Altra Timp IQ Smart Shoe
The Altra Timp IQ comes with many of the same features that one would expect from this particular brand. Its zero-drop platform measures in at 29mm, with a midsole that pairs A-Bound technology with UltraLight EVA. Its full-length outsole is created using DuraTread rubber and features TrailClaw technology for an enhanced grip. And its forefoot features the FootShape toe box for more ample toe room and even greater stability.
However, this model is also equipped with brand new smart shoe technology. Thanks to a small footbed sensor placed into the midsole, runners are able to utilize Bluetooth connectivity and monitor all of their routines via the ALTRA IQ app. These stats can include the distance run, number of laps or strides taken, and impact points on the foot.
-Brand new 'smart shoe' technology
-Incredibly comfortable wear
-Lots of underfoot cushioning
-Plenty of toe room
-Does not fit true to size
-Expensive price tage
In addition, TrailClaw technology is also utilized into this model. Comprised of a series of 4mm gripping lugs, it’s able to provide an enhanced grasp on both everyday and more technical terrains.
Unfortunately, both of these technologies combined don’t seem to be enough for the trails, as a number of buyers have complained that they can be quite slippery.
As with all Altra models, this shoe features a zero drop platform for a more natural and efficient stride as well as reduced overall impact. Along with its 29mm platform, buyers are also given extra cushioning and a more stable wear via a 6mm contoured footbed.
Most significantly, this model is among the first to be equipped with smart shoe technology. Each shoe has an ALTRA IQ footbed sensor and a Single Pod Accelerometer placed into the midsole, allowing the runner to track their statistics and overall progress with the IQ app downloaded onto their smartphone. While this technology is still in its early stages, most buyers seem to be satisfied with how it performs.
GaiterTrap technology is also included on this model and consists of a velcro strip at the heel and a hook at the end of the lacing system, giving runners the option of wearing protective gaiter while on their runs. Finally, the FootShape toe box follows the natural shape of the runner’s toes in order to provide ample toe room and better stability.
Not only are they listed as being lightweight, but plenty of buyers state that they feel light on their feet even with the stability features. This can definitely be attributed to the careful engineering of all its technologies as well as a lack of extensive overlays.
Altra’s zero drop design not only enhances balance and posture but also strengthens the midsole’s shock absorbing qualities to reduce pain and fatigue. And the FootShape toe box provides ample toe room for a more comfortable wear that won’t cause blisters or irritation.
With all of this said, however, a few buyers are still not happy with how this shoe fits. They’ve claimed that they need to go at least half a size up in order to find their perfect fit and comfort level.
Color options seem to be limited when it comes to this model. Men’s sizes can only be found in Charcoal/Red, while women sizes are in Charcoal/Blue. However, a Teal/Ocean option is also available for women at a limited number of retailers.
Its DuraTread rubber covers the entire length of the outsole and proves much more resistant to frequent use on rugged terrains. While its midsole’s UltraLight EVA might not be all that durable on its own, the brand’s A-Bound technology has been engineered to resist compression up to three times better than standard foam. As a result, runners are able to have supportive cushioning for much longer.
Buyers also indicate that its mesh upper seems to hold up fairly well even after multiple high-intensity runs. Of course, the stitched-on TPU overlays are able to prevent even more damage in areas where it would most likely occur.
While its outsole’s DuraTread rubber is able to be resistant to damage and safeguard the midsole, its TrailClaw technology is intended to provide a secure grip on tame and technical surfaces that are wet or dry. And while its midsole’s zero drop design and two different technologies reduce pain and fatigue with impact absorption, its platform’s substantial height ensures added protection against sharp and jagged surfaces. Although most of these features work, several reviewers claim that its traction falters and becomes slippery on occasion.
The mesh fabric that forms its upper is water resistant, able to block out small splashes as well as trail debris while still allowing plenty of ventilation. TPU overlays form a substantial toe cap as well as a heel counter, providing protection against sudden impact and accidental removal.
Also, while they’re not responsive in the traditional sense, the shoe’s footbed sensor and Single Pod Accelerometer are able to accurately track and monitor the runner’s statistics. These include the number of strides taken, pace, distance, and landing zones, all of which help the runner keep track of their progress and adjust their runs as necessary.
However, there seems to be no indication of just how good or bad its midsole’s overall energy return is. Therefore, it’s difficult to determine how well this shoe can perform during long distance runs.
The shoe’s collar and tongue are also heavily padded to keep the ankles properly supported. Furthermore, they work along with the lacing system to keep the foot securely locked into place.
Runners are still advised to be careful, however, as its outsole has been known to become quite slippery at times. It’s unclear if this is due to a manufacturing error or the lugs becoming clogged too easily.
The fact that this has been labeled as one of the first smart shoes on the commercial market is a huge explanation for its price point. And reviews stating how durable and comfortable its wear is only justifies it further. However, considering that this type of technology is still in its early stages, problems are still bound to occur. As a result, many are too scared to purchase this shoe at full-price.
Unfortunately, for a number of buyers, this does not seem to be the case. They have notably complained that its outsole becomes slippery at certain points, although it’s unclear whether or not this is due to the lugs becoming clogged easily. Either way, it's best to avoid mud or gravel when wearing these shoes.
While the outsole’s rubber compound and tread pattern are made to ensure a stable grip, the use of A-Bound technology and UltraLight EVA in its midsole ensures long-lasting cushioning and shock absorption that keeps the runner moving along smoothly. The added use of a contoured footbed actively prevents in-shoe wobbling, while the zero drop platform promotes better balance and greater control over each movement.
The upper’s TPU overlays allow the shoe to maintain its structure, especially the stabilizing heel clip that wraps around the back. This feature also works with the lacing system and padded collar to ensure that the foot stays locked into place.
-A-Bound technology and UltraLight EVA midsole
-6mm contoured footbed for stability
-Single Pod Accelerometer and footbed sensor
-Compatible with Bluetooth connectivity
-Water-resistant mesh upper with TPU overlays
-360 degree reflectiveness
-29mm zero-drop platform
-Expensive $200 price tag
However, while most of its reviews have been positive there are still a few issues that need to be addressed. Not only is its technology new and prone to malfunctioning, but its traction is said to be horribly inconsistent. Buyers are also wary of its smaller-than-average size and extremely expensive price tag.
The good news is that, even if the new smart features are unimpressive, they still have a long-lasting running shoe that they can easily wear in most environments. As stated earlier, though, it's still best to avoid treading on mud or gravel while wearing it.