RoadShoe ReviewsSite Feature

Altra Torin 4 vs. Altra Torin 4 Plush Review

I’m all sorts of confused right now. Everything I ever knew has been completely flipped upside down. I’m reviewing a size 10.5 shoe that isn’t 2E wide and it… fits.

Like the Altra Torin 3.5, the Torin 4 comes with different models. Last version, it was essentially the same shoe, just different uppers (knit and mesh). The regular model of the Torin 4 comes with a lightweight mesh upper; however, the sister model is now the Torin 4 Plush, which–as you can imagine–provides more comfort, but also uses an engineered knit upper.

Let’s get the basics out of the way–the Altra Torin 4 Regular is a neutral shoe with a 26mm stack and–you guessed it–zero drop. In terms of weight, the shoe comes in at 9.1 oz for a size 10.5. Compared to the 3.5, the 4 has gone through some big changes. While the shoe has gained a little bit of weight from its predecessor, it has 2mm less stack height, a new Quantic midsole, a redesigned mesh upper, and a decoupled outsole. Also, it looks so much better.

In comparison, the Torin 4 Plush in a 10.5 weighed 10.7 oz. The extra weight comes from the added strobel layer, adding 2mm to the stack height and giving it much more cushion. The midsole is the same between the two shoes.

Shop Altra Torin 4
Altra Torin 4 Regular
Altra Torin 4 Plush

The Good

Did I mention the shoes fits my feet?! Yeah, I did, but I’m going to mention it again because it’s a big deal. This foot shaped shoe fits me. I’ve literally had wide shoes that were too narrow before.

The Torin 4 Regular and Plush both fit great! Thomas (who wears the same size as me) initially ran in the plush but felt it was a little too roomy for him, which makes sense. My 10.5 felt true to size in both models and I was very happy with the 4 coming in at 9.1 oz per shoe.

The Regular mesh upper has enough give to it without getting sloppy. My foot feels snug and is kept in place without being constricted. I also enjoyed the perforations that allowed outstanding ventilation in keeping my feet cool.

For non-Altra wearers, the look of the toe box takes some getting used to. Trust me, it doesn’t look as bad as you may think. And once the shoes are on, all is forgiven. There’s ample amount of space for my toes, but again, not so much that my foot felt like it was sliding. Who would have thunk a shoe-shaped like your foot would feel good on your foot?! Also, the Torin 4 has not one, but TWO pull tabs. Jamison is definitely going to be pleased about that.

Moving onto the Torin 4 Plush—it has a much more stable upper in the engineered knit. I liked that the toe box wasn’t surrounded by a firm overlay (like the Regular, more on that later) and I didn’t experience any rubbing while running.

Both Torin models received a new midsole. The full-length Quantic midsole provides a slightly more cushioned, but still responsive ride. I wouldn’t put the 4 Regular in the category of maximalist, it actually felt like the perfect middle ground of a slightly firm, but still cushioned shoe that had good flexibility. However, the Plush was definitely up there hanging in the HOKA cloud stratosphere.

The outsole is another bright area of the shoe and is the same for both models. It’s covered in full-blown rubber, has plenty of flex grooves, and is decoupled to make it very flexible. With the wide outsole, I felt confident with my steps no matter if I was rounding corners or pivoting in a shuttle workout. As with a lot of full-blown rubber outsoles, it’s going to last a while. Unlike the segmented pod design of the Torin 3.5 outsole, the Torin 4 looks like a foot’s skeletal structure. It’s pretty badass. You can probably apply for that local chapter of the Hell’s Angels now.

Shop Altra Torin 4
Altra Torin 4 Regular
Altra Torin 4 Regular
Altra Torin 4 Plush
Altra Torin 4 Plush

The Bad

My biggest issue with the Torin 4 Regular is the rubber overlay around the toe box of the shoes. It’s very stiff and most likely there to give the upper some structure. However, during later miles of long runs I noticed a hotspot on my left foot where the pinky toe is. So while the shoe is flexible, the rubber guard is not. I think I was feeling a flex point with every step. I’d like to see it either made softer or not wrap around as far. Although I never got a blister from it, I wondered at points if I was going to.

On the Regular, I wish there was another eyelet for a heel-lock lace option like with the Plush. I had to adjust the lacing on my first few runs in the 4 Regular, but once I did that they felt good.

The tongue is padded well so tight lacing won’t put much pressure on the top of your foot. Also, why do we keep coming back to this–what the heck is the deal the shoe industry and super long laces?? This was a huge complaint of ours with the Torin 3.5, and like the sleeping position of a comatose sloth—not much has changed. Is there some blood pact that we don’t know about between lace manufacturers and shoe companies in 2019? Having the right size shoe lace should be the easiest thing to do, but it’s apparently on par with finding the Holy Grail. Please save us, Indiana.

As for the Torin 4 Plush, my only real complaint was with how hot my foot got. I know that Maryland spring lasts two and a half days before sprinting into summer heat and humidity, but damn. My socks were soaked after a few miles outside on a hot day! I found the knit upper wasn’t nearly as breathable as the 4 Regular mesh upper.

As with every Altra review we’ve ever done, here’s your disclaimer: if you’ve never run in a zero-drop shoe, take your time transitioning into them. They will shred your calves and Achilles if your normal shoe of choice has an 8-10mm drop. That’s the lawyer in me giving a warning so Believe In The Run isn’t liable (expect a bill in the mail, Thomas).

Shop Altra Torin 4
Altra Torin 4 Outsole

Altra Torin 4 and Torin 4 Plush Conclusion

In the world of zero drop, the Torin 4 Regular can do it all. It’s a great trainer on the lighter side that has enough cushion to be used as a long run shoe but also responsive and flexible enough to pick up the pace. The Torin 4 Plush is a bit heavier but is also insanely cushioned. You’re not going to be upset with whatever you end up choosing, but if you must know, I think I prefer the 4 Regular.

Simply broken down, if you’re looking for a shoe you can go faster in, go with the Torin 4 Regular. However, if you’re looking for a shoe to be used for recovery miles or long and slow runs, you’re going to want to check out the Torin 4 Plush.

You can pick up the Altra Torin 4 for $119.95 or the Torin 4 Plush for $139.95 at Running Warehouse by using the shop link below.

Shop Altra Torin 4

As the wide-shoe reviewer for BITR, Jarrett is on a never-ending search for the Cinderella shoe to fit his Yeti feet. He currently lives in Baltimore where he enjoys running roads and trails with November Project and Faster Bastards. He also loves craft beer, donuts, and pretending to be elite in his NormaTec boots.


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