Altra Paradigm Fully Reviewed for Quality
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 support in their trainers also seek out this type of shoe.
The Altra Paradigm is a running shoe that gives other cushioned shoe 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 offers 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 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.
Keep reading our in-depth Altra Paradigm review to find out if it is worth the investment.
- 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
- Like these, maximum level of cushion, very stable and not too flexible, I'm a heavy runner, happy to suggest these for larger people. The toe box has lots of space.
- Like these because of the choice of widths, very comforting on long runs, cushioing is top performance but not good for those with overpronation. Heels are wearing out fast.
- The Paradigm shoes are really comfortable for me, I have wide feet and usually get 2E shoes, these are a good fit for me.
- These are great, zero drop but still with max amount of cushion, really stabile and good for long runs on hard surfaces or on trails.
- Nice and light with great arch support and tons of padding under my forefoot, they take awhile to get used to but these are very good.
- Nice cushion, even under the balls of my feet, shoe width is just great and nice spacious toebox. Very nice shoes, ideal for challenging runs.
- Love the roomy area in the toebox, I need that, the cushion is easilly enough for long distances. Nice marathon shoe.
- Use these for daily wear and for running, I got two pairs, the cushion is really very nice and the shoe is a fair price. The whole shoe is comfortable.
- I can say these are awesome shoes for long distance, lots of comfort, can move my toes freely and these come in a good range od width choices to ensure the best fit.
- I have bad hallux rigidus but in these I can jump, run and walk with minimal pain, the cushion design in these works well for me.
- Lovely shoe to start with but these do have durability problems, I use these for regular distance runs and the soles wear out so fast it seems unreal, the fabric is also showing signs of starting to tear.
- These wear out much too fast, even after 25 miles there are signs of wearing, the cushioning is heavy and my feet really feel beat up after running in these. Also developed aches in my knee joint.
- The outsole is soft rubber and wears out very fast, in 30 years its my first time to encounter shoes which wear out so quick. Though they are great for running.
- I like these for running but I'm very unimpressed with how fast these wear out but they are a fast shoe so it's swings and roundabouts with these shoes. The laces are flimsy.
- 8 months into running and the heel fabric has torn open, this despite me taking care to look after them, the sole has also worn out rapidly.
Its FootPod outsole design protects metatarsal heads, which will be a welcome relief for midfoot and forefoot strikers. Also, there are deep flex grooves in the midfoot and along the length of the midsole. With a super-wide landing platform, Paradigm’s outsole aids in giving the runner a natural feeling while running and offers both flexibility and additional comfort during a run.
Instead, its EVA midsole lands somewhere between soft and semi-firm, providing a significant amount of stability. Neither overly soft or mushy, it has a reasonably good amount of responsiveness and fortunately is of sturdy construction that retains its comfort and performance even after many miles and long-running sessions have been put on it.
With a right amount of padding around the ankle, a thin tongue, and a secure fit after lace-up, the Altra Paradigm’s upper is as comfortable as the rest of the shoe.
For those looking to try out a zero-drop trainer but are afraid that the minimalist nature of many shoes that feature that may be uncomfortable, the Altra Paradigm may be the first zero-drop trainer you try and stick with because it offers such comfort.
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 Altra 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.
Besides some slight wear after a long period of usage being noticeable on the outsole’s forefoot, which still doesn’t affect its performance. Long story short: this shoe is in for the maximal haul.
This is not a trail running shoe. So although it may go the distance for those who enjoy a long run, standing up to the elements isn’t its strong suit.
With deep flex grooves on its tenacious outsole, the Paradigm is a maximalist shoe with the responsiveness of a minimalist trainer.
- 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