarly terrain and rocks — especially the rocks — there are better Hoka options out there.
In the Hoka line, the Torrent 3 may be most comparable with the Challengers. Though I find the Challengers to be vastly superior as they can handle harder surfaces like pavement and also offer a speedier response.
On the other side of the spectrum are the Speedgoats. They provide what the Torrents do not: even more cushion, superior traction, better durability, and lock-it-down protection. The Speedgoats are just getting warmed up at 50K while the Torrents are beyond their limits.
This is not to say at all that the Torrents are a bad shoe. They have a purpose and can be a solid solution for the right runner.
The Torrent 3s are best suited to shorter distances on trail, and perform best on softer ground.