Altra Torin 4 Review
Cons: Floppy, clown shoe-ish
Our Analysis and Test Results
With the Torin 4, Altra manufactured a shoe with some pretty epic technology. Their patented Quantic midsole is ultra-lightweight and heavily cushioned, allowing for a whole ounce less of weight than previous versions. All Altra shoes boast a FootShape toebox that is uniquely designed to give toes space to relax and spread out for more natural comfort and stability, promoting stabilizing muscle health.
As we've seen in the past, comfort comes with a catch. The lack of responsiveness in these shoes is why we recommend them as luxurious walking shoes. Nurses on long shifts will love the cushy space of the Torin, but runners looking to ramp up speed days will find the drag of these to be a disappointment. The heel width and toebox shape/space add a lot of extra shoe. This extra material creates drag and increases the amount of effort needed to bang out a few miles. That said, if your goals involve slow, gentle mileage than these could satisfy your needs perfectly.
The Altra-patented FootPod machinery allows this shoe to bend, twist, and turn with the natural movements of the foot. The Torin 4 has a plush interior, which makes each plush step in these feel like walking on clouds. Athletes with a history of foot or joint injuries will likely love these shoes. There's a 26 mm stack height with a 0 mm offset and InnerFlex grooves to allow foot flexibility while in motion. The Fit4Her technology present in all of Altra's women's running shoes is designed to house the specific shape of the female foot.
We were shocked by what we saw when we dropped the Torin 4 on the scale. They are deceptively light, especially considering the plush ride they employ. Each size 7 women's shoe weighs in at just over 7 ounces. This low number is due to the brand new Quantic midsole — Altra shaved off 2mm of height and an ounce of weight compared to the Torin 4 Plush.
The Torin 4 has very good lasting potential. The padding doesn't compress like many of its competitors, and the deep road-ready lugs are made of long-lasting rubber.
As previously referenced, these kicks deliver outrageous upper comfort. The tongue is seamlessly connected to a stretchy, moisture-wicking fabric that parlays into the well-sculpted footbed. When we say that slipping your feet into these is like delving down a rabbit hole of comfort, we aren't joking. The collar stays snug while allowing feet to spread, splay, and come out to play.
We had some toasty toes while running in these — they are the least breathable shoes in our review. The upper mesh skews slightly thick and rubbery, so the airflow is not impressive. The upside of their lack of breathability is that these shoes repel water better than typical runners.
The jury is out on this one. We are generally willing to pony up some serious cash for comfort. But our desire to simply walk — and not run — in the Torin makes the price tag seem a little steep. We love utilizing these shoes as a pivotal part of our athletic arsenal, but paying this much for a shoe that doesn't satisfy our running needs is a tough pill to swallow. That said, durability and value go hand in hand, and these should be able to last a long time, especially if you're using them more for walking than running, as we did.
We wish we liked running in the Altra Torin 4 as much as we love walking in them. These are certainly not our race day pick, but they embody every single thing we love about a recovery day slipper. For fitness walks and sunset strolls, we reached for them again and again. The way the arch support gently cradles tired feet is very comforting, making walks in these therapeutic and enjoyable. They support and hug the feet just right and promote healthy posture and recovery. While this isn't a recipe to propel you into PR territory, it will keep your rest day muscles and ligaments primed and ready to go. Runners looking to try out a true 0 mm drop shoe will find these allow lower body muscles to engage comfortably and properly. We docked quite a few points due to their lack of responsiveness and breathability, though. And, while runners with bunions might enjoy the spacious toebox, for us, it was just a bit too generous. Complaints aside, Altra has some serious technology at work in these shoes, and we fully recommend them to long-distance walkers looking for a compassionate yet durable sidekick.
— Ally Meller