It has been a bit silly around here the past couple of days (a quick trip over and back to Berlin, NH for a wake late yesterday), attempting to keep up with chores, starting to get ready for winter (it is coming) and I have gotten behind on blogging, but hey that is okay, I know how to get caught back up.
Sit my arse down and start writing.
The other night I was looking for an easy run shoe to alternate in with my New Balance Beacon 2, so I don’t keep putting ridiculous miles on them. Then I remembered how impressed I had been with a pair of Altra Torin 3.5 back in May 2018, when I went down and ran with Sam W. I got to run a short distance in them that day and was very impressed with the Torin 3.5 mesh. You can read more about his thoughts about them here.
However, I have a love/hate relationship with zero drop shoes since I partially tore my Achilles’ tendon (in a different brand), about five years ago and all the times that I have attempted to go back to Altra shoes since have ended with me getting rid of the shoes.
Which really made me think twice about getting the Torin 3.5.
You can read about my post where I discussed my wish for an Altra Torin with a 4-6mm drop here.
I figured that I can handle easy 3-5 milers in zero drop as a change of pace shoe once or twice a week. It is more when I attempt to run in them as my primary trainers that I seem to run into issues.
Well, to make a long story short the other night I made an a very conservative offer on on eBay for a pair of Torin 3.5 and it was unexpectedly accepted.
Shit, now what do I do with them.
Best answer – run in them and see how they feel.
They came in and didn’t have the stock Altra insole and the previous owner had attempted to make them a non-zero drop shoe, which kind of sucked, because a regular insole doesn’t fit quite the toe box of Altra Running shoes. They didn’t feel right with the modifications, so I got them back to zero drop and added in a heel insert of my own and a different insole not an Altra insole but one that was better than what was there.
Like I said I am leery about running in zero drop.
Then I proceeded to run my Middle Road Loop which is lots of hills and 1.7 miles of dirt road. It is a good test of how a shoe performs in a variety of conditions.
I started out slowly and it took a little to get accustomed to the way the shoes felt, though I really loved the Cush/width in the forefoot. However, I could tell that the Sole heel inserts were not going to work and that I would be getting rid of them after the run was done after about the first mile.
This is the first shoe in a long time, where I could honestly say that the toe box was too wide. If I were to get them again, I would go with a size 8.0 versus the 8.5 and if I could try them on first, I would look closely at a 7.5, they feel that much too large.
Also I am not a fan of the the 2 sets of internal straps (yellow) in the lacing system to hold my foot, I have to be VERY care to not over-tighten the laces in the straps, because it is very easy to do so for me. I might even hole-punch the upper and get rid of the top set if they keep bothering me, since they are the ones that are bothering the most.
I was able to easily maintain a comfortable 9:00 minute pace for this fairly tough 5.0 mile course and when I wanted to pick up the pace a little, it was not a problem. They did exceptional on the dirt road, which is nice, since I have several courses that use the down-back.
After the run, I did a few modifications and am thinking about a few more if the Torin 3.5 need a little more tweaking. The stock laces were too long, so I changed them out to a different pair and yes, I got rid of the heel inserts and will run in them as zero drop shoes and see how they do with my balky Achilles.
Actually, I am rather hopeful that how I am planning to use them will allow me to run successfully in Altra shoes again. To be able to run 5.0 miles in them with heel inserts that were not comfortable and not have my calves be on fire, was a pretty positive thing to me. I have been using them as my walking shoes since that to help the adjustment to zero drop and the calves/Achilles have felt fine.
So the next test will be to run in them as zero drop shoes and see how they pan out.
Yeah, I am hopeful.