Altra Impulse Flash

8.9
8.9 score
[Editors rating (8.5) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.9)/10

Our RunnerClick score is based on our editors overall rating compared to the user ratings in order to generate the most accurate and unbiased score of each product we review.

If there are less than 10 user reviews for the product in total, the weight of user reviews is decreased from 50% to 25% to make sure that new products are not rated too high.
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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
User's rating: based on 1 user ratings
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Altra Impulse Flash Review Facts

Altra’s Impulse Flash, the follow up to the well-received Altra Impulse, could stop traffic. Largely similar to its predecessor, the Impulse Flash incorporates more cushioning and showcases a completely revamped upper material. Designed to provide a little extra arch support, this flashy stability shoe delivers, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback. Providing the zero drop comfortable fit that its fans have come to expect from Altra, the Impulse Flash caters to runners, walkers, and casual wearers as well. Its defining feature is in its uniquely iridiscent “perfect for safely adventuring at night” appearance that carries a large wow factor. And as not every shoe will meet every wearer’s needs, there were a handful of reviewers that weren’t sold on the Altra Impulse Flash, but the majority of those that have taken the plunge with it find it to be a keeper.

Pros
  • eye-catching design
  • iridescent, reflective upper provides additional safety for running in the dark
  • comfortable all-around shoe for running, walking, and casual wear
  • stability shoe with arch support
  • more cushioning
  • zero heel-toe drop for a natural feel
  • lightweight
Cons
  • still wider than many shoes but more narrow toe box than other Altra offerings
  • sizing is reported to be more narrow overall and not true to size
  • new upper material is less breathable
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The Altra Impulse Flash features Footpod technology in its outsole. This system aims to map out the natural shape of the foot, down to bones and tendons. This serves to increase flexibility and responsiveness. It introduces natural traction for slightly varied terrain with its canted lugs that are strategically placed and most find this shoe's outsole to provide proper grip for the conditions they encounter on paved surfaces and the lightest of trails.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The Impulse Flash's midsole helps keep the heft of the shoe down and ideal for racing or quicker runs with its ultralight EVA with A-Bound Top Layer. This EVA rubber foam is covered with the environmentally friendly A-Bound technology comprised of recycled materials. These materials, sitting directly below the foot, work together to offer a platform for energy return as well as extra protection under foot. Reducing foot strike impact benefits runners by assisting in injury prevention by absorbing the force and allowing for ample energy return that can keep runners moving longer as well as enhance the lifespan of a shoe. Also in the midsole is StabiliPod Technology that aims to create a more stable ride. It does this through a three-point systems consisting of three firmer pods spaced across the sole unit as well as a midsole wedge that work in concert to create a shoe that most found to effectively assist with reducing overpronation.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper is where the Altra Impulse Flash shines... literally! Comprised of an innovative technology that reflects light in a rainbow of colors, most are very impressed with the uniqueness of this shoe. During the day, it makes a definitively fun statement and, at night or in the early morning hours, this detailing offers maximum visibility for added safety. This 360 degree reflective material is a little stiffer and presents a few issues with ventilation. Some wearers cite feet warming up quickly despite little activity.

Aside from the reduced breathability of the new iridescent upper material, it was difficult to find much wearers did not like about this shoe. The asymmetrical lacing helped reduce pressure points on the foot which may have contributed to the upper's good feeling, even if narrower, fit. There was a report of a baggier feel but most actually found it to be more snug than most other Altra shoes. Some had reported compensating for the tighter feel by wearing thinner socks.
Weight
Weight

Weight

Weighing in at 8.6 oz for both the men's model, the Altra Impulse Flash provides a responsive flexible ride that lends itself to not only running but also racing. Sporting an ultralight rubber foam midsole, even with the new flashy upper material and the arch support, this shoe maintains its lightweight status pleasing its wearers.

Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

Delivering a lack of ample ventilation seems to be one of the only setbacks for this shoe. Equipped with built-in drainage holes in the outsole for moisture management and to facilitate airflow and claiming to sport a quick-dry air mesh upper, most did not find this shoe to be breathable. Some purported that that 360 degree reflective material that is used does not seem to lend itself to ventilation but overall, most experienced less than efficient cooling and drying of the feet. While the upper of the Altra Impulse Flash "wows" many, it does not negate having warm feet while out and about is not generally conducive to a comfortable, confident run. Despite this, most that cited they still claimed to love the shoe and feel it should be perfect especially for cooler weather adventures.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

Altra has a reputation for wider fit, natural feeling shoes but it seems the Impulse Flash bucks this trend a little. Reviewers cite a slightly narrower fit in the upper, even in the company's well known wider toe box. While still allowing room for a natural toe splay, some found it a smidge more snug and slightly less comfortable than other Altra shoes for bunion pain relief. Most were pleased with the arch support though there were some that hoped to replace the 5 mm Contour Footbed insoles but found the fit too unforgiving for this. So often wearers advised ordering up a half size to a full size but some still those found this shoe to fit true to size. Overall, the general consensus of underfoot feel is that the move from its predecessor's light cushioning to the Flash's moderate cushioning felt welcome and comfortable.
Style
Style

Style

If you're looking for style, Altra Impulse Flash has it for you. Its 360 degree reflective upper has people talking...and they all seem to be saying positive things. Besides being ideal for dark 0'clock running, the detailing is eye-catching and unique and most find it to be stylish. It's reflective surface material has a geometric nature and the sides are branded with the Altra logo in silver and the sole features a color gradient that blends well with the upper. The women's model is available in coral/blue, green, and black/coral while men have the option of black/blue, lime, or gray. It seems no matter the color choice, these shoes offer a fun departure from what most are used to.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Altra Impulse Flash gains the benefit of an environmentally friendly midsole that is comprised of recycled materials. These materials have been shown to be able to endure more wear as the foam compresses 2-3x less than most other running shoe foams and this reduced compression helps extend the life of the shoe. The upper of the shoe held up for most wearers though there was a report that tearing of the upper occurred near its connection to the sole unit.
Protection
Protection

Protection

The Altra Impulse Flash utilizes a sturdy sole unit that benefits from canted lugs that offer some protection underfoot. It also sports a midsole comprised of durable strong recycled materials that are able to withstand more impact and create a larger energy return protecting the foot from injury and fatigue. In therory, the foot shoe be protected from heat and moisture with a breathable mesh in the upper and drainage holes in the rubber of the sole but most found feet did not stay truly cool and dry.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

Rated responsive by most reviewers, the Altra Impulse Flash was impressive in its ability to create an energy return for the foot on footstrike. Courtesy of the outsole's foot mapping for a natural stride and the midsole's environmentally materials that compress more efficiently, runners felt solid with less fatigued legs leading to longer and more enjoyable adventures.
Support
Support

Support

The sole of this shoe provides a solid platform for a stable ride. Altra moved from the Impulse's light cushioning to the Impulse Flash's moderate cushioning for added support. With a stackheight of 23mm running the length of the shoe complete with the sole's A-Bound technology for a springier feel, the Flash creates a vehicle for a confident, stable, supportive run.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

With the sole's flexibility and responsiveness and lightweight nature, many find it suitable to get them across a road race finish line and through its preceding training. Meant for mostly paved surfaces, wearers have reported comfortable outings on gravel, cinder, and even dirt and light trails.
Price
Price

Price

Debuting at a standard price for a typical premium level running shoe, one can now find it at an even more affordable ticket price now. Most consider it to be be reasonably priced and are overall pleased with the bang they get for their bucks.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The outsole continues to embody the Altra principle of a natural feel with its underfoot foot mapping system. Designed to follow the contours of the foot's bones and tendons as well as strategically placed canted lugs or maximal impact, the Impulse Flash offers appropriate grip. The EVA rubber form also delivers enough stick to be effective on paved surfaces as well as on gravel, cinder, and dirt.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

Flexibility is a feature many appreciate from Altra's offerings. Incorporating Innerflex and StabiliPod technologies just as in the original Impulse, the Flash continues to bring us just the right amount of flexible support even for overpronators.

Stability
Stability

Stability

Featuring arch support to assist in correction for fallen arches and overpronation and a 5mm contour footbed, this shoe offers stability in a lightweight, responsive way. Its ability to deliver a stable feel is also courtesy of the midsole's StabiliPod Technology that is a carryover from the Altra Impulse model. Though a handful of reviewers found the arch support to be lacking some, most runners found the stability provided to be ample and comfortable and allow them to run pain free. And while the stackheight is higher offering moderate cushioning, it was not too high to interfere with confidence of step.
Drop
Drop

Drop

Altra is well known for its dedication to producing footwear that closely mimics the most natural state of running. It does this through its wider toe box but also through its zero heel-to-toe drop. Offering moderate cushioning measuring a stack height of 23 mm, the shoe falls in line with therest of the Altra shoe catalog with its zero drop. Altra takes care to caution against making a hasty switch to this drastic drop. To avoid injury to or inflammation of muscles, it is advised to slowly transition to a low drop shoe.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

stylishly unique upper with 360 degree reflectivity

upper provides maximum visibility in the dark

arch support ideal for overpronators and those with fallen arches

snugger fit than most Altra footwear but still roomier than most

lightweight

flexible

concerns with proper fit

upper seems to be less breathable
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

As the Altra Impulse seems to do so many things right, Altra took a page from this playbook and kept what worked in tact. Now the Altra Impulse Flash carries many of the same features and technologies. Still offering a more natural feel despite a smaller toe box, as well as the flexibility and responsiveness that many find par for the course with Altra, it differs mostly in its increased cushioning and its traffic-stopping iridescent upper. Reviewers are almost all in agreement that this shoe, as an Altra product, delivers the comfort they have come to expect but also that it is still a unique piece of footwear. From running roads to treadmill, walking the dog, to everyday casual wear, the Impulse Flash seems to have met the needs of most anyone that tries it out. While some are quick to point out the snugger feel, most find the fit to be good in terms of support provided the right size shoe is purchased. And, yes, there are points against it for its reduced breathability with its newer upper reflective material but the safety of being visible in the darkest hours of a run seem to counteract this concern. Overall, provided one is sized properly for the fit, the Altra Impulse Flash seems to be a great shoe to try for your next cooler temp adventure.