Shoe Review: Altra Torin Plush

I’m scheduled to run my first 50 Miler in October. After a grueling 50K at Kettle Moraine early this month, I have opted for the flat http://www.hennepinhundred.com/. After checking in with the Hennepin training group on Facebook, I confirmed that road shoes are the way to go for this race. So the challenge became finding the right shoe for the occasion.

I have recently fallen in love with Altra. The “foot-shaped” shoe with the roomy toe box has been a revelation for me. After adjusting to a zero-drop shoe, I find myself feeling at home in an Altra, and the Lone Peak 4.0 combined with Injinji socks got me through a relentlessly hilly 50K trail race in very wet and muddy conditions without a single blister or hot spot. And while trail running may shorten the stride a bit, putting less stress on the Achilles, Altra with its foot-fitting zero drop felt like the right choice for a flat 50 miler.

My size 9 Torin Plush was waiting for me to come home from work yesterday and as soon as I got changed, I headed out the door on an 8-mile run. By way of comparison, I also run in a Torin 3.5 and the Brooks Ghost. What I am looking for in the Plush is a shoe that will disappear under foot during a 50 mile journey along the Hennepin Trail.

The first thing I noticed when lacing up the Altra Torin Plush was the glove-like fit, which was unexpected. The upper hugged my foot the way a “knit” shoe would. The sizing felt correct to me, like a true men’s 9. That said, if I ultimately commit to the Torin Plush for Hennepin, I will likely size up to a 9.5 to accommodate foot swelling over the longer distance. But on my 8 miles, the sizing was perfect.

Altra certainly provided a more substantial shoe with the Plush. While the shoe did not feel heavy underfoot, it was unquestionably more shoe than my Torin 3.5. I did not feel like I was running on a bouncy house. I felt protected by the shoe’s cushion, but felt it was a good balance with a slight firmness. It is not the shoe I would choose for speed work or a quick 5K. But for long runs and races from marathon distance and beyond, the Torin Plush felt like a strong contender. It was solid, it was stable, and even on a first run, I felt like I could have probably doubled the length of my run without any shoe-induced issues. The lacing system established a firm fit. My heel did not slip or slide. My wide forefoot was happy. And I will give the Altra Torin Plush serious consideration over the next 6 weeks as I make a final decision about the shoe I will take to Hennepin.

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