When I signed up on a whim for the Cirque Series Brighton event in late June, I was nervous for a variety of reasons. Aside from the crazy elevation (starting at 8700 feet and submitting 4 peaks near 11k) and the fact that I was only getting into Salt Lake City the night before, another concern was the fact that I wasn’t sure if so had the appropriate gear. I have some old trail shoes, but nothing really that hearty enough to tackle sections of climbing over boulders along the course. HOKA ONE ONE Torrent to the rescue!
The Torrent is a new trail offering from HOKA that actually would be difficult to notice as a shoe from this specificcompany. If I mention “HOKA” to any runner, my guess is that minds go to the big chunky soles. Well, the Torrent seems to buck this trend and instead has a sleek look and design (potentially due to input from two of today’s top trail runners — Jim Walmsley and Sage Canaday). I found that the HOKA cushion is still there, but the look is surely upgraded away from the standard.
The shoes come in 4 color schemes:
- Cyan Blue / Citrus (pictured)
- Nine Iron (maroon) / Black
- Storm Blue / Black Iris
- Sharp Green / Chinos Green
They are also pretty dang lightweight – a men’s size 9 weighs in at 9 oz. – meaning it is a fantastic option for trail racing. I can certainly attest to this. You can read my Cirque recap, but the important thing to note is that the majority of the aforementioned elevation gain comes in the first 2 miles. That meant that the trails were (stupid) steep and that I needed all my energy to keep moving upwards. Having a light shoe on my feet, coupled with sizeable lugs for gripping the dusty and rocky portions of the trails, was a godsend.
The lugs themselves aren’t giant but definitely do a great job on the trails. Considering that lugs are multi-directional, it’s perfect for quickly adapting to all kinds of crazy terrain – I can attest to that! They provided me with great grip on the standard dirt and rock trails and came in especially handy on the bouldering sections. They are functional enough that I feel the Torrent’s could also be used as a straight up hiking shoe as well.
They are surely breathable, but not as much as some others I have seen out there on he market. That being said, I had no issues during my intense race, and aside from some sweaty feet, I don’t feel this is something that is a dealbreaker. I should also mention that I had only put in one run in these prior to the race. While that’s obviously not ideal, they proved to be really comfortable and I had no issues with fitting in them and having them feel good on my feet.
Overall, I am indebted to HOKA for allowing me to test these on my race. I survived the event, thanks in no small part that I had the right tools (i.e. shoes) for the job. I look forward to exploring more trails with the Torrents in the future!
Shoe: HOKA ONE ONE Torrent
Weight: 9 oz (for M Size 9)
Heel Drop: 5mm
Specs (from HOKA):
Designed and built with the collaboration of world-class HOKA ONE ONE trail athletes, the Torrent boasts competitive credentials. Created as a trail racer, it incorporates the seemingly contradictory combination of cushioning and agility. The lightweight performance is made possible by a PROFLY midsole, providing a forgiving landing and responsive toe-off. High-traction rubber and aggressive lugs mean that when your feet are on the ground they’re sure of their footing. Marry that with a breathable upper and you’ve got a super lightweight, nimble and technical trail racer that allows you to tackle a variety of terrain at any speed. Pedal to the metal.
- Open engineered mesh construction optimizes breathability, quick drying, comfort and support
- Protectiveoverlays surround the forefoot and toe box designed for trail debris protection and support
- Oversize EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning
- PROFLY™ midsole for a unique balance of PROpulsion and PROtection
- Strategic hi-abrasion rubber zones for lightweight durability
- Multidirectional lugs for supreme grip on varied terrain
Thank you to HOKA for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.