Trail Shoe Review – HOKA Torrent 2 with Michaela McDonald
Fresh from a four-day running break in Victoria’s Grampian Mountains, west of Melbourne, The Distance Collective’s running coach Michaela McDonald shared her thoughts on the newly released HOKA ONE ONE Torrent 2.
I’ve been able to give the Torrent 2 a solid test run in the Grampians in Victoria over four days. The Grampians offers a bit of everything; lots of rocky and technical terrain with steep ascents and descents mixed in with some easier to navigate fire trail sections.
In total I’ve run close to 100km in the shoes already including a 30km run and the Torrent 2 felt great from start to finish.
I was a big fan of the first Torrent release so when I pulled on the new Torrent 2 and took them for a run I was stoked, and relieved, that they felt very similar to its predecessor.
The Torrent 2 retains its duel density midsole which allows for a soft and cushioned heel for long days on the trail with a firmer more responsive forefoot for stability and propulsion.
The grip is still some of the best I’ve had on a trail shoe with slight tweaks to the lug pattern that has made this version even stickier for ascending and descending.
The most noticeable difference has been made to the upper material, which makes for a nice lockdown around the mid foot. I’ve found that the changes to the upper have meant a slightly more stable shoe through lateral movements on the trail. The upper is a breathable and easy-to-dry material [engineered mesh], yet HOKA has retained some plastic overlays, which are critical for protection.
For me, the biggest difference between the Torrent and my other go-to trail shoe (HOKA ONE ONE Evo Mafate) is the confidence the Torrent 2 provides over technical terrain. These shoes provide me with a feeling of being close to the ground with plenty of proprioception but my feet are still protected with plenty of cushioning and excellent grip on the shoe.
Much like the Torrent, the Torrent 2 will be my go to for terrain that requires agility, traction and cushioning.
Michaela McDonald is a coach at The Distance Collective, a Sydney-based running squad. She predominantly runs trails and ultra-distance events but more recently has spent a little extra training time on the roads for variety and to keep progressing as an athlete.
You can also read an independent review of the Torrent 2 at independent running news site, Runners Tribe.