Altra Torin 5 Review
This week is the much-requested Altra Torin 5 review. The Torin is Altra’s everyday training shoe for the neutral runner. Like all Altra shoes the Torin is Zero Drop with a rounded toe box and is built on one of three lasts (foot shape form used in production). There are different amounts of volume and different widths. The Torin fits into the middle last, which is call ‘standard’. The toe box is still nice and broad and roughly equivalent to a 2E in other brands, but does have as much width through the midfoot or volume (height) in the toe box as shoes made on Altra’s ‘original’ roomiest last.
If you aren’t used to shoes with a broad rounded toe box, you might find that your feet don’t initially spread on impact. However, over time this function comes back. Your toes spread out and you get gaps between your toes. Your feet get more flexible and stronger.
The Altra Torin 5 has a ‘wide’ version but, perhaps confusingly, is not technically wider and yet more voluminous in the upper.
The Torin 5 would be the road shoe equivalent to the popular trail shoe the Lone Peak 6, although not quite as roomy. The Torin has the same slipper-like feel. The upper feels soft and there minimal tight/stiff structure in the shoes. Altra running shoes are designed to allow the feet to function inside the shoes, so this lack of structure is deliberate.
Altra was designed by Golden Harper and Brian Becksted because they saw that the running shoes they were selling in their running shop weren’t preventing injuries from rubbing, sore toes and so on. They set about designing a shoe that would reduce injuries that occurred over high mileage running. They have done this by designing shoes that allow the feet and rest of the body to function naturally. The Zero Drop (heel to forefoot differential) of the shoes encourages you to land with your feet under your centre of gravity and more towards the midfoot. This reduces the impact and loads the body so that the force is shared between the feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. The broad rounded toe box gives the feet the room to spread on impact. This spreading allows your foot to absorb the shock, stabilise you and spring you into your next step. There is no shaping in the midsole so that the foot can compress without hindrance. The upper is designed to hold your foot onto the midsole so that it can function. By encouraging your body to perform naturally your body gets stronger the more you run.
The heel counter has no plastic in it, so it pulls around the heel taking the shape of your heel. The heel cup is padded around the top of the cuff to give a cushioned feel. The rest of the upper is a light engineered mesh. This is breathable and dries quickly. There are no overlays so the shoes can accommodate a high-volume foot or bunions. The tongue is lightly padded but offers enough protection from the laces. They are fantastically comfortable.
The midsole in the Torin 5 is Altra’s EgoMax. This gives a very soft & cushioned ride. There is a good level of energy return, but the Torin is more suited to comfy, easy runs or long runs than tempo runs, intervals and your most powerful sessions. The stack height is 28mm but the Innerflex inside the midsole makes the Torin surprisingly flexible.
The Torin 5 feels very light for such a well cushioned shoe with the women’s at +/- 209g and the men’s at +/- 258g. We found the sizing to be a bit on the small size in comparison to other Altra models so try a half a size larger than you would normally purchase in Altra shoes.
A lot of runners love a softer ride, which the Torin 5 gives you. Normally I prefer a firmer more responsive shoe than the Torin 5. I do a lot of my training in the Altra Escalante 2.5 or Escalante Racer, so initially I found them to be very soft like the Torin 4.5, although the shape of the shoe has gone back to a more classic Altra shape like the earlier Torin’s. This has made the shoes feel more flexible and the ride feel more natural, as my feet have the room to function like they do in other Altra Shoes.
Why not read our Torin 4.5 vs. Torin 5:
Once I got used to the softer ride of the shoes the Torin 5 became my go to shoe for my easy runs, recovery runs and longer road runs! As mentioned previously they have a slipper like feel, which is like the Altra Lone Peak, which I really enjoy.
Altra shoes are built to be gender specific. This means that the last shape of the women’s shoes is designed to fit the natural differences in women’s feet. They aren’t just men’s shoes in smaller sizes and ‘girly’ colours! My wife is also a Torin 5 fan and it’s her shoe pictured!
In Summary the Altra Torin 5 is an everyday training shoe that would be very well suited to newer runners getting into Zero Drop and rounded toe box running shoes seeking a shoe for comfortable regular runs and longer slower-paced or recovery runs for the more experienced runner. The Zero Drop and broad rounded toe box are a huge benefit and I strongly believe giving your feet the room to function is important in reducing the chance of injuries and allows your feet and lower legs to get stronger the more you run.
If you aren’t used to lower or Zero Drop shoes, it’s a good idea to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes, alternating with your current shoes. This way your feet and lower legs will gradually get stronger without getting over loaded.
Topo Phantom 2: These have a similar broad rounded toe box but are 5mm from heel to forefoot. They are stiffer through the midfoot and more fitted at the heel. So, they don’t allow quite as much foot function as the Torin 5. Here is a link to our review:
Hoka Clifton 8: A softly cushioned shoe but with a narrow more pointed toe box (it is available in 2 widths). They also have a rocker to help promote a good running posture:
Scott Pursuit: These have a soft cushioning with 8mm from heel to forefoot. The toe box is more pointed, and the shoes have a rocker. Here is a link to our review: