Founded in 2009 by self proclaimed shoe nerds. Altra Running has gained a dedicated following with its signature zero drop running shoes. But zero drop does not mean zero cushion. And today we’ll be looking at two of the brand’s more cushioned runners. Comparing the Altra Torin vs Paradigm.
One is quickly becoming one of the brand’s top selling shoes. Combining a zero drop with high cushion in a neutral road running shoe. The other is a max cushioned runner and considered a mild support running shoe. Designed to provide just enough corrective support to get you running naturally. So let’s get to it, going over the quick differences, specs, in-depth sand photos.
Altra Torin vs Paradigm
- The Altra Paradigm features guide rails, for added/corrective support. The Torin is a neutral running shoe.
- The Altra Torin is the lighter of the two shoes. Weighing 9 ounces, compared the Paradigm weighing 10.8 ounces.
- Both shoes are Zero-Drop. Meaning they have a drop of 0mm.
- The Paradigm is listed as a “max” cushion. The Torin is listed as “high” cushioned.
- The stack height on the Torin is 28mm. Compared to 30mm on the Paradigm.
- As added support, the Paradigm features INNOVARCH arch support. To encourage natural running form.
- Torin 5’s feature a rigid tongue. This has caused many complaints of chafing and sharp pain while running.
- The Paradigm 6’s toe box is smaller than on previous models, which were on the generous side in the 4 & 5s. Just something to note when looking.
- Both shoes feature Altra’s very recognizable sole pattern. You can see this in the images below.
As one of the few brands in running that focuses on zero drop shoes. Altra Running has gained a loyal and dedicated following. With a unique footpad design for comfort and some really cool designs. In under 15 years it has become one the most recognizable shoe brands in running. Once you know the Altra design, you know when someone is wearing them. So it’s no wonder why a lot of people find themselves comparing the Altra Torin vs Paradigm. Below we’ll go over each shoe more in-depth.
When unboxing the Torin my first impression was that they are a good looking shoe. I’m always impressed with Altra’s design aesthetic. On the feet, the shoes fit true to size. So if you like having a bit of extra room you may want to half size up in these. But the toes box gives the toes room to spread out like you have come to expect from the brand.
The one thing I did notice right away was the thin stiff tongue of the shoe. I’ve read about this in a few reviews about the Torin 5 and had to agree. There is no way I could run with these in low pro socks. So I bent the tongue of the shoe a bit to loosen them up and grabbed some thicker high sock for the first couple of runs. I will say, the tongue will loosen up after about 50 miles. But those first 50 are tough.
On the road the Altra Torin feel incredibly light with just the right amount of cushion. Zero drop running shoes can take a bit of time to get used to, and having the right amount of cushion helps improve the transition time. The foot pod design of the toe box allows enough room for the toes to spread naturally. But I do wish there was a bit more room overall in the shoe.
One thing I did notice about my time in the Altra Torin was that they seem to wear a bit faster than other models. And with just 100 miles on a pair the wear was noticeable.Besides the wear and the stiff tongue. I really enjoyed my time running in the Torins.
When trying the Paradigms it’s important to remember that these are support shoes. For some reason Altra has been touted as a neutral shoe. It is not. They are more of a mild corrective runner. So if you are not looking for a corrective runner, you will want to look at other neutral models like the Torin. At first glance the Paradigm’s have a noticeably thicker cushion and added heel cushioning. And you can tell why Altra has them listed as “max”cushioned.
This cushion is noticeable right away when you are first on the Paradigms. If you’re looking to feel the road, these probably are not the shoes for you. But I could see them making comfortable standing shoes if you have a job on your feet all day. The other thing that stands out is that the toe box on the Paradigm 6 seems to be a bit smaller than I would expect. Especially having run in other Altra models.
Running is the Altra Paradigm I start to understand why they have called them a neutral running shoe with mild support. They have a slight tendency to force supination (rotates them outward). But nothing too major. And the cushion performs well. And it’s a great combination of a good stack height on a zero drop shoe. My one issue with the Paradigm 6s was the narrow toe box compared to earlier models. But I had similar issues with this year’s Torins (as mentioned above) So I wonder if it’s an overall design change by Altra.
Below you can see photos of the Altra Torin vs Paradigm. You can see the added stack height, extra heal cushion, and thicker tongue on the Paradigm.
Altra Torin Profile
Altra Paradigm Profile
From above you can really see the added cushion around the sole of the Paradigm. The Torin is a much leaner shoe all around.
Torin Top View
Paradigm Top View
Both shoes show off Altra’s signature sole design. One of my favorites in running for style points.
Altra Torin Soles
Altra Paradigm Soles
Conclusion – Altra Torin vs Paradigm
Altra makes a lot of great trail and road running shoes. And if you’re looking for cushioning, it makes sense to be comparing the Altra Torin vs Paradigm. These are two of the brands “high” and “max” cushioned runners. With both delivering very different experiences on the road. But which one should you go with?
Which road running shoe to buy?
To me this is an easy one. While the Paradigm may be sold as a neutral running shoe, it’s not. That’s going to be the biggest difference here. So if you’re trying to decide between these two models and you want a neutral runner, then go with the Torin. A great mix of light weight, cushion, and zero drop.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a corrective/stability runner then you should with the Paradigm. They are built to last and have a lot of cushion for logging a lot of training miles.