Top critical review
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For those who need a little more cushion...
on June 19, 2013
It should be noted that I own five different pairs of Altra running shoes. I've been a fan of the brand since their launch, and it was the Altra brand that first introduced me to the zero-drop platform. That being said, here's my thoughts on the Altra Torrin.
Altra Footwear has designed a line-up of running shoes that mimic the natural shape and heel-to-toe ratio of the foot thereby allowing the body to run more naturally, more efficiently. By building a shoe that maps the design of your foot the Altra Torrin allows your feet and toes to lay in a natural and relaxed position. Due to the gender-specific design the foot maintains its proper anatomical position allowing for maximum shock absorption and a more powerful toe off.
The Torrin is no exception to the Altra design rules. It provides all the benefits of Altra's natural fit and feel with the added bonus of an increased stack height (28mm) for those who want a little more cushion in their running life. The Two-Layer EVA/AltraBound(tm) offers more cushioning but don't expect a Hoka One One-esque run which has slightly more give than the Torrin.
The shoe comes with two insoles, a 5mm Contour insole for light underfoot cushioning and a 3mm Strengthen insole which allows your feet to build strength and support. I LOVED the 5mm Contour insole, and found it to be an incredibly comfortable insole. However, in the case of the Torrin, I had to use the 3mm insole because of a higher volume foot.
My only other critique centers on the thin rubber toe rand (seemingly added for aesthetic value) which took me an extended period of time to break in. In speaking with a number of Altra runners, I'm a bit of a stand-alone on this particular issue, but it was a significant factor for me in breaking in the Torrin and took about 60+ miles before that feature seemed to break in.
I would note, that despite my critiques, I know runners who have taken the Torrin straight from the box to 20+ mile runs and never experienced a single fit issue.
If this is your first shoe built on a zero-drop platform, expect a significant adjustment period for your body. Remember, most running shoes are built on a 2-to-1 heel-to-toe ratio (twice as thick in the heel as the forefoot). Zero Drop footwear by ALTRA however is built on a 1-to-1 ratio meaning that the heel and forefoot are the same heights off the ground (think about standing barefoot on the ground). If you are a newbie, make sure you follow the tips and advice from Altra Footwear on natural running and you'll be good to go!