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HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP Review 2018

  • Day Hiker
  • Ultralight Backpacker
  • Wilderness Backpacker

HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP Overview

When a running shoe and a hiking book decided to have a baby, the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP boot was born. With all the comfort you’d expect from trail- and road-running experts HOKA ONE ONE, and all the stability and traction you’d want from a stalwart hiking boot, there is little else you could need from an adventure shoe.

These behemoths use Nubuck and Suede leathers in the uppers and an eVent membrane to create a full bootie. Meaning, they are quite rugged and waterproof. And, drumroll please…breathable! The midsole is unique to HOKA ONE ONE — the company known for extremely cushy running shoes — and this boot uses HOKA’s Meta-Rocker geometry for that oh-so-comfy footstrike. The outsole is made with Vibram Megagrip and uses beefy 5 mm lugs. So when you think to yourself, “boy, that looks like a clunky shoe”, just know it’s an all purposeful clunky shoe. And it’s one we recommend for the Wilderness Backpacker, Ultralight Backpacker, and Day Hiker who likes a solid boot instead of shoe.

As an avid trail runner and very experienced hiker, this boot intrigued me like not many shoes do. Is it a lightweight boot? Is it a high-top trail runner? What in the world is going on here? I had to investigate.

Read the full HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP review below.

HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 14.7 oz. (416 g) per shoe (women’s) A very lightweight boot for how beefy it looks, and how much leather covers the top. Still not the same as a hiking shoe or trail runner, but great for a boot.
Category Lightweight (<18 oz.) We categorize boots in three classes, and the Tor Ultra Hi WP is definitely a lightweight boot.
General Fit Narrow Heel, Wide Forefoot The Tor Ultra Hi WP fit has a narrow heel and midfoot, with a wide toebox. This will fit most people well, especially those who enjoy room to splay their toes.
Upper Nubuck Leather, Mesh, Rubber A healthy combination of leather, mesh, and rubber allows for breathability and durability. The rubber is a bit unique.
Waterproof eVent eVent does a fantastic job of breathable waterproofness, and it’s used well in the Tor Ultra Hi WP.
Sole Vibram MegaGrip One of Vibram’s grippiest and long-lasting soles.
Lace System Traditional, 2 Lace Hooks The laces are well-made and go far down the foot and high up the ankle to create an excellent fit.
Sizes Available 7-14 for Men, 5-11 for Women, with half sizes or not Plenty of sizes.
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty Standard warranty for boots.
Retail Price $230 A high price tag. You’re paying for the quality leather, sole, and HOKA’s very unique design.

Gear Review of the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP

Origins: Easing You In

Have you ever dreamt of walking out your front door, pack loaded and strapped on, to embark on a backpacking trip through some of the country’s most amazing mountains? Me too. So that’s what I did.

The trip these boots went on was an epic quest that started on the Continental Divide Trail (just out our front door) and into Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a wild, challenging, tiring, and inspirational trek that gained and lost elevation like nobody’s business. I am not an Ultralight Backpacker and that was never more apparent. Bear canister? Check. Bombproof tent? Check. One thousand pairs of socks? Check. A bunch of books for no reason? You got it.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-riverbank
Just out the front door and up the trail.

Choosing the proper footwear for a trip like this is unbelievably important. Despite not being an ultralighter, I’m typically a barefoot/minimal footwear person (the two aren’t mutually exclusive, trust me). Whether out running trails or hiking up fields of scree — it’s all the same for my crazy feet.

What I did not expect, just days before this trip, was that I would break my very sad pinky toe. I had planned on wearing my trusty Vibram Five-Fingers, but that was a definite no-go for me and the pinky. So I decided to wear the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP boots.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-soles
They were the right decision.

I figured they would be just what I needed: lightweight, minimal-ish drop, very protective, and, best of all, the testing scenario. This trip would involve hiking, backpacking, trail running and light mountaineering. Basically, the ultimate test you could put a boot/trail runner hybrid through.

Revelation: The Moment I Knew

I have super narrow feet with an extremely wide forefoot. It’s that barefoot life, what can I say? So, finding shoes can be a little bit tricky.

After about 15 miles on trail with a very large pack, I absolutely could not believe how supported and comfortable my feet were in the Tor Ultra Hi WPs. Even with a broken toe, taped onto its sister toe. I had expected to be pretty uncomfortable no matter what I was wearing. But damn. This boot felt minimal yet supportive. My foot had enough room to move around in that hard-to-explain-way we all know of and long for. But the traction and stability felt like a much heavier, more solid boot. I was also surprised by the excellent breathability and waterproofing during very hot afternoons and very early morning river crossings.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-uppers-and-midsole
Surprising comfort in this trail-runner turned boot. And look at that midsole! Classic HOKA.

I’m quite critical of footwear. I love to try to dismantle claims of excellence. But on the first day of use, it became apparent that the Tor Ultra Hi WPs were special snowflakes in the outdoor world. They fill a very interesting niche for those of us looking for a true crossover shoe. And they fill that niche perfectly.

Digging Deeper

The first thing I noticed upon unboxing the Tor Ultra Hi WP was how light they are. At 15 ounces per boot, I would consider them hands-down the most lightweight boot I’ve ever used — and they don’t look light from afar! I was slightly concerned about the 4mm drop they have, but this turned out to be quite comfortable as well. I did not have an issue using them extensively, even though I’m used to a zero drop shoe.

On trail, the Tor boots are wonderfully breathable, yet have excellent waterproofing. eVent is known to have one of the better waterproof/breathable ratios in footwear, and I never had an issue with swampy feet. I think that says a lot, as I was putting on serious miles for many days. Looking at my feet you never would have guessed. This boot truly is its own “genre” of footwear. So unlike anything I’ve ever worn.

1-HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-boot-top
The bootie-esque ankle protection coupled with eVent meant no rocks and no water, yet full breathability. Another pleasant surprise.

Comfort 

I have used these boots in temperatures ranging from 30 degrees (F) to 90 degrees (F). In all temps I used the same socks, and I have to say, I stayed super comfortable. I skipped the break-in period and headed straight to my backpacking trip with them — not generally a wise move. But they did not need breaking in. I didn’t get hot spots, blisters, or feel any pain for the duration of my hike.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-hiking
Day hiking in the Tor Ultra Hi WP. Smiles of comfort.

Durability 

After 80 strenuous miles, these boots are holding up extremely well. The leather uppers have taken the brunt of the abuse, hitting rocks and going through water. And sure, they’re a tad scratched up, but the leather has held strong, the stitching is still looking great, and there is no breakdown in the footbed. I can’t give it five stars because I haven’t tested it long enough, but so far so good.

Soles 

The HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP boots have very good traction and the soles look nearly new after lots of abuse. Scree can ruin even some of the nicest boots, so I am pleased to say HOKA has done something very right here.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-soles-closeup
The Tor Ultra Hi WP soles have plenty of lugs and are surprisingly rugged, because HOKA ONE ONE trail runners don’t have soles that last through gnarly terrain.

The only issue I had with traction was nothing to do with the actual soles, but more to do with how high these boots lift you off the ground! If you are used to a more minimal shoe, try on a pair of HOKAs and you’ll understand this immediately. I had to get used to towering above the trail.

Uppers 

All in all, I found the uppers to be comfortable, breathable, and durable. In short, they hit the marks. I appreciate so much that they have a traditional lacing system. And that the laces seem to be extremely high quality. They fit somewhat like a gator from the ankles up, something I’ve never seen before. And this nifty little feature is rad. I never had a single instance of a rock in my boot.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-hiking-boot-profile
These are the uppers, and the Tor Ultra Hi WP boot in all its glory. Yes, it’s very strange looking.

Fit

As touched on before, my feet have a unique shape. Very narrow overall, but very wide in the forefoot due to over ten years of barefoot running. The wide toebox of the Tor Ultra Hi WP allowed my toes to splay comfortably. My heel and ankle stayed firmly in place, which caused virtually zero rubbing. Meaning…ZERO BLISTERS. And finding a shoe that doesn’t cause blisters is essentially like finding the holy grail in my book. They run true to size as well, which is always appreciated.

HOKA-ONE-ONE-Tor-Ultra-Hi-WP-Review-laces
Good lacing and somehow a perfect fit for my awkward feet.

Grievances

I actually don’t have complaints about these shoes. They exceeded my expectations for nearly all footwear available for any activity. This is unique, and I don’t normally say this sort of thing about footwear.

But I loved the fit, comfort, durability and performance. I do not recall a time I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by an unusual or new style of gear.

Final Word

Whether you love to hike, trail run or just walk in the woods, you will be in love with the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP boot. It is a real force of footwear. A lightweight beast. A revelation of what the future of hiking boots can be.

Where to Buy HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP

We tested the women’s HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP boot. The men’s is the exact same, except for fit and size. There is only one version of this boot, though HOKA does have a Low model called the Summit that is basically the same without ankle support. They also have a Tech model that is similar to the Ultra, but without the leather and a few other changes.

Overall we really like the Tor Ultra Hi WP boot. If you want the same features and ability in a hiking shoe, check out the Tor Summit WP.

Compare HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi WP prices below.

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DeDe Rosenberg-4

Deirdre Denali Rosenberg

Deirdre Denali Rosenberg is a photographer, writer, mountaineer and adventurer based in a tiny cottage in the middle of the high Rockies of Colorado. She believes every human has a wild spirit and nature connects everyone. She aims to inspire the masses to get outside, conserve our beautiful land and live an epic life. You can find her work at Let's Play Instead and on Instagram.

Review Policy: We do not accept payments or gifts from brands and vendors, and strive to provide unbiased, independent advice. Brands typically provide review samples which we return, and in some cases we purchase the item so we can keep using it long after the review. Affiliate Policy: We support the hours that go into our reviews and testing through affiliate commissions on purchases made through links in this article. These don't effect the outcome of our reviews or selection of gear, as per our Review Policy.

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