Shoe Review: Altra Torin 4.5 Plush
You know what you’re getting before you even step into the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush—it’s right there in the name.
But step in and lace it up, and you’ll feel where the Torin 4.5 Plush gets its name from.
The Torin 4.5 Plush is a soft everyday trainer that’s built with a more democratic fit in mind. The Torin’s natural shape and neutral platform make it inherently stable, and the knit upper provides a comfortable fit.
Altra built upon the previous generations of the Torin to deliver a softer ride than ever before while maintaining what runners love about older versions. Fleet Feet runners tested the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush to see how it fits, how it feels and how it compares to the previous model. Here’s what they thought.
Altra Torin 4.5 Plush
7.4 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)
Altra Torin 4.5 Fit and Materials
Altra made its name by developing a shoe that mimics the shape of the foot—comfortable heel and wide toe box, which Altra calls FootShape. Their shoes quickly gained a following among road runners, trail runners and hikers looking for shoes that didn’t squish their feet into a narrow last.
The Torin 4.5 Plush maintains the same shape as all other Altra running shoes. The FootShape toe box is more rectangular than most other running shoes on the market, which leaves plenty of room for your foot to splay naturally when you land.
The wide toe box is noticeable from the first time you slip your feet into the shoes. Altra says its FootShape design lets your toes stay in a natural position, as if you weren’t wearing shoes at all. When your big toe is allowed to remain straight, it creates a more powerful toe-off, Altra says.
Fleet Feet testers love the wide toe box because it’s comfortable for a lot of different foot shapes.
“The Torin 4.5 Plush really lets your foot do its thing,” one tester says. “I can wiggle my toes and don’t feel like they’re getting smushed together by the shoe. It was a little snug at the ball of my foot, but it doesn’t cause any problems when I run.”
Designers enhanced the comfort of the toe box with a knit upper. The knit is lightweight and pliable, so it flexes naturally with your foot as you transition from landing to takeoff.
On an especially hot run, one tester says he felt like the Torin 4.5 Plush ran a little warm, but it provided a snug, sock-like fit.
Altra didn’t use a rigid heel counter like some other shoes on the market today, which makes the heel more flexible and form-fitting than others. The lack of a heel counter also gives the shoe a softer feel.
The heel fit is comfortable, too, although one tester who has a narrower heel says she had to use marathon lacing to lock her heel down.
Altra Torin 4.5 Ride and Performance
The first thing reviewers noticed about the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is its underfoot feel; as the name suggests, it’s plush.
Altra achieved that soft feel with its Quantic midsole. The foam midsole is squishy beneath your feet, and it delivers a consistent softness from heel to toe, which makes transitions smooth and easy.
One Fleet Feet reviewer says the Quantic midsole is softer than it looks at first glance.
“The Torin 4.5 feels as soft as shoes with a lot more cushioning,” he says.
Another reviewer says the midsole has a memory-foam-mattress feeling: very soft and comfortable.
Another signature Altra feature worked into the Torin 4.5 Plush is the Balanced Cushioning platform. Altra builds its shoes with an even stack height in the heel and forefoot, resulting in a 0 mm heel-to-toe drop. The neutral positioning mimics the way you stand—and the way you run—when you’re barefoot.
Many other running shoes are built on steeper drops, with popular models ranging anywhere from 4 mm to 12 mm. For runners used to those bigger differences between the heel and toe, the Torin 4.5 Plush might take some getting used to since it works different muscles in your feet and legs.
“There’s a really good amount of cushioning, but I personally needed to ease into this shoe,” one tester says. “Once you’re used to the 0 mm drop, though, running in it feels pretty natural.”
Altra Torin 4.0 vs. Altra Torin 4.5 Plush
The comparison of the Altra Torin 4.0 Plush and the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush is nearly identical, but designers did make one noticeable change: a lighter weight.
Altra shaved a full ounce off the men’s model and a little over one ounce from the women’s. The change dropped the women’s shoe to 7.4 oz and the men’s to 9.1 oz—placing the new version comfortably in that sub-10 oz category. The result is an even lighter ride than before while maintaining the same soft feel.
Designers kept the rest of the shoe almost the same from the outgoing model to the incoming one. Altra maintained its FootShape toe box and 0 mm drop, which it calls Balanced Cushioning, and it keeps the 28 mm stack height.
There are also some design changes to the upper, but Altra stuck with the engineered knit for a comfortable, sock-like feel.
Altra Torin 4.0 Plush
Altra Torin 4.5 Plush
8.5 oz (W), 10.1 oz (M)
7.4 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)
Soft cushioning makes the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush a comfortable cruiser on par with many popular max-cushioned running shoes.
The Quantic midsole is cushy and springy, giving the shoe soft landings and a bouncy ride, and it’s consistently cushioned from heel to toe. The knit upper is comfortable and pliable to give the shoe more flexibility.
Altra’s FootShape toe box and Balanced Cushioning lend the shoe a natural stance. While the 0 mm heel-to-toe drop might take some getting used to, it quickly becomes a natural part of the experience.
Runners who crave max cushioning and comfort will find plenty of both in the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush.
Still not convinced? Don’t sweat it. Fleet Feet's return policy means you can test drive your shoes and gear without risk. If you’re not happy with the way your gear performs, looks or fits, we’ll take it back within 60 days. Plus, you’ll get free shipping on orders over $99 and free return shipping on all fleetfeet.com orders. That's our Happy Fit Guarantee.
By Evan Matsumoto. Evan played many sports growing up but didn’t go pro in any of them. Now, he’s the digital copywriter for fleetfeet.com and editor for the Fleet Feet blog where he writes about different foam densities and engineered mesh uppers.