Running journalist Brian Metzler reviews the new Altra Torin 4. As one of the best-selling shoes in the Altra line up there is plenty to offer in this latest edition.
The Torin is one of Altra’s best-selling road shoes. It’s a well-cushioned and very responsive everyday trainer that promotes a natural running stride.
The Torin 4 has a brand new midsole foam, making it quicker and more responsive than ever before.
The updated version of the Torin is slightly lower to the ground, more energetic and flexible. Also featured in 202o is a new upper. The Stroebel layer under the sockliner has been removed. The result is lowering the overall stack height by 2mm and creating a faster, more flexible shoe with greater proprioceptive “feel” for the ground.
The midsole is primarily comprised of a resilient material called Quantic. This is an energetic compound that provides exceptional impact cushioning and energy return. It feels great late in a long run and has enough bouncy “pop” to run up-tempo workouts and shorter races.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The reason Altra builds its shoes on a level platform is to allow the heel and forefoot of a runner’s foot to always be an equal distance from the ground. Unlike shoes with elevated heels and sloping profiles, Altra’s shoes create what the brand calls an optimal foot alignment. This cultivates better running form and encourages a low-impact foot strikes.
Like all Altra shoes, the Torin 4 fits snug in the heel and arch/saddle area but is roomy in the forefoot.
Although there are no heel counters or unnecessary overlays, the moderately reinforced upper and softly cushioned tongue provide a bit of structure that works with the natural movements of the foot.
The step-in feel is comfortable but not extravagant or overbearing. This allows the shoe to serve up a soft, cozy feeling that translates to a supple, smooth and energetic ride.
Although it is well-cushioned from heel to toe, it offers a dynamic sense of proprioceptive feel for the ground. That allows a runner’s feet to engage naturally and uninhibitedly from touchdown to toe-off. The responsive midsole foam puts a noticeable spring in every step, both at slower and faster speeds.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
Runners who appreciate soft, lightweight and responsive shoes will love the Altra Torin 4. It has an ideal mix of cushioning and responsiveness for long runs, tempo runs, long intervals and recovery runs.
If you’re a runner who has adapted to shoes built on a level platform, it could be an ideal racing shoe for any distance from 5K to the marathon.
All Altra shoes are built with a “Footshape” toe box that is wider and more rounded than most other shoes, thus allowing a runner’s toes and the transverse arch in the forefoot to splay and flatten, allowing for more effective muscular output when the foot lifts off the ground at the toe-off phase of a new stride.
Our wear-testers love this shoe for how it fits, how it feels, how it rides and how it looks. If you’ve never run in Altra shoes before, this is the perfect one to start your natural running journey.
The only caveat to the Torin 4.5 is that it’s a shoe built on a level or zero-drop platform and it might take some getting used to.
Ultimately, we think it’s a great setup for a lot of runners. But if you’ve been running with a high to moderate heel-toe offsets, make a gradual transition into Altra shoes built on a level platform.
SHOP ALTRA TORIN 4
ALTRA TORIN 4.5 PLUSH
The Torin 4.5 Plush is a similar but slightly different version of the original Torin. Lightweight, cushy and stylish, the Torin 4.5 Plush is a sweet ride. It’s one of those rare shoes that can go the distance and also double as a sporty casual shoe.
The Torin 4.5 Plush has a slightly higher stack height and a softer ride than the standard Torin 4. It has a more luxurious step-in feel and features a new, mod-looking adaptable knit upper that looks good with jeans or a pair of casual shorts.
It looks cool and feels dreamy, making it a great option to kick around in when you’re not running.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.
As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”