I've run in a bunch - 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 Mesh and Knit. My favorite of them was the 3.5 Knit, so it seemed like Altra was making good progress in their iteration of the line over the last few years. I've been running in the 4.0 (regular?) version for the last 60 miles and really like the shoe.
New and improved features of note:
- A well fitting upper that is an improvement over the 3.5 Knit, which was a little baggy around the tongue and laces. This shoe fits a lot more like the Kayenta - more form fitting without being too tight or creating hotspots.
- A better midsole material made of Quantic - closer to the feel of the Ego midsole of the Escalante line than the A-Bound of previous Torins. It has a bit of a bounce to it and doesn't feel like it has flattened out at all in the first 50 miles.
- Support straps at the midfoot. They aren't that noticeable like the ill-fated version Saucony implemented on the previous Kinvara models. They may incrementally help with lock-down. But they aren't anything to be that concerned with, one way or the other.
- A decoupled heel on the outer side of the shoe. This presumably creates a little more flex on heel landing on the outside of the shoe. Not sure I notice it at all, but the general feel on landing is comfortable cush but not squish.
- Nice laces - thin and stay tied. The 3.5 laces were not long enough, the laces of the Paradigm 4.5s are ridiculously long and still untie with a double-knot.
- Seemingly more durable rubber pods on the outsole. On previous versions, the pods seemed like they were made of midsole material or really soft rubber. The pods on the 4.0s seem like they are made of honest-to-goodness rubber that might hold up for a couple of hundred miles before they scrape right off. I am getting some wear on them at the heel (none elsewhere) but it seems more normal than premature.
- Light on my feet. While they are listed at 9.1 ounces vs. the 8.4 of the 3.5 Knit, the latest version feels like it weighs less. I would not hesitate to wear the 4.0s from a 5K up to a marathon - they are a joy to run in and never feel plodding like the 3.5 Knit/Mesh could at times.
- Look. Altra has kicked up the styling a bit to the point where the first thing that comes to mind isn't "clown shoes". These don't scream Altra - they look more normal which is a good thing in my book.
I'm looking forward to trying the 4.0 Plush version -- a 28 mm height vs the 26 mm of the regular version reviewed here. The regular retails for $120 while the Plush requires a plusher wallet at $140.
But all things considered, this is an excellent upgrade that address some of my main complaints around past Torins outlined above.
|A good looking Torin from above and below
|You can see the midfoot straps and the highly functional laces.
|A nice mesh upper that fits snugly yet provides plenty of toe splay and aeration
|The heel is segmented on the outer side of each foot
|A good shot of the rubber on the heel before I start to wear it away!
|The rubber is wearing a bit but not too badly
|Another view of the wear and tear around the outer heel.