Monday, October 16, 2017

Torin 3.0 Review: New More Comfortable Upper, Firmer Ride

Article by Sam Winebaum with Dominique Winebaum

Altra Torin 3.0 ($125)
Weight: 8.7 oz./247 g men's 9, 7.5 oz.213 g women's 8  per Running Warehouse 
Average of my size 8.5 sample weighs 8.6 oz./244 g (one shoe 8.5 oz./ 240 g, the other 8.8 oz./ 249 g)
Stack Height: 24mm heel/24 mm forefoot, Zero Drop
Altra Running Torin 3.0
The Torin is Altra Running's core neutral road trainer. It features Altra's signatures: the Foot Shape toe box and Zero Drop or midsole height difference from heel to toe, most modern shoes have heels 4-10 mm higher than forefoot. It has a supportive comfortable upper, and very decent flexibility for its 24mm forefoot cushion stack, this from Inner Flex,"tennis strings" like grid molded into the midsole. 
The Torin 2.5 (RTR review) was one of my favorite shoes of 2016 for its balanced construction and decently firm midsole which had me not noticing it had no drop from heel to toe , trail worthy upper, and responsive yet cushioned ride. So, how does the 3.0 measure up? 

Upper and Fit
Altra Running Torin 3.0
The Torin 3.0 fits me true to size as the 2.5 did. Women's versions feature Fit4Her. As women's feet are anatomically different with a narrower heel and mid foot, higher instep, and different metatarsal spacing Altra crafts its uppers to accommodate. Dominique's pair of Torin 3.0 also fit her perfectly at true to size.
Altra Running Torin 3.0
The upper is made of a fairly dense thick mesh infused  with black dot overlays of varying size and density to provide support and structure to the upper. Of course, the toe are is Foot Shape as all Altra's are. Feet have plenty of room to splay and those with wide or tricky feet should find them roomy and relatively pressure free. I find that all Altra shoes climb very well as the toes can really spread out over a wide platform and dig in. 
Altra Running Torin 3.0
Altra Running Torin 3.0
Left: Altra Running Torin 3.0 Right Torin 2.5
The 3.0 mesh (left) is more open while thicker overall than the 2.5's and has far fewer dot overlays, is more comfortable overall, especially in the toe box and has improved front of the toe volume, fit and comfort. 
I ran with the 3.0 on one foot and the 2.5 on the other. I immediately noticed my toes no longer touched the top of the front of the toe box as they did on my decently broken in 2.5. I never had any issues with the height of the 2.5 upfront but it was low or maybe the dense overlay dot pattern, all the red dots covering the upper on the red shoe above, made for less stretch or room for the toes to push up. The toe bumper over the toes is not as broad, or more accurately is now a rubber like overlay, blending into the black dot pattern which is less dense than the solid material of the 2.5's.
Left: Altra Running Torin 3.0 Right Torin 2.5
Instead of a solid upper fabric (dark gray) on the medial side of the 2.5 (right)  the 3.0 upper is now all of one material. Other than better sleeker all of a piece looks I feel no difference from this change.
Bottom: Altra Running Torin 3.0 Top: Torin 2.5
The photo above shows that the heel collar is lower on the 3.0, and seems to be about the same height as the Lone Peak 3.0, a shoe I found unstable at the heel on trails. I have run the Torin 3.0 on moderate trails and its support and stability is just great, maybe the heel counter itself and its reinforcing black diagonal straps, and what I find to be an overall more supportive upper in the 3.0, makes the difference in support between a trail shoe and this ostensively road shoe.

There is a potential issue for some with the achilles collar which like the heel collar is lower in the 3.0  than the 2.5 and is also less padded. On occasion I put a 2" piece of old sock liner under the sockliner for a few millimeters of drop, especially for longer, slower runs. I do this in all Altra. Dominique does this too. We both got heel blisters when we put this minor lift in the 3.0. It seems the combination of less achilles collar padding and lower collar may be  the issue. We never ever get heel blisters in any shoe. Once this "lift" was removed we have had no issues at all since. So, those with orthotics which lift the heel more than the standard included sock liner are advised to check carefully for pressure and irritation before buying

Midsole and Outsole
The midsole is dual density foam. Just below the foot we have Altra's bouncy, softer Abound, the black layer just under foot which provides a soft landing and energy return.  BelowAbound we have Altra's EVA which is firmer than Abound. Upfront InnerFlex, a tennis strings like grid, is molded into the top of the midsole to improve flexibility and reduce weight
Altra Running Torin 3.0 
The 3.0 clearly felt slightly firmer than the 2.5 during my test run with one on each foot. My Torin 2.5 have 90 miles on them including a hard, all downhill half marathon race. Not sure I like this additional firmness at slower paces for everyday training as much as I did the slightly softer, bouncier ride of the 2.5. Looking closely at the construction it definetely appears the softer bouncier Abound layer is thinner in the 3.0. 
Bottom: Altra Running Torin 3.0 Top: Torin 2.5
Interestingly, while one would think the 3.0's less pronounced midsole grooves (see above) would lead to a stiffer sho,the 3.0 is actually about as flexible my 2.5 which has far more miles on it and has a slightly more pronounced further forward flex point making them, along with the firmer midsole, more responsive and agile.

The outsole features Altra's fine, durable rubber in a pattern matching common wear patterns. There is exposed midsole particularly on the lateral side up front. I had no significant wear issues there in either the 2.5 or 3.0 but some may depending on their push off patterns.
Altra Running Torin 3.0
The outsole pattern of the 3.0 (left) and 2.5 are almost identical. There is one difference I can see. The lugs are ever so slightly hollowed out in the 3.0 ,while they are level to the ground in the 2.5. This slight difference may contribute, along with the upper change to a more flexible construction, to the increased front of the shoe flexibility and more pronounced toe flex of the 3.0.
Left: Altra Running Torin 3.0 Right: Torin 2.5
Sam: The Torin 3.0 runs similarly to its predecessor with a balanced feel from heel to toe but its ride is on the firmer side for me. It offers very good forefoot cushioning and a relatively agile, responsive ride. Those used to higher drop shoes will notice the zero drop, but not overwhelmingly s, as the heel is on the firmer side and doesn't compress as much as some low drop shoes with softer cushioning such as the Hoka Clifton. Compared to the 2.5, it is slightly firmer, less bouncy with a more agile forefoot.
Dominique: My other road shoe is the Hoka Clayton 2. I love the cushioning from heel to toe and the wide toe box of the Torin. I have Altra Lone Peaks and on trails its zero drop is not as noticeable. I am still getting used to the zero drop of the Torin. As with all zero drop shoes, gradually get used to the change, especially if you a long time (40 years) runner like me who has run in higher drop shoes.

The Torin is areliable, solidly built, durable daily trainer. It has a comfortable Foot Shape upper which is supportive enough for both road running and trail running, assuming mud and loose terrain traction is not needed. The cushion, improved comfort of its burly upper, especially upfront, and its now lighter 8.7 oz weight are a remarkable combination. Those who use orthotics which raise the heel more than the standard insole should carefully evaluate if the lighter padding around the top of the heel counter may cause issues.
Torin 3.0 is somewhat firmer than its predecessor, less bouncy and energetic, we think due to a thinner Abound layer under foot. It is also slightly more responsive, agile and flexible up front so it should be a somewhat faster shoe for some. It now a bit to firm now for me as a slower every day trainer which the 2.5 was for me along with being a decent racer on hillier course, but for those seeking a fast, firmer, very well cushioned, responsive trainer with a zero drop geometry and wider foot shaped toe box, Torin 3.0 is a great option.

For Sam's bio see our Reviewers Bio Page here

The Torin was provided at no cost.The opinions herein are entirely the authors's.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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Anonymous said...

Sam, great review as always. May I ask how you feel the Torin compares to the Zealot iso 3 please? Thanks

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
The Zealot ISO 3 is a close comparison. Both have relatively spacious uppers with the Zealot softer lighter on the foot and less structured. Zealot is a touch pointier at the very front but as the materials are softer including the toe bumper than Torin it also has a very comfortable fit. Under foot the Zealot is bouncier and more energetic. It is also more flexible. About equally responsive at the heel, i.e pop but... the zero drop and firmness of the Torin is certainly noticed. i prefer the 3 mm of extra heel height and combination of more energetic softer PowerFoam back up by substantial outsole. Upfront it is the reverse i prefer the responsive energy and extra firmness of the Torin 3.0. The Zealot is a bit too flexy and soft up front in comparison. My Zealot ISO 3 review is here
Hope this helps.
Sam. Editor

Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links to all reviews here You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks both are on the wish list!

Anonymous said...

Sam, love your does this compare to the escalante and is there anything out there similar to the escalante? I have a wide foot and love the midsole and upper of the escalante. Was hoping to find something similar with a slightly more lock down on the foot. Thanks Sam!

sam winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks! Much appreciated! Escalante has less cushion and more bounce than Torin. The Torin does have a more locked down fit for sure. While not an issue for me the toe box overhead room is quite low in the Torin, maybe not really lower than Escalante but more structured with the overlay. Others to look at Topo Ultrafly and Magnifly ( new version soon). See index page below
Sam, Editor

Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links to all reviews here You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated.