Altra Torin 7 Review
This week it’s our Altra Torin 7 review, Altra’s everyday neutral cushioned training shoe. The Torin 7 has a 2mm increase in stack height compared to the Torin 6. This puts the stack to 30mm, which is the same as the Altra Paradigm, Altra’s everyday training shoe with some anti-pronation support. The midsole material is Altra’s Ego Max, which is the same material they use in the Paradigm. It has a soft cushioned feel ideal for those everyday runs, long runs and recovery miles.
Altra running shoes have the same thickness midsole at the heel and forefoot. They are ‘flat’, aka Zero Drop, which Altra more recently describe as ‘Balanced Cushioning’. This is to promote a more natural midfoot landing together with a broader more rounded toe box. It allows the feet to spread on impact and function inside the shoes. This allows your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back to all do their part in moving you forward. In narrower shoes with a higher heel to forefoot drop the ankles, feet and lower legs aren’t able to function as well. This means your knees and hips take more of the impact than they would if your feet and ankles where allowed to function more naturally.
If you aren’t used to running in low or zero drop shoes, then it’s a good idea to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes. This gives your feet, ankles and lower legs time to get used to the extra movement and strengthen up without getting overloaded. It’s worth noting that your feet get less stimulus to function in shoes with softer and thicker midsoles, so these are often the best low/zero drop running shoes to try first.
BROWSE THE RANGE
Altra has three different last shapes; original, standard and slim. The width and volume is greatest in the Original fit. The Torin 7 is made on Altra’s standard fit, but still feels like it has a roomy wide toe box. Despite the softness, I felt my feet spread out great when building up review miles.
For those that have a particularly wide or high volume foot there is a wide version of the Torin 7. The base of the shoe is the same but there is even more volume in the upper.
Everything about the Altra Torin 7 has been done to increase comfort. The inner lining feels plush and luxurious. The tongue has changed from a thin, lightly padded one to a softer more padded tongue. This is a shoe designed to be used regularly and to nurse those tired and sore legs through daily training runs. The shape of the shoes and the fact that the midsole is flat encourages a more efficient midfoot landing. Even when you’re tired you can run with a quick cadence and better posture. The midsole isn’t so soft that you sink into it and aren’t able to maintain a quick cadence. It just doesn’t ‘urge you on’ to run faster like a more responsive midsole does. It’s designed to let you happily plod along.
The base of the shoe is wider at the heel to increase stability. This is probably needed due to the increased stack height but isn’t noticeable when running in the shoes. At 278g for a men’s UK8 it’s far from a heavy shoe and is a similar weight to other everyday training shoes on the market.
Northern Runner’s Newcastle store manager Craig:
“I like the Torin 7, it has a good toe box, which feels really comfortable and natural. The upper holds the foot without restricting natural movement, which I love. The main difference from the version 6 is the extra 2mm on the stack height. The Torin 6 for me was ‘perfect’, with decent cushioning but still a feel for the ground. The version 7 is unmistakeably designed as a wide, foot shaped, long-plod shoe, not a PB breaker for racing. I can wear them all day no problem, but I’d be a bit more for an event. A shoe with a firmer, thinner midsole like the Altra Escalante Racer (the most minimal) or regular Escalante allows your feet to function better and gives you a real feel for the ground, which allows you to run a lot faster with less effort. You can’t run fast every day though. You need the long plods to recover from the faster running and build up your fitness, so it’s about selecting the correct shoe for the type of run you are wanting to do.”
In summary, the Altra Torin 7 is an everyday neutral running shoe designed to allow you to run with a good posture, midfoot strike and your feet to function inside the shoes over long comfortable distances, at regular training pace. Great for newcomers and experienced runners on their recovery runs.
Hoka Clifton 9: A similar soft feel to the cushioning. A roomy toe box but, not as much of a natural shape as the Torin 7. The rocker also does some of the work of your feet and ankles. So, they aren’t as natural to run in. The rocker does make it easier to run quickly in these than the Torin 7 but, they are still and everyday training shoe. Available in two widths Men’s and Women’s. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-clifton-9-review/
New Balance 880: 10mm heel to forefoot. So, more suitable for he heel strikers. The cushioning is a lot softer which makes it aimed at the everyday training runs. There is a more responsive foam in the forefoot but, this doesn’t make them a very responsive shoe. Available in three width Men’s and two width Women’s. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-880v12-review/
Karhu Ikoni: The Karhu Ikoni is currently the softest cushioned of the Karhu range of shoes. However, I find that I can still run at a good steady pace and could use them for some quicker running too. The fulcrum in the midsole that helps maintain good posture and cadence prevents you from inking into the softer forefoot foam. For that reason these are more of an all road shoe than the Torin 7. The heel to forefoot drop is 6mm which suits most heel and forefoot strikers. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/karhu-ikoni-2-0-review/
On Cloudsurfer: Roomy forefoot and very soft cushioning. Despite the rocker which is designed to help maintain a quick cadence and good posture the On Cloudsurfer is definitely a plodding shoe more suited to recovery runs and everyday runs. You can maintain a better posture in the Torin 7 due to the zero drop and firmer midsole. They help you keep your hips high and light your feet off the floor. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/on-cloudsurfer-review/
361 Centauri: Firmer feel to the midsole. The rocker helps maintain a good cadence and posture but, as with all shoes with a rocker it is the shoes that is doing some of the work not your body. So, they don’t offer the same postural benefits and strong feet that training in the Torin 7 would offer. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/361-centauri-review-361-centauri/
Brooks Ghost 15: A popular shoe that hasn’t changed in a lot of years. 12mm from heel to forefoot it is designed more for the heel strikers. The cushioning isn’t very soft which allows them to be used for some quicker running as well as the slower recovery type running. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/brooks-ghost-15-review/
Scott Pursuit Ride: A high level of cushioning but, not too soft. The rocker makes these quite a quick shoe for an everyday trainer. They don’t promote foot function or a natural posture the same as Altra shoes but, would be versatile enough for slow and quicker running. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scott-pursuit-ride-review/
Topo Phantom 2: Topo shoes have a very similar toe box shape to Altra and are designed to encourage foot function. The midsole is firmer to give more foot stimulation but, they still offer a high level of cushioning. The heel to forefoot drop is 5mm. As the midsole is firmer it is easier to pick the pace up in these than shoes with a softer midsole. https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-phantom-2-review/