Altra Torin 3.5 Mesh 16

Shoe Review: Altra Torin 3.5 Knit vs Altra Torin 3.5 Mesh

When these shoes rolled into the office, the first thought we had was… what is Altra thinking? Two different models of the Torin? Who asked for this? How are they different? In this review, we hope to answer those questions and to be clear, this is not your normal .5 release for a platform. This truly should have been a 4.0 as Altra has made some major changes to both versions and both are dramatically different from the 3.0. So let’s get going with our look at the Torin 3.5 Mesh and Knit models. To start, the mid and the out are basically the same between models whereas the uppers are the real differentiators so we will start there.

Construction: Upper

All the Altra basics are here on both models and in the upper this is never more apparent than their patented FootShape toebox. The uppers on both are good, but definitely a stark contrast between the two.The Knit model is soft and stretchy, very comfortable on the foot, but also less supportive given the lack of any sort of stitching or overlays. It feels great on the foot ands has an almost slipper like quality. The tongue is also un-padded, but stays in place fairly well.

The Mesh version is definitely more of a performance shore. It looks bulkier and there is a bit too much padding on the collar for our liking, but it actually weighs less. The upper material is not as soft as the Knit, but is better ventilated so actually breathes better in run. There is also a new midfoot locking system which holds you better in general throughout the entire foot.The bottom line is the Knit is softer and potentially more comfortable, skewing less performance and more recreational whereas the Mesh is built for performance and breathability.

Construction: Midsole

As mentioned prior, the midsole is identical between both models. They are both made of Ultralight EVA along with Altra’s Abound technology. They do seem a bit lighter and the shoe overall does feel a bit more responsive than the prior version. The durability seems a bit off however as they have started to lose a bit of their responsiveness as the miles add up.

Construction: Outsole

The outsole is probably the only thing that hasn’t changed all that much and is fairly consistent between models. It features much more durable rubber contacts strategically placed across the exposed EVA.

Style & Aesthetics

These two models, while based on the same platform, could not look more different from each other. The Knit comes in three colors for men and women. It has a fairly simply profile, more like a traditional Torin. They look good with a pair of jeans or on the run and would never be referred to as an aggressive looking shoe. The Mesh on the other hand sports a much more aggressive finish. It comes in four colors for men and women, and the color blocks independently from the collar to the main body. The Altra logo has been shrunk and moved to the front of the shoe, but the big difference is definitely in the upper portion of the collar and the amount of padding.

Run Test

I think the other sections have well captured the general differences between the shoes, but how are they in run you might be thinking. In general, both feel great. The consistent mid and outsoles make them perform very similarly. The cushioning is good, responsiveness is nice, and both suffer from the pre-maturing wearing a bit. But then, you turn it up a notch…The Knit start to feel a little sloppier and softer across the top of the foot, you don’t stay locked in as well, and it’s definitely not giving you enough airflow.

The Mesh upper however feels much more rigid when your foot contacts the ground giving you better control at speed. The midfoot lock holds you in place and you find turnover easier given the half an ounce different. The collar is a built bulky and overdesigned and a no-show sock will not cut it in these, but there are definitely the quicker.So how do you choose, which is better?

Overall Conclusion

The moment you’ve been waiting for, if you haven’t guessed already, our winner is… the Torin 3.5 Mesh. The Mesh is over a half ounce lighter, is more performant, breathes better, and honestly holds you in place better than the Knit. This doesn’t mean the Knit is bad at all, but there can be only one. So if you loved the Torins of old or were a Paradigm fan looking to decrease the stack and go more performance focused, then either of these are a great choice.

Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability

Altra Torin 3.5 Knit

  • Weight: 9.1oz (size 9)
  • Drop: 0mm heel/toe
  • Type: Neutral Road
  • Stack Height: 28mm
  • MSRP: $135.00
  • Available: Now

Altra Torin 3.5 Mesh

  • Weight: 8.4oz (size 9)
  • Drop: 0mm heel/toe
  • Type: Neutral Road
  • Stack Height: 28mm
  • MSRP: $125.00
  • Available: Now