Best Altra Running Shoes in 2018

When you’re looking for a great running shoe, you don’t need to look any farther than Altra. Altra’s running shoes are among the best in the industry because of their proven quality and affordable price.

When you buy from Altra, you don’t need to worry about getting a lemon. You still need to think about what kind of shoe you are buying, though. Not all Altra shoes will be right for your daily run.

In this article, we’ll walk you through a several of the best Altra running shoes so that you can find one that is the right fit and the right style.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

Road Running Shoes

Let’s take an in-depth look at each pair in our review. Here, we’ll provide you with general information, what makes each pair special, and we’ll also discuss what could be better. Let’s get started!

Altra Escalante 1.5 Road-Running Shoes


The Altra Escalante 1.5 Road-Running Shoes are lightweight and effective. With these shoes, you’ll get a streamlined and responsive shoe. While the Escalante’s soles aren’t as bouncy as other running shoes, you’ll grow to love the agility that these shoes offer.

The Altra Ego midsole technology affords the shoe with extra arch support. This support will keep your feet from getting tired on long runs. Likewise, the shoe’s heel pads are decoupled from the upper part of the shoe.

The decoupled heel pads make it such that the hardest shocks are dissipated more effectively than they would be otherwise. Especially if your running form is imperfect, these shoes will protect your legs from the harsh road.

The heel to toe drop of this shoe is fully cushioned, and clocks in at zero mm difference. This feature means that the pressure will be distributed evenly across your foot if that your stride lands flatly instead of correctly.

These features make the Escalante 1.5 especially friendly for novice runners. Anyone who is not the most elegant in their running form can benefit from the shoe’s stamina-increasing and shock-preventing qualities.

Finally, the Escalante 1.5 has a wider toe area than many other running shoes. If you have wider feet or larger toes, these shoes will incur less stress on your feet than others.


  • Great for beginners
  • Decent agility
  • Great shock prevention
  • Lightweight


  • Not very durable
  • Few aesthetic options
  • Sole performs poorly off-road

Altra Torin 3.5 Knit and Mesh

The Altra Torin 3.5 Knit and Mesh shoes are very similar, and both can offer an excellent running experience owing to their superior comfort. The footbed on these shoes offers light support, and the shoes’ light and sleek design make for great long-range endurance.

The FootPod Outsole on these two shoes is directly mapped to the bones on the bottom of your foot. This means that performing agility-intensive moves like sharp turning will be easier and also less jarring for your foot.

The result is that your ankle muscles won’t get as tired as they would otherwise when you are juking on the track course.


  • Vegan-friendly construction
  • Comes in both knit and mesh varieties
  • Lightweight construction


  • Hard to clean
  • Mediocre aesthetics

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Trail-Running Shoes

While the Lone Peak 3.5 Trail-Running Shoes might conjure up images of running along Everest, these shoes are built for jogging through the mud.

Especially when it comes to swampy areas or heavy forests, these shoes are ready to go wherever you are. The shoes have loops for your gaiters to link up with, which means that you can stay as dry as you would like while running in wet areas.

Likewise, the shoes are fast-drying, so the occasional splash in puddles won’t weigh you down for long. The Lone Peak 3.5s don’t take on much water anyway, which will keep you agile instead of bogged down.

The sole of the shoe is built to encourage a natural gait, even across rough terrain. This feature can be a helpful guide for your form if you are not accustomed to running in wooded areas. The sole also has a fair amount of shock padding.

The shock padding may not help you very much when you are running in wooded areas, however. You will appreciate the padding if you run over a rock once in a while, but, otherwise, it will just weigh you down.

Overall, this shoe is fairly heavy owing to its numerous protective features.


  • Gaiter linking studs for running in the mud or river
  • Quick drying mesh
  • Encourages natural gait
  • Added shock cushioning


  • Heavy for a trail-running shoe
  • Weak toe area construction
  • Treads kick up a lot of mud

Rugged Trail Running Shoes

Altra Timp Trail Trail-Running Shoes

The Timp Trail-Running Shoes are named after Mount Timpanogos in Utah. These running shoes fill a gap in the Altra lineup between the trail-running shoes intended for those who need extensive support and shock cushioning and those intended for minimalists.

With a moderate amount of shock cushioning and support, these shoes have a wide appeal. If you are getting started with trail-running, these shoes are a great set to get started with. Like most trail-running shoes, they have a good tread for traction and rough running.

Unlike other shoes in the Altra trail-running lineup, the Timp shoes are ready for night running. There are reflective stripes which protect you from cars or ATVs which might not see you while you are on the trail.

Likewise, there are many drainage holes in the shoes’ mesh. These holes will help you to shed massive amounts of water very fast. This feature is important because the shoes themselves are not waterproof or water resistant to save on weight.

Another interesting feature that the Timp shoes offer is unbalanced lacing. The unbalanced lacing leaves the shoe such that it is more suited to fit the anatomical contour of your foot. This makes your foot swell less during aggressive runs, so you will be more comfortable.


  • Reflective stripes for running at night
  • Drainage holes for running through bodies of water
  • Balanced sole encourages safer landing on the flat of the foot when necessary
  • Moderate cushioning and support


  • Treads aren’t durable
  • Forgettable aesthetic
  • Bothersome lip on the back of sole beyond the heel

Altra Instinct 4.5


The Altra Instinct 4.5 is the latest entry in Altra’s excellent all-around shoe line. As a generalist running shoe, the Instinct 4.5 has the Altra Footshape toe box, which lets your toes use their maximum leverage during each stride. This makes for a bouncier feeling in the shoes.

Likewise, the Instinct 4.5 boasts a grooved midsole. The grooved midsole helps your foot to flex during landing, which makes for a more agile shoe. It also makes for a bit of protection against unexpected rough ground.

The Instinct 4.5 has light to moderate cushioning, which makes it ideal for runners who have good form. Marathon runners might find the Instinct 4.5 a bit heavy, but most runners will be pleased with the shoe’s mix of comfort and performance features.


  • Effective for most types of running
  • Easy to clean
  • Bouncy feeling


  • No areas of excellence
  • Somewhat heavier than other running shoes

Altra Duo


The Altra Duo is a high-cushioning running shoe which nonetheless manages to be very light. This shoe emphasizes speed more than endurance or agility, but it doesn’t compromise on comfort to do so.

The Duo is short on the agility-enabling features that are common to other Altra running shoes, but it makes up for it by being a great racing shoe. If you plan on running 5Ks, this might be the right shoe for you.

The support offered by this shoe is minimal, but the cushioning can make up for it if you want to use it for sprints or races. For longer jaunts, you may need to use an insole or other modification of the shoe.


  • Comfortable yet fast
  • Great for road races
  • Good traction
  • Lightweight


  • Few agility-enhancing features
  • Poor durability

Altra Paradigm 4.0

If you’re looking for a running shoe that helps you work out a good running posture, the Altra Paradigm 4.0 might be the right running shoe for you.

Thanks to this shoe’s foot-positioning guides, this shoe runs with extreme comfort even though it doesn’t have that much support. The shoe’s high level of cushioning protects your foot in the meantime while you work out your stride.

If you find your feet consistently pronated, this shoe can help. While the shoe isn’t particularly lightweight or fast, it has some endurance and comfort improving features that make it into a viable road race shoe.

First, the zero drop platform support system helps your feet to stay less tired on long runs. Furthermore, the sole only offers support to the edges of your feet when it is necessary.

This means that you’ll have an intuitive way to build good posture. For beginners, this shoe is a winner. Experts may find this shoe to be a bit clunky, however.


  • Guide rail dynamic support system to ensure good posture
  • Zero drop platform support system to provide support as necessary
  • Lots of cushioning
  • Strong endurance features


  • Not much agility
  • Not much speed



The Altra HIIT XT is the shoe for cross-training. The HIIT XT has a sticky and wide-wrap sole with additional side treads for superior agility.

If you plan to be doing a workout routine that involves a lot of leg acceleration and rapid deceleration — like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) — this might be the perfect shoe.

To aid in its agility and cross-training appeal, the shoe has a removable sole system. When removed, the sole becomes 8mm thinner, which places your feet closer to the ground. When your feet are closer to the ground, you’ll have more agility.

These shoes are not for running races or road running because of their weight and agility-oriented treading. If you are going to be doing track and field exercises, these shoes could still work.


  • Side treading for extra stability
  • Removable sole for added agility
  • Reinforced sides to protect against torsion


  • Not suitable for many non-agile purposes
  • Doesn’t provide ankle stabilization

Altra Vanish-R


The Altra Vanish-R is a super lightweight shoe for experienced runners who want speed. People running road races — or looking for an additional boost in endurance and speed — will enjoy the Vanish-R.

The Vanish-R has a very low stack height, which places your foot in close proximity to the ground. You’ll be able to leverage the maximum amount of power from each stride as a result.

The Vanish-R relies on your experience to guide yourself into the best running posture to remain comfortable and efficient. If you’re still working on your posture, you will find that the shoe accommodates your mistakes, but doesn’t correct them automatically like other shoes might.

With minimal cushioning, this shoe is best for running on asphalt or tracks.


  • Optimized for speed
  • Elicits the most power from your legs
  • Very lightweight


  • Minimal cushioning
  • Can encourage bad posture

Altra Golden Spike


The Altra Golden Spike is the cross-country running shoe that runners everywhere have been looking for. The shoes have multiple spikes which are inserted into the bottom of the sole.

The spikes help you to get more traction on earth. While these are not cleats, you’ll find that they provide a similar responsiveness when running on turf. Even though these shoes are not intended to optimize for agility, the spikes make sharp turns a breeze.

If you prefer to run without the spikes, it’s easy to remove them. When you remove the spikes, these shoes are ready for use on asphalt or track.

The Golden Spike has a zero-drop support with a 15mm stack height, which leaves your feet close to the ground and ready to project most of their power. This means that your feet won’t get as tired as they would otherwise.

Thanks to these shoes’ springy cushioning, you’ll feel next to no impact from each foot strike, even if your posture is imperfect.


  • Spikes for added traction and speed on turf
  • Highly agile when on turf
  • Durable to torsion


  • Hard to clean the spike insertion points of excess dirt
  • Removing the spikes doesn’t offer much utility

Jogging Into The Sunset

That wraps up our roundup of the best Altra running shoes on the market. When making your selection of running shoe, remember to take your foot type and intended application into account.

If you’re getting started with running, you may want to check out the Escalante. More experienced runners looking for a road running shoe to last a lifetime should check out the Vanish-R. No matter which shoe you choose, the Altra running shoes won’t leave you with aching feet.