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Hands-on Gear Review
HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit Mid WP Review
Cons: Poor traction in mud, somewhat lacking in stability and durability
Bottom line: If comfortable lightweight boots and happy feet are the most important characteristics for you, this is everything you've been looking for.
The Hoka One One shoes and boots are luxuriously comfortable. In both their popular running shoes as well as their hiking footwear, they employ thick cushioned soles that give the user a stable, comfy stride. Not only are they the widest soles of any boot we tested, but they are also the lightest. It is easy to forget that you are wearing hiking boots with this featherweight model on your feet. It is a lower cut than most, however, so if you are looking for increased stability in the form of a higher ankle, then consider looking at the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra Hi, the next model up from the Tor Summit Mid.
While it didn't take long to convince us of this product's plush properties, we were initially skeptical of how it would perform across the other scoring metrics. To our pleasant surprise, it didn't disappoint. The Tor Summit Mid WP also finished above-average amongst lightweight hikers in stability, traction on wet and dry rocks, and water resistance. It was even one of the most lightweight pairs to "boot" (yep, we went there).
The lightweight hiking boot category found tough competition, and the Hoka models only beat out the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX by a few ounces, but we were impressed at how much comfort we got from such a light boot while testing the Hoka boots. Other boots shed weight in the sole, resulting in being able to feel more rocks while hiking in rough terrain.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Men's Hiking Boots of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit Mid WP costs $180, which buys you supreme comfort. This product is very lightweight (2.19 lbs/pair), and beat out most of the other lightweight hikers in durability. It is also sufficiently supportive enough for easy and moderate trails with a variety of terrain obstacles. We found this competitor to be an excellent choice for the majority of hikers who puts foot-happiness over sheer ruggedness.
We can't express enough how great these shoes feel underfoot, even beating out the previous champs of comfort, the Vasque St. Elias GTX and Targhee II. Our reviewers agreed overall that both HOKA ONE ONE models are not only the most comfortable boots in this review but perhaps one of the cushiest pairs they've ever worn. HOKA ONE ONE's signature oversized, injection molded EVA midsole is a large source of this comfort. Even without a shank in place, we were well protected from pointy rocks underfoot by the thick layers separating our feet from the ground. Furthermore, the midsole absorbs shocks very well, which is great when jumping through obstacles and heading downhill. The Ortholite insert is also spongy, especially in the heel. This combination all but guarantees an end to sore heels and feet after a long day of hiking. Comfort is our most heavily-weighted metric, and this boot takes the cake.
The outsole has a rockered design that is more dynamic than the other boots in this review, without going overboard. The La Sportiva TRK GTX also features a rockered outsole, but the Tor Summit seemed to pull us forward by an invisible force. This, coupled with its very light weight, makes for a very energetic boot that resists standing still. Although this could take some getting used to, we think you'll quickly learn to love this feature.
This product's lacing system consists of four lower, one middle and two upper eyelets. The flat laces slide through the eyelets well, allowing you to tighten the upper around your foot all the way down to the first eyelet with ease. The upper hooks are well-placed to snug up the supple collar around your ankles. For ease of use, we preferred lacing systems that incorporated a locking eyelet to hold the laces in place while tying the bow, such as found in the Targhee II and Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX, which had the best lacing system of them all.
The laces on this product and several others slide through the eyelets easily. This can make it tough to maintain the desired amount of tightness in different areas of the upper while tying the laces. We recommend isolating the lower, and perhaps even middle, sections of the lacing system with a friction-based Surgeon's Knot. For tips on tying this knot and more, check out our Buying Advice article.
The Tor Summit has an eVent breathable, waterproof membrane. A gusseted mesh tongue and side vents throughout the mid and forefoot section of the upper also add ventilation. We found it to be breathable enough for our needs, although we did not test it in hot summer hikes. For extreme breathability, see the aptly named Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator.
This HOKA ONE ONE boot fell to the middle of the pack in this metric. From the footbed to the top of the ankle collar, it measured 5 inches. Somewhat making up for this fairly low height is the width of the forefoot, which tied the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX and Tor Ultra Hi for the second-widest measurement, strengthening the support from the base of the boot.
Despite not having a midsole shank, this boot does have excellent torsional stability. The Moab 2 Ventilator was the only other hiking boot in this review without a shank built into its construction. The veritable thickness of the midsole and moderately stiff outsole prevent this model from twisting very much at all, which is especially useful news if you haven't built up a lot of ankle strength. While this doesn't provide the most ankle protection of all boots in this review, we found that it was enough for most trails we encountered. Only when we went off-trail and hiked through difficult terrain did we begin to wish for more stability. If you're looking for more security from a lightweight hiker, the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 is an excellent choice.
This product was one of the most trustworthy on wet rocks in our tests. The multi-directional Vibram lugs gripped slick river rocks when others slid, which gave us welcomed confidence when crossing streams and rivers. It also did well ascending and descending dry rock and slab. The Tor Summit submitted to the Targhee II in this metric, which was even better across the board in traction.
These boots did struggle during our test laps in the scree field and slid around more than most when slopping through mud. Lastly, the HOKA ONE ONE didn't take to scrambling or climbing very well, as the thick soles are too bulky and lack sensitivity. For folks seeking more purchase and climbing ability from a lightweight, head over to our Top Pick for Scrambling, the Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX.
Weighing 2.16 lbs a pair, the Tor Summit Mid WP virtually tied for the second-lightest pair, being only two-tenths of an ounce heavier than the Inhaler II. By not having a shank and utilizing a low-density midsole, HOKA ONE ONE has created a very low weight hiker that still features a durable upper made of nubuck and suede leather (minus the mesh tongue and ankle collar). We found the combination of excellent comfort and light weight made our feet and legs less tired after long days of hiking, which we valued highly.
You can stand in water up to 5 inches before it starts seeping over the eVent waterproof membrane and into the Tor Summit. This was far from the highest flood level we measured, yet we still found it to be enough for splashing through puddles and small streams. It withstood our five-minute lake edge soak test without flinching, no matter how much we flexed the forefoot to try to force a leak.
Instead of beading off water, the leather upper readily absorbs water after just a few uses. Although your feet won't get wet, this effectively makes these boots less attractive in cold, wet conditions. Regular application of a leather conditioner should improve this situation, though. Furthermore, when we intentionally drenched this model inside and out, it took eleven hours to dry them out completely, which was faster than the majority of the boots tested. For a lightweight hiker with a higher flood level, check out the Tor Ultra Hi.
After three months of use, the only damage we could find was a small slice in the rubber of the outsole. This Vibram boot bottom is comprised of two different types of rubber — one harder in the high-impact areas of the sole, one softer in the areas receiving less shock. We assume this was a weight-saving measure, but it likely reduces the durability of the boot to a small degree. The softer rubber was where the damage was, likely caused by a sharp rock we didn't even feel. We think this part of the sole could be more susceptible to damage down the road. We liked that there were minimal seams on the upper, creating less potential points of weakness.
The Tor Summit beat out the Targhee II in this metric, which had more seams in areas that receive more flexing and abrasion during regular use. The most durable models we reviewed were the midweight St. Elias and Scarpa Zodiac Plus.
We found this HOKA ONE ONE hiking boot to be very appropriate for easy to moderate hikes lasting from just an afternoon to multiple days, with or without a backpack. This is the terrain and distance that an average hiker will likely spend the majority of her/his time, and so we think the potential audience for this pair of boots is quite high. Until you get into very rugged terrain, water crossings, or muddy slopes, the Tor Summit will serve you very well. Furthermore, anyone who stands on their feet for many hours per day might be interested in this light and comfortable footwear as well.
Priced at $180, the Tor Summit presents a very valuable product. We liked it the best overall of the lightweight hikers we tested. In a world where top-shelf hiking boots easily cost over $200, we think these boots are moderately priced considering their performance the key areas of comfort and weight. If you're looking to save a little money, but still grab a pair that puts performs well across the board, head over to our Best Buy award winner, the Keen Targhee II Mid.
HOKA ONE ONE approached the design of the Tor Summit Mid WP with comfort first in mind, and scored big. While many other models seem to aim for rugged performance first and comfort later, we appreciate the focus given here. We feel that this boot will handle the vast majority of terrain that typical hikers will subject them to, and your feet, knees, and back will be thankful for the cushioned, shock-absorbing footbed at the end of the day.
— Ross Robinson
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