Thursday, March 27, 2014

Altra Torin 1.0 Review

One pair of shoes that I loved a lot were the Brooks PureFlow. But, Brooks doesn't make any of their "Pure" series shoes in a wide. And like many of today's shoes, I cannot get by without a wide model. When Altra released the Torin, I immediately bought a pair looking for a substitute for the cushion of the PureFlow. Overall, I thought the shoe was just ok. The big issue right off the bat was the discovery that there were some production issues and the shoe was supposed to have 7 eyelets and not 6. This is a major issue for me because I like to really ratchet down the midfoot of my shoes and allow my forefoot to be free -- something Altra normally does really well. But the missing eyelet always gave me issues and allowed more heel movement than I'd like. Another thing I didn't particularly like was the different mold they used from their primary shoe lines -- the Instinct and the Lone Peak. The Torin have a narrower heel and a little more flare into the forefoot. The result was that my foot felt like it was spilling over the last and that and the shoe felt unstable, almost like the it was twisting as I moved in it.

There were some positives about the shoe that I really liked. First, it is plenty light for a shoe with 16mm of cusion, listed at 9 oz. For a shoe in this category, I feel that is a very solid weight. Second, I did enjoy the cushion and found it "just right". Many shoes these days are super pillowy soft (a more recent trend) or very rigid (like Saucony Mirage, Fastwitch, New Balance Fresh Foam). I thought Altra got this one just right. There was enough cushion to protect and feel soft, but not so much that I couldn't toe off or feel the road. And finally, the shoe honestly held up well. That surprised me because I expected it to fall apart easily when I first laid my hands on it. I only ran 240 or so miles in them, but I put countless more hours in them walking around and at the gym.

In review....

The Positives:
  • Adequate weight for a cushioned shoe (but probably could be improved slightly with a more minimal upper)
  • Quality was better than I expected
  • The cushion was just right, making the shoe pretty versatile in my opinion
  • I think the shoe is reasonably priced at $115, at least in comparison with Brooks
The Room for Improvement
  • I am not a fan of this mold that Altra has been making (it seems the One and the Superior may be in the same mold?) with the narrow heel and flared forefoot.
  • The shoe needs a revamped lacing system to secure the heel
  • I'd prefer the toe box to be more rounded like the Instinct and Lone Peak

Hard to see in this photo, but the lugs were worn down to the foam. One or two of the lugs was coming loose near the end.

This photo sort of shows the "pocket" that formed along the outside of the shoe as my foot spilled over the outsole.  Look closely near the front of the shoe.

There are several things you can see in this photo: Again you can see the upper had formed a pocket and was spilling over the outsole, which you almost cannot see. In particularly you can see how the forefoot is less rounded than other Altra models and my pink toe was digging into that upper left area. Also, you can see how my ankle was not secured with the laces.  A seventh eyelet would have aided in me securing the tongue and locking things into place.

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