Review: Altra 3-Sum and Torin
article & images by Nick Salazar
May 15, 2013
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 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.
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.
Altra's masterpiece has arrived.