Altra Intuition 4 Review Facts
When it comes to running shoes, brands can be organized into different calibers or tiers. There are the extremely popular brands that provide both excellent style and performance, such as Nike and Adidas. Then there are the lesser known brands that provide an excellent sense of style with generally decent performance, such as Reebok and Under Armour. Another tier of running shoe brands is those who provide excellent performance without much emphasis being placed on styles, such as Asics and Altra. In the case of Altra, their Intuition 4 running shoes are a reflection of their design philosophy, with functionality taking top priority and incorporating stylistic elements afterward. This isn’t to say that these are ugly shoes, simply that they weren’t designed for the sake of fashion.
Upon first observing the Altra Intuition 4’s outsole, many casual observers may mistake it for the outsole of a trail runner
. This is mainly due to the intricate design of its tread pattern, which resembles a bare foot. Although this is a common sight among Altra’s different trail runners, this is simply a stylistic accent and not indicative of any additional trail functionality. Instead of providing the severe cleat-like lugs that are commonly found on trail shoes, the Intuition 4 uses much shallower nubs that are separated by long horizontal and vertical grooves. This design allows for the underside of these running shoes to provide a comfortable grip on most casual running surfaces, with the grooves ensuring a reasonable amount of flexibility.
One design aspect of these running shoes that is standard among nearly every other model on the market is its use of EVA foam for the construction of its midsole. This is a nearly universal inclusion in modern shoe design due to its lightweight nature
and ideal density, ensuring a comfortable balance between support and comfort. However, the Altra Intuition 4 offers a refreshing take on traditional midsole design by implementing grid-like grooves, referred to as INNERFLEX. This feature adds even more flexibility to the shoe’s midsole, improving the wearer’s speed and responsiveness. While this may come at the expense of stability, many reviewers have referred to this aspect of its design as a positive one.
The primary material used to construct the upper portion of the Altra Intuition 4 is synthetic mesh. This serves the dual purposes of providing comfort and breathability, although it isn’t as durable, stable, or protective as other common upper materials. In order to compensate for these shortcomings, Altra included some design accents to supplement the base mesh layer. Wrapped around the front of the shoe is a FOOTSHAPE rubber
toe box that provides extra protection for the wearer’s forefoot without feeling uncomfortable. Additionally, a small band of elastic wraps around the rear of the upper, providing a meager stability boost that feels almost like an afterthought.
The average weight for these Altra running shoes is just slightly over 7 ½ ounces, which is fairly light for a pair of shoes. This is around the median weight for casual running shoes like these and isn’t a particularly noteworthy aspect of the Intuition 4’s design. However, in order to achieve this middling weight, Altra had to make a few sacrifices when it comes to the design of its upper. As previously mentioned, their idea of rearfoot stability and support is laughable, and they don’t include any sort of insole or footbed aside from the FOOTSHAPE toe box. Perhaps this shoe could have become something far better than its competitors if their manufacturer was willing to add some extra weight
to its topmost portion. Unfortunately, this shoe was designed to fit the average, meaning it will have to play catch-up with established brands that are far more popular.
Due to the fact that most of the Altra Intuition 4’s upper is made from synthetic mesh with large perforated holes, this running shoe offers a fantastic amount of ventilation. The low ankle cut it showcases further adds to its breathability, as does its conveniently lightweight construction. As a result, wearers of these shoes should feel fresh and cool air circulate throughout the entirety of its internals, which greatly helps to prevent sweat
or uncomfortable levels of heat. In fact, these shoes are so great at managing heat that they would function better than most casual running shoes in extremely warm environments, making them excellent summertime footwear.
While some aspects of this shoe’s design provide the wearer with decent comfort, other design elements detract from it. For starters, the upper’s mostly mesh construction provides a soft cushion for the wearer’s foot, as well as fantastic breathability. However, the lack of suitable rearfoot stability or support can lead to soreness or injury after excessively long running sessions, as has been reported by some unsatisfied reviewers. The bottom half is also a mixed bag since the midsole and outsole provide excellent flexibility at the expense of its overall stability. Ultimately, casual runners should find the Altra Intuition 4.0 to be no more or less comfortable than any other casual running shoe, although those with a need for something more stable will likely be disappointed by what it has to offer.
Altra is not a brand of footwear that is known for their superior sense of style. In fact, many shoppers who come across the Intuition 4 may believe that it was created by Asics at first glance, since they share some common design quirks. The most notable aspect of a shoe designed by Altra is its outsole, which will incorporate a visual design that resembles a bare foot. Aside from that, however, their shoes often closely resemble other casual runners, denying their products any sort of distinctive identity. It isn’t ugly by any definition, but it certainly isn’t as nice-looking as a product from any of the big-name athleisure brands. Customers interested in something with a low profile will want to choose the all black colorway, while those who want to add some flair to their wardrobe will appreciate the teal or pink options.
As can be expected from a designer that creates trail running shoes, Altra knows a thing or two about creating durable footwear. They’ve had a consistent track record of creating shoes that are resilient to damage, with the Intuition 4 being no exception to this rule. The outsole is thick and sturdy, despite weighing very little, and can withstand repeated ground strikes without showing signs of wear. The same can be said for the midsole, which features design elements that enhance its longevity while also improving the wearer’s comfort. The upper may not be as impressive in this respect due to the fact that it is made primarily from mesh, but it’s certainly sturdy enough to manage most casual running environments and hazards. The only real problem area is the rearfoot, where the only safety feature is a flimsy elastic band.
Durability and protection go hand-in-hand with most running shoes. Because of this fact, it makes logical sense that a shoe as durable as the Altra Intuition 4 is also decently protective of the wearer’s feet. The bottom half is the most impressive aspect of the shoe in this regard but the upper is worth mentioning as well. This is due almost entirely to the FOOTSHAPE toe box, which wraps around the forefoot of the shoe in order to protect the wearer’s toes from abrasive contact with the ground. As has been previously mentioned, the rearfoot of the Intuition 4 is very disappointing, since the small elastic band offers no protection and virtually no stability to the point where it’s unclear why Altra would include it in the first place.
The Altra Intuition 4 is a highly responsive running shoe, thanks in most part to its lightweight construction. The lack of significant weight on the wearer’s feet naturally leads to a lighter step, which reduces the delay between their movements and those of their shoes. Although this is the primary culprit for its responsiveness, other design elements bolster this aspect as well. While thick enough to provide protection and durability in the face of ground strikes, the Intuition 4’s outsole is also thin enough to provide fast response times. The same can be said for its midsole, which is made of the standard EVA foam that ensures excellent responsiveness but is also outfitted with flex grooves that further enhance it.
The most supportive aspect of the Altra Intuition 4 is its forefoot, thanks to the FOOTSHAPE toe box that both cradles and protects the wearer’s toes. The next most significant supportive feature it provides is a zero-drop midsole, which ensures that the wearer’s weight is evenly distributed across the entire surface area of the shoe, as does the impact from each foot strike. Aside from these two design elements, Altra offers very little in terms of support with the Intuition 4. Thanks to the flex grid added to its midsole, some wearers might feel as if these shoes are even less supportive than the average runner. This is most noticeable around the rearfoot since all these shoes have to offer in terms of rear support is a flimsy elastic band.
Despite resembling a trail running shoe at first glance, and despite Altra’s impressive pedigree of trail runners, the Intuition 4 is not a shoe designed to handle trails. Instead, these are much more suited for less intense forms of running terrain that are mostly flat and free of obstacles. A track, field, sidewalk, asphalt road, or indoor gym will suit these shoes nicely, since they offer the perfect balance of protection and traction to accommodate these environments. However, the lack of significant stability or support makes these shoes unviable for running terrain that has excessive debris or steep inclines.
When the Altra Intuition 4 first came out, it had a suggested retail price in the range of $100, give or take a few dollars. However, the current price model for these running shoes is similar to that of many other casual runners that have been on the market for a few years. Many of the more common colorways and sizes for these shoes have seen significant price drops, with some sites listing them for as low as $40. However, scarcity and halted production on other sizes and colorways have allowed the Intuition 4 to retain their original price, even when newer models of the same product line have been released. Obviously, it’s a good idea to try and hunt down a discounted model for these shoes, but they are more or less worth their initial cost.
Despite having an outsole that resembles a bare foot, this running shoe doesn’t provide as much traction as one might expect. This is a common design quirk of Altra that has been seen on many of their trail running shoes, which may lead customers to believe that the Intuition 4 has a similar level of grip on the ground beneath it. Unfortunately, the underside of these shoes focuses much more on responsiveness and flexibility than it does on traction, although it is certainly serviceable in this regard. Still, runners should have reasonable expectations and stick to low-intensity running surfaces in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
When it comes to providing a flexible fit, this shoe is extremely impressive. From the bottom to the top, runners wearing the Altra Intuition 4 should expect an extremely pliable fit that offers excellent flexibility during their running exercises. The outsole has multiple horizontal and vertical grooves that allow it to bend comfortably, but the most impressive and surprising design aspect in this regard is the Intuition 4’s midsole with its INNERFLEX design. This provides enhanced flexibility for the wearer without needing to sacrifice midfoot thickness, which is the most common method for a running shoe manufacturer to provide comfortable pliability in the midsole.
There’s a delicate balancing act that needs to be struck with the design of any running shoe. It’s important for a shoe to have a decent balance between flexibility and stability; too much stability will lead to discomfort, and too much flexibility can lead to injury and a loss of control. Unfortunately, the Altra Intuition 4 falls into the latter camp, with an excessive design focus on providing pliable comfort leading to a lack of control. This is especially evident around the rearfoot, where a small elastic band provides this shoe’s sole supportive feature. As a result, runners will need to be careful and avoid attacking the ground with their full force in order to prevent injury.
One of Altra’s trademark design quirks is their Zero-Drop midsoles. Ordinarily, running shoes will feature a slight to significant difference in elevation between the rear and front of their midsoles in order to provide some extra cushioning for the wearer’s heels. Even trail running shoes will often feature a meager amount of elevation despite mainly pursuing a flatter midsole design. However, the Intuition 4, much like most of Altra’s footwear products, has no heel drop whatsoever. This provides extra stability and a more even weight distribution, but the change in balance may cause some experienced runners to feel uncomfortable at first.
- Thin outsole with multiple flex grooves
- Zero-Drop midsole with INNERFLEX design
- Synthetic mesh upper provides airflow
- FOOTSHAPE toe box around forefoot
- Small elastic band for rearfoot stability and support
- 4 different colorways
The Altra Intuition 4 doesn’t look very impressive at first. In fact, many people may disregard it due to the fact that is resembles other popular running shoes without having their distinctive and appealing sense of style. However, these running shoes provide an excellent running experience for the kind of individual who demands flexibility and responsiveness without wanting something too heavy on their feet. While its stability and support may be lacking, there are certainly particular runners who will get a lot of mileage out of this product.