Altra Rivera

9.0
9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.0)] = Runnerclick score (9.0)/10

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Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
If the Escalante and the Torin got together and had a shoe-baby, you would have the Altra Rivera. This shoe is the perfect blend of cushioning and support from the Torin with many of the lightweight and speed features of the Escalante. This blend of different design features makes the Rivera an excellent daily trainer, and it is versatile enough to wear to the gym or when weight lifting.

The midsole of this design is light and springy, which will help to make your gait cycle easy and effortless. Plus, the wide design of this shoe provides a nice and roomy toe box that prevents your toes from jamming. The outsole is nice and grippy, and perfect for slick sidewalks, and the mid-stack height hits that sweet spot between max cushioning and minimalism.

Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the advanced features that make the under-appreciated Altra Rivera a great daily trainer for all types of runners.
Altra Rivera Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Excellent midsole cushioning

Offers a very energetic ride

Lightweight and breathable

A very roomy toe box prevents jamming

Offered in wide sizes

Great for speedy runs or long distances

Cons

Very wide frame

Upper is not very structured

Slightly expensive

Key Features

Key Features

MIDSOLE

What makes Altra a real contender in the running shoe world is its proprietary Altra Ego midsole. The Rivera boasts a full-length Altra Ego midsole that runs all the way up the toe box to the heel counter. Instead of using foam, this midsole is composed of a blend of TPU materials that is incredibly responsive as well as durable. While foam tends to break down and flatten out into a pancake over time, the Altra Ego midsole material is built to be just as responsive on mile 200 as it was on mile 2.

As far as cushioning is concerned, the Altra Ego midsole is a moderately cushioned shoe. It isn’t quite a cushioned as the Torin Plush, but it will provide you just a little bit of extra cushion when compared to the Escalante. This midsole walks the fine line between soft and cushioned step-in feel for those long miles and a responsive ride for those times that you want to pick up the pace. If you want to run long distance or you want to run fast, this midsole has you covered.

UPPER

The upper of this design is made from soft, engineered mesh that is incredibly breathable. In fact, many runners feel that the upper is just a little too airy to take on cold-weather runs. While the Torrin is packed with multiple layers of mesh and extra cushioning along the heel collar, the Rivera is much more minimalistic.

The heel collar offers modest cushioning on the tongue and around the heel collar and provides a little extra boost of support along your Achilles. It’s important to note that the design of the upper isn’t for everyone. While many runners love the sock-like fit of this upper, others feel that it doesn’t quite deliver enough extra support and lockdown as some of the more plush trainers in the Altra lineup.

OUTSOLE

With one look at the outsole design of this shoe, you know that it is designed to help cushion and lift up your gait cycle. The strategic patterns on the rubber outsole provide runners with a little extra bounce in the heel, as well as stability in the toe box for strong and stable toe-offs. The outsole is made from Neutral Innerflex that is made to move with your body.

While the outsole is strong and supportive (and can comfortably tackle over 500 miles) it is surprisingly lightweight and flexible. This material adapts to your unique gait cycles, providing extra flex where you need it most, as well as added cushioning. I love the design of this outsole because it is light, springy, and adaptive to my particular gait cycle.

Whether you're a heel striker or a forefoot striker, the outsole of this design quickly adapts and adjusts to your movements.

PERFORMANCE

The best part about the Rivera is that it is built to tackle almost anything. Looking to put some serious miles behind you? The cushioned midsole and durable outsole are made to protect your joints and keep your legs feeling fresh. Do you have a need for speed? The TPU construction of the Altra Ego midsole makes your stride feel light and bright, unlike heavy EVA foam midsoles that can turn your gait cycle into mush. It’s lightweight, durable, comfortable, and an all-around perfect daily trainer.

What I also really appreciate about this shoe is that while it really shines on the road, it can easily transition into the gym. If you are taking a few days off to recover with some dumbbell work or WODs for a change of pace, Rivera is up for the challenge. The flexible rubber outsole allows you to turn on a dime, and the lightweight and easy frame keep your movements light and nimble.

FIT

Altra knows that no two feet are built quite the same. They take a good deal of care to craft running shoes that are made to feel easy, lightweight, and comfortable. The most notable feature of the Rivera is the super-wide toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe. This wide toe box also prevents toe jamming so you can run up and down hills with confidence.

Overall, the Rivera runs true to size. If you wear a 10 in other Altras, the same will be true for the Rivera. One of the biggest changes made to the Altra lineup of trainers is that newer models (made after 2021) are also offered in wide options as well. Be sure to check in with the Altra sizing chart so you can be sure that you get the perfect fit for your feet!

STYLE

Altra doesn’t try to break the mold in terms of experimental styling. The Rivera is simple and classic with a sleek design and low profile. The silhouette of this shoe may be simple, but the color options available are unique and exciting. This shoe comes in a wide variety of color options for both men and women that span from neutral to bright and poppy.

Can’t find a color option in the current lineup that you love? Altra plans on rolling out new color palettes in the Rivera in the following seasons, so be sure to check back for new color options as they become available starting this fall!

PRICE

The price of the Altra Rivera is fairly competitive when compared to other neutral trainers from competing brands. It’s only slightly more expensive than other brands, but the price tag of this shoe gives you a fairly big bang for your buck. Altras are a brand known for extended durability, and Rivera is no exception.

Runners found little signs of wear and tear even after 100 miles, and overall this shoe can last upwards of 500 miles! When you compare the performance and durability of this shoe to the price tag, you are getting a really great value that will last for hundreds of high-quality miles!
Comparisons to Previous Versions

Comparisons to Previous Versions

The Rivera is the new kid on the block. The Altra lineup in recent years has become a bit cluttered and confusing with the various styles and types of shoes offered. As they trim down their lineup (say goodbye to the Torin!), they pave the way for newer and more versatile running shoes. The Rivera walks that sweet spot between comfort and performance and is unlike anything else currently offered from Altra.

As I mentioned before, the Rivera is a cross between the Escalante and the Torin. The Torrin is incredibly plush (albeit a bit stiff and clunky) and the Escalante is lightweight but lacks cushioning that many runners want.

The Rivera is the perfect blend between the cushioning of the Torrin and the performance of the Escalante, making it a well-rounded and versatile daily trainer.
Verdict

Verdict

Overall, you can’t go wrong with any pair of Altra running shoes. Every shoe in their lineup is designed to boast high durability, comfortable foot shape, and great features to help you run harder or run faster. What I love most about the Rivera is that it samples some of the best features from other running shoes and compiles it into one sleek and versatile running shoe.

The Altra Ego TPU midsole provides a good deal of energy feedback that protects your joints and keeps your daily runs light and energetic. The light and breathable upper keeps your feet cool on hot days, while the stiff heel counter really locks your feet in place.

It’s also an incredibly versatile shoe that can easily transition from the treadmill to WODs and is even a great companion for weight lifting due to its modest cushioning and nimble outsole. If you can swing the slightly higher price point, the Altra Rivera is well worth every penny!