to top 10 table

12 Best Altra Running Shoes Reviewed

last updated Nov 28, 2018
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.

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.
Researched Sources
21
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
10k
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
42
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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.

Sorting Options
Use Terrain Style Upper Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Use
92%
Terrain
94%
Style
90%
Upper
96%
Durability
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Use
92%
Terrain
93%
Style
90%
Upper
94%
Durability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$109.95
$109.95
Best Deal
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Use
93%
Terrain
90%
Style
91%
Upper
90%
Durability
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$99.95
$99.95
Best Deal
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Use
92%
Terrain
93%
Style
89%
Upper
91%
Durability
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$90.00
$119.95
Best Deal
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Use
93%
Terrain
94%
Style
87%
Upper
90%
Durability
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$99.00
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Use
89%
Terrain
85%
Style
90%
Upper
87%
Durability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$69.99
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Use
86%
Terrain
87%
Style
81%
Upper
88%
Durability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$74.95
$124.95
Best Deal
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Use
91%
Terrain
90%
Style
82%
Upper
87%
Durability
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$99.95
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Use
83%
Terrain
77%
Style
80%
Upper
89%
Durability
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$130.00
$149.95
Best Deal
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.4
Use
80%
Terrain
77%
Style
90%
Upper
69%
Durability
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (09.12.18)
$59.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • One 2.5
  • Superior 3.5
  • One V3
  • Lone Peak 3.5
  • Instinct 4
  • Intuition 4
  • Torin 3.0
  • Olympus 2.5
  • Paradigm
  • Impulse Flash
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Altra Running Shoes

1. One 2.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
One 2.5
Use
92
Terrain
94
Style
90
Upper
96
Durability
98
best offer for today
more shops
$52.99
Pros:

Very lightweight

Built for speed

Very good cushioning

Flexible range of motion

Adapts 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

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 fantastic 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 respond 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.

Read more

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 number of users have reported problems with comfort, which is unusual for Altra shoes.

Durability

These have about average durability for an Altra shoe and are of very good quality. You will not have to worry about them getting worn out any time soon and this would save on your money.

Cost and Value

Again, these are fairly pricey, but the unique design and comfort do justify the cost. Moreover, the fact that they are highly durable is a plus to save you any extra cost incurred.

2. Superior 3.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Superior 3.5
Use
92
Terrain
93
Style
90
Upper
94
Durability
95
best offer for today
more shops
$109.95
$109.95
Best deal
Pros:

Provides good arch support

Fits well

Open toe box

High quality and durable material

Well cushioned

Rock guard

Cons:

Laces may be of low quality

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 your 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. With a comfortable and a well-cushioned padding to keep your foot in its most natural position, it comes with an added rock guard to make sure to keep your feet safe from possible injury.

Read more

Comfort

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

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 shoelaces, so if you experience problems after you pick up your pair it may be worth looking into some replacements.

Cost and Value

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.

3. One V3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
One V3
Use
93
Terrain
90
Style
91
Upper
90
Durability
93
best offer for today
more shops
$99.95
$99.95
Best deal
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

As some of you may remember, Altra is one of the brands that launched the zero drop shoe revolution. These kinds of shoes are designed to be mostly 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.

Read more

Comfort

If you're a big fan of cushioning, this model may not be 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 and 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 and Value

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.

4. Lone Peak 3.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Lone Peak 3.5
Use
92
Terrain
93
Style
89
Upper
91
Durability
88
best offer for today
more shops
$90.00
$119.95
Best deal
Pros:

Suited to the real shape of the foot

Great comfort

Excellent stability

Effective on most terrains

They have a gaiter attachment

Great traction

Cons:

These do wear quickly, especially on rocky terrain

The instep is a little shallow for people with particularly wide feet.

These minimal shoes promote speed and stability. Just 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 the 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.

Read more

Comfort and 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

These are about as durable as any other Altra shoe – they do wear a little quickly, but the quality is excellent while it lasts. This makes sure you do not have to worry about the cost since you will be using them for quite some time.

Cost and Value

Again, these come at a price, but the quality does justify the outlay. Being comfortable, tough and quite durable, you are certainly guaranteed a quality pair.

5. Instinct 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.8
Instinct 4
Use
93
Terrain
94
Style
87
Upper
90
Durability
85
best offer for today
$99.00
Pros:

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

They look better than previous versions

Has a 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

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.

Read more

Comfort

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

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 and Value

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

6. Intuition 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.2
Intuition 4
Use
89
Terrain
85
Style
90
Upper
87
Durability
90
best offer for today
$69.99
Pros:

Decoupled heel distributes weight evenly

Better breathability in the upper mesh

Extra protection from rubber toe cap

Quite Affordable

Cons:

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

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.

Read more

Comfort

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

Unlike the Instinct, the Intuition is reported to last longer than most shoes. Quality is good as well and you would not need to purchase another pair any time soon which is an added advantage to saving.

Cost and Value

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

7. Torin 3.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Torin 3.0
Use
86
Terrain
87
Style
81
Upper
88
Durability
90
best offer for today
more shops
$74.95
$124.95
Best deal
Pros:

Comfortable

Lightweight

Fairly priced

Quite an affordable shoe

Cons:

Some users had problems with choosing the appropriate size

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!

Read more

Comfort and 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.

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 and 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.

8. Olympus 2.5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Olympus 2.5
Use
91
Terrain
90
Style
82
Upper
87
Durability
80
best offer for today
$99.95
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

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.

Read more

Comfort and 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

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

Cost and Value

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.

9. Paradigm

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Paradigm
Use
83
Terrain
77
Style
80
Upper
89
Durability
79
best offer for today
more shops
$130.00
$149.95
Best deal
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

Upper breathable mesh

Cons:

On the expensive side

The durability is pretty poor

These are a neutral road running shoes and offer stability and support while being very lightweight. They are very comfortable 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.

Read more

Comfort

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

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 and Value

Like lots of Altra’s shoes, these are expensive, but this is pretty par for the course in this category. Altra specializes in unique, flatly-designed shoes, so you’re not going to find any particularly cheap shoes here, though they are worth the investment.

10. Impulse Flash

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.4
Impulse Flash
Use
80
Terrain
77
Style
90
Upper
69
Durability
81
best offer for today
$59.99
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

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.

Read more

Comfort

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.

Durability

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 and Value

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. Therefore, the price reflects a nice investment in a shoe which offers good design and performance.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

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.

Terrain

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 conditions. Knowing 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.

Upper

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.

Durability

This is a vital quality in any good pair of shoes because you will not worry about the cost you purchase your brand for too much. Durability is a shoe quality that means it can withstand pressure, tough terrain and extreme temperatures without easy wear or tear. Altra shoes are no exception and these require a great amount of durability for them to be considered amongst the best. The durability criteria is important to buyers who are looking to save on their money but get quality at the same time. Therefore, it should be noted that highly durable shoes are mostly preferred no matter the cost to conscious consumers who value exceptional brands.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
1
Terrain
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
2
Use
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
3
Style
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
4
Upper
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
5
Durability
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
Consider An Insole

Although many of the shoes on this list offer decent cushioning, you can always look into acquiring a pair of orthotic insoles to further supplement your underfoot comfort. There are lots of options for individuals who suffer from repetitive stress injuries such as plantar fasciitis or shin splints; talk to a doctor or podiatrist to learn more!

Replace Your Shoes Regularly

Even if you take great care of your shoes and clean them regularly, there will eventually come a time when you need to retire a reliable pair. The general rule is to replace a pair of running shoes after around 250 to 300 miles of running. After this point, you run the risk of losing durability, traction, and stability on your running sessions.

Other Factors to Consider

Breathability

For some runners who live in very warm or humid environments, the breathability of their footwear is extremely important. Running is a strenuous form of exercise that can cause the runner to sweat quite a bit. If cool air isn't constantly circulating inside the wearer's shoes, this moisture can stick around and lead to odor and bacterial growth. Remember to look for shoes that offer great ventilation if you live in these kinds of climates.

Drop

Depending on what kind of running you enjoy and what kind of shoes you like to wear, the heel-to-toe drop of your running shoes can play a major role in your overall experience. Individuals who prefer thick cushioning and high responsiveness will want to seek out running shoes with a high drop, meaning that the heel is further off the ground than the forefoot. However, trail runners and cross-trainers will want to find shoes with a lower drop so they can maintain a proper balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Altra running shoes?
a:

The FootShape technology takes your running to another level if you have wide feet. They offer toe boxes that feature a larger width than most running shoes without causing discomfort or instability. The addition of removable footbeds results in an inventory of products that can accommodate widths of up to 4E in size!

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.

Sources

  1. Altra Community, Altra Running, Website,
  2. Switchback Travel Staff, Switchback Travel, Article, Jul 26, 2018
  3. Denny Krahe, Running Shoes Guru, Article, Mar 08, 2018