The BasicsThe Altra Torin 2.0 is a Zero Drop, "maximalist," running shoe. Altra is known for their "FootShape" toe box, which allows your toes to spread out naturally and comfortably. The Torin is highly cushioned with a 27mm stack height, and weighs in a 7.5 oz for women, 9.1 oz for men.
The Down and Dirty
Altra has made a lot of improvements to the Torin. In my review of the Torin 1.0 (which I love and chose as the shoe I wore in my first half marathon) I pointed out a few aspects of the shoe that could use some tweaking. I'm pleased to say that most of my concerns are no longer concerns with the 2.0. I feel like the midfoot of the 2.0 hugs my foot a lot better than the older version did while still having ample room in the forefoot for toe splay. The strange issue I had with the standard laces not being long enough has disappeared as well.
Along with a better fit, I also notice the improved cushioning, these shoes are super comfortable. The Torin is well cushioned while still providing plenty of bounce (energy return as those fancy shoe writers like to call it). I can wear these shoes for hours on a long run in Florida heat and humidity and not even think about them (or my feet) once. That's impressive. While I think the Saucony Zealot will win in my choice of marathon shoe for November, the Torin will definitely take a lot of my training miles as well.
I even think the look of this version is less clownish! Due to the FootShape of Altras some of them tend to look funny when you're used to "regular" running shoes. I don't know if I'm just getting used to the look but these seem less bulbous than my other Altras, especially the Superior. While I do like brightly colored running shoes, this subdued grey with pink and lime accents is looking good (I really like the monochromatic look of their Hemlock color as well). It also has plenty of reflective elements on the shoe; from every angle this shoe will be seen in the dark. That's important to me since I do most of my running in the early morning hours. The upper fabric is very similar to that of the 1.0, though it does seem to be a bit more breathable to me, and dries much quicker. These are great improvements but I still think they could improve the upper more.
The most disappointing change in the 2.0, and really the only negative thing I have to say about the shoe, is the outsole. Altra claims the 2.0 has improved outsole durability, but they must be comparing it to the 1.5 which I haven't tried, because this is definitely less durable than the outsole of the 1.0. Look at this picture of the outsole above. Many running shoe companies follow a similar pattern, they put hard(er) rubber under the heel, ball, and big toe. The 1.0 had an even spread of rubber which I really appreciated since the first part of my shoe to wear down is right in front of the ball on the lateral side. On the picture this is the white area to the right of the dark grey, which is foam on the Torin 2.0. I don't even use the heel of my running shoes. So Altra, give me more rubber on the lateral forefoot, cut off the whole heel. That was a joke, but really, don't skimp on the rubber.
I wrote this review after running over 35 miles in the Torin 2.0. I mostly ran on concrete and asphalt but had no issues on gravel and grass either. At the end of my first run in these, I did have a bit of a hotspot under the ball of my foot but it never blistered and each run in the shoes has felt better than the last. I'm generally the type of runner who says that shoes these days don't need much, if any, time to "break-in," but I do think the Torin 2.0 took about 10 miles before it really started to melt into my foot and now I don't even notice it. All in all, this is an excellent choice for a Zero-Drop, well cushioned running shoe that can be used daily training and racing (many ultra runners love Altras).
Altra provided me with these shoes for review purposes, all opinions are my own.