Today we’ll be comparing two wildly popular trail running shoe models, the Brooks Cascadia vs Hoka Torrent. One is an extra cushioned trail monster. With plenty of protection from rocks and enough grip for almost any terrain. While the other is a light and agile trail speedster. Meant to go fast while giving you a firm feel for the trail under your feet. But which one is right for you? Below we’ll break down the key differences, specs, photos, and review their performance on the trail.
Brooks Cascadia vs Hoka Torrent
- Both models are neutral running shoes. And are not designed for people looking for help preventing under or overpronation.
- The Hoka Torrent is the lighter of the two shoes. Weighing roughly 2 oz lighter than the Brooks.
- With the Brooks Cascadia being the more noticeably cushioned of the two. The Torrent’s cushion is more light and responsive.
- I found the Cascadia also had more overall “foot / rock” protection. Which probably also adds to the heavier weight.
- There is a more aggressive drop on the Cascadia, with an 8mm drop. Compared to a 5 mm drop on the Torrents.
- That said, the Hoka Torrent sit slightly higher with a 31 mm stack height. Verses a 29 mm stack height on the Brooks Cascadia.
- For traction the Cascadia’s have slightly larger, 5 mm lugs. While the Hoka Torrent still has a good 4mm lug size.
Brooks Cascadia 16
MSRP Price: $130
Men’s Link: Click Here
Women’s Link: Click Here
Men’s Weight: 10.5oz / 297.7g
Women’s Weight: 9.5oz / 269.3g
Drop: 8 mm
Stack Height: 29 mm / 21 mm
Lug size: 5mm Lugs
Hoka Torrent 3
MSRP Price: $125
Men’s Link: Click Here
Women’s Link: Click Here
Men’s Weight: 8.7 oz
Women’s Weight: 7.5 oz
Stack Height: 31 mm / 26 mm
Lug Size: 4 mm Multi Directional Lugs
Founded in 1914, Brooks has been making running shoes for a long time. Known for not chasing design trends and developing a reputation for long lasting shoes. Starting with road running shoes, the brand slowly grown it’s trail running lineup over the years. On the other hand, Hoka is a relatively new brand on the running scene. Who has become one of the fastest growing running shoe companies in the world. Building a reputation for their highly cushioned running shoes, and legendary ”Speedgoat” trail running shoes.
There is a lot to love about both of these brands. And it’s easy to understand why so many people end up comparing the Brooks Cascadia vs Hoka Torrent. So below I’ll break down my experience with each of the shoes. And give you my closing thoughts on which I’d choose.
Out of the box the Brooks Cascadia is a good looking trail runner. With a wide selection of color options, they really do offer something to fit most people’s style. And before even putting them on, the aggressive 5mm lugs and added rock protection give them a very rugged look and feel. But there is definitely some extra weight to them compared to lighter trail runners.
On the feet the shoes seem to run true to size, except for the toe box. At least in the 16s, the toe box feels a bit oversized. But that may work for some people and is just something to note. So if you like a large toe box, these should fit you well. The arch support felt good for my medium to low arch. Though if you have a really high arch you may want to try another model.
Hitting the trails in the Brooks Cascadia I was impressed with the overall cushion and surprising amount of traction. These things did a great job of sticking to rocks while running. And transitioned well between hiking the ups and running the downs. My few complaints would be the lack of rebound and I didn’t feel like they had a great turnover. And that I’m afraid that if I went a half size up to be safe in the width, that the box would just be too big at that point. But this should only be a problem for certain feet, after big miles.
Jumping to the Hoka Torrent, I’m a fan of the new design of the Torrent 3. Which features a color wave splashed across the side. In the hand they feel light, and at 8.6 oz. total weight, they are. Yet they still manage to have an aggressive trail look. With 4mm multi directional lugs and sleek single layer mesh upper. These things look fast even before you put them on.
Getting them on the feet, the Torrents have a snug feel through the midfoot and heel. And that trend continues as we move forward up the shoe with what I would consider a narrow / smaller toe box. For me, I’m going a half size up on these. As for the arch support, there is a decent amount. I think it’s a good food for most medium to somewhat high arches.
Taking the Torrents out on the trail, they are definitely light and fast. They have some cushion, but if you want to feel the trail and be confident with every step. They have you covered with a superbly responsive design and incredible grip. But if you hit a rock the wrong way, you are going to feel it. And while they excel in distances up to 50k. Once you get longer than that or if you’re looking for longer or through hikes. You might want to go in a different direction.
Below is a side by side image comparison of the Brooks Cascadia vs Hoka Torrent. You can see the added cushion and and rock protection around the Cascadia.
Brooks Cascadia Profile
Hoka Torrent Profile
Cascadia 16 Back
Torrent Back View
From the top you can see the smaller toe box of the Torrent when compared to the Cascadia.
Torrent Top View
Brooks Cascadia Soles
Hoka Torrent Soles
Conclusion – Brooks Cascadia vs Hoka Torrent
When comparing the Brooks Cascadia vs Hoka Torrent, there are things each does well. And things they don’t. I think in the end it’s clear the two are designed for different purposes. With the Cascadia being a more beefy, cushioned, and protected trail runner / hiking shoe. While featuring a noticeably wide toe box. While the Torrent is a slimmed down speedster, with great breathability and traction. They are fast but run narrow up through the toe box and offer little in the way of rock protections. So which one to choose?
Which One Should I Buy?
I think for the majority of people, the Cascadia is going to be the better choice. It offers the cushion needed to be a good trail runner and make even better hiking shoes. And the overall fit with a true to size mid foot and larger toe box is going to be more what people are looking for. They are also a great choice for people looking for a through hiking shoe.
On the other hand, if you want an aggressive shoe that is meant to go fast. Then the Torrent is going to be worth looking into. I will use them as a my race shoes, and am a huge fan of them for Spartan Race and OCR because of how well they drain.
If you have comments on either of these two shoes, let me know in the comments below.