Altra Impulse

8.8
8.8 score
[Editors rating (8.4) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = Runnerclick score (8.8)/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: 8.4 / 10
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Altra Impulse Review Facts

The Altra Impulse is a lightweight road running shoe. It was designed to help users improve their running form, allow the toes to splay, and to help correct excessive over-pronation and fallen arches. The StabiliPod sole stabilizes the foot in order to slow over-pronation. The H2Flo midsole has drain/ventilation holes that improve breathability and allow users to keep their feet cool and dry while running in wet weather or over wet terrain. The responsive A-Bound cushioning absorbs shock and the removable footbed adds comfort or can be replaced with a more supportive insole or medical orthotic. The Innerflex technology makes the inside flexible and move with the foot. The Foot Shape Toe Box gives a comfortable fit and allows the toes to splay. The upper is made of lightweight synthetic overlays and quick-dry air mesh for breathability and to allow users to run in wet conditions. The ZeroDrop technology means the heel and forefoot are at the same height, creating a natural/barefoot feel and form. If you’re looking for a lightweight and flexible yet stable shoe for your next race or competition, the Altra Impulse could be the shoe for you!

Pros
  • Drainage holes allow users to go over wet terrain and improve breathability
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Comfortable enough to wear on long-distance runs
  • Good correction for overpronators
  • Improves running form
Cons
  • Less cushioning than some other shoes
  • Some testers had problems with durability where the sole and upper meet
  • Some reviewers thought the shoes were too narrow
Outsole
Outsole

Outsole

The rubber outsole uses StabiliPod technology to stabilize the foot and prevent excessive overpronation. It also supports the bottom of the foot and protects users from feeling objects on the ground. The Foot Pod Technology treads and grooves follow the bones and tendons of the foot, providing flexibility and responsiveness. It has good traction on hard surfaces such as roads and paths. The outsole itself has good durability, especially in high-impact areas; however, the part where it connects to the upper had problems according to some testers.
Midsole
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole uses a durable, ultra-light EVA foam that has one layer for cushioning and an A-Bound layer for shock absorption and responsiveness. It uses Innerflex technology for flexibility. The Varus Stability Wedge means that the arch side of the midsole is thicker than the inside in order to prevent overpronation. The midsole also has H2Flo drain/ventilation holes for breathability and moisture release, as well as a removable 5mm contour footbed that adds additional comfort or can be replaced with a different insole or medical orthotic. The ZeroDrop technology makes the heel and forefoot at the same level, which gives a natural running form and means that the cushioning is distributed evenly throughout the sole.
Upper
Upper

Upper

The upper is made of quick-dry air mesh with lightweight synthetic overlays, which make the shoe breathable and able to be used in wet conditions. Innerflex tehnology makes the upper flexible. The heel, tongue, and collar are padded for support and comfort. The laces give a comfortably snug fit. The heel has a claw construction for support and protection. Rubber from the outsole extends to cover the toe to protect against stubbing. The Foot Shape Toe Box allows the toes to splay comfortably. The upper is durable except where it meets the sole of the shoe, which is where some testers experienced problems with it coming apart. Reviewers found the fit to be comfortable enough for long runs, although those with wider-than-average feet found the shoe to be slightly too narrow.
Weight
Weight

Weight

The men's shoe weighs 8.6 oz and the women's shoe weighs 7 oz, meaning the shoe is around half a pound and very lightweight. The rubber in the outsole is lightweight to maximize responsiveness. The midsole's EVA and A-Bound foam is lighter than other midsoles and even has holes for drainage that make it even lighter. In the upper, the quick-dry air mesh is very light and the synthetic overlays are also lightweight. Adding to the weight are the StabiliPod technology that slows over-pronation, the Varus Stability Wedge, and the claw construction around the heel.
Breathability
Breathability

Breathability

The Altra Impulse has great breathability due its midsole and upper. The midsole has H2Flo holes that allow air to circulate around the foot and drain any water or moisture that may have gotten into the shoe. The upper's mesh not only allows air to come into and out of the shoe, but is also quick-drying in case it gets wet due to rainy or humid weather. The overlays do not take away from overall breathability, and the lack of stitching reduces the risk of irritation or hot spots. Together, the midsole and upper keep the foot cool and dry.
Comfort
Comfort

Comfort

This is a very comfortable shoe, with many testers happily using it for long distance runs or as an everyday shoe. The outsole is flexible and responsive. The Foot Pod technology treads and grooves line up with the tendons and bones in the foot. The midsole has dual-layer cushioning that is responsive and shock absorbent to protect joints. The stability wedge and StabiliPod technology increase comfort for over-pronators. The H2Flo holes help keep the foot dry. In the upper, Innerflex technology allows the shoe to move easily with the foot, making running more comfortable. The laces and overlays give a comfortable fit, and the tongue, heel, and collar are padded to soften impact in those areas. The breathable mesh helps keep the foot cool, the quick-dry air mesh keeps it dry, and the lack of stitching reduces risk of irritation and hot spots. The midfoot and heel have a snug fit, and the wider Foot Shape Toe Box allows toes to move around comfortably. The shoe is good for average to slightly wider than average feet, but runners with wide feet thought the shoe was too narrow. Additionally, some testers noted that the Altra Impulse has less cushioning than some other shoes, especially in the heel. However, some runners who normally use inserts did not need them with this shoe because of its built-in arch support and cushioning.
Style
Style

Style

The Altra Impulse is available in two colors for men and two for women. Men can choose between Black Fade and Malibu Blue, and women have the choice of Magenta Fade or Aqua Fade. Reviewers generally liked the style choices, although some thought the colors were too bright. Not all sizes are available in every color, since this shoe has been out for a while and some sizes are sold out.
Durability
Durability

Durability

The Altra Impulse received mixed reviews on durability. The outsole uses more durable rubber in high-impact areas. The midsole has great durability, especially on its A-Bound layer. The upper is designed to dry quickly and has a claw construction for durability in the heel and rubber extending over the toe to add durability and protection to the toe. Most testers were able to get a few hundred miles without any problems. However, there were several cases of the shoe peeling apart where the upper and the sole meet after just a few runs.
Protection
Protection

Protection

This shoe offers some protection in each layer. The outsole protects users from feeling objects on the ground. The midsole has an A-Bound layer that cushions landings and absorbs shock in order to protect joints, and drainage holes to protect against wet conditions. The upper dries quickly to protect against wet weather and also protects against heat, cold and wind. The lack of stitching protects against blisters and hot spots. The StabiliPod sole, arch support and heel claw protect foot joints from rolling. The rubber extending up to the toe, as well as the thicker heel material, protect against accidental stubbing and abrasion.
Responsiveness
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

The Altra Impulse is a very responsive shoe. Its overall light weight and flexibility make the shoe easy to carry for long distances and pick up speed in. The outsole's Foot Pod Technology treads are patterned after the bones and tendons in the feet, which increases responsiveness. In the midsole, the dual-layer EVA/A-Bound foam add some spring to the runner's step. The upper uses Innerflex technology to allow it to move easily with the foot, and the Foot Shape Toe Box allows the toes to splay in order to push off comfortably. The 0mm drop promotes a natural running form, which builds muscles to increase speed and endurance. The stability features do not take away from overall responsiveness. Many testers have successfully used this shoe for races or competitions.
Support
Support

Support

The Altra Impulse has enough support for either neutral runners or mild to moderate overpronators. The outsole uses StabiliPod to support the bottom of the foot and help control overpronation. The midsole has a Varus Stability Wedge that supports medium or normal arches. The upper supports the top of the foot with its mesh, overlays and laces, as well as the padding in the tongue, heel and collar. The claw construction supports the heel.
Terrain
Terrain

Terrain

The Altra Impulse is a road running shoe. The bottom of the outsole has treads for gripping hard surfaces and grooves for flexibility. This shoe can be used on dirt or paved roads, tracks, paths, light gravel, or light trails. The quick-dry air mesh and drainage holes allow runners to go over wet terrain. The treads are too shallow to go over technical terrain, and the lack of spikes means that it is not a snow or ice shoe.
Price
Price

Price

When initially released, the Altra Impulse was about average price for a road running shoe. It is lightweight and flexible with correction for overpronators, a decent amount of cushioning, and ZeroDrop technology that improves running form, so it's a good deal for the price. Because the shoe has been out for a while, current pricing ranges between half-off and full price, depending on the size and color. The latest version of this shoe is called the Altra Impulse Flash.
Traction
Traction

Traction

The bottom of the Altra Impulse has treads and uses Foot Pod Technology to match the shape and structure of the bones and tendons in the foot. This gives great traction on roads and paths, allowing users to have good control while going uphill, downhill, or on light trails and paths. The shoe does not have good traction on technical trails or on slippery terrain such as snow or ice.
Flexibility
Flexibility

Flexibility

The Altra Impulse has a good amount of flexibility for a road running shoe. The outsole uses Foot Pod Technology to bend with the structure of the foot. The midsole cushioning is flexible enough to comfortably take off and land. In the upper, Innerflex technology allows the inside of the shoe to move from the foot, and the outside's synthetic and mesh material also allows the foot to move freely in order to pick up speed. Taking away from the flexibility are the stability features that keep the foot from overpronating.
Stability
Stability

Stability

The Altra Impulse has a good level of stability for a road running shoe. The outsole uses StabiliPod technology in order to prevent excessive overpronation by slowing down rolling or sliding in the bottom of the foot. The midsole has a Varus Stability Wedge that supports the arch, which helps runners with fallen arches, and prevents the foot from turning inward. The upper has a claw construction around the heel to lock it in. The shoe is stable enough for neutral to moderate overpronators, but heavy overpronators will need a stability or motion control category shoe.
Drop
Drop

Drop

The heel and forefoot both have a height of 23mm, giving the shoe a drop of 0mm, which Altra calls ZeroDrop technology. This is significantly lower than the standard drop of 10mm. A 0mm drop distributes cushioning evenly throughout the sole, promotes a midfoot strike, helps build up foot muscles, improves running form, and creates a low-impact strike. It also gives the feel of a barefoot shoe, which is popular with people who are looking for a natural running experience.
Key Features
Key Features

Key Features

  • StabiliPod sole stabilizing technology prevents excessive over-pronation

  • H2Flo midsole with drain/ventilation holes

  • A-Bound shock absorbing cushioning

  • 5mm removable contour footbed

  • Innerflex technology provides internal flexibility

  • Foot Shape Toe Box gives a comfortable forefoot fit and allows the toes to splay

  • Lightweight synthetic overlays and quick-dry air mesh

  • ZeroDrop technology: heel and forefoot are the same height
Bottom Line
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Altra Impulse is a great shoe for anyone who is looking to improve their running form. It has light cushioning and a good fit that allows users to comfortably wear it for long distances or as an everyday shoe. It is breathable, lightweight, flexible, and responsive enough to pick up speed for races or competitions. It has support and stability for runners who overpronate or have fallen arches, and has a removable footbed in case someone needs to add more cushioning or replace it with a medical orthotic. It dries quickly and has drainage holes that allow running in wet conditions. The shoe allows the toes to splay, builds strength in the foot muscles, and improves running form that will allow users to increase their speed and endurance after several uses. It has nice-looking styles and is reasonably priced for all the features it has. Possible areas for improvement include increasing the amount of cushioning, especially in the heel, improving the durability where some testers experienced the shoe coming apart, and making the shoe available in wider sizes. In short, the Altra Impulse is a great choice for competitive runners with a variety of foot profiles.