Review: Altra 3-Sum and Torin
article & images by Nick Salazar
May 15, 2013  hits 74,888

The water ports on the sole seem unnecessary, but the big pull tabs are great for a lightning-fast transition.

Features

At under 7 oz, the 3-Sum is a decidedly light shoe. It's positively featherweight. That's probably one of the reasons I love running in it so much. The midsole is pretty thin, as with the rest of Altra's trainer lineup, but it still provides a nice cushion. I do wonder how long before the ride starts to feel a little flatter, but the rest of the Altra midsoles I've run in have an average lifespan.

There are also a couple additional tri-specific features on the shoe, which are more or less obvious. The first is the substantial pull taps on the tongue portion and heel cup. These are nice and big, easy to grab, and make the shoe a snap to put on. I prefer this style of pull tab over the more commonly-seen sewn-on loops. Sew on loops aren't bad and they're actually on the Torin that we're looking at on the next page. But the nice big pull tabs on the 3-Sum are easier to grab and use. The risk of larger pull tabs is that they could potentially bug your achilles or forefoot, but that hasn't been the case for me. They really stay out of the way nicely, but they're there when you need them.

The smooth interior stitching has kept me blister-free through many sockless miles.

The interior of the shoe, discussed briefly earlier, is brilliantly smooth, devoid of anything sharp or abbrasive, giving you the best possible chance to have a blister-free experience if running sockless. The interior is also lined with some anti-microbial goodness to help fend off odor, although given enough time and sweat, ANY shoe will eventually start to smell a bit.

Altra also thought it'd be nifty to put water drainage holes on the bottom of the shoe. But this is kindof a useless feature. If your feet aren't already dry by the time you head into T2, a couple holes on the bottom of your shoe probably won't change that. And if they really are all wet why not take 2 seconds in transition to towel them off? For me, the holes haven't been of much use. I suppose thee could be used to help train sweat from the shoe if you're running sockless, but I never really noticed that. Actually, the only time I noticed them at all was when running over wet grass, when the ports let water in to the shoe. So, not really my favorite feature on the shoe, but it's not really a problem either.

Conclusions

Since my first outing in the 3-Sum, I haven't wanted to run in anything else. That's a big statement, but these shoes just feel that good to my feet. They're my favorite shoe at the moment, and one I'm strongly considering stockpiling just to make sure I have an available pair for the foreseeable future. Hit the jump for a look at the newest trainer from Atra, the Torin.

Pros
  • Outstanding tri-specific fit, features, and comfort
  • Ultra light construction makes for a great ride
  • Best use of elastic laces I've ever worn
 
Cons
  • Low-stack midsole could mean a shorter wear life

Altra's masterpiece has arrived.
Rating: 5.0


Tags » altra,  shoes
  • The Altra 3-Sum proves that the zero drop experts are still on fire when it comes to great design.
  • The tri-specific 3-Sum has a one-piece construction that makes it great for a quick slip on during transition.
  • These holes are water ports, meant to help your foot wick away moisture or water.
  • Viewed from the top, it's easy to see the wide toe box, which Altra calls 'foot-shaped' because it lets your toes splay naturally on landing.
  • The interior of the 3-Sum is smooth all over, and lined with anti-microbial coatings to help fight odor. Both make it great for running sockless.
  • The 3-Sum is low stack and ultra light. This makes for a great ride, but my only concern is whether that also makes it susceptible to early wear.
  • The large built-in pull tabs are awesome, and make it really easy to put the 3-Sum on in transition.
  • The Torin is Altra's latest neutral trainer.
  • From the upper to the outsole, the Torin's design and construction represent the evolution of refinement that continues to make Altra a great brand.
  • The new tread pattern on the Torin is quite a bit different from that of the original Instinct.
  • Pull loops on the heel and tongue could be great for those running elastic laces.
  • The Alta Torin

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