Read Before You Buy: Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi Hiking Boots for Women Gear Review
Two years ago, when I got my Salomons, I thought I found the perfect boots. And I still love them! So why did I decide to get a different pair of boots?
What are your feet like?
I have weird feet. I suffer from fibromyalgia and it’s probably why I’m oversensitive to touch. My nerves translate any stronger touch or pressure as pain. It’s really problematic with feet – any longer walking causes a lot of pain in my foot soles.
I stopped wearing regular shoes a long time ago and I’m glad that I can wear athletic footwear at work. But it still isn’t enough – walking on hard surfaces causes my feet too hurt, and then pretty soon knees and hip bones/joints, too.
When hiking, it wasn’t as bad because of softer terrain. But then the length was much longer than casual walking around the town. So often it wasn’t my muscles that were screaming “stop!” but my feet.
Salomon Quest 4D hiking boots were amazing. But I needed more cushioning. I thought I was just a freak of nature and would have to suck it up.
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi - first glimpses
But then I’ve read about Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi boots. They looked funny but they won Outdoorgearlab’s editor’s choice for 2018. The price was outrageous but the descriptions of fantastic cushioning and comfort caught my attention.
I was getting ready to hike on Crete, where I knew there would be a lot of roads walking and hiking on boulders and rocks. The price was causing my eyes to tear but I ordered the Hoka One One Tor Ultras from Italy (no store was selling them in Poland) and hoped for the best.
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi for women - comfort and support
When they arrived I confirmed what was written online – they looked funny and somewhat like clown’s shoes. But then I put them on and I am sure I had the dreamy look on my face you can see in cartoons.
I did a few test runs in Kampinos National Park (also with a weighted backpack) but as I live in a pretty flat area, I was still worried about the Cretan walking.
I can safely say that I had nothing to worry about. Hoka One One Tor Ultra His are the most amazing boots I’ve ever owned. I loved the system so much, that when I got back, I got a pair of Hoka running shoes to simply run around the town – and I finally can spend hours on hard asphalt surface with no pain.
But back to the Hoka One One Tor Ultras. What makes them so unique?
Here is how the company describes the boots:
HOKA ONE ONE signature cushioning that has been available to runners around the globe for the past 6 years is now available to hikers in the Tor Ultra Hi WP. Our midsole blend of EVA and RMAT® material provides ultimate comfort underfoot, and our Meta-Rocker geometry provides a smooth ride. Technical midfoot geometry is designed to increase underfoot stability on uneven terrain, and Vibram® MegaGrip outsole rubber with 5mm lugs provides ample traction and durability.
What's the deal with the funny (and huge) sole?
Hoka One One specializes in maximalist running shoes. I went through a minimalist phase in my life (I still have my Fivefingers somewhere) but it just wasn’t for me. I need wide toe box and don’t like much of a heel drop but I also can’t walk directly on a hard surface. Hoka's funny over the top cushioning was just the perfect solution.
The cushioning is just the perfect balance between comfy and firm stabilization. The company calls it the “marshmallow” sole and I can really see why! My feet felt like on a comfy marshmallow-like pillow. When I hiked, I felt like I had a spring in my step. That is mostly to the “rocking chair technology” – the rocker is added to the sole and makes it easier to get going, giving a bit of a momentum to one’s step.
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi - traction and grip
Hokas worked perfectly well on almost any surface I tried them on – walking on hard roads, uneven rocks, stones, and beaches, jumping from wet or rough rock to another, crossing slippery terrain just fine. I felt stable in them; the soles seemed to hug any surface I placed them on.
All of it is thanks to the outstanding sole design. The lugs are deep and aggressive and combined with softer and stickier rubber lugs which really stick to all the rocks and boulders I had to climb on Crete.
The only time I didn’t feel all that secure was when hiking over loose sand, scree, and soft sediment – that’s where I slipped and fell twice. I am not sure if I can blame them for the falls, though – the terrain was really nasty.
But the most important was how my feet felt – I could sing praises.
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi for women: support and weather protection
In addition to the wonderful comfort, Hokas also provide plenty of support. Your heel is held inside a “bucket seat” which keeps it in place and comfortable. This pair is “Hi” – they get up to hold your ankle and I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was.
Before, only Salomon Quest 4D could provide ankle support and go over it, while still being comfortable. All other boots I tried caused pain or discomfort (and weighed much more).
Hoka One One Tor Ultras are waterproof but use the eVent membrane – the same that you can see in dry bags. This membrane is much more breathable than GoreTex (you can see it when squeezing your eVent dry bag) while being waterproof.
EDIT: After hiking in Norway this summer, I need to sadly say that the waterproofing is not perfect. Heavy rain and later walking through wet grass soaked the boots through completely. Recently I sprayed them with waterproofing product, I hope it helps.
They seem huge but they are shockingly light. The weigh much less than my hiking shoes!
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi for women: Downsides
Are there any? None in terms of comfort. After hiking 300 km on Crete, over roads, rough rocks, sand, and boulders, you can see it took quite a toll on them. The foam around the sole is full of tiny tears and scratches. It seems only a surface problem with no influence on the comfort of use or safety but I worry a bit about the longevity. I hope this is only an aesthetic issue and that the boots last a while.
EDIT: After a few hundred kilometers more, the comfort become less obvious. After replacing the old sole with a new pair of extra-cushioning soles, they are back to being their old comfy self!
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi for women - Final Verdict: 4.8/5
I absolutely love them. The price translates directly into high comfort and support. Throughout the 300 km of hiking on Crete's harsh terrain I never had any blisters, no painful abrasions or foot sole pain. Absolutely amazing!
The only down sides I can see are price and the damage to the soles.
If you would like to see the boots at a store, click one of the links below (those are affiliate links, which means that if you buy something I receive a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!):
Update after some more hiking
After summer hiking in Norway over rocks and snow patches I can confirm that the Hoka One One’s grip is superb. I was not worried about moving from boulder to boulder or crossing streams - the soles stick to the rock like glue.
They behave quite differently on snow patches, though. They were slippery and I had to be very careful when walking on snowy slopes.
They soaked through when I had a heavier rain during my hikes - I hope it can be fixed with waterproofing sprays.
A few photos of Hokas in Norway:
Do you own Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi boots? How do you like them?
If not - what boots do you hike in? Would you recommend them?
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