Altra has a general platform of running shoes with a wide toe box, zero drop midsole, and lightweight design. As a loyal customer of Altra, I was eager to try one of their newest models, the Altra Torin 4.0.
My previous experience with Altra has been with the Lone Peak, specializing in trail running, the One V3 specializing in racing sleekness, and the Escalante specializing in comfortable running.
The missing link in my Altra repertoire was a pair of responsive shoes that felt good for long distance running, primarily for the road and light trails.
By reading reviews and corresponding with Altra-sponsored, world record holder in the 100-mile run, Zach Bitter, I was recommended the new Torin 4.0’s.
I ordered them for 120 dollars and eagerly put them on and through my “gruelling” testing regiment of road running, trail running, interval running and sprinting, playing basketball, and wearing them all day as a fitness trainer and PE teacher.
How would they handle the test?
This is a personal preference in that I like running shoes that do not have lots of bright colors, and I really like the black and white simple look of my Altra Escalante and Altra One V3.
With the Torin 4.0’s, it seemed like all models included a bit of brighter coloring, which again is not my first preference, but some may like this. I purchased the greys with lime green.
That being said, the shoes still look good, and I am generally happy with the design although I wish that the simple color combos were available for the Torins as well.
The toe box
Altra always offers the wide “foot shape” toe box that gives the toes wiggle room. This model provides a nice wide toe box, and my toes are happy.
I will say that some Altra models mask the toe box a bit more. And, looking down at the shoes, the width in the toe box is not as apparent.
With the Torin 4.0’s, I can see the width a bit more. It gives a little more of a duck-like appearance in the front and for whatever reason is something that I like less during sprint training.
The toe box is comfortable for all-day use and while running. And, people who buy Altras know that the width in the front of the shoe comes with the territory of wide toe box comfort.
A new feature that I like is that the tongue has nice elastic material on the sides. This material keeps the tongue aligned and does not let it fold over.
In other models like the Escalantes, I experienced a bit of the tongue folding over easily. So, the new protection against this is a useful feature.
Since it is elastic right up against the foot, I was initially concerned about it being uncomfortable. But, I have found that this is not a problem and they are actually more comfortable as they hold the foot in place and enhance stability.
Nice big mesh holes give the shoe proper ventilation. This design can tend to rip a bit more easily, so we will see how they stand the test of time.
But, thus far, my Altra uppers have been good with durability. The Torin 4.0 also ventilates well and have a nice upper design.
The upper also does an excellent job of holding the foot down and keeping the foot locked in, especially while rounding corners. This is an improvement from some other Altra models where I felt my foot sliding around when making sharp turns.
Quantic Foam sole
This is probably the best upgrade I have felt from previous Altra models. This Quantic foam sole gives better arch support and makes the shoe springier.
Quantic Foam is Altra’s latest upgrade from EGO foam, and the Quantic is designed to be lighter and springier. The midsole is still zero drop with even stack height.
But, I feel more of a raised middle, which cups my foot arch and gives comfort and stability that were missing in some previous Altra models.
It took me a little while to get used to this and break in the shoes. But, by my third run in them, they felt less stiff and very comfy. The outsole has a good traction and handles roads well and is fine for light trail running.
We will see if there have been improvements in durability as some of my previous Altra outer soles have worn down a bit quickly, but so far so good after running about 150 kilometers in them.
The Torin 4.0 in a nutshell
So far, this is my favorite Altra running shoe for my primary type of running, which is running from 5 kilometers to 10 kilometers on roads and light trails at a solid pace.
For this type of training, they offer most of the things that I could want: Impressively lightweight, excellent comfort, stability, traction, and non-bulky design.
Other than perhaps the basic colors option and wide look as I mentioned before, the only thing I would like to see Altra continue to improve is the springy, responsiveness of the sole.
I do see improvement in the new Quantic Foam from the EGO foam, but I think that Altras could still improve even more on increasing the spring in each step, while still maintaining the zero drop sole.
For runners who want more cushion, Altra also offers the Torin 4.0 plush version, which slightly increases the stack height of the midsole and adds cushion and offers some different color options, including less bright colors.
The Torin 4.0 is a great shoe and seems to get good reviews across the board. They are also comfortable all-day shoes that can be worn for long hours, even though I mostly try to reserve them for running.
For sports or working out, they handle well, because of the improved stability. I recently felt good running a half marathon in them, and in a few weeks I plan to run a full marathon in them
They also seem to handle longer mileage well, which I did not find to be the case in some of my previous Altra models.
The Altra brand was born on the trail and for years I've relied on their shoes for a lot of my running, which is consequently mostly on trails.
It being that my sister usually cons me into running a fall road ½ Marathon or Marathon I thought I might try a pair of Altra’s road shoes. The Altra Torin was my choice and these shoes did not disappoint.
The Torin 4 sold me in the store initially with how comfortable they felt. Altra’s textbook wide toe box and zero-drop technology just make your foot feel right at home.
The natural feel and ease of fit is a big selling point in my opinion. Of the three brands of road shoes, I tried on these were the clear winner.
First off, I went a half-size up in this shoe. My normal 9.5 just felt a touch too snug.
Altra is using a new Altra Quantic™ midsole that sheds 2mm worth of extra material that the Torin Plush uses. This results in a lighter weight.
When I first put on the Torin 4 it did have a light and airy feel to it and at 9.1 oz it is quite light for how durable it seems to be.
While it’s not as light as some of the racing flats on the market, the Torin 4’s construction is built to last for much longer than the 150-250 miles you would get out of a racing flat. The fabric of the upper is soft and pliable but smooth and abrasion-resistant.
The upper lacing system at first seemed overly complex but that feeling passed.
The reinforced eyelets are a nice touch and the lacing guides on the top of the tongue help keep things in place. The functionality of the lacing system creates a comfortable girdle around your foot.
The harder, inner green bands on each side of the foot connect to the base of the shoe creating direct lines of support from the lace itself, to the foundation of your shoe. The gusseted tongue helps it to stay put and keep debris out.
The tongue is appropriately cushioned. I like that Altra doesn't waste a bunch of stuffing in places that the shoe really doesn't need it or benefit from it.
The upper construction is light yet tough. With an excellent well thought out ventilation the shoe never made my feet feel hot.
While I didn't have a chance to test it in the rain, I suspect that the upper will drain nicely in wet weather. The shoe is not bogged down with excessive masses of bulky upper cushioning. It’s soft and pliable where it needs to be and strictly business in the other areas. I like that.
The responsive feel of this shoe is what I like the best. When I run in the Torin 4 I feel more agile (and maybe faster) than I actually am. Altra describes the shoe as “ready for spirited miles” and I couldn't agree more.
The lacing system which belts your mid-foot snuggly in place combined with the wider toe-shaped forefoot create unique stability that is very welcomed on corners. The Quantic™ midsole offers a solid amount of cushioning.
Not so much that it detracts from the responsive, lightweight feel of the Torin 4 but just enough to forgive those unlucky heel strikes and normal road hazards.
The sole of the Altra Torin 4 has a nice flex to it. It's not so liberal as to feel sloppy but not so rigid as to be uncomfortable. The tread is simple, with ample channels to act as conduits for water and plenty of traction points for the road surface.
The Footpod™ technology is touted as following the natural bone and tendon structure of the human foot to mimic the natural been of the foot.
While I can attest to the shoes comfort and well-designed flex, I can't see whether or not it is due to this technology. I will say that the skeletal look of the sole is a pretty rad design and looks super cool!
I really liked this shoe. I am, as always, a big fan of the zero-drop and wide foot-shaped toe box. The Torin 4 feels light and responsive. It is cushioned appropriately and has great aeration. The shoe seems durable and has held up nicely after 70 miles of roads.
At an MSRP of $120.00 the Torin 4 is a good value for someone looking for an all-around road running shoe that can hold its own on a racecourse as well. As I plan for a few ½ marathons on roads this fall the Altra Torin 4 will be my go-to shoe.
|Light and responsive||Not really a con but you need to size up by a half|
|Good flex and decent cushion|
Zero drop and a new Altra foam midsole (Quantinc) that promises a highly cushioned yet responsive ride—my ears are pricked, and I am curious.
Can the Torin 4 break into my shoe rotation or will it gather dust buried under the rest of the running shoes that promised the world and failed to deliver?
The shoe didn’t jump out on me from the shelf. The colours and design side-on seem to be a little moderate. Trying on the shoe, I was instantly impressed as it was very comfortable.
Glancing down on the shoe for the first time, I knew I was in for a totally new experience. The foot shape feature is evident. The wide rounded toe box is visually very different from the average running shoe out there.
It is far from ugly. It will grow on you!
For me, it fits true to size, so I would not hesitate to buy another online if needed. The fit is snug, enhanced by the tongue that connects to either side of the shoe surrounding your foot.
The lacing system is the standout here with the laces feeding through an inner layer that wraps around the foot, giving a very even and secure lockdown.
To help get your foot in the shoe, they have two handy tabs located on the heel and another on the tongue. The heel counter is somewhat supportive but very flexible, providing ample comfort.
The zero drop science
The Torin 4 is my first Altra experience and my first zero drop shoe. After following the recommendations on transitioning to zero drop from the Altra website, I was ready to go after a month.
Most noticeable was the ease of effort to promote a more midfoot/forefoot strike. It’s a whole lot easier to maintain without having to focus too much on your strike than a typical 8- 10mm offset. Your heel doesn’t catch the ground first and hinder the natural running motion.
In the first two weeks, you can feel the lower muscles in your legs working harder, but I feel like I have more range of movement.
My legs adapted quickly, the soreness soon subsided, and the benefits of the extra range of motion were kicking in. I now feel I can run faster and with more power when in the zero drop.
I have put it to the test on all of my weekly runs, which include recovery, easy, tempo, fartlek and long runs. It doesn’t look or feel like a racing flat, but I can tell you the quantic midsole is very responsive.
This shoe feels fast, not racing fast but fast. It strikes a good balance of cushioning and responsiveness but is more on the responsiveness side.
The mesh upper is extremely breathable as you can feel the air pass through the shoe, cooling the foot stride after stride.
In my experience, this shoe tells me it’s pretty versatile having performed well on the easy days and zippy in the workouts.
On the long run, after about an hour and a half, I was yearning for a little more cushion. It was not a regrettable long run choice by any means but probably not a marathon shoe. It’s better suited to a 10k to the half marathon.
Excellent! I have clocked up over 100 miles, and the Torin 4 shows very little wear. The quantic midsole still has plenty of cushion and bounce, and the outsole has very minor wear marks in the high impact areas.
I can see this shoe really going the distance and clocking up over 400 miles. The upper has no visible signs of wear and tear.
The only minor issue I have found is the fabric that connects the tongue to the sock liner. When walking around, I can feel the edge of where it starts and finishes, and it can be a little irritating.
This feeling is not evident while running, and the design actually works well to provide that secure fit.
The Torin 4 has convinced me that the zero drop concept works. It has prompted me into investing in a few different Altra models.
That being said, I am a little confused about where the Torin 4 sits in the Altra line up. If I want a fast shoe for my workouts, I will reach for the Escalante. If I want a recovery/easy/long run shoe, I am going for its “cushy” brother the Torin 4 Plush.
I feel like it is a bit of a jack of all trades but master of none.
If you are not into having an oversized shoe collection, then the Torin 4 is an excellent choice. It is very capable of doing the job in all your runs, and its durability is outstanding.
Does it make my weekly rotation? Sort of, it may not outshine my other shoes that specialise in each type of run, but it’s the only running shoe that gets a place in the suitcase when I am travelling.
Good to know
- The Altra Torin 4 has been configured to have a more responsive midsole than the previous iteration, the Torin 3.0, though the underfoot cushioning unit is also lower to the ground to shave off weight and to heighten natural movement and proprioception.
- This Altra running shoe has a mesh upper that is lighter than what was previously used. A cloth-like structure with stretchy fibers and prominent breathing holes bring a hug that is akin to a sock.
- A thin lasting board is used to connect the upper to the midsole. Such a design aims to bring a lightweight and flexible ride, and it is the distinguishing factor that separates the Torin 4 from its counterpart, the 2-millimeter-Strobel-board-laden Torin 4 Plush.
The FootPod™ technology involves a rubber layer that covers the contact points of the foot and grooves that heighten the natural capacity of the joints and tendons to move. These elements fundamentally transform the exterior of the sole unit, allowing it to act as the actual foot-pad.
A tread pattern that is comprised of shallow cuts and square nodes is responsible for improving the gripping capacity of the outsole.
The midsole unit of the Altra Torin 4 is primarily made up of the Quantic™ foam, a responsive yet luxurious foam that carries the foot throughout the running session. Though this full-length piece is meant to last long, it has a lightweight profile to ease any strain and encourage rapid transitions.
The Inner Flex is a network of grooves inside the midsole unit. These trenches encourage tendon and joint flexibility and the uplifting of the performance.
The Natural Ride System (NRS) is a platform design that bolsters the natural shape, motion, and anatomical position of the foot. A zero-drop midsole and the FootPod™ outsole construction embody this system.
Air can quickly enter the interior compartment via the engineered mesh upper. This cloth-like material has visible breathing holes for airflow. It also stretches with the foot as it moves, allowing the wearer to experience a secure yet unrestrictive wrap.
Printed overlays grace the sides, the front and the back of the Altra Torin 4. These thin prints are meant to push out the aesthetic quality of the façade. But they’re also designed to reinforce the structure of the fabrics and help the lacing system in keeping the foot in place.
A traditional lacing system is used for this product. Flat laces snake through discrete and print-reinforced eyelets, covering the majority of the instep. When the strings are adjusted, the rest of the upper follow their movements. This adjustment method is familiar and trusted by many.
The lightly padded tongue and collar are tasked with cushioning the Achilles tendon, the ankles and the bridge of the foot. These parts of the silhouette also have the job of preventing in-shoe wobbling and unintentional shoe removals.
A pull tab is placed on the back of the collar. This stitched-on fabric loop helps the runner in widening the opening and assisting the foot into or out of the interior chamber.
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