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.
MSRP Price: $150
Men’s Link: Click Here
Women’s Link: Click Here
Surface: Road Running
Weight Men: 9 oz / 257.5 g
Weight Women: 7.3 oz / 209.3 g
Drop/Offset Men’s: 0mm (zero drop)
Drop/Offset Women’s: 0mm (zero drop)
Stack Height: 28mm
MSRP Price: $160
Men’s – Click Here
Women’s – Click Here
Surface: Road Running
Weight Men’s: 10.8 oz / 307 g
Weight Woman’s: 9.3 oz / 265 g
Drop/Offset Men’s: 0mm (zero drop)
Drop/Offset Women’s: 0mm (zero drop)
Stack Height: 30mm
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.
Oh, really, a support shoe is a support shoe, and not a neutral?
Sorry, but people reading actual wear testing (at least for me I do) usually require it to tell them more than they can read themselves.
As someone who also has used both, the only thing in your “review” I can agree with is that the torin feels light and a bit tight on your foot (torin 5 leather in my case, the tongue being slim but really soft, a solution for torin to gu damage as much as the torinlixe is, some research would have told you).
In case I can help somebody with this, then let me say, the paradigm 6 is a near perfect, “keep me neutral or at worst slightly supinating” concepts I have ever run in. Neither Brooks adrenaline nor similar attempts from Saucony etc are as good at it.
Additionally the gomax foam used here seems more than a bit softer than the torins, or at least require less initial effort to start the shoe displaying its full dampening capabilities, while the torin needs higher speed and or weight to do so.
Botch have amazing grip on most artificial ground, ok one on flat conder/trail and atrocious one on snow and ice.
Durability seems between average and good, and both make good ‘standing around’ and lifestyle shoes as well, and their unusual styling parts will at least make one stand out of the masses of ‘classics’ out there.
My 42 drachmes.
Thank you for you reply but I’m a bit confused. Yes one is more a support shoe and one is neutral, you don’t think someone comparing the two should know this? And the first part of the article is a spec comparison with the actual specs from each shoe and the in depth review going into fit, feel, is down below. Along with much more about the fit of the two shoes. You are also comparing the leather version of the shoe, which this article is not about. Accusing me of not doing research about shoe model that is not being reviewed. Not really sure what to say about that.
You also mention the gomax foam, but both the Torin and Paradigm use the same Altra Ego Max (gomax) foam mid sole. Which the Paradigm has a bit more of, as mentioned in the article. I’m also a lighter runner so the energy return I receive from more cushion will be less than some one heavier than me. Which may be why you feel more of the cushion and energy return than I do. I also like a lighter shoe, which is why I stand by my conclusion. I’m going with the Torin… unless I need support then I’m lookin at the Paradigm. Which is a great shoe too. These things can be subjective. Which is why I’m leaving the comment up for others to read.
As always I do appreciate any comments or feedback. Even if they aren’t positive.