The Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is more than an ounce lighter than its predecessor, making it a good long-run shoe that won’t leave you dragging your feet as you add on miles. For runners who regard weight, cushion and fit as the most important qualities in distance footwear, the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is a great pick. But you should know going in that it is zero drop and provides no stability features in the sole, upper, or heel counter.
Weight: 7.4 oz (W) / 9.1 oz (M)
Offset: 0 mm
Heel/Forefoot: 28 mm/28 mm
Midsole: Quantic foam
Outsole: FootPod Technology
Upper: Engineered Knit
100 Miles In: The Review
A wide toe box — an Altra signature — combined with a high stack height and minimal weight make the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush an obvious choice for runners who rack up a ton of mileage. Not only is it cushy, it’s durable.
The Quantic foam midsole started out a bit stiff, taking about 10 miles to break in, and it held up well over the 100-mile test. It’s a nice, cushioned ride — not mushy, but also not very responsive. I wore the Torin 4.5 Plush on a 34-mile run and finished with surprisingly little soreness underfoot and no blisters, which I usually experience after runs longer than 15 miles. I credit those results to the cushion and foot-shaped toe box.
Like the midsole, the knit upper was a little stiff initially, pinching when rolling from mid-to-forefoot, but it broke in after a single run. Though not particularly eye-catching, the upper breathes well and fits comfortably. The lacing configuration is simpler and more straightforward than on the 4.0, and the laces tie securely and stay put. The women’s and men’s versions each come in four colorways.
The remaining features of the Torin 4.5 Plush are more characteristic of Altra than this specific model, but they’re worth pointing out: Altra shoes are zero drop, or “balanced cushioning,” meaning your heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground. Zero-drop shoes are said to encourage a more natural running form akin to barefoot running and may improve running economy. But the different geometry, combined with the thick, soft midsole, can take its toll if you don’t focus on strength and biomechanics as a regular part of your training as a runner.
While I these shoes roll me to the inside way more than other neutral shoes I wear, I keep going back to them even after I’ve finished my 100 miles in it — which I definitely don’t do in all shoes I review. I like the Torin 4.5 Plush for recovery runs in particular.
There’s The Rub
Despite the cushion, the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush offers no real stability support underfoot. In fact, the high stack height can mean less stability and lead you to pronate more than usual. I experienced atypical inner-ankle soreness after putting in a lot of miles on the Torin 4.5 Plush, even though I usually wear neutral shoes (albeit with a lower stack height and some heel/toe drop). The stack height and its effect on pronation isn’t unique to this shoe, though. Rather, it’s something to watch out for, in general, when considering shoes with a thick midsole.
Stack height aside, the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush has a few disappointing qualities. The tongue seems to be designed to look sleek, with a seamless edge, but it is too short and cuts into the bend of the ankle. I tried on the shoe wearing ankle socks and changed to crew-cut socks before going on my first run. It was that irritating. This made for an especially uncomfortable initial fit because the shoe comes laced all the way up to the top eyelet. Unlacing the shoe to the second-highest eyelet (which is typical) avoided extra pressure on the top of my foot.
The Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is a nice blend of smooth, light, soft, roomy — and durable. If you have solid form and run long distances, your feet will thank you for having it in your rotation.