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Road Running Shoes • August 5, 2020

Altra Torin 4.5 Plush Performance Review

altra torin 4.5 plush - feature

What You Need To Know

  • Weighs 8.9 oz. (252 g) for a US M9.0/ 7.5 oz. (212 g) for a US W8.0
  • New engineered knit upper (midsole and outsole stays the same)
  • Lost an ounce of weight, but still retains the comfort and peformance of the Torin 4.0
  • Comfortable miles seem endless, like breadsticks from a fine Italian chain establishment

ROBBE: The last time I reviewed the Torin was two years ago for the Torin 3.5. There was a great deal I enjoyed about that shoe in regards to performance. Very comfortable, lightweight, enjoyable to run in.

I hated that shoe for other reasons, mainly because it looked like a skateboarding shoe that only Krusty the Clown would wear. Good news– the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is not that. In fact, it looks kinda dope in the black colorway. For a foot-shaped shoe, anyway (more on that later).

Yes, we’re so vain, we probably think this review is about us and our style preferences. But it’s not, so let’s get onto the shoe.

Let’s clear up some confusing stuff with the Altra Torin 4.5 right off the bat. It’s bad enough we’re using half numbers for shoe names (half versions in Altra are just changes to the upper, btw), but now we’re getting weird with calling this the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush. It’s weird, because… there’s no “regular” Altra Torin 4.5 anymore.

But there used to be. Like, last year, when you had the Altra Torin 4.0 and the Altra Torin 4.0 Plush. But not the year before that. Except wait, there were also two versions that year– the Torin 3.5 Knit and the Torin 3.5 Mesh.

(Imagine if English isn’t your first language, or if this is the first shoe review you’ve ever read. You’re probably pulling up CrossFit sites as we speak.)

All that to say, for all intents and purposes, the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is now just the default Altra Torin, with a soft engineered knit upper. Whatever it took to get here, I’m cool with, because this turned out to be an excellent, lightweight, super comfortable zero-drop shoe.

JARRETT: The Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is here. What does the .5 mean? I’m glad you asked! Or secretly I want to show off that I can pay attention and learned something… The .5 means that this is an update to just the upper. The midsole and outsole are the same as the Torin 4 Plush. If you liked the previous model, you’ll be happier than a pig in mud.

altra torin 4.5 plush - feature

The Good

ROBBE: You want comfort? You got it. The Altra Torin 4.5 Plush has to be one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn in recent memory. It certainly is plush, but without sacrificing weight. It’s like the shoe cares about you, on a personal level. The new knit upper wraps the foot in all the right places, and the insole should have a sign on it that says, “When you’re here, you’re family.” Because straight-up– it feels like butter, on unlimited breadsticks, at Olive Garden. (Post Malone, let us know if we need to get you back for using that slogan.)

Running in the shoe was no different. I took it on two long runs (one of them out of the box, huge mistake, sorry calves) and a couple shorter runs, and it was a treat. Lockdown was good, and the weight on this thing comes an ounce under most daily trainers (lost an ounce over last year’s Torin, btw). It can handle long miles or pick up to tempo pace if it needs to.

Yet it didn’t lack any cushion. The 28 mm stack height seems to be perfect, and the shoe just rolls along. Fans of the previous version know what I’m talking about, and will certainly be happy that nothing has changed from the waist down in this shoe. The Quantic midsole isn’t one of the magic midsole foams, but it gives what it needs to for a great ride.

Of course, there’s still plenty of room in the toe box as well, even though Altra has streamlined its profile over the last year or so (thank God).

And finally– it looks pretty good! I was still self-conscious I looked a little too granola with some Path Projects shorts and a Deuter Kid carrier backpack, but I’m still not mad about those full-sleeved, faux rebel rider Levi store employees who kept ignoring me even though I was the only person in the store who wanted to try on a pair of jeans.

altra torin 4.5 plush - shoes ground

JARRETT: The new knit upper is a nice improvement. It’s softer, has more give, and is more breathable. I wasn’t able to verify the last bit as it has been 95 degrees with 5000% humidity in Maryland the past month. *Fall, if you’re listening, please come early!*

There was an overlay around the toe box in the previous version that annoyingly creased. Altra softened that up and made it less pronounced around the pinky toe so there are no issues anymore.

I thought the midfoot fit felt a little snug at first, but as each run went on, it formed better to my obnoxiously wide feet. Some of the Altra fans may complain that it’s not as wide as it used to be, but if I can wear them, you probably can too.

The tongue has been toned down and is a good middle ground between being overly padded or a thin nothing. The heel collar is smooth and padded perfectly.

Since this is a .5 update, the midsole and outsole are the same. In this case, that’s not a bad thing. With the Torin 4 Plush, I liked the Quantic midsole. It’s super cushioned and rebounds well. The outsole (which Altra calls Footpod Technology), is covered in full-blown rubber to grip any surface and mapped to the bones and tendons in the foot to help with flex and natural movements.

With only the upper being updated, I’m impressed by the weight of these. Last year, my Torin 4.0 Plush weighed 10.7 oz while this year’s 4.5 Plush weighs 9.6 oz. Some other companies should take note on how to cut weight without sacrificing comfort.

Altra is doing a damn good job of making foot-shaped shoes not be embarrassing to wear out in public. The Torin 4.5 Plush in black is sleek. I dig it, Altra.

Lastly, I need to mention that Altra took the hint and the shoelace length is reasonable. Huzzah!

Shop Altra Torin 4.5 – Men Shop Altra Torin 4.5 – Women
altra torin 4.5 plush - outsole

That time we found a fossil of a human foot

The Bad

ROBBE: I really don’t have anything bad to say about the shoe, except that it was maybe a bit warm. But if you want a plush, comfortable upper, it’s hard to cash in on that without giving back some change in temperature control. Come fall, it won’t be an issue.

Not a bad thing, but if you don’t run in zero-drop shoes, trust me when I tell you not to take these out of the box on a 10-mile long run. I should certainly know better, but somehow convinced myself that by running in the 5 mm-drop HOKA Rincon 2 for over 200 miles last month, I’d somehow be okay. The actual run felt fine, but the next day– hoo boy. My legs were wrecked, from the calves to the quads, to the windows, to the walls. It took like five days for them to recover, so it turns out that I’m not in my mid-twenties anymore.

JARRETT: People will say the toe box is a bit shallow, but that didn’t cause me any issues as the upper is a soft and forgiving material. I also have enough room in the toe box.

Honestly, my biggest frustration is why in the world would Altra remove the second eyelet which was present in the previous model? Who’s decision was this?! There was a small amount of heel slip which would have been nonexistent.

Shop Altra Torin 4.5 – Men Shop Altra Torin 4.5 – Women altra torin 4.5 plush - tongue

Altra Torin 4.5 Plush Conclusion

ROBBE: I’m going to be honest– we have a lot of shoes coming in, but I’m going to try and work this into as many runs as possible, that’s how much I enjoyed running in the shoe. The wider platform has me feeling secure, while the weight is light enough to adapt to anything from long runs to tempo work. And the comfort is just spot on. Hell, even if you don’t run, you should pick these up as just a walking shoe.

JARRETT: As I write this, I realize that I have very little to complain about with the Torin 4.5 Plush. Yeah, there should have been a second eyelet for lacing and Altra seems to be moving in the direction of slimmer profiles, but the ounce of weight loss is great, the upper feels good, and the midsole and outsole didn’t need much changing.

The Torin 4.5 Plush is an excellent daily trainer, long run, or easy recovery day shoe. The zero drop cult and curious truth-seekers should be pleased with this one.

You can pick up the at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.

Shop Altra Torin 4.5 – Men Shop Altra Torin 4.5 – Women altra torin 4.5 plush - heel

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Melissa says:

    I really love my Altra Torin 4 Plush shoes. And these look promising. However, I’m looking to add more pairs of shoes to my rotations and give other brands a try as well. Do you guys have recommendations for similar shoes to these with other brands? Lots of cushion, good for low-impact running?

  2. Kurt says:

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for clearing up the that the Torin 4.0 (non-plush) is gone and only one Torin model exists now, and that’s the Torin 4.5 Plush. UGH!

    Thanks, Kurt

    1. jarrett says:

      Thomas did an interview with Brian (altra cofounder) which you can find on the bitr youtube channel. He said (around 31:30 minute mark) that there will be a shoe that fills the torin regular gap of the 25-26mm midsole that has a big update. That should be coming in spring 21.

      Hope that helps ease the pain!

  3. ALN says:

    Thanks for this informative and witty review, guys! I am especially pleased to see you are from Baltimore, as I grew up a Glen Burnie gal. 😉 I have been an Altra fan for years and also stopped wearing the Torin due to clown-shoe looks mentioned in your review (sadly) but so glad to give them another go. I’ve also been running down in the DC area for over 10 years now, and have never read BITR for some reason?? I’m so glad I found you guys!

    1. Robbe Reddinger says:

      Hey, thanks for reading! This shoe will probably be in my top 5 for 2020. I love it. Also love that you’re from Glen Burnie and welcome to BITR! If you’re ever up in Baltimore, we run Saturdays with the Faster Bastards, come out for a run. Take care!

  4. Damian says:

    I made same mistake running them out of the box. At the beginning it felt like running on a carpet. Great cushioning after running only in Escalante Racer. Unfortunately after about 15 min it got uncomfortable. I started to feel the shape of the rubber outsole on the sole of my feet. Like the was no cushioning at all (this feeling disapeared when I walked) and it got too warm inside. I hop that will improve after few runs and adjusting the shoes.

    1. Floyd says:

      I have the same issue with the shape of the out sole on the bottom of my feet. When I took them off my foot was slightly deformed for a few minutes? And the bottom was quite warm. Did it get any better?

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