Altra Escalante Fully Reviewed and Compared

8.8 score
Runnerclick score (8.8)/10

Our overall Runnerclick score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter
Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 14 user ratings
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Altra Escalante Fully Reviewed and Compared Review Facts

Altra, a premier running shoe company from Utah, introduced the Escalante as an homage to it’s home state’s natural beauty. Not ironically, the region is very scenic and provides enjoyment for runners, hikers, and backpackers alike. Bearing the namesake of the winding, graceful Escalante river – which flows through many gorges and canyons in the landscape of the state. Altra Escalante is designed with an upper that aims to carry over these patterns for a unique and thoughtful look.

This upper, which is engineered knit, is the first foray into this new fabric niche and received positive reviews. Sporting a midsole that some have hailed as the holy grail of running shoe cushioning, the Altra Escalante is also a spry, comfortable shoe that has won a solid place in the shoe collections of many a runner. Incorporating Altra’s zero drop platform and roomy toe box, it is a neutral road running shoe that can be used for daily training, indoors and out. Due to its lightweight, it is also suitable as a racing kick.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Altra EGO midsole technology provides both a comfortable and responsive ride
  • Ample and wide toe box promotes natural toe splay
  • Seamless knit upper is flexible and comfortable
  • Upper has gorgeous patterning and blending of color
  • Some say the heel stretches too easily and causes a lack of stability
  • Some say the knit tends to retain heat and cause discomfort in warmer conditions
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 4.5 hours analyzing a total of 720 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

  • I like these because they are like walking barefoot in shoes. My toes were nice and movable.I wouldn't try and run in these because they lack support. They're also pretty slippery when wet. These never caused any blisters or pain for me. Great shoe all together.
  • I bought these shoes to help with my reconstructed ACL and they have shown to be perfect. They have a great midsole and are snug without being too tight in the toe. I don't have any fatigue issues due to the lightness and the fabric is breathable and flexible on the top of my foot. I got a size larger, as I usually do with this brand. These shoes really make my feet happy.
  • Besides these not being made for the winter and the shoelaces being too short, these shoes are fantastic. I put a lot of running and trailing in on these babies and I need a shoe that keeps my feet from hurting. These have a great spread room in the toe box and they cushioning is like a pillow. These have great support and traction for those muddy days. These really help with correcting runner issues.
  • These shoes have allowed room for my toes while not losing security-- my feet feel secure. I recently had surgery and needed a no drop shoe and these are made for that. THey are the best shoes I have ever owned. I do not run in them I am a lifter and do the elliptical for warm up. THey are a bit pricey but totally worth the purchase. I highly recommend these shoes.
  • I had never heard of this brand and the price was pretty high but I bought them. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. They have great toe room and I can wear them for anything and my feet do not hurt.
  • I haven't been able to find a shoe I can run in without pain after I had surgery. That is, until I found these. The soft upper combined with the cushion and no drop have saved my running hobby for sure.
  • These shoes have taken time off my trail run. The way they are designed has helped me build strength in my ankles, which I am liking. I am used to shoes squishing my toes, I just thought it was something that shoes did until I found these. I no longer have toe pain and I am just really excited that I found these. I plan on wearing these for a 10k trail run that is coming up.
  • I love this shoe and I am so happy with the comfort and design. These allow for soft landings as well.
  • I would say these Altras are the best out of the brand. They are a true minimalist shoe and I was able to run 10k on the first use. I love the foot shape design and the zero drop is so great on my heels. It is the best shoe out there, in my opinion.
  • I love running in these. They have great control and respond well to the ground. I wish they would get there sizing right though. It is always different so you never know if you are going to have to return them a time or two.
  • I am a very busy runner. It is more than a hobby to me and I go through shoes like crazy. I have found that these are almost what I need. They are lacking a little in the midsole and my knees hurt a bit. I think because they are so soft inside. I like that the top is very flexible and it helps me on turns. I tie my shoes real tight and was worried that I would feel the laces through the tongue it is so thin, but nope, it is great.
  • I ended up switching to this brand after numerous injuries that hindered me unable to run. Now that I have these, they have kept me protected and are very cushy and great for distance. I highly recommend this shoe.
  • These shoes feel like they were made for my feet. They have a very wide toe box and are very sushy in the midsoles without overdoing it. They react great to my runs and they have a low heel and zero drop, which is killer I only buy Altras now and I have never been disappointed.
  • After wearing these for a a day or two, the pain I carry with me daily, due to my fasciitis, has disappeared. I do not have any other residual pain either. I am able to run more miles now that I have these shoes. I am very impressed and really happy with these.
  • Sometimes, I don't want to take these off. They have taken the pain away that I suffer from my neuroma. I was able to wear these without my normal insoles right out of the box with no issues. These are just a great darn shoe.
  • I run a lot and wore these right out of the box for a half marathon, no issues and no rubbing in weird new shoe spots.
  • I own other Altras and these are the best so far. They have a better heel support and they are great runners all around. I am hooked.
  • I wear these with spacers in my toes and they fit great. I do not run, I walk a lot and these are very comfortable and cushy. No issues from me at all.
  • These shoes fit to size compared to the other Altras I own. They are extremely airy and breath great. I like that these shoes have a really plain and simple design and look to them. The soles are soft and cushioned and they are thin in the back and wide in the toes. The zero drop is a great design and helps tons with my run. I feel the tread on the sole is only good for roads not trails.
  • Since my feet swell when I run, these were great. I love the zero drop design, it is a new thing for me and I love it. These are the greatest shoe I have ever bought.I wouldn't suggest laterals, but running, for sure.
  • These shoes were made for distance and are durable. They are zero drop and 100% cushion. They respond well and have a little bounce to them when I run. The mesh top is very flexible and breathable. I have never had a problem with these shoes. They may seem a little weird at first because the toe box is big but they are great support. The arch support is a little lower than some shoes.
  • These shoes are so supportive and I need that due to my surgery on my metatarsal from a fracture. These have zero drop and that is magic to my back. I recommend these to anyone, especially with pain issues,; these are magic.
  • These shoes have relieved me of all my pelvis pain. They have really soft insoles and are way more than what I expected. They have great colors too.
  • I am shocked and appalled at how these are priced and how horrible they are made. They have no ankle support and no arch support. The ankle is so low that it slips off and it is terribly uncomfortable. The laces are way to short and you can barely tie them. Running in them is like running in a clog. I am fully disappointed in this shoe.
  • These slip with every step I take, right off my heels. They would be comfortable otherwise but the heel issue is just exhausting. I am not a happy customer.
  • I liked the shoe mostly, however, they were way to soft and caused my feet to really hurt. I ended up returning them.
  • I'm not sure if it is the zero drop design ot the too soft cushion, but I got a lot of pain in my bac from these. I run around 25 miles a week and these wore out in less than a month I am not impressed.
  • These shoes made me feel like my feet had to do extra work to stay on track. They had not arch support and I couldn't do any laterals with them. I ended up getting shin splints and couldn't get my supination to correct.
  • I usually have had great experiences with Altras. Not these however. THey are the worst shoes I have ever bought. They felt heavy and clunky and just did not do me any justice on my run. My feet felt horrible after wearing these.
  • I can't believe these shoes. I am way disappointed. I felt like i was putting my feet into a a backwards cone. They were so tight in the heel and then so big in the toe. They had very little ankle support and no arches whatsoever. I ended up sliding all over the place inside the shoe.
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 720 reviews we found in total, 13% were negative, and 87% were positive.


When viewing the underside of the shoe, the shape of the sole is identical to that of an actual foot. Altra Escalante features this FootPod system to provide a natural fit for the height of flexibility and responsiveness.

The dense and firm black rubber of the outsole is laid out to strategically protect the Ego midsole.
The rubber, arranged in a pattern to offset wear and tear, also offers additional grip and traction on rough or slippery conditions.
The stabilizing, fuller coverage outsole of the shoe is part of the sole unit package that is deemed "lively" and seems to please most.


Traditionally, one would not equate soft and comfortable with speedy and responsive. But the Altra Escalante is acclaimed for its ability to encapsulate both ends of the spectrum and be both of these: springy and soft.

Purportedly named EGO™ for the new cushioning's dual nature, Altra employs a brand-specific compound blend in its midsole. Altra is not spilling the beans on its secret cushioning but some believe it is not EVA or rubber foam blended... but found that the shoe does, in fact, live up to the hype. It actually does produce a discernible energy return and feels soft, even to the touch and Altra states it is built to perform well even in extreme temperatures.

In tests, it has been found that the EGO midsole has excellent durability while maintaining its responsive, plush ride. Its distinctive and unique design was inspired by the innately strong but featherweight feel of a spider web. And while the sole borders on maximum cushion with a stack height of 25mm, this is not reflected in the flexibility or responsiveness.

Taking advantage of forefoot flex grooves, the Escalante retains the foot's range of motion, making for a confident ride. So there are certainly those that scoff at the idea that a shoe could be so slipper-like comfortable and still be fast, but many are standing up to say that it is indeed true and laud the Altra Escalante for finding the best of both worlds.


Uniquely designed emulating the winding Escalante river region in Utah (Altra's birthplace). The Escalante boasts a highly flexible and comfortable engineered-knit upper. With no seams or overlays, the shoe remains lightweight and continues to offer a more natural range of motion.

It continues the Altra tradition of a natural wide toe box which is great for those with bunions, but some felt it be a little lower and not as tall as other shoes under the Altra umbrella.

While raved about as comfortable and sock-like, some feel this knit fabric is not entirely breathable but good for colder temperatures. Though it is not deemed great for sweaty feet by a few, most agree it offers good drainage for rainy or wet conditions.


Acclaimed for providing a lightweight shoe that still boasts significant cushioning with a stack height of 25mm across the platform, the Altra Escalante is a well-received standout. It weighs in at 8.2 ounces/232g for men and 6.5 ounces/182g for women.


An engineered knit fabric comprises the upper of the Altra Escalante. Its ventilation is not such that one can see through the fabric, but it does offer a little airflow, just not quite as much as some other running shoes that employ knitted uppers.

Deemed partially breathable by some claiming that feet tend to sweat some in warmer weather, others find the movement of air around the toes to be very comfortable. The Altra Escalante is said to drain water from rainy or wet conditions which helps prevent blisters and chafing but does not perform as well with aerating moisture and sweat from warmer weather runs creating a less comfortable environment. However, by and large, this issue did not seem to be of great concern to wearers.


Most feel the Altra Escalante fit well but there are those that feel they run too large and some say that a more comfortable fit is attained by sizing up by about a half size.

The toe box is roomy and wide and while some noted it felt a little lower, this did not create an issue for most.

The upper is knit fabric and provides a great deal of flexibility due to its nature and also that there are no seams or overlays and most find it still fits like a sock, comfortably and snugly.

The knit seems to have a drawback to some in that a handful of reviewers have claimed that the heel has too much give and not enough support for confident stability.

Overall, most feel that between the upper, the impressive 25mm stack height of cushioning, and the Altra Ego midsole, Altra Escalante is supremely comfortable.

Some say it feels like running on a pillow and some claim it alleviated symptoms of plantar fasciitis. While Altra claims the shoe is suitable for even extreme temperatures, most felt it performs best in cooler air, because of the nature of the upper's fabric and its relative loss of ventilation.

Created to meet the specific needs of the female foot, Altra Escalante also has Fit4Her technology in its women's version of the shoe.


With a known inspiration being drawn into the design of the shoe, the Altra Escalante is unique.

The knit of the upper aims to emulate the natural aesthetic of the Escalante River region in Utah and this symbolism provides a stylish and distinctive shoe appearance. The socklike look of the shoe paired with the considerable stack height makes for an eye-catching design that most find appealing.

It is available in a few color option. The men's version is offered in Gray, Blue, and Red, and the women's in Magenta, Blue, and Gray.

With the Altra logo classically displayed on the side of the shoe and the trademark zero drop even platform, this shoe stands proud and confident.


Most reviews indicate that runners find the Altra Escalante to be durable. The outsole's black rubber compound helps the shoe withstand wear and tear and protects the midsole EGO cushioning. Most felt the tread was well placed and strong yet still offered notable energy return. The maximum cushion would be expected to wear down quickly as it is soft and comfortable but it has been reported to be responsive and durable.

With an engineered knit upper, one might also be inclined to think it could tear but most wearers feel it held up well. Due to the shoe's natural foot shape, there is ample room for toe splay and bunions and this may be part of the secret behind its durability. With drainage seemingly very good, there is little concern in the way of moisture management which could affect the lifespan of the shoe. Some claim to get upwards of 300 miles whereas some felt great until about 200 miles.


The underfoot protection created by the maximum cushioning is substantial. While designed for roads where little danger to the foot is expected, it seems that it would shield the bottom of the foot from protruding elements. The knit upper would not seem to be overly protective and there was not much cause for concern in this area among runners.


With a midsole as soft and comfortable as the one featured on the Altra Escalante, it would not be remiss to expect a sacrifice of responsiveness. However, Altra's use of the EGO cushioning blend negates the downside to a little extra softness underfoot. Cited as supremely soft and swift, the Altra Escalante delivers a responsive ride sure to please most runners.

Wearers have said that it seems Altra has created a secret to success in that their proprietary and undisclosed midsole EGO formula provides all the cushion while maintaining a comfortable feel with a proven energy return. This shock absorption helps to prevent injury and fatigue while also creating feedback to the runner for a more in-tune and confident ride.


The substantial underfoot cushioning and the natural shape of the foot being integrated into the shoe design are both elements that please most runners. The sock-like fit of the upper also garnered praise in its support of the foot. However, the lack of support in the heel area did leave some less enthusiastic.


The Altra Escalante fills a niche in the road running arena. Intended for paved surfaces, some reviewers felt that light trails would be alright, and those grass areas could still allow the shoe to perform well. Even with all its added cushioning, technical trails may be uncomfortable as the uppers knit fabric allows too much lateral movement for that type of terrain.


Debuting at a relatively comparable cost to similar shoes in the road running market, it still fetches a heftier price tag. Since its release, the cost has dropped making it more affordable. Though many felt that even at the original price, the Altra Escalante is a worthwhile investment. Some found its blend of comfort and speed too good to be true.


As a road shoe, the Altra Escalante is not equipped with lugs or overly grippy tread, though the features it does have to allow for confident maneuvering on paved surfaces even in less than ideal conditions. The black rubber compound of the outsole offers just the right amount of stick and traction for a confident ride.


Surprising many runners, the 25mm stack height of the sole unit of the Altra Escalante did not hamper flexibility.

Incorporating the special EGO midsole and utilizing flex grooves in the forefoot, most found the shoe to provide adequate feedback and allow for a more confident range of motion. The upper's knit fabric fits like a sock and was unconstricted yet snug creating an environment for improved flexibility and natural foot movement.


As a neutral runner with a knit upper, the Altra Escalante does not offer much in the way of stability or control. It is intended as a neutral not employing stability features. In fact, some felt that the lack of heel support created a little instability though, in the form of lateral movement, but generally, most were pleased with the overall fit and performance of the shoe.


Boasting an impressive stack height of 25 mm across the shoe, the Altra Escalante's heel and toe are equal distances from the ground. This is the formula for a zero drop shoe. The thought behind it is that a natural foot motion is beneficial in the running world.
While some love this feature, care should be taken in transitioning to a zero drop shoe from those with a higher drop.
While the zero drop aims to mimic natural foot motions, it is not for everyone and can create issues with the calves due to a lengthening of the lower leg muscles but, most, with a little attention to how this shoe is rolled into their existing shoe inventory, enjoy the feel of the Altra Escalante.
Key Features

Key Features

  • Ideal shoe for road running and racing

  • Could be used as a daily trainer

  • Both soft and comfortable as well as quick and responsive

  • Lightweight and flexible

  • Altra's well-known zero drop

  • Wider toe box for unrestricted toe splay and more natural movement

  • Stylish and flexible knit upper

  • ALTRA EGO midsole provides superior comfort without compromising responsiveness or speed
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

Garnering astoundingly positive reviews, the Altra Escalante is the go-to road running shoe for many. The wide toe box and the zero drop features are a large draw but most are pleased with the overall supreme comfort and the lightweight responsiveness of the cushioning.

It is considered speedy enough for a racer and soft enough for a daily trainer. If you can wear neutral shoes and enjoy a low drop, this is definitely one to try and would be an added bonus to almost any runner's arsenal.