Altra Paradigm 6

9.6
9.6 score
[Editors rating (9.6)] = Runnerclick score (9.6)/10

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Editor rating: 9.6 / 10
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The Altra Paradigm 6 is a perfectly balanced zero-drop max-cushioned stability trainer for runners that need a lot of extra support.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Innovarch support boost lockdown

Altra EGO Max offers more cushioning and support

Guide Rail system helps craft an even gait cycle

Durable and bouncy rubber outsole

A very roomy rounded toebox

Ideal for long-distance running

A great choice for heavier runners or those with pronation issues

Zero-drop midsole for added control and ground-feel

Plush 30 mm stack height

Cons

Expensive

Upper is not very breathable

Key Features

Key Features

MIDSOLE

There is a lot to love about the new and improved midsole of the Paradigm 6. The midsole is composed of Altra EGO Max, which is only reserved for Altra’s higher-end stability trainers. This new and improved cushioning is lightweight yet insanely responsive.

When you first slip these shoes on your feet, you are met with plush high-end cushioning that feels like you are walking on a cloud.

As you pick up the pace, this foam cushioning provides excellent energy return that is kind to your knees and joints. If you love Altra EGO cushioning, the ALTRA EGO Max offers more cushioning that feels lighter and effortless.

What I also love about the construction of this stability trainer is that it provides runners with Guide Rails to help with pronation issues. Whether you overpronate or underpronate, this guide system helps to naturally push your feet into a nice and even gait cycle.

If you are already blessed with a neutral gait cycle, these shoes are still a great choice if you want high-end cushioning and support. If your gait is even, it simply means that your feet will not press up against the stiff guide rails.

OUTSOLE

As always, Altra built a strong and durable outsole that is built to conquer hundreds of miles. Overall, the outsole of this shoe doesn’t really bring anything new to the table when compared to other Altra running shoes.

It is composed of a blend of rubber and exposed EVA to provides runners with an insanely supportive and bouncy ride while keeping the weight low. The lugs on this shoe are designed primarily for workouts in the gym or on the sidewalk.

If you like trail running, the shallow lugs won’t provide quite enough traction and control for rocky and uneven trailheads. For a trail running stability trainer, check out the Altra Timp lineup.

However, the outsole of this shoe really shines in its simplicity. Previous versions of this shoe hosted additional stability features built into the rubber that weighed the shoe down and limited its overall agility.

This simple outsole is much more flexible and agile than previous versions, and the slimmed-down design helps to keep your stride nice and bright.

UPPER

Often, stability shoes only offer stability features in the midsole and call it a day. What makes the Altra Paradigm 6 unique is that it also provides advanced stability features in the upper as well.

What I love about this shoe is that it boasts something called Innovarch support that helps to cradle your foot and boost overall lockdown so this shoe feels like an extension of your feet. Looking at the lacing system of this shoe, you may notice that there are small flaps next to the third row of laces.

At first glance, it seems like a simple design flair, but they boast a lot of internal working components that help lock your feet in place.

As you tighten the laces of the shoe, there is an internal netted cage system that lifts up and around your feet. The tighter you cinch your laces, the more support you will feel inside of the shoe.

If you are a runner that needs a good deal of arch support in your shoes, Altra really nails the support offered in Paradigm 6. Instead of utilizing posts, this caging system feels nice and natural and allows you to tinker with the amount of arch support that is needed.

If you feel that this arch support is just a little too intense, you can simply loosen the laces.

PERFORMANCE

This shoe is built for runners (or walkers!) who love a lot of extra cushioning and support. The Guide Rail system in this shoe is also the perfect match for runners with pronation issues. Not sure if you under or over-pronate? No worries!

This unique Guide Rail system runs the full perimeter of the shoe, so no matter if your underpronate or overpronate, the build of this shoe helps to naturally guide your stride into a nice and even gait cycle.

If you already have a neutral gait cycle and just love highly cushioned running shoes, this guidance system will simply go unutilized without affecting your natural stride.

Overall, I would recommend this shoe for runners that need a lot of extra cushioning and support. If you are a heavier runner, the 30 mm stack high and zero-drop lends a lot of stability with plush cushioning to protect your knees and joints.

The Guide Rail system also makes it an ideal choice for runners that suffer from pronation issues but aren’t so aggressive that they will hinder runners with a neutral stride.

I also recommend this shoe for walkers, or for those that are on their feet all day. The plush cushioning is lightweight and responsive, and the zero-drop design boost stability. It’s lightweight, insanely comfortable, and takes the pressure off of your joints.

FIT

I’ve combed through a number of user reviews and found that this shoe runs true to size. If you are a size 8 in previous Altra shoes, the same can be said for Paradigm 6.

If you are new to Altra, be sure to take good measurements of your feet and compare them to Altra sizing chart to ensure that you get the right size for your feet.

While this shoe isn’t offered in wide sizing options, it’s likely because it’s not necessary. What I love about Altra shoes is they all offer a very wide and rounded toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe. Even runners with wide feet found that these shoes fit like a glove.

What makes the fit of this shoe unique is the construction of the upper. While the base model of this shoe is a little wider than most, the Innovarch support system allows you to craft your own customized fit.

Tightening the laces doesn’t just tighten the top of the upper to your feet. When you tighten the laces, interior netting contours around the shape of your foot to provide ample arch support as well as boosting overall lockdown.

PRICE

Altra shoes do not run cheap, and the Altra Paradigm 6 is no expectation. However, this shoe boasts a wide array of high-end and modern features that are well worth every penny.

The new and improved EGO Max cushioning that is only rolled out for their high-end stability shoes, and this improved midsole material makes this shoe well worth its higher price point.

Not only is the midsole material well worth the price, but the Innovarch system and Guide rail system are a must-have for runners that need a lot of stability and an improved overall fit.

The price tag may sting a bit at first, but as soon as you pop these shoes on your feet and hit the road, the cost will suddenly seem well worth it overall!
Comparisons to Previous Versions

Comparisons to Previous Versions

Sometimes, less is more. The biggest changes made to the Paradigm 6 aren’t the features that are added to this shoe but rather the features that Altra omitted.

Paradigm 5 added Stabilipods found in three key areas of the outsole for added control and stability. Many runners found that as the shoe wore down, they could feel these pods underfoot and they made their runs a bit uncomfortable.

The Guardrail System is more than enough to keep feet stable, and these pods only served to make the shoe stiff and uncomfortable. When Paradigm 6 rolled out, Altra omitted these pods completely.

Altra also swapped out their basic Altra EGO foam cushioning for their new and improved Altra EGO Max cushioning in the midsole. Altra EGO is great, but the Altra EGO max is even better.

This updated midsole provides runners with the same level of cushioning and energy return in a more lightweight and agile package.

Overall, this midsole is lighter and more responsive than previous designs that boost agility and comfort without weighing you down.

From a design standpoint, the newest addition to the Paradigm family just looks sleeker and more modern. Previous designs were a tad clunky and chunky, and the Paradigm 6 has shaved off a few grams in weight as well as inches.

If you hated the bulky design of Paradigm 5, you may want to give Paradigm 6 a look.
Verdict

Verdict

In my opinion, the Altra Paradigm 6 is one of the very best stability trainers currently out there on the market. What I love most about this shoe is that the high-end stability features don’t end at the midsole.

Many stability trainers pop on a guidance system to help with pronation issues and pack on the midsole cushioning and call it a day.

This design is packed with stability features that start with the upper and end with the outsole. Essentially, your feet are wrapped in 360 degrees of plush cushioning and control.

Whether you are running, walking, standing, or even weight lifting, this shoe is worth checking out!