Altra Golden Spike Review Facts
Altra’s already excellent reputation precedes the Golden Spike, a highly anticipated trainer that caters to high-speed racers and short distance runners. Featuring Altra’s signature foot-shaped shoe design and roomy toe box, the Golden Spike breaks from tradition by being specifically made for those looking to maximize their speed in shorter competitive runs. The Altra Golden Spike offers a great amount of versatility, as they can be used for road and trail running along with functioning as high-octane competitive racing shoes. Providing excellent traction both with or without spikes in, runners familiar with Altra’s familiar design will find the Golden Spike follows the same high standard for which the company has become known.
The Golden Spike features a durable rubber outsole covered with tenacious lugs, allowing it to live up to the manufacturer’s promise of a rugged running shoe. With five removable 5mm steel pikes, this shoe performs much like any other spike shoe and provides a sensation of speed without losing any traction. Something that is bound to surprise many runners is that not much changes after removing the spikes on this shoe. This is a good thing; the traction offered by this runner’s spikeless outsole is as powerful as any track shoe and can even hold its own among some trail running shoes
found on the market.
The midsole of the Altra Golden Spike highlights what clever design work can accomplish, as the designers of this shoe managed to keep the weight low while also ensuring a comfortable ride. Dual-layer EVA midsole cushioning was used to accomplish this feat; with an A-Bound
™ top layer combined with InnerFlex™ technology, the midsole of this trainer is comfortable without feeling too squishy. Its platform features Altra’s signature FootShape™ toe box provides even more comfort while also allowing for more natural toe
placement. Despite being implemented on a zero-drop platform, this shoe’s midsole is constructed for maximum stability, excellent surface control, and terrific comfort.
The upper portion of the Altra Golden Spike is fused with its outsole to create a seamless design made from a single piece of material. The hydrophobic mesh used for this breathable upper conforms to a sockless design that allows for maximum airflow to enter the foot chamber while keeping unwelcome moisture out. The tongue is fully attached, which helps to prevent these shoes from sliding around during a run and causing discomfort. With a smooth feel, soft and snugly cinched laces, and a racer-like heel, this shoe’s upper is secure and comfortable.
Altra has pulled off an impressive feat of design by managing to design this shoe without a great deal of weight while still functioning as a solid all-around running shoe. the Altra Golden Spike weighs in at an average weight of 6 ½ ounces for men’s sizes and just under 5 grams for women’s. What really can’t be understated about this design facet is just how tenacious, durable, and comfortable such a lightweight
trainer can be. The average runner may not believe such a shoe could exist, but Altra has proven them wrong. Instead of needing to sacrifice comfort or durability in the pursuit of a lighter ride, the Golden Spike allows runners to have their cake and eat it too.
Due to the Altra Golden Spike’s upper being made from a lightweight hydrophobic mesh, the majority of this running shoe’s surface is highly breathable. Because of this design feature, natural airflow can be accommodated while preventing the accumulation of moisture, either by sweating or from the environment. This will certainly come in handy for runners who engage in long, difficult runs over rough terrain, as well as those who participate in high-speed races
that can cause considerable bodily exertion. Something that further aids these shoes in promoting excellent ventilation is the lighter construction, which makes it less likely for sweat and heat to accumulate inside the Golden Spike in the first place.
Surprisingly for a spiked track runner, many features are present in the design of the Altra Golden Spike relating to comfort. From its dual-layer EVA midsole with ample amounts of A-Bound™ material to the sockless, sock-like fit of its upper to its wide toe box that allows for a more natural toe splay, this may be the most comfortable high-end minimalist
training shoe on the market today. It appears as though Altra is applying many of the design principles that worked in their trail running shoes to this shoe; this is especially impressive because they have managed to do so without adding the excessive weight that is typical of trail runners. Featuring Altra’s signature foot shape platform meant to closely emulate the real thing, runners will feel comfortable every step of the way in a pair of these shoes.
Slick, low-cut, and featuring a brilliantly bright color scheme, the Altra
Golden Spike is a seriously intimidating shoe. Thanks to the impeccable sense of style implemented by its manufacturer, these shoes manage to look appropriate on and off the track. This is an important feature since the Golden Spike can shift from a spiked track shoe to a tenacious all-around running shoe by simply unscrewing its track spikes. While some may find its minimalist design a little too little for a running shoe, fans of the idea that “less is more” will enjoy the ultra-lightweight concept. Regardless of where and how these shoes are used, its style signals its status as a high-performance trainer.
With a construction style that uses a single piece of material, the overall durability of these track runners is admirable for a shoe that weighs so little. As previously mentioned, Altra seems to have adopted some design principles from their popular trail runners
to great effect in the Golden Spike. Its hydrophobic mesh upper is made of a strong synthetic material and the outsole is made from a combination of rubber and durable foam. Its midsole is also a one-piece construction, fused to the underfoot platform in order to prevent undue slippage during a run. However, one complaint levied by customers is that the removable spikes tend to wear down within 50 miles of running.
One downside of this track running shoe being designed with minimalist sensibilities is that there isn’t much offered in the way of protection. While the Altra Golden Spike is a versatile shoe that can tackle technical trails, pavement, asphalt, and standard running track, surface, little protection for the wearer’s foot is offered. Outside of its rubber and foam outsole that offers rudimentary protection for the wearer’s soles, the lightweight mesh upper has few barriers that could prevent an injury
. Considering it’s a porous shoe in general, the Golden Spike is also not ideal for colder weather since it offers an inferior degree of insulation to maintain a comfortable internal heat.
Although the Golden Spike has a comfortable midsole, no feedback is lost in the process of providing soft cushioning. This is thanks to the fact that it is firmly affixed to the platform it sits upon. Additionally, this lightweight shoe offers excellent traction through its removable spikes and permanent outsole lugs that dot its foot-shaped outsole. Because of all these features, the Altra Golden Spike is a highly responsive trainer on a variety of surfaces and is great for runners looking to beat their best time.
As is the case with many minimalist running shoes, there is an unfortunate lack of solid support for the wearer’s feet in the Altra Golden Spike, with the exception of some meager neutral arch support. Runners can expect a comfortable ride regardless, but this is not a shoe that is ideal for individuals who need extra support in their footwear. Because of this, those with fallen arches or discrepancies with pronation will not find the support they need here. While its possible that this can be amended to a degree with the aid of an orthotic insert, those with more debilitating injuries and predispositions would be better off finding a more supportive shoe.
Versatility is a key component of the Altra Golden Spike. While the primary purpose of its construction is to provide speed and accommodate shorter track sprints, runners can use the included spikes to turn these shoes into a superb all-around trainer. Thanks to the titular spikes, these shoes can take on pavement, asphalt, trails, and treadmills with an equal degree of competence. While these shoes are far from the same region as a heavy-duty trail running shoe
, the Altra Golden Spike is a lighter track runner that offers similar benefits with none of the downsides.
While the Altra Golden Spike isn’t the cheapest pair of running shoes on the market, it’s also not so expensive as to turn away customers. When considering all of the benefits that come with a pair of track running shoes and the versatility they hold, runners looking for a durable shoe that can handle numerous terrains and paths are looking at a bargain. This is an even better value when considering one pair of track runners function as three shoes, offering three for the price of one.
The one element of the Altra Golden Spike that delivers above all others is traction. While the majority of their outsole is made of durable foam, the foot-shaped rubber areas that are heavy and susceptible to high-wear areas have a great amount of grip thanks to their tenacious lugs. Of course, runners looking for a more high-octane running experience can take advantage of the eponymous golden spikes for an even more intense degree of traction on the track or trail
The lightweight one-piece design implemented during the construction of the Altra Golden Spike allows for it to be highly flexible and responsive. Its mesh upper and A-Bound™ midsole with InnerFlex™ technology offers fantastic response times due to its impressive flexibility, which is then supplemented by its foam and rubber outsole. Unfortunately, the downside to this shoe being this flexible is that maintaining control during a run can be difficult. Because of this, these shoes are most effective in shorter running sessions with an emphasis on speed.
Being a zero drop shoe, runners will feel excellent underfoot stability in the Altra Golden Spike. However, while this form of midsole design can be of terrific benefit to those that have some stability issues, it will not correct overpronation and does not classify it as a stability shoe
. Unlike other shoes with a greater emphasis on stability, these track runners lack the sort of control and rigidity needed to provide a more stable ride. Due to its lighter weight and single-piece construction, this is a far more flexible shoe than it is stable, which can cause some runners who aren’t interested in speed work to be dissuaded from giving the Altra Golden Spike a shot.
The Altra Golden Spike is a zero drop shoe, which means there is no heel-to-toe drop. Ordinarily, a running shoe will have a significant difference in cushioning from the rear of the midsole to the front. This can cause a meager loss in stability but it comes with the tradeoff of extra comfort and heel strike protection. While most trail running shoes have a lower drop, there’s often still a small degree of elevation. This is what makes the Golden Spike so interesting; almost no other shoe on the market, aside from some barefoot-style road shoes, feature no drop whatsoever. This is beneficial for the shoe’s stability but it will necessitate some awkward transitioning for those who are used to the more cushioned track and trail runners.
- FootShape™ toe box allows for natural toe splay
- Fully cushioned Zero Drop™ platform provides stability
- Dual layer EVA midsole with A-Bound™ top layer and InnerFlex™ technology
- Removable spikes provide high versatility on and off the track
- Quick-dry air mesh upper is breathable and moisture resistant
- Single-piece seamless design prevents skin irritation and improves flexibility
Built for speed but offering so much more, the Altra Golden Spike is a truly transformative shoe unlike any other on the market. With Altra’s foot-shaped platform for a natural, comfortable fit and extra-wide toe box that allows for natural toe splay, the company’s base line is present in the Golden Spike. By making their 5mm titular road spikes removable, Altra opened up the Golden Spike to so many more possibilities, cementing its versatility as an all-around great running shoe. Take the plunge with a pair of Altra Golden Spikes and see just how far they’ll take you.