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Trail • May 29, 2020

HOKA ONE ONE Torrent 2 Performance Review


What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 9.3 oz. (264 g) for a US M9.0 and 7.6 oz. (215 g) for a US W7.5
  • Lightweight trail shoe with an aggressive outsole
  • PROFLY midsole remains unchanged, definitely firmer than other HOKA trail shoes (e.g. Speedgoat)
  • Great shoe for HOKA fans looking for a shoe with better trail feel than their higher stack models

ERIN: The HOKA ONE ONE Torrent is a shoe that I see everywhere on the trails. Despite reviewing trail shoes for the last several years and running in many other HOKA models, I’d never tried it and wondered what I was missing– and now I know! And I shall share that with you, if you are also wondering what you are missing. 

Quick rundown of the HOKA Torrent 2: It’s a lightweight trail shoe with aggressive outsole lugs, making it a favorite for runners who want to go fast on varied terrain. The PROFLY midsole is unchanged from the original Torrent, but a newly engineered mesh upper made of recycled polyester provides a breathable experience on the trails. Men’s stack height comes in at 23 mm/18 mm while the women’s is 21 mm/ 16 mm (so, 5 mm drop).

Now onto the review.


The Good

ERIN: The Torrent 2 differs from other HOKA trail shoes in several ways: first, it looks more like a standard trail shoe, and by that, I mean that the stack height is more in line with a New Balance Leadville than a HOKA Stinson. Second, it offers more traction than most other HOKA trail shoes I’ve tried (aside from the insanely aggressive EVO Jawz). And finally– this may be a sub-bullet of the first two points since it’s likely due to a combination of those elements– it is much firmer. I’m listing these things under “good” because, in general, I think these are the positive elements of the shoe. Unless, like me, you’re a diehard Speedgoat fan. 

The Torrent 2 is the HOKA you want to wear if you’re afraid of twisting your ankle in a high stack height trail shoe and/or if you find other HOKA shoes to be lacking in the traction department. While I didn’t love this shoe on its first outing, I didn’t hate it, either. After subsequent runs, however, I realized that for me, the Torrent required some breaking in, and settled into being a shoe I would reach for on trail runs under, say, 10 miles or so. 

Though I haven’t run in the OG torrent, it seems the most common complaint was the upper. People tended to have issues dialing in the fit due to the stiffness of the upper and its inability to mold to the foot, causing friction and instability when the foot slid around in the shoe. In comparing the upper of the OG and the 2, they look very similar to me, but I can say that I had no problems with rubbing or fit (aside from some slight heel slippage, which I’ll get to below).

THOMAS: This is the shoe HOKA meant for faster miles on the trail; at 9.75 oz./275 grams for a US M10.5, the Torrent 2 moves through your stride with ease. If you want to run trails with roots and rocks, the Torrent 2 will keep your feet nimble. Erin writes that it feels more like a traditional shoe than the other HOKA trail shoes. She is right. This is a positive for the Torrent when you need a shoe that can handle your regular mileage on most trail surfaces.

The upper is a cleaned up, softer version of the original Torrent. The fit is on the money. No heel lift here and a gusseted tongue, this is one of the most comfotable uppers on road or trail shoes. Thin rubberized overlays protect the shoe with 360º of about 1″ coverage right above the midsole. If you have busted through a trail shoe, you know that this overlay is there to add life to the shoe. While I didn’t do any stream crossings in the Torrent 2, the porous engineered mesh should drain water well.

The midsole isn’t that high in stack height and my feeble ankles appreciated it. While not super-stacked, the aggressive outsole and foam protect your feet from rocks and trail debris. The traction is solid on packed dry, muddy, sand, and light technical sections. Surefooted describes the Torrent 2.


The Bad

ERIN: This shoe is a bit too firm and unresponsive for me to want to wear for any kind of longer trail run, and I really, really don’t like how it feels on the road– now, this maybe shouldn’t be perceived as a negative, since it is a trail shoe, after all. However, I have worn the Speedgoat, the EVO Speedgoat, and the Challenger on both road and trail and all three are shoes that perform great on either surface. I just find the midsole (Profly, natch) to be too firm; it’s not a dealbreaker on the trail, but it is on the road.

I did experience some heel slippage in these and had to employ the lace lock for the first time ever. It did prevent the heel slipping, so that was nice. It also used up some extra lace, which was necessary since the laces in these are the longest I’ve ever seen in a shoe and that’s really saying something ‘cause 2018-2019 was off the rails in the long laces department.

THOMAS: Here is where Erin has me scratching my head. She loved the New Balance 890 v9 which I felt was too firm. The Torrent 2 feels like the sweet spot between firm and cushioned. With that in mind, I would agree it is too firm for a trail shoe where you would need to run on roads to get to the trail, or if the trail was more of a hard-packed fire road.


HOKA ONE ONE Torrent 2 Conclusion

ERIN: At local trail races, it seems that every other person I see is wearing the Torrent, and there must be a reason for that. It isn’t the shoe for me, but if you are unhappy with the traction of the Speedgoat or Challenger and/or are looking for something with a less aggressive stack height, try it out!

THOMAS: If you are looking for a fast and lightweight trail shoe for less than 20 miles, the Torrent 2 is a great pick. I’m not saying it wouldn’t work out well for higher mileage, but you may want to compare it to some of the other HOKA trail shoes that Erin mentioned to make sure you are getting the best ride for your long mile preferences. I have a soft spot for the Torrent, it was one of my favorite trail shoes when it originally came out. If you liked the original, this one is an upgrade.

You can pick up the HOKA ONE ONE TORRENT 2 for $120 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.


Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Bob Mags says:

    I have always trail run/hiked in Altra’s. They have simply lost me in recent models. Is there decent room in this toebox?

    1. Brian Vinci says:

      The toe box in the T2 is going to be narrow compared to Altras.

  2. Skoinas says:

    You guys keep teasing me with reviews of shoes not yet available. I loved the first torrent, and can’t wait for these to release.

  3. Nat Smitobol says:

    Great honest review! I love the first Torrent and have stockpiled them now that they have gone on sale. I ran Bigfoot200 in two different pairs of the Torrent, kept them on for all of the stream crossings, and had zero blisters at the end of 205 miles and 42k+ of climbing. I’ve gotten blisters in softer Hoka trail shoes (Napali ATR and Challenger ATR) previously, so I think the firmness of the Profly midsole was perfect for me! I also sized up half a size from my road running shoe size to accommodate for my feet swelling. I’m excited to try the Torrent 2!

    1. Olaf says:

      just picked them up as a gift. had the first version. first version disappointed in a ever so loosening up upper an the rubber peeling off the outsole prematurely. the new upper feels way better now. the outsole is the same , so let’s see. a point which i generally do not like is the rubberized overlay around the shoe. it makes them a bathtub.

  4. Will says:

    Looking for a suggestion for a fun 1.5 hour moderately technical trail shoe. I tried the OG Torrent and found it fine but not at all fun: a little dead, firm in a lack of ground feel way, not a reboundy way if that makes sense), etc. I really liked some iterations of the Altra Superior but after a toe injury want something I can lock down better. For that the TOPO MT-2 worked great for me but I don’t like the MT-3 and doesn’t sound as though I’d like the MT Racer or the Runventure.

    So, I’m finally open to some stack, a bit less of toe box width, etc., that I wasn’t when I was an Altra-or-nothing person but don’t know if there’s another shoe that is pretty fun for maybe 10 miles with a bit of rock/mud/inclines but nothing crazy. I appreciate a bit of cush and rebound but protection never really matters too much for me.

    Any thoughts? Or just go back and grab some Superiors? Thanks, and I love y’alls reviews

  5. Will says:

    I should add that I despise the move many are making to engineered mesh that is hot and sometimes heavy. I really don’t get it.

    Oh, and I actually loved, loved, loved the Hoka Evo Speedgoat’s out of the box on my first run but then each run after my foot moved all the hell around, got one bad hot spot on my smaller foot and, on the bigger one, my big toe fell asleep.

    1. Brian says:

      Try the Merrell Skyfire, I have been pleasantly surprised by this shoes fit, breathability and grip.

  6. Brian Vinci says:

    While the sole is cushy and grippy the lack of any support will make it feel like an Altra or a Saucony Mad River, you can literally bend this shoe backwards. I found the upper to be overly hot, there is virtually no air movement.
    Generally I do a dunk and soak test on shoes and these were bad. I fill them with water and see how long water naturally stays. These had a pool of water for over 20 hours in 90 heat. After 24 hours the upper is still wet to the touch. Same test with feet in for a couple miles, no pools but wet upper for another 15~hours. The reason for this is the TPU that goes all the way around is also sealing water in. To explain that there are differences, in the Salomon Sense Ride 3, same test, water pools as well but only remained for 3 hours and the upper was totally dry (more airflow).
    These are best for a dry arid climate IMO. I think Hoka could do better with some ventilation and drainage. Otherwise for the premium Hoka puts on these, I’d pass.

  7. Nikola says:

    They provide quite good comfort on uneven and rocky terrain. In my opinion, they are more comfortable than the Salomon models in that price range.

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