I’ll be honest, I’m a creature of habit. I’m the type of person who, no matter how many times I go to a restaurant, will order the same thing over and over again because it’s what I know; it’s comfortable; it’s safe. I’m the same way with my running shoes. Ever since trying out one particular minimalist style shoe, I have been running in it for years now. I have tried the updated versions of the same shoe, but I always, always stick to that same brand and that same style. When asked to try out the Altra Torin 2.0, I was both hesitant but also kind of excited that I was getting the chance to branch away from my normal shoe routine.
A company founded in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Altra (founded by competitive runner, Golden Harper) is known for developing and perfecting the art of Zero Drop (heel-toe drop) running shoes. Zero Drop running shoes are designed to provide balanced weight from heel to forefoot, promoting proper running form. Altra Zero Drops also feature a Foot Shape toe box design which further maximizes foot stability and overall running performance, while alleviating some of the most common foot problems such as bunions, neuromas, and plantar fasciitis.
Altra Torin 2.0 specs:
Weight: 7.5 oz
Stack height: 27mm
Insole: 5mm Contour Footbed
Upper: Quick dry air mesh
Right out of the box, these shoes have a unique look to them. The toe box was most noticeable, giving that specific part of the shoe a flatter, almost flipper-esque look compared to a traditional running shoe. Another noticeable feature was the stack height which, in my opinion, kind of gave it a chunky look. The pair of Torins that I received were gray with hints of pink, black, yellow, and neon green, as well as pink laces. While this color combination is easily my least favorite out of all the shoes I’ve ever run in, the Torins do come in two other color options for women. Men also have three different color options to choose from.
Off and running:
My first run in the Torin’s was a simple 3 miler out on the road. Going from my previous shoe, which has a heel to toe drop of 6mm to the Torin’s zero drop, was definitely a strange feeling. I had read reviews from other runners who thought this was the most comfortable, cushioned shoe ever. To be perfectly honest, they felt a little stiff to me, almost like I was running with wooden blocks strapped to my feet. As someone who has never run in a zero drop shoe though, I was open minded and optimistic that this feeling was simply me adjusting to the zero drop design. It was quite peculiar having so much toe room thanks to the toe box design of the Torin’s. I have pretty narrow feet, so I was initially worried that my feet would be slipping and sliding from having so much open space, but that didn’t seem to be the case during this run. Although there was no slippage, I think I am just someone who is accustomed to a more snug fitting shoe. My first run in the Torin’s was complete, and my impression post run was, meh.
50+ miles later:
To adjust to running in the zero drop Torin’s, I would alternate between running in them and running in my 6mm heel to toe drop shoes until eventually I weaned myself into running in the Torin’s full time. As time went on and the mileage increased, the stiffness of the shoe became less noticeable. I personally still don’t think they’re as cushioned as some people have reviewed them to be, but that’s just me. It may be in my head as well, but my calves actually felt like they had gained a bit of strength from having to adjust to the zero drop design. The Torin’s accompanied me on runs ranging from 3 miles to 10 miles and in weather ranging from sunny to quite rainy and blustery (it is Oregon after all). They fared well in all conditions and my feet stayed dry. I experienced zero blisters and zero hot spots, which is always a plus.
If you’re looking to transition into a pair of zero drop shoes, I think Altra Torin’s would be a safe bet. I think however, they would fare better on someone whose feet are not as narrow and small as mine (I’ve been told I have “baby feet”). I felt like the shoe’s interior was very spacey, and although my feet were not sliding around inside, at times it felt like just my heels were slipping out. They never actually did, but the sensation of them slipping was definitely there. I also could not quite get over the stiff feeling of the Torin’s; I would actually be curious to try out the previous version (the 1.5’s) as I have read from other reviewers that they felt slightly more cushioned than the updated 2.0’s. In general, however, I appreciate a shoe brand that isn’t afraid to branch away from the traditional shoe design while also seeking to prevent running related injuries and foot issues. I honestly think you would be hard pressed to find a zero drop shoe connoisseur who is not happy with the Altra Torin 2.0‘s or any pair of Altra’s for that matter. The 2.0’s retail for approximately $125.