Altra Kayenta

The Altra Kayenta is a unique lightweight zero-drop neutral road running sneaker that features the companies Max-LT foam in the midsole. It is surprisingly cushioned and offers a comfortable and adaptable fit with its dual-layer upper. One of the most impressive things about these sneakers is the fact that they are incredibly lightweight and extremely breathable. The outsole is mainly exposed midsole foam but has strategically-placed rubber pods at the heel and forefoot for added durability. These sneakers are sure to wow a number of experienced runners through their comfort and performance.

Join our private, growing community of passionate runners.

Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Low stack height yet well-cushioned
  • Extremely breathable upper and insole
  • Moisture-wicking bootie design
  • Soft and lightweight Max-LT midsole cushioning
  • Adaptable fit
  • Wider toe box for a natural spreading of the foot
  • Cons
    • Tends to run a little small
    • Lack of firm heel counter may not be comfortable for some users
    • Key Features
      The outsole of this extremely light neutral running shoe is mostly made up of exposed midsole material. However, there are some firmer rubber pods on the heel area and forefoot where it is needed most for added support and durability. This rubber outsole features a technology that actually maps out the tendons and bones on the bottom of your foot which will allow the shoe to bend and flex more naturally with you as you run. In between the lines of the mapped outsole, you will find a waffle-like design in the rubber. The heel area of the outsole is slightly thicker and features more rubber pods in order to help to stabilize landings. The forefoot area of the outsole also features more rubberized pods to help the sneaker be more durable. The line that runs up the center of the outsole is called a decoupling groove and helps you to achieve a smoother transition from heel to toe. The rear of the heel is slightly tapered which may detract from a more solid running experience if you are a heavy heel striker but not if you have a more neutral step.
      The Altra Kayenta features the company’s new Max-LT performance foam which is extremely lightweight and delivers a snappy, energetic, and well-cushioned ride. It features a soft forefoot cushioning experience with a decent amount of flex due to the anatomical grooves in the outsole. Unlike other running shoes on the market, the Kayenta is very cushioned but does not have a really large stack height. At 23mm, the amount of cushioning you feel underfoot may be surprising because many users have said they feel very soft underfoot, despite not being high off the ground. Another unique characteristic of this neutral running shoe is the fact that it features a zero drop in the midsole. The soft, lightweight, energetic Max-LT foam and zero drop results is a fast-paced snappy running experience.
      The upper of the Altra Kayenta is unique in its construction featuring a two-layer sock style and a softer inner liner. The outer shell of the sneaker is supportive and will adapt to many different foot shapes. This shell is made out of engineered mesh which is both durable and breathable and features a number of perforations for airflow. This upper also features a no-sew design to eliminate irritation. The inner lining is engineered to fit like a bootie and is extremely comfortable. This bootie is also great because it wicks moisture away from your foot. The inner bootie construction means that there is not a typical tongue on the sneaker, rather it is almost like a sock that wraps around your foot. The soft sockliner adds additional comfort and support and also features perforations for added breathability. The lacing system is unique because the lace loops are mainly on the inside of the outer shell and extend down to the midsole. The laces alternate going through these lace loops inside the outer shell and eyelets on the outer shell. This results in a customized and very comfortable fit. At the rear of the shoe, you will find a pull tab for easy on and off. The heel does not feature a stiff heel counter but many users say they don’t miss having one.
      These sneakers certainly will not weigh you down, that is for certain. The materials used to make the outer, midsole, and upper combine to form an extremely lightweight shoe that will feel anything but heavy on your feet. Weighing in at a mere 5.9 ounces for men and 4.9 ounces for women that is almost half of what many other running shoes on the market weigh.
      The Altra Kayenta is definitely a very breathable road running sneaker. The engineered mesh that makes up the outer shell of the sneaker is already pretty breathable on its own but with the added perforations throughout the material, the shoe becomes an airflow machine. The inner sleeve of the upper is also lightweight and breathable so you won’t be hindered at all by the double lined upper. Not only that, but this inner bootie is designed to wick away moisture, so your feet will easily feel dry even on longer runs. The cushioned sockliner within the shoe is also equipped with perforations for even more breathability.
      One of the things that many users agree on is that these sneakers are extremely comfortable. Once you slip your foot into it, it will feel almost like a slipper, according to one reviewer. The inner lining of the upper forms a bootie around your foot, hugging you in soft breathable comfort. The inside of the shoe, including the cushioned sockliner, is very soft and extremely comfortable, making them easy to wear without socks. At the front of the sneaker, you will see that the toe box is wider, allowing your toes to spread out more naturally as you run. The Max-LT midsole foam is extremely lightweight and adds just the right amount of cushion and response for mid-tempo runs. One reviewer said that the sockliner is actually the densest material found on the shoe and adds a lot in the way of shock absorbency and support. It should be noted that a couple of reviewers said that the shoe tends to run a little small.
      Even though the sneakers are zero drop, they do boast a decent midsole that does not overpower the shoe. The upper is sleek in design definitely not flashy. The colorways are attractive and relatively subdued meaning they will look good with almost anything that you wear them with. Their overall platform is designed to be more natural in that they are made to form to the natural shape of your foot.
      The Altra Kayenta is definitely not a sneaker made to withstand rough underfoot conditions and ultra-long wear. They will last for a few hundred miles most likely but not much past that. The outsole features a lot of exposed foam although there are some rubberized areas that will help the sneaker have a longer life. The midsole is very lightweight and designed to spring back to shape but after a few hundred miles, it will most likely lose some of its responsive feel, which is to be expected. The upper materials are fairly durable but there are no overlays or even a heel counter to help the sneaker to maintain its shape over a long period of time. In the end, it will get the job done for a few hundred miles tops.
      Although these sneakers are a zero-drop shoe with more of a minimalist design, they do offer enough cushioned midsole protection to keep you from feeling tired achy feet thanks to the Max-LT foam. The sockliner is firmer than the rest of the sneaker and aids in shock absorbency and arch support so your joints will be protected. The wider toe box will protect your toes from being too constricted while the no-sew upper will protect you from irritation.
      The Max-LT foam found in the shoe’s midsole delivers a snappy response for slow to mid-tempo runs. Some reviewers said that the shoe offered a similar response during fast-tempo runs as well while others disagreed. This soft foam delivers a good amount of springy response especially for a zero-drop sneaker but some say that the forefoot could use a little more in the response department
      When considering the level of support offered by these sneakers, it is important to note that they are zero-drop sneakers without a whole lot of weight to them. Typically, if you are running is zero-drop sneakers, you are a more experienced runner looking for a fast and snappy feel underfoot and you are not prone to heel striking. If you tend to strike the ground with your heel or if you overpronate or supinate, then these sneakers may not be the best option for you; you will need a more supportive shoe. However, the more firm EVA insole that is featured inside the shoe does deliver more underfoot support.
      The Altra Kayenta is engineered to be a neutral road-running sneaker for the runner looking for a more natural yet cushioned zero-drop running experience. The outsole is only peppered with durable rubber so you definitely do not want to take them on any technical terrains and they may not perform well when it comes to wet conditions.
      Currently, these sneakers can be found in limited locations because they are brand new to the market. They can be purchased for around $110 which is an excellent deal for such a lightweight and comfortable sneaker.
      Because these lightweight neutral road running sneakers are engineered to be worn mainly while training on the roads, they do not offer a lot of traction for other surfaces. The exposed outsole only has a few areas of firmer rubber on it in areas where you will need more traction and durability. However, on the whole, these sneakers will most likely not perform well in very muddy, wet, and slippery conditions.
      The deep groove that runs all the way down the center of the sneaker allows it to deliver a lot of flex from toe to heel. This groove and the other grooves on the bottom of the shoe are mapped to match the bones and tendons on the bottom of your foot, helping the shoe to bend and flex more naturally as you move. The Max-LT foam of the midsole and extremely lightweight upper add to the high amount of flexibility this sneaker offers. However, one reviewer did say that the grooves in the bottom of the sneaker may make the sneaker a little bit too flexible for faster paces and said that perhaps a firmer outsole may be better for such a run.
      These sneakers are definitely not meant for people looking for shoes that aid in a lot of stability. Typically, if you are looking to purchase a training sneaker featuring a zero-drop, then you are more than likely an experienced runner with no serious foot concerns. The mostly exposed outsole does not offer a lot of stability other than the rubber pods found at the heel and the forefoot. The rubber heel pods will help with heel stability while the forefoot pods will help keep you more stable on the toe-off. The upper is very lightweight and flexible so it does not offer a ton of stability either. There is no stiff heel counter so if you are looking for more stability for your heel, these shoes are not for you.
      As mentioned previously, the Altra Kayenta is a zero-drop sneaker. The relatively low heel and toe stack of 23mm gives the shoe enough cushioned comfort for a soft and responsive ride but your feet will be level. It should be noted, however, that a number of reviewers commented that you will barely notice the fact that these are zero-drop sneakers thanks to the cushioned and zippy midsole.
      Key Features
      - Max-LT foam at the midsole provides just the right amount of cushion and a responsive ride
      - Anatomically-placed grooves on the outsole are mapped to match the bones and tendons of your feet for maximum flexibility
      - Extremely lightweight two-layered upper provides a comfortable and adaptive fit
      - Moisture-wicking inner bootie molds to your foot and creates a dry foot environment
      - Very breathable upper design
      Bottom Line
      The Altra Kayenta is a well-made lightweight and breathable neutral road running shoe but is not engineered for everyone. The zero-drop design is made for experienced runners looking for a responsive, cushioned, and lightweight running experience. The reviews are mixed as to whether or not these would be suitable for fast-paced runs but almost everyone agrees that they are great for mid to up-tempo training runs if not for racing. The Kayenta offers comfort and breathability and a decent amount of snappy response and almost all of the reviewers said that they are very comfortable.
      Where to Buy
      By Abbie Copeland
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 03. 2021

      Join our private, growing community of passionate runners

      Inside RunnerClick Pro, runners of all strengths come together to meet and support one another, get answers to burning questions, learn from experts, participate in personal challenges, and more.