Torin 4.5 vs 4 Running Shoe

I’ve been a fan of Altra running shoes ever since I ditched my Hoka Cliftons for the Altra Torin 2.5 back in 2014. Have run in a few Altra models since.

When the Torin 4.5’s were announced, of course I was curious. The Torin 4 Plush was an incredibly solid shoe for running on pavement. But the temptation to try the new model won out. For those who want to cut to the chase, I like the Torin 4.5 better than the Torin 4. But not at first. Initially they seemed like a mistake.

I wanted to send the Torin 4.5 back & keep my Torin 4’s.

When the 4.5’s arrived I was anxious to put them on for a run. First, what’s my run look like? It’s a little different as I’m not a hard core runner. Currently I do around 3/4 of a mile in about 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Then I do sprints over the length of a football field. So about 28 seconds for each sprint. That’s my routine and it’s all on pavement.

The Altra Torin 4.5 Plush ready to run.

I Wanted To Send Them Back

As soon as my foot slid into the shoe an alarm went off. “These are way too tight.” But they were the right size. “Crap!” I thought. But decided to try them out anyway as Altra has that nice 30-day run and return policy.

I hit the pavement and things just didn’t feel right. My left foot had suffered a fracture two years ago, and less than a half mile in it felt odd. No pain, just like a weird knot or something under the ball of my foot. I mean, it was so distinct that I looked under the shoe to see if there was something wrong with the sole. Nothing. Went ahead with the sprints, but wasn’t sold by a long shot.

After Three Runs It All Changed

Decided to give them another shot and did my routine another day. Same odd feeling in the ball of my foot, but no pain. Then after day three things got better. Not just better, the shoes performed really well.

The tight feeling turned out to be a perfect fit, and the odd feeling in my left foot completely went away. I’ve been running and sprinting in the 4.5’s for a couple months now, and can honestly say that I love the shoes and wouldn’t go back to the Torin 4! Now, let’s talk a few specifics:

Altra Torin 4 vs 4.5
The Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is screen left and the Altra Torin 4 is screen right.

Perceived Width

As mentioned above, the Torin 4.5 feels at first like it’s too small. Today I slipped on one of my 4’s and one of my 4.5’s to try them side by side. The 4’s feel roomier in the front of the foot. However, do not be alarmed. I think the 4’s are a touch too roomy.

My feet are pretty wide. I order the wide version of Chuck Taylor’s to avoid having to order a 1/2 size longer than I need. The platform of Altra has always been the selling thing for me. My feet hang off the side of Hoka’s and are crammed in the likes of Nike.

The platform of the Torin 4.5 is there and solid. The entire shoe just feels a little more streamlined than the Torin 4. In fact, I held them up sole to sole today, and the 4 and 4.5 appear to have the same width sole. So it must be an upper revamp only.

Short Laces and Redesigned Tongue

The 4’s had crazy long laces and a soft, comfy tongue. The 4.5’s have what I’d call “sticky” laces that are short, but don’t come untied. The tongue is also made of a material that won’t move to the side as much during a run. Technically I don’t think this tongue will breath like the other, but I’ve ran in very hot and humid weather with no issues.

Altra 4.5 tongue and lace redesign.

A More Comfortable Bend

If you’re familiar with the Torin 4 you know there was a somewhat odd crease where the shoe bends. Not painful or anything, but noticeable. It was never a deal killer for me, but with the 4.5 Altra did away with that flaw.

Comparable Cushioning and Weight

Overall, I didn’t notice that much of a difference in the cushioning. I mean, sure the 4.5’s are a little springier because they’re new. And technically, they’re a little lighter. But the 4’s are very light. In these two areas the shoes feel similar.

The footbed of the Torin 4.5 does feel different than the 4. Could be related to the tighter upper, or just to the fact that they’re new and not hammered out as much as my 4’s.

Sprints and Turns

These feel great in sprints, and if you have sharp turns during your run, these will do just fine. I remember trying the mesh Escalante’s and it felt like the mesh was going to let me slide right off the foundation of the shoe on turns. The Altra Torin 4.5’s are not like that.

10 Month Update

After running in these for around 10 months, something bad happened: The sides tore on the outside of each shoe. Literally separated from the sole due to the tighter fit. I contacted Altra and they sent me a new pair of 9’s. When they arrived I tried them on and they were super tight again. Sent them back for a size 9.5 and everything changed for the better. The 9.5 Torin is PERFECT for my foot. And this is odd since my prior three pairs were all 9’s.

The Torin 4.5 vs the Torin 4

In summary, if you’re on the fence about the 4.5, my advice is to get them. And give yourself a hand full of runs to make a decision. I think the shoe has a more streamlined feel, and I like them so much it’s a temptation to just order another pair in case Altra goes to the dark side and screws up the Torin 5!

As with all of my reviews, I didn’t get these shoes for free. Altra doesn’t even know I exist. I’m just a runner who loves the Torin, and can’t believe how many years I wasted with the likes of Asics and Hoka One One.