Known as the original brand to bring the revolutionary concept of oversized, maximally cushioned midsoles to the market, Hoka One One is now taking the concept into the hiking and outdoor market with the release of the Tor Ultra High WP boot. Well, thats not entirely true- back in mid to late 2012, you may remember the Stealth boot which was the original two founding partners of Hoka's first endeavor into the hiking and outdoor market. The Stealth was extremely well received and became highly sought after but supply was so low that they were pretty tough to come by; and when the brand took off, resources were allocated to serving primarily the running footwear market and the Stealth was back burnered. Now that Hoka One One is firmly established in the running footwear market, they've decided to reintroduce its innovative concept and technology to the hiking market with it's all new MTN Trek collection, with the Tor Ultra High WP being the premier boot of the line.
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Before we get into the nitty gritty of our review, let's go over the basic technical features about the product including who it's for, and why you should try it on your next hiking or backpacking excursion:
- Event Waterproof Membrane: The "WP" in the Tor's title refers to it's fully waterproof construction thanks to an Event Membrane with full bootie construction. Event's waterproof material has grown in popularity for several reasons, but mainly due to the fact that it breathes very well and keeps water and moisture out while not causing your feet to sweat profusely.
- Vibram MegaGrip Outsole: 5mm lugs of high traction, maximum grip Vibram outsole provides traction and sure footedness on all but the slickest of surfaces. This was one of the criticisms of the original Stealth boot and has significantly been upgraded in the Tor.
- EVA and RMAT blended midsole: Here's where the Tor really outshines other hiking boots- the comfort and performance factor. Blending proprietary RMAT midsole compound with EVA has created a highly cushioned, stable, yet responsive ride ensuring comfort and performance on all your outdoor adventures. RMAT is a highly durable, responsive substance and when blended with cushioned EVA creates a very comfortable boot for hiking and backpacking both long and short distances.
- Why You Should Try It: The Tor Ultra High is for anyone looking for the utmost in comfort and performance on both shorter excursions and longer backpacking endeavors. It's loaded with industry best performance components that keeps you on the trails all day comfortably. Whether you hike 14'ers, regularly take week long backpacking excursions, or are simply looking for an all day, comfortable boot, the Tor Ultra High WP doesn't disappoint.
Right out of the box, the Tor is noticeably lightweight for a hiking boot, weighing in at approximately one pound, not bad compared to other boots on the market. Upon initial step in and first few steps, the Tor Ultra High WP feels great without being overly soft. The midsole consists of a blend between resilient and responsive RMAT (found in the Conquest) and just the right amount of EVA, found in the Bondi and Clifton. The key takeaway here is that it's very comfortable, but isn't too soft, which is important when considering hiking boots. The upper is composed of an Event waterproof membrane and smooth full grain leather, combined with mesh and textile materials around the ankle collar. The laces extend all the way from the bottom of the toes all the way up to the ankle collar, making it easy to adjust the fit and overall tightness of the boot throughout the foot. On the trails, the Tor Ultra High WP holds up very well. Our wear tester took it out for a quick run/hike along the Mesa Trail in Boulder on an overcast drizzly day and never had to worry about traction or wet feet. While we haven't had a chance to use this to hike a 14'er or longer day hike as they are so new, that is next on the list. The best compliment concerned the weight- it's remarkably lightweight for a boot of its size, while being every bit as technical and more comfortable than most.