Welcome to today’s comparison. This is my comparison of the Altra Torin vs Escalante. The Torin and the Escalante are quite different shoes for different purposes.
If you don’t know that already, these are my two favorite road running shoes from Altra. And in this article, I’m going to compare the Altra Torin 5 and the Altra Escalante 2.5 just in case you’re unsure which shoe to get next.
Let’s dive right into it…
Related: Altra Provision vs Paradigm
Altra Torin vs Escalante
Here’s the main differences between the Altra Torin and the Escalante if you’re looking for a quick answer…
I get asked a lot whether I prefer minimalistic shoes or more maximum cushioning shoes. Honestly, I prefer having them both in my running shoe rotation.
I use the Torin mainly for longer distances when I need something that I can just grind endless miles and I don’t really want to think about my feet or my knees.
With a minimal outsole and a super tight responsive yet cushioned midsole, you’re able to get pretty fast in the Escalante. You’re going to be able to get a nice high cadence and high turnover without too much fatigue. It’s great for long stretches if you want to strengthen your feet but also good for speedwork.
That adaptability is key in the Escalante. In other words, you can just downshift into cruise control and run long distances in this thing, and then somewhere in the middle of your workout, you can start picking up the pace.
However, for long stretches where you’re not doing a lot of hard turning, you’ll be just fine But if you’re looking to work out in a gym or do some sort of CrossFit or something where you’re looking for a zero-drop shoe, you’re just going to have some issues with your foot sliding around.
I also just like to wear the Escalante and go on a skateboard or go grocery shopping. If you want to forget that you’re wearing shoes around town, the Escalante is a great option.
Like all other Altra shoes, there is no drop between the heel and the front of the shoe meaning the heel and the forefoot are the same height off the ground.
The midsole of the Torin 5 is Altra’s Ego Max which is lightweight, squishy, and spongy, which, again, makes the shoe perfect for long-distance runs in my opinion.
The Torin 5 is quite a maximum cushioned shoe with a 28mm stack height, but the Paradigm is the shoe with the most cushion from Altra.
On the other hand, the Escalante is quite a minimal running shoe coming in at 24mm stack height. Again, the Escalante Racer and The Vanish R are Altra’s most minimal shoes.
Being a minimal shoe, it took me a while to get used to the Escalante cushioning. When I started out running in the Escalante, I couldn’t run more than 5 kilometers in them before my feet would cramp up.
Now that I’ve run longer distances in them, I feel that my feet have become stronger. So I guess the Altra Escalante is, again, the better option if you really want to get your feet stronger.
So, Both midsoles are really great. Again, the Torin has the Ego Max midsole and the Escalante has the regular Ego cushioning. The Escalante feels a little bit firmer but that’s because there’s of course less foam and stack.
Both shoes provide enough energy return. I’m not a quick runner, but I definitely do notice I can run fast in the Escalante. It does let me pick up the pace and slow down really easily.
Both shoes have a really nice and wide foot-shaped toe box, which is really good for your feet to splay and it’s super convenient for runners with super wide feet.
The Escalante feels like socks on your feet. You can easily slip your feet in there and I don’t even need to undo the laces all the time. I know that is actually a bad thing, but I just love the convenience of being able to just slide my feet in and get out the door in no time.
The heel of the Escalante is quite minimal too with no structure whatsoever and the forefoot is really flexible. The upper is a sock-like mesh material and the laces are very stretchy. The Escalante does not have an extra eyelet for the runner’s knot but the Torin, fortunately, does especially for people who love to get a solid lockdown feel.
The Torrent 5 has a little bit of structure in the heel and the upper, but it’s also quite flexible. The upper is a nice and breathable mesh material.
As for the sizing, I wear the same size in both shoes and I have no issues. However, I find that the Torin 5 runs just a tad bit smaller than the Escalante.
Related: Running Shoe Size Comparison Between Brands (Nike, Adidas, Hoka, New Balance, Saucony…)
In terms of weight, the Torin 5 checks in at 9 oz for men’s size 9 (255 grams), and the women’s weighs in at 7.2 oz for women’s size 8 (204 grams).
The Escalante 2.5 weighs in at 8.7 oz for men’s size 9 (241 grams), and the women’s comes in at 6.9 oz for women’s size 8 (196 grams).
As you see, the Torin is about half an ounce heavier than the Escalante, but despite the extra stack height, the Torin 5 is still pretty lightweight for the stack it has.
The main criticism I have of the Torin is the tongue. The tongue feels like cardboard, which I think for those wearing low ankle socks, this will cut up against your ankle. I don’t have that trouble with my regular socks, but I think this is worth mentioning. Also, I’m not such a big fan of the laces of the Torin because I find them a little bit thin, but you can always use different laces.
The only criticism I have of the Escalante is when I’m trying to run fast, I think because of the extra width, it feels like I’m slapping onto the pavement the whole time.
I don’t have that problem as much with the Torin which feels like a softer ride. It definitely has more of a cushioned landing with no slapping the pavement.
In the next section, we’re going to be taking a look at the Altra Torin 5.0 road running shoes in detail.
Altra Torin 5.0 Full Review
The Torin line has been around for a while now. I ran in the previous Torins and then I ended up kind of moving away from them and going to other models. But I’ve finally come back and I’m pretty happy I did.
This is Altra’s kind of Swiss army knife of road shoes from their lineup. It can do anything from everyday training to marathon racing, to a 5k, to even some light trail running because it’s got a pretty decent outsole on it.
The Torin 5.0 has a pretty similar design to the older Torin models. However, they did do some funky stuff with the heel. The heel cup, as a whole, has a whole bunch of little structured ribs that are kind of molded into it now. These are supposed to give you some structure to prevent you from sliding around in the back of the heel.
In terms of the design and look of the Altra Torin 5.0, I think it’s an okay-looking shoe, but I also chose this colorway which I thought was kind of the least aggressive of the bunch. There’s a bunch of different other colorways out there and I thought this was kind of the most subtle.
The upper material throughout the rest of the shoe is an engineered mesh. It isn’t super thin but it is quite breathable. There’s a bunch of little vents that are kind of drilled in throughout the entire shoe through the toe box and through the sides of the shoe below the Altra logo.
The lacing system is pretty typical for Altra shoes and the Torin has the typical foot-shaped toe box that is unique to Altra shoes. Basically, that means it’s got a really wide forefoot and that allows your toes to kind of splay out as they hit the ground while you’re running. This really works for me and my feet and I really love that extra space in the toe box.
The tongue on the Torin 5.0 is not gusseted. It’s kind of floating around in there and there is almost no padding on the tongue itself. There’s actually a couple of these little air bubbles in it, but they’re not really padded. This lack of padding can actually be a good thing for some because it means there’s not a hot stuffy thick padded tongue on top of your foot on hot days.
I found that even though it’s super thin, it doesn’t add to chafing or discomfort or anything like that.
The heel cup on the Torin 5.0 is a bit of a different story though. There’s quite a bit of padding throughout the heel and around the ankle. It’s not so much down in the shoe but just right around the ankle itself.
This added material doesn’t really bother me, but I’ve definitely been noticing that added material on hot days.
In terms of weight, the Altra Torin 5 checks in at 9 oz for men’s size 9 (255 grams), and the women’s weighs in at 7.2 oz for women’s size 8 (204 grams). So the Torin is pretty light for an Altra shoe.
The Torin features 28 millimeters of cushion under the foot, which means it’s a pretty well-cushioned shoe. And just like all of Altra’s other shoes, this is a zero-drop shoe, meaning your heel and your forefoot are on the same plain whereas a traditional running shoe would have the heel elevated by a few millimeters above the forefoot.
The zero-drop platform works for my foot and my running efficiency, but I know it’s not for everyone out there and so you should be careful transitioning to zero-drop shoes.
In terms of fit, I found that the Torins fit very similar to all of my other Altra shoes whether that be the Altra Lone Peak or the Superior. They are also similar in sizing to Hoka shoes like the Clifton 7 or 8 or even the Torrent 2.
So if you’re shopping for this shoe, you should be able to buy true to size and be pretty safe.
In terms of comfort on the Altra Torin 5.0, I found it to be really comfortable shoe. The upper is very breathable and stretchy. It’s very sock-like once you sock it down.
I think these shoes have been really good on my feet with no hot spots. I’ve been able to go on really long runs with them without any soreness going on in my feet.
When it comes to the ride, it’s pretty interesting. Altra uses an Ego Max midsole which is actually really squishy and it’s a lot different than what I’m used to with Altra shoes. And even though it’s pretty squishy, it does feel responsive enough to get a good amount of energy transferred to the road when you’re pushing off with your feet.
These shoes feel pretty fast to me. I’m not a very fast runner, but the Torin feels fast to me. Even though it’s designed as kind of an everyday trainer, I could definitely see myself running a 5k in these shoes or even a marathon without an issue.
That Altra Ego Max midsole takes up a lot of those abrupt shocks of running downhill or hammering the uphills. Overall, the midsole is really squishy and responsive even though those shouldn’t be in the same sentence together. It’s just a very comfortable midsole to be running on.
When we flip the shoe over, you can see that the bottom has got that foot-shaped bone technology going on on the outsole. This is supposed to mimic the metatarsals in your feet and provide some sort of flexibility while you’re running. I don’t know if that works or not, but I do know that it’s a pretty comfortable ride and you can feel that flex while you’re running.
The outsole itself does have some hard sticky rubber on top of the midsole and there is some exposed midsole throughout the entire outsole. I found that there’s a good amount of traction on this outsole. Even if I’ve done some light trail running on buffed-out trails where I’m running on the road and maybe I dive into a trail for a couple of miles and then come back out to the road, this is a really good shoe for that.
When it comes to durability on the Altra Torin 5.0, I’ve got about 50 or 60 miles in these shoes so far and I’ve noticed a couple of things.
On the outsole, the outer parts on the forefoot are actually tearing off from the outsole. So because of my running form where I toe-off through the lateral side, the lateral side is actually losing some of that outsole texture.
In terms of the midsole durability, it hasn’t flattened out or anything yet. It feels like I just took it out of the box and it’s still very squishy and comfortable.
The upper is still looking pretty good so far. I’ve always found that the pinky toe area would actually rip through pretty early in its lifespan, but I haven’t seen any signs of wear and tear with the Torin 5 yet. So, I’m pretty happy the Torin is actually going to last a little bit longer.
Overall, so far so good. The Altra Torin is super comfortable and I’m really enjoying running in it. It’s kind of become my everyday running shoe right now.
However, the durability of that outsole is a little bit concerning and I’m wondering how many miles I’m going to get out of the outsole before I’m going to have to get another pair.
Altra Escalante 2.5 Full Review
The Escalante was one of Altra’s biggest shoe debuts and it’s still a fan favorite of Altra runners. After having spent some time in them, I can say there’s a lot to love about the Altra balanced cushion shoe.
The Escalante 2.5 is a relatively new shoe to the market or an update although I think the updates were relatively minor from the 2.0 mostly having to do with the upper.
The stated weight for the Escalante 2.5 on their website is 8.5 oz or 241 grams. For men’s size 9, the Escalante comes in a little heavier than that at 8.7 oz. Overall, I would say that’s a really decent weight for a daily trainer because that’s where I’d put this shoe. So, anything under 10 oz for me in a men’s size 9 for a daily trainer, that’s a pretty decent weight to train in.
On their website, Altra describes the shoe as sock-like and I would say that’s kind of what it feels like. It’s a sock-like feeling when you slide your foot into the shoe.
Just like the Torin, the Escalante is a foot-shaped toe box and that is lots of room up there for your toes to splay when you run. That’s a nice feeling to have because you don’t have to worry about feeling crowded or having your pinky toe get curled under or some of the other issues that you can have in tighter-fitting shoes in that area.
The upper is an engineered knit and I wouldn’t say that it’s highly breathable. I ran in below freezing and my feet did not get really cold and I didn’t feel any cool rush of air through that toe box at all. So, in terms of cooler temperatures, the Escalante is very comfortable underfoot, but it might feel a bit warm in hotter conditions.
There’s really not a whole lot in terms of overlays. The shoe has their logo sprawled across that midsection of the shoe all the way around to the heel counter.
The Escalante has got reinforced eyelets thanks to the extra threaded material around the eyelets to give it some extra durability. Then on the inside of the cage, the Escalante has got some plastic overlay there as well again to give it a little bit of extra strength and stability in those eyelets.
The one thing that you may notice is that there isn’t an extra eyelet for the runner’s knot. So, again, if you’re a fan of the runner’s knot, you’re not going to be able to use that in this shoe.
I didn’t find it to be an issue. But I don’t use a runner’s knot typically unless I’m trying to use up some laces like in the Hoka carbon or the Hoka Rocket X or other shoes that might have considerably longer laces than what I might necessarily need.
Let’s look at the padding around the heel collar and tab…
There’s lots of padding especially for a shoe that comes in at 8.7 oz for my size 9. So, the Escalante has got a good deal of padding and some comfort built-in.
The heel counter has a bit of structure there but not overly done like the Torin 5. The Escalante doesn’t have any big heavy plastic overlays.
Tongue & Lockdown
The tongue has that knit material which is basically the same material they use on the upper. It is a bit stretchy and that upper does feel a little bit stretchy as well. There’s not a whole lot going on there, but they don’t need much. The tongue is really wide and so it’s set flat across the midfoot, which is comfortable and I didn’t have any issues there.
However, I didn’t feel like I could get a solid locked-in feeling across that area and so the shoe did feel a little bit loose. It didn’t cause me any issues when I was running in it. But if you like to feel like you’re really snugged down, you might not get that with this particular upper. It doesn’t mean it isn’t comfortable, it just feels a little bit looser.
Altra uses their Ego foam. As I mentioned, the Escalantes are known for having balanced cushioning. That means that in the heel it’s the same stack height as there is in the forefoot. In this case, it’s 24 millimeters.
The midsole is a pretty stout or firm feeling underfoot. I would say it’s moderate cushioning. It’s not a plush or a highly cushioned shoe and so if that’s what you’re looking for, you should be looking at the Torin 5, the Triumph 18 from Saucony, the 1080 from New Balance, or even the Clifton 7 or 8 from Hoka. These shoes are a much softer feeling underfoot than the Escalante is.
Again, the Escalante is a bit firmer than the Torin but it’s also more responsive. If you’re accustomed to running in shoes that have a much higher heel-to-toe drop, you might feel like your heel is setting lower than your forefoot. If that happens, it’s just all in your brain because zero-drop shoes have no height difference from heel to toe.
Altra calls this the foot pod outsole and that’s because of the way that they’ve mimicked the mechanics of the foot. They’ve got that rubber in the places that would complement your foot flex based on your foot mechanics.
The bottom has got the InnerFlex outsole technology that has those grooves to give the outsole the ability to flex more in sync with the natural rhythm of your foot.
This setup seemed to really contour to the way that my foot would naturally be striking the ground and so that was really comfortable and it made my gait cycle feel pretty comfortable. And because it’s that balanced cushioning, I felt like the shoe was encouraging me to strike the ground more with my midfoot up through my forefoot. As a result, any time that you do that, I feel like you can pick up a little bit of speed in these shoes because there’s less of that ground contact.
So, I would say the Escalante is a daily trainer that might be maybe an up-tempo daily trainer even that you could use this for.
So there you have it. I hope you learned something new from This Altra Torin vs Escalante comparison.
But I want to hear from you. Do you have an Altra Torin or an Altra Escalante? Let me know what you love about these shoes and what you hate about them. Let me know how many miles you got out of them before you had to buy a new pair.
See you in the next one…