Altra Torin 4.5 Plush Review | Cushioned Zero Drop Road Running Shoes

The latest Torin 4.5 Plush is the latest in a line of shoes designed as Altra’s everyday training shoe. A shoe designed to offer a good level of cushioning so you can put in the higher miles. The previous Torin 4 was actually available in two versions. The Torin 4 has a firmer more responsive feel and the Torin 4 Plush has a much softer, more pillow like ride to it. The Torin 4.5 Plush is an updated version of the softer variant.

The main change to the shoe is the upper. It has made the shoes a tad lighter, although not hugely noticeable. The fit of the upper is very different though. Altra shoes have a broad and rounded toe box. This is designed to give your feet the room to function inside the shoes. The space encourages your feet to function. However, when customers are new to the brand this space makes the shoes feel ‘big’, so Altra are trying to still have the room for your feet to function but provide a snugger initial feel for those new to the brand. For this reason, there is less volume in the Torin 4.5 Plush than in the Torin 4 or Torin 4 Plush. For those with the highest volume feet this might make the Torin 4.5 Plush too snug. I don’t have high volume feet so the fit wasn’t an issue for me. The shape and snugger fit is similar to the Timp 2, but as with the Timp 2 once I was running in the shoes there was enough room and I certainly didn’t feel restricted.

The upper has been made lighter by removing the strapping in the midfoot. As the forefoot doesn’t have as much volume in it you don’t need the extra support that the straps give you to hold you onto the midsole. The upper is knitted and therefore seamless as this construction allows the upper to be made in one piece and the thickness of the weave altered. You get thin breathable areas where required and thicker more supportive parts when required.

As a more responsive cushioning fan, I preferred the Torin 4 over the Plush version. However, the ride of the Torin 4.5 Plush is far from as soft as the Torin 4 Plush. When you initially stand up in the shoes you feel the soft midsole compresses under your weight, which prepared me for a ‘pillow like’ ride. However, this isn’t what you get! The shoes feel well cushioned but not ‘bottomless’ like I found the Torin 4 Plush to be. They aren’t firmer and responsive like the Torin 4, yet I found that I could happily run a long in the shoes with little effort and pick the pace up if I wanted. In fact I have done interval sessions in the shoe and although not as responsive as other harder shoes it was more than serviceable.

Surprisingly these shoes have become my go to everyday shoe. They have replaced my Altra Torin 4.

All Altra shoes are Zero Drop, which together with the broad rounded toe box allows your feet to function improve your posture. If you are used to running in shoes that have an elevated heel and a more pointed toe box then it is advisable to transition into Altra. This is because your feet and lower legs won’t be as strong as the rest of your body as they will have been restricted by your shoes. It is a good idea to gradually increase the time you spend in your Altra running shoes and alternate them with your previous shoes. What tends to happen is that your feet start to spread on impact and you become more aware of the stiffness and elevated heel in your previous shoes. So you naturally increase the time you spend running in your Altra’s.

Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle

Other Considerations

Topo Magnifly 3: Like Altra Topo shoes have a broad rounded toe box. The Magnifly is zero drop like the Torin 4.5 Plush. However, the ride is much firmer and more responsive. So, if you don’t like running on pillows then the Topo Magnifly 3 would be worth considering. Here is our review:
northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-magnifly-3-review-p2-road-test/
northernrunner.com/search/magnifly-3

Brooks Ghost 13: If you prefer a shoe with a 12mm heel then the Brooks Ghost has a soft cushioned ride. They are also available in several widths:
northernrunner.com/search/ghost

New Balance 1080v10: These have a soft pillow like cushioning. The upper is knitted but, designed to be snugger with a bit of stretch. Here is our review:
northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-1080v10-review/
northernrunner.com/search/1080

Hoka Clifton Edge: The Hoka Clifton Edge is best described as smooth. The rocker in the shoe guides the foot from ground contact to toe off. It works well at slow easy paces and when you want to run quickly too. Here is our review:
northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-one-one-clifton-edge-review-cushioned-road-running-shoes/
northernrunner.com/search/clifton-edge

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