12 Best Altra Running Shoes Reviewed

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Altra is a brand that has become synonymous with two very important things – simplicity and quality. This is the perfect brand if you are looking for a running shoe that feels as though you are running barefoot while still providing the necessary protection.

A zero drop shoe isn’t unique to this brand, but these are designed a bit differently than your average zero drop. The specialized toe box is extra wide, beyond just needing to be comfortable.  This extremely wide space allows the foot to have extra grip, stability, and control.  And this is just one part of what makes this brand such great one.

Another thing that brings the brand such esteem within the barefoot running community is its lightweight and soft design. Many runners love having the freedom of full movement of their foot without the risks that come with wearing an under-padded or unprotective shoe.

Last Updated: August 7, 2018
By Brian Price:

One of the premier zero drop running shoe brands, they seem to have a pretty consistent release schedule, which gives us a chance to really have a good look at their new stuff when it comes out. Check out our updated guide, which includes a few new zero drop options. Runnerclick likes stay ahead of the curve with brands that innovate as often as this, so we have added reviews for their Superior 3.5, King MT, and Escalante, as well as updating our review criteria for our readership.

Altra One 2.5
  • Altra One 2.5
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Wider forefoot
  • Price: See Here
Altra Superior 3.5
  • Altra Superior 3.5
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • compatible with Altra gaiters
  • Price: See Here
Altra One 3
  • Altra One 3
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Price: See Here

12 Best Altra Running Shoes

 

 


1. One 2.5

These are built for speed, and are great for road running. From the start to the finish line, you’ll be able to keep up good speed and experience a lot of comfort. The cushioning in these shoes is particularly noticeable, which results in a very powerful toe-off with a good spring. The midsole has omnidirectional movement and great flexibility, which responds to the natural shape and movement of your feet. They are particularly lightweight at only 6.8 ounces, which makes all the difference if you’re looking for speed, particularly over long distances.
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Comfort/Stability
Generally, these are very comfortable and offer a lot of spring and bounce. They are very stable and provide good consistency for long-distance running, so you should experience no pain or foot fatigue. However, it is worth noting that a small amount of users have reported problems with comfort, which is unusual for Altra shoes.

Durability/Quality
These have about average durability for an Altra shoe and are of very good quality.

Cost
Again, these are fairly pricey, but the unique design and comfort does justify the cost.
Pros
  • Very lightweight.
  • Built for speed.
  • Very good cushioning.
  • The shoes have a particularly flexible range of motion and adapt to the natural movement of the foot.
Cons
  • These seem to have some sizing problems on occasion.
  • Small pieces of stone and gravel can often get stuck in the soles.


2. Superior 3.5

The Superior 3.5 from Altra is exactly what its name promises: superior. A solid and reliable shoe that is designed for high performance. The Superior 3.5 is a flexible, breathable shoe that will have you pushing yourself to yo

ur limits. The Superior comes with all of the best Altra high points as well. A wide and unique toe box for enhanced performance and grip. Comfortable and well cushioned padding to keep your foot in its most natural position. And a rock guard to make sure to keep your feet safe from possible injury.
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Comfort/Stability
The Altra Superior 3.5’s design is held to the same high standards of comfort as the brand does all their other shoes, with its specialized and well padded sole. The Superior 3.5 also comes with special features to promote trail stability, such as its sturdy rock plate.

Durability/Quality
The Superior 3.5 comes highly praised for the quality of its materials as well as its design. A small note is that some reviewers had issues with the shoe laces, so if you experience problems after you pick up your pair it may be worth looking into some replacements.

Cost
These shoes cost the same as your average pair of Altra running shoes. Consider that you would be paying this same price for another pair of Altra's and factor in that the Superior 3.5 come highly praised for their overall quality and you have one amazing deal on an excellent pair of shoes.
Pros
  • Provides good arch support

  • Fit well
  • Open toe box
  • High qualilty 
  • Well cushioned 
  • Rock guard
Cons
  • Laces may be of low quality 

One V3

One V3
As some of you may remember, Altra is one of the brands that launched the zero drop shoe revolution. These kind of shoes are specially dedicated to those runners who want to increase their speed and push their limits. The outsole feels very lightweight but it's still sturdy enough. The A-bound midsole material is extremely comfortable and is also combined with traditional EVA foam. Thanks to the open design, runners appreciated the breathability of the shoes. When it comes to the responsiveness of the shoes, runners can really feel the ground. While many other zero drop running shoes don't provide any cushioning, these are quite extraordinary for how much cushioning they provide. These shoes are the perfect choice if you're looking for something for the road, but the trail is a bad idea.
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Comfort/ Stability
If you're a big fan of cushioning, this model may be nor for you but it still provides some cushioning. The midsole is well cushioned for absorbing the shock more effectively. These are zero drop running shoes so they don't have any additional stability features.

Quality/ Durability
There are many elements in these shoes that make them very durable. Starting from the blown rubber material in the outsole that provides a very durable ride. The foam is also very firm and the TPU overlays are not only breathable but durable as well.

Cost
If we had to describe the price of these shoes in one word, excellent would be it. It's really cool that you can get these shoes for less than 60 dollars and enjoy the comfortable ride without them wearing out quickly.
Pros

Surprisingly lightweight

FootShape forefoot allows room for proper toe splay

Zero drop platform

No-sew overlay on upper adds to the shoe's durability

Cons

Not good for trail running



4. Lone Peak 2.5

4. Lone Peak 2.5
These minimal shoes promote speed and stability – and like all of Altra’s shoes, their design is conducive to good running form. These are great for trail running and have been designed for the toughest of terrain, but they’re also a pretty good all-rounder. The great technology protects your feet from rocky ground, and promotes sturdiness on all terrain, while the outsole provides excellent traction both downhill and uphill. The design also increases ankle stability, which should help you avoid injury regardless of where you run.
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Comfort/Stability
These are very comfortable shoes and ensure good protection when running. Unless you are running on insanely rocky terrain, these should offer all of the comfort and stability that you need.

Durability/Quality
These are about as durable as any other Altra shoe – they do wear a little quickly, but the quality is excellent while it lasts.

Cost
Again, these come at a price, but the quality does justify the outlay.
Pros
  • These shoes are very well suited to the real shape of the foot, so provide great comfort and excellent stability.
  • These are perfect for the vast majority of trail running on effective on most terrains.
  • They have a gaiter attachment.
  • Great traction.
Cons
  • These do wear quickly, especially on very rocky terrain.
  • The instep is a little shallow for people with particularly wide feet.

Instinct 4

Instinct 4
Altra returns to its original last on the Altra Instinct 4 while maintaining the new stack height of 25mm. This means the shoe will still feel like the original model with the way it fits, but is tailored for comfort on long distance runs. It's versatile in its use and can be used for gym workouts as well. The Instinct is advertised as having moderate cushioning, and with that in mind, is not the lightest shoe, weighing in at 10 ounces. Despite this, due to the qualities this shoe offers, the price is not bad. Consumers enjoy the look of the shoe as well, stating that Altra has upped their game on this front.
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Comfort/Stability

With a more spacious toe box than most brands, those who have wider feet find the Instinct to be very comfortable. The Zero Drop and Foot Shape technology encourage natural positioning of the foot to increase stability.

Durability/Quality

The durability of these shoes are not the best, they tend to wear out in the heel quickly. However, for the price, they are of relatively good quality.

Cost

For what the shoe has to offer, the cost is reasonable.
Pros

Multifaceted: Can be used for long miles on the road as well as gym workouts

They look better than previous versions

Larger toe box, more suitable for wide feet

More bang for the buck: a good all-around shoe at a reasonable price

Cons

Moderate cushioning makes for a slightly heavier shoe

Tends to run a half size too small

Intuition 4

Intuition 4
The Altra Intuition 4 provides similar qualities to its male counterpart, the Altra Instinct 4 in terms of comfort, stability, and cost. The decoupled heel is a new feature and noted to evenly distribute the weight instead of most of it falling on the toe. Other new features include revamped upper mesh to provide breathability and a rubber toe cap to provide extra protection.

The Intuition has a moderate amount of cushioning and a stack height of 25mm, yet is lighter than the Instinct weighing in at 7.6 ounces. A difference in customer reviews between the Intuition and the Instinct is that the Intuition does not seem to have as much negative feedback on wear and tear in the heel. However, like the Instinct, the Intuition runs small and it is recommended to purchase it a half size larger than your regular shoe size.
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Comfort/Stability

The feedback on the comfort and stability of this shoe is significant. Consumers are especially pleased with the return to the original last that was seen in the first models.

Durability/Quality

Unlike the Instinct, the Intuition is reported to last longer than most shoes. Quality is good as well.

Cost
The cost is the same as the men’s version, and similarly, provides great qualities at a reasonable price
Pros

Decoupled heel distributes weight evenly.

Better breathability in upper mesh.

Extra protection from rubber toe cap.

Cons

Like most of Altra’s shoes, the Intuition runs small. Make sure to purchase a half size larger

5. Olympus 1.5

5. Olympus 1.5
Another option for trail runners, these offer an attachment point for gaiters and have a trail-specific rubber outsole. EVA foam cushions against the elements and the typical Altra technology means that your runs become more natural and more comfortable over time. The sole lug placement works to increase traction, decrease the time of your uphill climbs and ensure stable descents. They offer a very comfortable fit, which is great on rocky terrain.
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Comfort/Stability
These are a very comfortable pair of shoes, and the excellent soles provide a lot of stability regardless of the terrain. They offer very stable runs even in the most uneven of landscapes.

Durability/Quality
Like other Altra shoes, these do wear more quickly than other brands due to the unique technology but they are very high quality.

Cost
For Altra shoes, these are actually a very reasonable price, so they’re perfect for cash-conscious shoppers. If you’re a trail-runner seeking a bargain, these are for you.
Pros
  • They offer great protection in all terrains.
  • Very good for ascents and descents.
  • Good traction.
  • Very reasonable price compared to other Altra shoes.
Cons
  • The shoelaces are a little weak.
  • Slightly less arch support than other models.

Torin 3.0

Torin 3.0
If you're looking for shoes from Altra and you need a lot of cushioning, these shoes may appeal to you. It's hard to find zero drop shoe with such a large amount of cushioning. This is the third version of this product and there have been some updates. One of them is boosting the breathability of the shoes, which was a problem in previous versions. the outsole was also a little bit redesigned and now it's much more flexible. These shoes are neutral and will work best while running on the road. See the other features!
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Comfort/ Stability
All the Torin shoes were reviewed as very comfortable and Torin 3.0 version is no exception. They have great shock absorption thanks to the thick cushioning in the midsole. Like in many other Altra models, their bound cushioning combined with EVA cushioning provide a comfortable ride. The shoes provide a lot of stability, with a stable platform and the upper along with lacing make your feet more stable.

Quality/Durability
When it comes to this model, the Torin is known for being very durable. Many users praised the shoes for being very durable even on moderate trails. Some users also said that the upper is much thicker and more durable than in the previous model and it doesn't affect the weight of the shoes, which remain lightweight.

Cost or Value
These shoes were released in 2017 so now their price is a little bit lower. You can get them for about 90 dollars. The price for this very versatile shoes is really fair. According to the reviewers, the shoes will last for a long time so the price is even more attractive. The price also depends on the size as users reported.
Pros

Comfortable

Lightweight

Fairly priced 

Cons

some users had problems with choosing the appropriate size

7. Paradigm

7. Paradigm
These are a neutral road running shoes and offer stability and support while being very lightweight. They are very cushioning but still have the wide toe box, which can sometimes be a difficult combination to find. The shape of the shoe is designed to complement the natural curve and movement of the foot, which avoids pronation and, over time, improves posture and run performance. These are very highly padded and have a very cushioned insole. The quick drying mesh ensures that the shoes don’t stay wet for very long.
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Comfort/Stability
This is one of the major plus points here. The shoes are very comfy and their build means that they are particularly stable. Many customers, especially those prone to pronation, have reported that over time, the shoes have reduced post-run pain, which makes things very comfortable in the long run.

Durability/Quality
Some customers have claimed that these shoes are not as durable as other Altra models. If you’re looking to make durability a priority, perhaps you should look elsewhere.

Cost
Like lots of Altra’s shoes, these are expensive, but this is pretty par for the course in this category. Altra specialise in unique, flatly-designed shoes, so you’re not going to find any particularly cheap shoes here, though they are worth the investment.
Pros
  • Great for road running.
  • If you find that you’re susceptible to injury or pronation, these might help.
  • The cushioning on these is really excellent.
Cons
  • Like most of Altra’s offerings, these are on the expensive side.
  • The durability is pretty poor.

Impulse Flash

Impulse Flash
This shoe offers nice styling, good foot support, and nice functional comfort which are great features to find in a well-designed stability shoe. Designed for road running and giving enough support for the arch, we see a good light-weight shoe which is capable of giving sound foot support.

When it comes to sizing, try on a size a half size larger than your normal size to see if the FIT works for you. 

Some runners have taken the shoe for trail runs and were happy with its performance. It has a lot of cushioning comfort and the shoe comfortably fits runners with wider feet, though when you try the shoe, think about sizing and go up a half size larger.  Feedback from runners shows appreciation for the comfortable toe-box design, with lots of space for flexing your toes.

The components used in the structure of the shoe feel light, and even though you may question the durability of a lightly structured shoe, to date no major issues have emerged. In fact, the shoe's performance has tempted runners to use it on both roads and trail surfaces, though keep in mind the shoe is designed for the road.

The upper is breathable and has fair wicking ability.

Th,e good solid, easy to use lacing system holds securely and is comfortable with a built-in protective shoe tongue.

When it comes to design in reflective tech, just a glance at the shoe speaks volume. It's very visible and the visibility is built into the shoe to be uniquely stylish, which is proving to be popular with runners.

If you fancy trying a different style of shoe, this could be what you're looking for.

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Comfort/Stability

Given the level of cushion built into the shoe, shock impact is minimum and comfort is very adequate, but the shoe still gives good stability.


Durability/Quality

A few runners have thought about durability issues because the shoe has such a light-weight construction. However, to date no serious feedback has emerged about durability in short-term use and it could be that lightweight can be durable if the construction is done with lightweight but high-quality materials.

Cost

The price reflects a nice investment in a shoe which offers good design and performance.
Pros

Very good reflective tech

Good stability

Very good cushion

Spacious toe box

Cons

Some runners prefer a less boxy toe-box

Some runners have questioned the level of breathability for the shoe, this question is minimal and not in the majority

Sizing: try a larger size for fit if you go to the store to purchase

11. Escalante

11. Escalante
The Altra Escalante is a great representation of all the strengths of this brand. This shoe is lightweight, keeping in line with the running on air sort of sensation that Altra often has attributed to their shoes. The shoes fit well and promise to protect your feet from the dangers of running outdoors, such as rough trail conditions and rocks. The Escalante has a wide and responsive toe box, allowing a runner to properly and naturally grip the trail with each step, increasing the runner's overall stability. The Escalante is perfect if you are looking for a well rounded example of an Altra shoe that provides a little of everything there is to love about the brand.
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Comfort/Stability
The Escalante’s wearers report the shoe is incredibly comfortable, wearing very light and responsive and protecting their feet from obstacles that may cause discomfort or injury.

Durability/Quality
The only mark against the Altra Escalante is that wearers say the shoe feels flimsy or like it wouldn’t last very long. Now those who have owned this shoe for a long time report its endurance, but if being uncertain about the shoe's durability then you may dislike this about the Escalante.

Cost
These shoes cost about average for the Altra brand. Altra does deliver in terms of product quality and performance, making this price well worth it.
Pros
  • Very protective
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible and soft construction
  • Responsive
  • Fits well
Cons
  • Shoes do not feel durable 

12. King MT

12. King MT
The Altra King MT are the shoes for you if you are looking to dominate the most challenging of rugged trails. This shoe is made with a resilient sole to prevent injury from stepping on something jagged, and that sole is additionally reinforced by a rock plate. Despite having a rock plate the King MT still manages to keep itself lightweight. These shoes also dry quickly and drain quickly if they happen to become submerged. This Altra shoe isn’t all protection from the outside, it is very supportive as well, which can be very helpful for long-term pain and injury prevention.
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Comfort/Stability
The King MT is a very stable shoe, supporting its wearers even through the roughest terrain. This shoe also continues Altra's dependable pattern of comfortable and well-padded shoes. A small issue of note is that wearers found this shoe to have a narrow sole. So perhaps be wary if you have an especially wide foot.

Durability/Quality
This is a shoe that will endure. The King MT is made to resist rough terrain as well as rocks and other debris. It is made strong. It will wear well and last for a long time.

Cost
The Altra King MT is slightly lower in cost than your average shoe from this brand. This is a real bargain when you consider that the Altra King MT is just as reliable as other Altra shoes and you can get the King at a more affordable price.
Pros
  • Powerful grip
  • Resilient sole
  • Rock guard
  • Lightweight
  • Dry fast and drains well
  • Supportive
  • Pain relief and prevention
Cons
  • Narrow sole

 

The Criteria Used In Our Search For The Best Altra Running Shoes

 

The brand and the concept of “Zero Drop” design go hand and hand. Allowing your feet to rest more naturally in the shoe with its specially constructed cushioning, They aid in reducing  pain and avoiding injuries to your feet and joints by minimizing the amount of stress they endure during a long run.

They also revolutionized the way runners utilized the toe boxes of their shoes. Many shoes utilize toe boxes that are wide set for comfort and then pointed to continue the shape and design of the shoe. The designs are also all created a toe box with a more natural shape to maximize the control of the runner while minimizing issues with bunions, neuromas, and plantar fasciitis.

Purpose

The company believes that the human foot is an “anatomical masterpiece” and that the shoes you put on should be specifically designed for the purpose you need them to serve. They offer shoes in the following categories: Neutral, Guidance, Trail Running, and Everyday, and each one is designed to suit the needs and demands of their purpose.

Knowing what you will need your shoes for is important, but the company produces reliable shoes for all sorts of needs. So if you find yourself uncertain what takes priority know that you are choosing a shoe that will be able to perform under most circumstances.

Environment

The shoes are often meant to help a runner enjoy the great outdoors comfortably by offering a variety of options such as rock plates, additional padding, and even waterproofing to help with wet conditionsKnowing what you will be up against and in turn, knowing what your shoe is capable of is essential to optimizing your running experience.

Style

They are not just about performance when it comes to design, they appreciate that runners also enjoy how their shoes looks. So their shoe designers work hard to keep the brand modern and sleek in appearance.

Your Foot Type

Choosing the exact shoe for your type of foot is especially important with this company since they specially shape their shoes for a natural fit. Meaning that aspects of your own foot that you hadn’t considered previously when buying shoes are now relevant and important, especially if you want to reduce the risk of injury and pain.

Consider your pronation and the type of support you need from a shoe. If your ankle rolls inward (over-pronate) or outward (under-pronate) it can lead to injury. A shoe with the right type of support will reinforce the ankle to stop the runner from faltering and injuring themselves. Additional support may also be needed if you have atypical arches.

The brand puts out designs with a variety of support levels available. Any sort of foot type you may have there is likely a shoe on this list that will be able to help you. But when you are making this choice it is still important for you to consider your specific needs. Getting a shoe without the support where you need it, or even the wrong type of support, can lead to some pain and long term injuries.

FAQ

Q: What is pronation?

A: Pronation is the way your foot rolls after it hits the ground in order to distribute the force of impact.  Individuals can be neutral pronators, over-pronators or under-pronators.  Excessive pronation can cause injury but can be prevented by choosing a shoe that helps prevent it.  These shoes are known as cold stability or motion control shoes. Neutral pronators require no additional support.  Knowing your pronation will greatly help you find a running shoe that suits your particular foot type.

Q: Can I wear Altra Zero Drop shoes if I have flat feet?

A: While flat feet pose some challenges, these easily offset them in time by strengthening the feet. The lines Provision and Provisioness are great to give the necessary support to your flat feet while strengthening them so that every run you take makes them stronger and with more control.

Q: How wide are your shoes?

A: The FootShape technology takes your running to another level if you have wide feet. They offer toe boxes that are much wider than the average shoe without feeling loose or sloppy. They can be worn without the removable footbeds, in case you need extra width to accommodate up to 4E width feet.

Q: Does Altra provide assistance in finding the perfect shoes for me?

A: Yes, they do. Their specialized team will help you choose the right shoes depending on your running behavior and your unique feet. They even teach running technique classes in most of their stores. They also launched the Learn to Run Initiative, to help runners run better and healthier. Take advantage of it!

Q: If I have never used Zero Drop shoes before, should I still buy Altra shoes?

A: The company recommends a short transition process.  This may take a few days or a few weeks.  Those who are not used to a Zero Drop platform may experience some calf tightness during this time. As your feet and calves get stronger, it will become easier and more comfortable to run in a Zero Drop shoe.  But no worries, they created a transition guide to help you make the healthiest transition. You can find all of the details in the stores, on their website, and in a booklet which they include with their footwear as well.


We really hope that this buying guide is helpful to your search. Remember, there are a wide variety of shoes to choose from. The trick is to weigh your needs and practical uses to find the best possible pair for you.

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