Let’s consider maximalist running shoes for a moment. These shoes have more cushioning than a traditional running shoe with less height difference (drop) from the front to the back. Many runners are surprised when they first put on a pair of maximalist shoes by the softness and comfort of their ride. They’ve become popular with ultra runners who require more cushioning, while regular runners that look for comfort in their trainers also seek out this type of shoe.
The Altra Paradigm is a running shoe that gives other cushioned shoes lines a run for their money. Its 34mm stack height of EVA cushioning provides an incredibly comfortable and supportive ride. The highly durable midsole keeps its spring even after 200+ miles on the road. This material also provides more responsiveness than other shoes that have a gel or foam midsole. Much more stable than most running shoes with a notable toe box, which allows for toe splay, long distance and ultra runners will be surprised at the lack of slippage even on 20+ mile runs.
Although this extra comfort carries a slightly higher price tag than regular running shoes, the Paradigm is a reasonably priced running shoe. Neutral long-distance runners will appreciate the Paradigm’s cushioning. And for a maximalist shoe, it is actually very well-priced. Featuring Altra’s signature zero-drop platform but with an incredibly high stack, this thickness under the ball and heel of the foot provides extra medial support. Ideal for long and ultra-distance runs, this trainer is cushy but light, stable but soft, and cushioned without being plush or with a loss in responsiveness.For runners who go the distance and then some and need to keep their feet as comfortable as possible while also wanting the benefits of a zero-drop shoe, the Altra Paradigm is a great shoe with style.
- 42mm EVA midsole provides extraordinary amount of comfort
- A zero-drop shoe that doesn’t skimp on its comfort or design
- Highly durable and long-lasting at a great price
- Surprisingly lightweight for a maximalist trainer
- High amount of stability for a non-stability shoe
- Not for harsher terrains; thin mesh top won’t offer much protection
- Not specifically a support or stability shoe; for neutral runners only
Almost like a stealth take-off of the famous Nike low-cut trainers of the past, the Altra Paradigm revels in a straightforward simplicity. Perhaps this is to hide the maximalist nature of the shoe, but in either the subtle black-and-white color configuration, the eye-popping red-and-white retro line, or the more modern green-and-blue combo, whichever one you land on it still retains that classic sneaker look. Even with its extra-wide toe box, which is somewhat noticeable at first glance, the Paradigm also looks like the kind of sneaker you’d kick around on the weekends in. Sleek, simple, and familiar, maybe the Paradigm won’t win any fashion shows but those with a muted sensibility, or an appreciation for classic style, will find a pair appealing.
- Thin mesh upper allows for excellent breathability
- Fantastic, appealing classic aesthetic
- Extra-wide toe box that allows for natural toe splay
- Keeps the foot firmly in place, even during long runs, with no slippage