The Hoka Torrent 2 review has been one trail shoe that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. It’s a model that can easily be overlooked by the very popular Hoka Speedgoat. Hoka describes the Torrent 2 as a nimble trail racer. So does it live up to that description?
I have previous experience running in the Hoka Speedgoat 2 and I found it to be a more cushioned shoe for long-distance runs. It served me well on a few 50ks. I was also a fan of the Hoka Speed Instinct, a lightweight trail shoe designed for trail racing, and I was disappointed to see it discontinued. So when the Hoka Torrent 2 was released, I was excited that it could be very similar to the Speed Instinct.
I never got to try out the first version of the Hoka Torrent but I don’t recall there being any real significant changes. Hoka has been doing a good job of making only small updates and not making changes just for the sake of change. It uses the PROFLY™ midsole which keeps the weight down but also a nice mix of cushion while still being responsive. Another nice feature that makes me feel good about this model is that the upper uses a recycled yarn made from post-consumer waste plastic called Unifi REPREVE®. It doesn’t do anything for the performance of the shoe but it’s good to see companies being more environmentally conscious.
One of the first things I noticed was the roomy toe box. My feet like some room in the toebox as my toes spread out (splay) at toe-off. While I love the Speed Instinct, it was narrow at the toebox and I quickly saw the upper thin out from my pinky toes looking for some extra space. I also found the mid-foot area of the Torrent 2 to be roomy and that took several runs before I could dial in the fit. If you have a foot that is wide in the mid-foot area, this is a good thing. I had to cinch down in that area so that my foot felt secure in the Hoka Torrent. This brings me to a minor issue. The laces in the Hoka Torrent 2 are long and cinching the shoe down left quite a bit of extra laces that they almost touch the ground. Because I tie my laces using a double slip knot, they never get untied. I also don’t trip over the laces so it’s not something I’m concerned about but something that is pretty noticeable when compared to other shoes. The good thing is that if you need to use the “Runner’s Knot” to help secure the heel, you’ll have plenty of length in the laces to do so and laces to spare.
The Torrent 2 is designed to be responsive, so while there’s some cushioning, it’s not plush. Having run in the Hoka Speedgoat, it’s a bit firmer (responsive) while the Speedgoat has a softer feel. Hoka wouldn’t describe the Speedgoat as soft & plush, it falls in that middle part of the spectrum with the Hoka Stinson as that soft & plush trail shoe. While the Torrent 2 is responsive, it still feels protective and minimizes any impact underfoot. The Torrent 2 is also 1.5 oz lighter than the Speedgoat so it definitely feels lighter and that can translate to faster times in a race.
It’s a smooth and comfortable ride that feels light. You’re sacrificing a soft cushion for that lighter and responsive ride without sacrificing too much in comfort. While I don’t have stack number heights, it does look like it’s lower to the ground so you do feel a bit more stable. Since there isn’t a lot of midsole, it also provides good flexibility to adapt to the terrain. That flexibility makes the Torrent feel nimble.
|Weight||9.30 oz||Weight||7.60 oz|
|Drop||5 mm||Drop||5 mm|
Overall, I really like and enjoy the Hoka Torrent 2 but I think that’s mainly because I’m running shorter distances and I don’t feel like I need additional cushioning for the 6-10 miles I usually run on trails these days. If I was going longer and maybe even racing a 50k, I’d consider the Hoka Speedgoat instead. I was very pleased with the performance of the Torrent 2 when I raced the Big Peach Farm to Trails race (11k) in October. It was perfect for a start on the road that transitioned to gravel and then single track. I had plenty of traction even with rain from the previous day. While I had improved my training, I also think the Torrent 2 contributed to a PR of over 2 minutes from my 2019 race.
While I don’t want to limit anyone looking at the Hoka Torrent 2 for longer races, I think it’s better suited for shorter distances allowing you to push the pace. I personally would grab a Hoka Speedgoat for a 50k, but if I had started my training in the Torrent 2, I’d wait to see how my feet and legs held up on a 20 mile run before switching. A lightweight shoe over a 50k course could rack up some serious time savings.
The Hoka Torrent 2 is available at select Big Peach Running Co. locations and of course, it’s available through our online store.