Altra HIIT XT 2 for Cross Training

Made for cross training and various gym workouts, the Altra HIIT XT 2 shoes come with an improved lacing system and a good sole configuration. They are a bit on the heavier side and some people have had issues with the upper, but most people are satisfied with the comfort, stability, and support that they offer.

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Pros & Cons
  • Good outsole configuration
  • Protective midsole and a removable insole
  • Removable insole
  • Solid traction
  • Very comfortable
  • Zero-drop
  • Breathable
  • A-Bound technology provides bounce
  • Cons
    • On the heavier side
    • Some customers had issues with the upper’s durability
    • Price is too high considering the durability issues
    • Not that stylish
    • Key Features
      The Altra HIIT XT 2 cross-training shoes feature an outsole that’s up for the challenge. The sole is comprised of sticky rubber that offers great traction and ground feel, increasing your confidence with each move. Another feature of this system is its removable insole, which we’ll touch on in a bit.

      The outsole rubber is wrapped around the midsole as well, with the intention of increasing stability and grip of the shoe during lateral movements, which are bound to be plentiful during your HIIT sessions.

      The tread pattern of the Altra HIIT XT 2 features hexagon-shaped, shallow grooves that are circularly positioned. This traction pattern is clearly made with flat surfaces in mind, even more so because it’s free of any lugs or deep flex grooves that are often seen in trail running shoes.

      The only noticeable flex grooves are shaped so as to resemble the bones of the feet, essentially enabling a natural and smooth stride, while also looking cool.
      The zero-drop midsole platform of the Altra HIIT XT 2 is barely visible, due to the PowerSole wrap-around rubber, but it’s comprised of Dual Layer EVA foam and features A-Bound technology. This compound is made out of recycled materials and is environmentally friendly. It offers extra protection to the foot, as well as some additional bounce to your stride.

      The brand also uses its PowerSole technology, which includes a 6mm removable insole, made to provide additional protection and stability during lateral movements. However, you can also choose to easily remove the PowerSole insole and get a better ground feel. A lot of people switch between training with and without the insole in one training session, depending on the type of workout they’re performing.
      This ankle-height cross training shoe features a reinforced mesh upper with nylon lining. This configuration allows the upper to dry quickly and enables a firm, yet flexible grip on the foot. Supportive and thin TPU overlays are present throughout the upper, offering some structure and stability.

      One of the most noticeable features of this shoe is the FootShape toe box, which is wide enough to allow your toes to spread out as they naturally would if you’d be running barefoot, providing extra stability and comfort. This allows the big toe to remain straight instead of conforming to the shape of the shoe, which in turn increases the velocity of your toe-off.

      The lacing system of the shoe is traditional, although a bit improved from the previous version. It features a combination of hole loops and eyelets that provide a secure fit and prevent wobbling. However, some people have said that the laces appear to be too long, making it easier for them to be undone during a workout.

      The tongue is sewn down, which means that it won’t budge however explosive and powerful your workout might be. While seemingly a detail, this can sometimes mean the difference between developing a blister and enjoying your workout to the end.
      The Altra HIIT XT 2 weighs 12.2oz or 346g for a half pair, positioning them on the heavier side of the spectrum. While this might be a usual weight for trail shoes, it is somewhat chunky for a running shoe or a shoe in that general category.

      However, this weight is a result of good padding in the collar, as well as the abundant use of rubber on the outsole. If you’re used to ultra-lightweight shoes, this cross training shoe will take some getting used to. Some people have even deemed them as too heavy for their workouts, but that is really a matter of individual preferences.
      The reinforced mesh featured in the upper of the shoe provides a lot of breathability and airflow in the shoe box. While there are some TPU layers, primarily on the vamp of the shoe, they don’t prevent the air from circulating the shoe chamber and creating a pleasant environment.

      The mesh used in the shoe construction is also pretty thin and quick-drying (although not water-resistant), which makes the Altra HIIT XT 2 suitable for spring and summer season. However, you can expect some hot spots to occur during really hot days, but that’s largely inevitable, especially in places with high humidity.
      Due to the fact that the Altra HIIT XT 2 features the FootShape toe box, it’s proven to be the most comfortable for people with wide feet, because it accommodates their feet and encourages their natural stride without causing sore spots or discomfort. This shoe was praised by multiple users because it doesn’t force you to squeeze your toes.

      The wide toe box might make you feel like the shoes are too big for you, but keep in mind that you have to have a thumb-width space between your toes and the end of the shoe in order for it to remain comfortable during exercise. Your feet might take some time getting used to this kind of fit, but once you get used to it, you’ll be thrilled with the comfort levels it offers. One customer even stated that this shoe is a true game-changer for people with wide feet.

      By the same token, people with narrow feet might find the HIIT XT 2 too wide for them to feel comfortable and confident in it. This could be solved by going half a size down, but’s still possible that you’ll experience issues with stabilizing the foot completely.

      The mesh material used in the upper construction, as well as the EVA foam and insole, provide a plush, yet supported underfoot feel that a vast majority of people found satisfactory in terms of comfort.
      This cross training shoe isn’t as stylish as some Nike training shoes, for sure. However, it’s not trying to take over the style giants of the industry, but rather, it’s trying to appeal to people who value comfort and spaciousness above looks, and the ones that don’t pay too much attention to their gym outfits.

      Chances are that you’ll forget about the subpar looks of the HIIT XT 2 as soon as you splay your toes in them and start working out. As far as the colorways go, there are some classic, greyish black ones, as well as several colorful ones, especially in the women’s version of the shoes.

      If this shoe could be described by one word, the first one that pops into mind is quirky – it’s not something that you’ll be able to wear with your casual outfits, nor will it make you the style icon of the gym, but at least it has character and an intriguing look.
      The A-Bound compound used in the midsole construction of the Altra HIIT XT 2 is made so as to decrease foam compression significantly – which goes up to 90% at times. Contrary to most EVA foam midsoles, this one will compress 2-3 times less than most shoes, at least that’s what the brand claims.

      However, there are opposing opinions on whether the XT 2 is more or less durable than the previous Altra HIIT shoe. While some claim that his shoe is now more resilient, others have been disappointed by the fact that it started to wear significantly after only several weeks of use.

      The week link seems to be the lacing system, or rather, the mesh upper, which tends to start to tear when doing rigorous exercise. However, keep in mind that this isn’t a prevalent issue for most people, but there is a possibility of this happening, and it depends on a lot of different factors.
      The Altra HIIT XT 2 offers moderate cushioning that strikes a very good balance between having sufficient ground feel and having a protective layer underneath the feet that will absorb impact forces. The shoe starts off pretty stiff but breaks in after only a couple of wears. The A-Bound technology also plays a part in offering extra protection while keeping the structure of the foam intact for a prolonged period of time.

      The rubber cap on the vamp protects the toes from the impact that can and probably will occur while doing compound movements such as burpees or mountain climbers. The cushioning in the collar, and especially the heel area, will offer slight protection and support to the Achilles tendon and prevent its irritation, which is something that is rather important when doing cross training.
      The Altra HIIT XT 2 isn’t your traditional running shoe, in the sense that it’s made with jumps and sprints in mind, rather than hour-long jogs. This requires a specific kind of responsiveness for the shoe to have, which is provided by the A-Bound, which is positioned directly under the foot. Because it decreases compression rates of the foam, it also turns the energy from the impact and helps you maintain bounciness and energy-return in your stride.

      While the responsiveness of these cross trainers is good, it really can’t be compared to the responsiveness of a racing shoe.
      The HIIT XT 2 is made for people with neutral pronation, meaning that runners with normal, medium-high and high arches will all find the shoe to suit their arch support needs. If you choose to train with the insole inside the shoe, you’ll feel more supported while doing exercises such as squats or thrusters, for example. However, if you prefer the feeling of being supported by the ground, rather than the foam, you can always opt to remove the insole and rely on the zero-drop platform to offer the support you need.

      The vast majority of users agree that this shoe provides a lot of support, especially while doing lateral movements, and that the arch support is adequate and comfortable, without being too aggressive. One user noted that he’d prefer the shoe to have both the laces and a midfoot strap, in order to increase the lateral support of the shoe, but even without the strap, you’ll probably be satisfied with what you get.
      This cross training shoe is mainly made to tackle flat surfaces such as track, pavement, gym floors, treadmills, etc. They’re primarily made to tackle each and every CrossFit movement, ranging from lifting weights and doing lunges to rope climbing. Even though the mesh used for the upper is reinforced, this running shoe isn’t made to be taken on a trail, given that it lacks the protective properties of trail shoes.
      Given its great comfort and CrossFit-oriented nature, the Altra HIIT XT 2 is adequately priced; however, for that kind of money, there shouldn’t be any instances in which the shoe tears after several wears. If the shoe’s durability causes you to second-guess whether you should buy it, we can’t really blame you.

      Keep in mind that the company and authorized dealers should give a 4-week warranty on the shoe, so you can make the purchase and assess the durability for yourself in the first three weeks, and if the upper does tear, you have a way out. However, this kind of calculation shouldn’t exist if you’re already giving upwards of a C-note for a shoe.
      The outsole of the Altra HIIT XT 2 features a sticky rubber compound that adheres to different surfaces with ease. In this shoe, you won’t slip on dry surfaces, but neither the shoe nor the tread pattern is made with wet surfaces in mind. In the situation of doing cross training in a gym, the grip of this neutral running shoe will be satisfactory.
      The foam midsole of this cross training shoe requires a couple of wears before it breaks in completely – after that, the sole will be flexible enough to allow you to perform every movement without an issue. Similarly to the sole, the protective toe cap also needs a bit in order to soften up a bit. All in all, the XT 2 isn’t a stiff and overly heavy shoe, striking a good balance between flexibility and support.
      The main stability feature of this training shoe is the wide, FootShape toe box, which allows the toes to splay naturally and add the extra stability from having each toe firmly on the ground, rather than squeezing them in a tight toe box. The external heel counter also adds some stability to the heel, preventing wobbling and helping to decrease the chance of the foot getting twisted.

      The removable insole takes the height of the shoe platform from 20mm to around 14-15mm, and a lot of CrossFit exercisers prefer being closer to the ground while doing particular movements, as this offers them more stability naturally. Additionally, the updated lacing system, which combines loops and eyelets, provides a firm grip on the top of the foot, adding extra stability, especially during lateral moves.
      The Altra HIIT XT 2 is a zero-drop shoe, meaning that there is no offset in platform height from heel to toes. This configuration encourages a natural stride, as well as a barefoot feel while keeping all the good, protective properties of the foam midsole. If you aren’t used to running in zero-drop shoes, keep in mind that making the abrupt switch might result in an injury – it’s wiser to slowly transition from a medium drop to zero-drop by trying out a 4mm-drop shoe.
      Key Features
      ● Sticky rubber outsole
      ● Dual Layer EVA foam and A-Bound technology
      ● PowerSole technology, 6mm removable insole
      ● Reinforced mesh upper with nylon lining
      ● Improved lacing system
      ● Breathable
      ● Upper durability is below-average
      ● Extremely comfortable, especially if you have wide feet
      ● The durability doesn’t match the price
      ● Less durable outsole due to frugal use of rubber
      ● Running and cross training shoe
      ● Good neutral support
      ● Zero-drop
      ● FootShape toe box provides stability
      Bottom Line
      The Altra HIIT XT 2 is a running and cross training shoe that has a lot going for it. It’s great for people with wide feet, its FootShape toe box provides stability and comfort, while the foamy midsole offers a good balance between underfoot protection, flexibility, and support. However, there are some people who have complained about the shoe’s bad durability, stating that it tore after only 6 weeks. It’s not something that will surely happen, but keep those experiences in mind if you’re short on money and you want to invest in a safe bet.
      Where to Buy
      Backcountry Link
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      Holabird Sports Link
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      Road Runner Sports Link
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      By Lizzy Pavlovic
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 01. 2021

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