Hoka Torrent 3 Review

Coming in hot after its recent release, this week it’s our Hoka Torrent 3 review. Hoka made its name making shoes with a thick midsole made from lots of soft foam. However, not all Hoka running shoes have this ‘pillow-like’ feel. The Torrent 3 is a shoe with a more snappy, responsive feel and a lot more ground feel than other Hoka trail running shoes.

Trail running shoes need to be able to respond to rough tracks and trails in such away that you don’t get thrown around by the ground and can make forward progress without the risk of twisting an ankle on the uneven ground. There are two ways of achieving this. By using a shoe with a very soft midsole that absorbs the uneven surface, a bit like a Mountain Bike tyre, or using a shoe that is more flexible and has a thinner midsole to ‘allow you’ to feel what you are standing on. Your foot can then react to the ground. This gives a snappier, more responsive feel to the shoe.


The Hoka Torrent 3 therefore falls more into the firmer, responsive category with some ground feel. This doesn’t mean that they are hard, uncomfortable and you can feel every stone through the shoe though. It just means that your feet are more aware of what they are standing on, which allows you to react accordingly.

The Torrent 3 is better made for UK trail running than a lot of trail shoes. Although the lugs are only 4mm in length, they are shaped to bite into soft ground and are well spaced out to reduce mud clogging. They offer good traction on a variety of surfaces. In the UK we have access to a lot of different types of terrain and a single run can have a mix of road, hard packed trail and muddy single track. The Torrent 3 has a firmer ride, so wouldn’t be most runners first choice for a 10 mile road run(!), but will be comfortable for most runners to use for a few miles of tarmac on the way to their favourite trail. The rear meta rocker helps maintain a quick cadence, keeping you light on your feet. The shoe is stiffer in the heel, which helps it ride well on road and harder packed trails. The forefoot is then more flexible to help on more broken ground, as the shoe bends with the contours of the trail. This increases traction and makes you more stable on this difficult terrain. The Torrent 3 has the same outsole pattern as the Torrent 2 but the rubber compound used to make the lugs is now a softer stickier one. This will improve traction on wet surfaces.

Compared to the Torrent 2, the stack height and heel to toe drop is the same (23mm-18mm men’s, 21mm-16mm women’s, giving 5mm heel to forefoot drop) but during my review miles the Torrent 3 feels more flexible in the forefoot. The big toe line in the toe box also feels straighter, making for a roomier feel to the toe box as your toes are free to wiggle and spread better. A foot that can spread on impact naturally cushions you and that straight toe is more powerful on toe off.

The upper of the Hoka Torrent 3 is now made from a very breathable single mesh. This hugs the foot much better than the thicker Torrent 2 upper, which reduces any movement inside the shoe when running on a camber or broken ground. The tongue is still semi-gusseted to reduce debris getting into the shoes. The gusset also prevents the tongue from slipping to one side. The tongue and heel cup are both nicely padded. The padding is light to reduce water retention, should you be crossing streams or out on a wet muddy days but makes the shoe comfortable on the top of the foot and gives a nice snug fit at the heel.

When comparing to the previous version, the Torrent 2 had a short tongue, which only just sat under the bow at the top of the laces. If you used a butterfly lace loop and the bow on the tied lace was lifted a little higher your foot wasn’t protected by the tongue. The Torrent 3 has a slightly longer tongue, so this problem is fixed.

Like all Hoka’s non-leather shoes the Torrent 3 is Vegan. I would describe the Torrent 3 as on the narrower side to its fit.

The Torrent 3 fits into my shoe rotation perfectly. Most of my easy running is on a mix of road, bridleway and farmers fields etc. The Torrent 3 offers a good compromise between the stiffer shoes that ride well on harder surfaces and the super-flexible fell or cross country shoes that are best for really broken or muddy ground. Although the feel is firmer than the pillow-like feel of a lot of road shoes, I’m a fan of firmer shoes and it offers plenty of cushioning to me and I had no issues on long runs of mixed terrain, up to two and a half hours.


Although like all Hoka running shoes the Torrent 3 has a meta rocker, it isn’t as noticeable as it is on the shoes with a greater stack height. This made me feel more in control and made the Torrent 3 very easy to run in. Naturally, most of my runs are slow and easy runs. The Torrent 3 felt ideal for these and doesn’t push you to go faster like a lot of other shoes with rockers. However, if you do want to pick up the pace then the Torrent feels very light and responsive and definitely doesn’t slow you down. The ProFly midsole is made of two layers of compressed EVA. A softer layer on the top to give a soft initial landing and then a firmer layer underneath to give you a more positive push off. The Torrent 3 weighs 248g men’s and 213g women’s. This makes the Torrent 3 lighter than the Torrent 2.

In summary the Hoka Torrent 3 is a very versatile responsive trail shoe that’s ideal for mixed runs in the UK. The meta rocker, improved fit and slightly more flexible forefoot in the Torrent 3 made me feel noticeably lighter on my feet.

Other Considerations

Scarpa Ribelle: Not as roomy in the toe box. More noticeable rocker. Similar responsive ride. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scarpa-ribelle-run-review/

Karhu Ikoni Trail: Softer ride with similar versatile traction. Here is our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/karhu-ikoni-trail-review/

New Balance Summit Unknown v3: Although the mid sole is made of New Balances Fuel Cell foam which is designed to be responsive these are quite a soft ride. So, would work as a more versatile shoe than you would think. Available in two widths. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-summit-unknown-v3-review/

Altra Superior 5: Zero drop broad rounded toe box. More flexible not as grippy in the mud. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/altra-superior-5-review/

La Sportiva Akasha 2: Similar stiff heel and flexible forefoot. A bit more grippy in the mud. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/la-sportiva-akasha-ii-review/

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