HOKA Tor Ultra Hi WP Hiking Boot

You want tactical sensibility? Looking at the new Tor Ultras with its massive midsole would make you think otherwise but don’t let the flashy colors and thick sole throw you off.

Let’s discuss this “category defining” boot first and yes, these boots do come in desert tan and black. Hoka has taken a major step in the right direction with this new offering. The Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi WP boot is a combination of a running shoe and a backpacking boot.

Smooth Operator-Many uses for this well-planned and executed product; hiking, running, backpacking, & range-time.

Smooth Operator-Many uses for this well-planned and executed product; hiking, running, backpacking, & range-time.

They’ve mixed killer construction, great design and smart technology to give butt-kicking foot-wear. Right out of the box, I noticed how lightweight the Tor is for a hiking boot. They weigh in at 16.9 ounces.

The $230.00 dollar price tag might make you think, “ouch” but don’t judge too quickly-this just might be the boot for you. Why? I believe you are going to get your money’s worth from Hoka-the maker of great footwear for ultramarathon runners and now this, the Tor Ultra Hi WP boot. You get solid construction around the whole thing, and this boot isn’t like anything you’ll test on the trail. It feels great without being overly soft. Take a few steps in it and you’ll be surprised.

I had never heard of yet alone tried on a pair of Hoka boots before this. A big thanks to Jen for letting us test this out! Hoka One One creates shoes that are noted for their light weight and plush cushioning. As soon as my feet were in the boots I was stoked! Hoka One One is pronounced “O-nay O-nay.”

Good use of leather and nylon materials on the heel, collar, flanks and toe box for stability and protection.

Good use of leather and nylon materials on the heel, collar, flanks and toe box for stability and protection.

Comfortable, breathable, lightweight and stable. This boot is definitely for the active person. Their thick but soft cushioning is made for absorbing shock and reducing fatigue to the legs thereby allowing you to continue with your energy intact. Long, rugged downhills and climbing upwards is helped along by a wide-body design concept and smart application of technology.

Hoka started out by designing a running shoe that could take the long distance beat-downs. That principle was applied to their boot-You name it: scree, bramble, twigs, and rocks and just about anything underfoot gets swallowed by the marshmallow like softness of the outsole.

This boot was tested for nearly two months of hiking, running, and even high-jumping on top of kitchen counters just to test the bounce. It performed better than expected. It is really like a running shoe that married a boot and produced this killer offspring.6

Hoka states you get a groundbreaking blend of running shoe cushioning mixed with supportive trekking uppers.

You might not know what the terms mean but the Vibram® MegaGrip outsole rubber under the midsole blend of EVA and RMAT® material do their job; you get traction, cushioning for running trail, hiking hillsides or blasting targets while running down the range without twisting your ankles. The foam midsole makes you stand tall but you are stable up there.

Some will disagree with my opinion, but give it a try before you discount the look, and see if it holds up to your daily abuse. I think it will.

The Upper

So, let’s discuss the upper. The tall leather and nylon collar upper encapsulates your ankle very well due to the well-thought out construction.

Good usage of lugs and flex grooves for incredible traction and balance

Good usage of lugs and flex grooves for incredible traction and balance

Rolling your ankle on technical downhills won’t be easy to do and this gives you confidence to kick out your stride. The boot upper compensates just right while doing twisting motions as the boot lower provides excellent grip and stability.

Ankle stability is further helped by strong laces which extend all the way up from the vamp, along the throat of the boot, and to the top of the collar. This allows you to adjust the overall tightness and fit the way you want it.

Lace Keeper, Eyestays and strong laces hold this all together really-well

Lace Keeper, Eyestays and strong laces hold this all together really-well

The laces are held in place by the leather eyestays and fit through 2 sets of lace hooks and 6 sets of eyelets. A good combination of leather and nylon is done smartly and they cut the flex points where its needed-at the edge of the toebox and at the ankle.

The toebox is ample and the foot sits nicely in the heel cup and boot insert without the foot feeling choked. The boot front has a generous mudguard/toe bumper that wraps nicely over the toe to shield your toes from impact if you strike an object. The saddle, or the middle of the boot upper, has a nicely lain expanse of leather to protect the flanks of your foot.

The “WP” in the Tor’s title stands for eVent Waterproof and this breathable membrane is stitched into the mouth of the boot and throughout the body.

The membrane via millions of tiny pores allows the boots to breathe well and keeps water out while allowing your moist feet to dry in due time. Around the Northwest there’s sufficient rain for a person to appreciate boot construction like the Hoka Tor. Great weatherproofing properties; creeks and puddles are no match for a quick, ankle deep stride but sadly I wasn’t able to test them in snow.

The Outsole

Flex points at the toe box and ankle for generous movement

Flex points at the toe box and ankle for generous movement

Let’s talk about the outsole. There are sufficient flex grooves on the bottom of the boot with a good mix of orange and grey lugs to help you maintain maximum grip even on wet surfaces. All of this is made possible by the Vibram MegaGrip Outsole- you get 5mm lugs that grant surefootedness.  Loose dirt, hard rock, grassy knolls, and scree didn’t stop my ascents and descents.

Boot can be used confidently to move on the gun range.

Boot can be used confidently to move on the gun range.

Running along with good ankle protection, and excellent traction gave me confidence to run out some miles. Banging out speed on technical terrain was handled nearly as easily as on flat road. Next to last thing that I want to mention is the Meta-Rocker geometry that Hoka developed on their ultra-running shoes. They’ve given the Tor a similar technology of a late stage Meta-Rocker outsole which helps with forward motion.

The Meta-Rocker

6 End eyelet used to pull the boot tighter around the throat. Meta-Rocker guides you to an excellent gait.

6
End eyelet used to pull the boot tighter around the throat. Meta-Rocker guides you to an excellent gait.

The Meta-Rocker works nicely as a forward assist and it’s needed in order to compensate for the high stack height of the collar. The outsole has about ~⅓ more surface area than normal shoes. You get a smooth ride from the combination of a wide outsole and the rocker which propels you forward.

I like the way your gait is guided. The boot has a 4 mm offset, or what is known these days as a drop, so the foot actually sits flat inside the boot. All of this allows the boot to give the wearer a very cushioned ride that’s stable, yet responsive because your heel and forefoot are hitting ground at the same time. Your heel and forefoot will enjoy the mix of RMAT midsole compound and EVA foam.


 

Overall:

Pros

Excellent support for the entire foot; ankle and overall

Excellent traction

Light weight-16.9 oz

Protective toe cap

Very breathable and waterproof because of their eVent membrane

Well cushioned. Similar to running shoe cushioning

Excellent use of eyelets, eye hooks and laces to give boot a good fit.

Confidence booster when moving because of the meta-rocker and wide outsole

Cons

Bright colors may turn some off but boots now available in tan and black

Great boot for running, hiking, and for the gun range. Good stability will allow you to stand properly without rolling.

PRODUCT SCORES

Functionality: 5/5

Weight: 5/5

Durability: 5/5

Cost: 4/5

Comfort: 5/5

Total: 24/25

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

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Final Analysis: Sturdy, comfortable, light-weight and useful

Final Analysis: Sturdy, comfortable, light-weight and useful

 

 

 

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About The Author

U.S. Navy SEAL, 20 years (retired). SEAL Instructor Combat Experience-Iraq OGA Afghanistan-6 years. http://www.redfrogtraining.com

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