Is this the perfect shoe?
Disclaimer: I received a new pair of Altra Torin 2.0 from Altra Running as part of the Runner's World Festival in October. All thoughts are mine.
What makes a running shoe a good shoe? A simple answer is something that is comfortable and doesn't cause you any problems during and after your runs.
But after hearing Altra Running founder Golden Harper share his story a second time a few weeks ago, I believe the answer to that question is much deeper.
Golden studied kinetics and biomechanics and put himself on a quest to design shoes that gave runners a pain-free experience. After some tests using a toaster oven and a few other modifications, what is now known as Altra and its Zero Drop shoes came to be.
It's a little more complex than that -- me explaining doesn't do it justice, so I encourage you to visit the Our Story page on Altra's site.
I began running in Altra's shoes shortly after the Runner's World Festival in 2013. After a transition of wearing them once a week for a few weeks, then twice a week for a couple more, I was ready to go full time in them. After a successful long run, I haven't looked back.
I was a huge fan of Altra's original Torin. To put it simply, they were comfortable to me, I enjoyed the awesome Foot Shaped Toe Box. Altra says to "Embrace the Space" and I certainly have since that time. I was scared of Zero Drop for a long time, but now anything else feels extremely weird.
As I headed to the Runner's World Festival, I was excited to try a pair of the Torin 2.0. I LOVED the original so much, but the 1.5 weren't quite right for me.
In the past couple of years I've also worn the Instinct 2.0 and the Olympus 1.5 -- both are good shoes, but they're not the Torin.
I've always struggled giving shoes a proper review -- no shoe has ever been perfect or worth getting too excited about, but the Torin 2.0 is different. Every run has felt great in this shoe. When I get ready to go for a run, I'm eager to put them on my feet.
At the Runner's World Festival, I wore them around the first day and on my trail walk/run. I had a hard time putting them aside for the 5K and 10K on Saturday, but I did wear them for the half marathon.
They felt amazing pulling them out of the box, giving them a brief "break in" and then running a half marathon right away. I certainly didn't plan on that, nor do I recommend it, but it was a great ride.
I can't wait to keep wearing these, buying a few more pairs and taking them on a journey with me to new experiences and, I hope, new PRs in 2016. I can't call them the "perfect shoe" just yet, but they might be. That's an unwritten story.
Check out the video below for full details on the Torin 2.0.