Best Altra Running Shoes in 2021

Natalie Cecconi
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Altra running shoes are popular throughout the running community for their minimalist comfort and resilience. These are the best Altra running shoes in 2021.

This Altra product is very unique, as it is created using a zero-drop platform that prevents heel-striking and pain associated with it. The shoes’ advantage comes from the fact that they can be worn without socks, and since the material naturally retains moisture, their soles don’t get that hot and sweaty feeling.

Although they come in a variety of colors, I’ve chosen some of the more popular ones below.

There are also men’s versions available; I’m covering the women’s ones below. I’ve also included information on sizing, so you can be confident when you come to order for yourself.

NameCategoryProduct
ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running ShoeBest OverallALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe
ALTRA Women's Duo Road Running ShoeBudget PickALTRA Women's Duo Road Running Shoe
ALTRA Men's Instinct 4.5 SneakerUpgrade PickALTRA Men's Instinct 4.5 Sneaker

1. ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 9 / 10

ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Good traction and breathability
  • Moderate arch support
  • A great choice for runners on a budget
  • Versatile
  • Great value for money

This is a fantastic entry level running shoe that you can use for treadmill running, road running and cross-training exercises. They are great for runners that are looking for a lightweight and low-cost shoe.

It comes with a minimalist textile upper which has a breathable mesh to help you stay cool. The upper does not get in the way of comfort and performance. To ensure the shoe lasts for a long time, the lugs are strategically placed to provide ample traction.

Some runners do not feel like arch support is important for someone that runs on a treadmill. But, Altra encourages and promotes it with their running shoes because they are designed for runners that spend most of their time on the road or running on grass. A lot of consumers welcomed the Altra Footwear 4.0 series because they are so comfortable, supportive and felt that they were a great fit.

2. ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA Women's Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Provides one of the most comfortable cushioned rides
  • Great value running shoe
  • Ideal for neutral runners, good arch support
  • Great for rainy and snowy weather
  • Amazing grip
  • Lightweight
  • Reliable performance
  • Fantastic price to performance ratio
  • Very durable, long-lasting
  • Able to fit almost all feet types

Cons:

  • Handcrafted shoes
  • Not suitable for narrow feet
  • May be hot, not for heavy sweating
  • Narrow size options
  • Not suitable for heavy runners

(Various Colors)

3. ALTRA Men's ALM1948G Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 8 / 10

ALTRA Men's ALM1948G Paradigm 4.5 Road Running Shoe

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You can easily wear the Altra Paradigm for running, working out, walking, hiking, or a casual day at the park. They fit like a glove – snug yet comfortable. The off-road tread grips most surfaces, giving you smooth stability.

The Paradigms also house a removable insole and 2mm heel-drop, which ensures a smooth transition from heel to toe. It also features laser-cut perforations in the upper to keep your feet cool and dry.

The tongue is made of air mesh with a dual-layer design. This innovative design distributes moisture on the tongue evenly throughout the shoe to ensure your feet stay dry.

4. ALTRA Women's ALW1855L Lone Peak 4 Low RSM Waterproof Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

ALTRA Women's ALW1855L Lone Peak 4 Low RSM Waterproof Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Best-in-class traction
  • Constructed with premium waterproof leather and mesh upper
  • Open mesh on top
  • Four-point gaiter system
  • Gore-Tex® waterproof membrane
  • Durable, light, and comfortable
  • 16.5-ounce weight
  • Flexible with four-way stretch
  • Structured insole
  • Removable anatomical footbeds

Cons:

  • Have durability issues
  • Don’t have any room for large bunions
  • A bit on the heavy side

These shoes have the best in-class traction, and are made of premium waterproof leather and mesh upper with protective reinforcements.

A very good choice for your feet because of the fact that they are water resistant – moisture will not affect the performance of the shoe. It also has a mesh top that allows the foot to breathe and have a cooling effect.

5. ALTRA Women's AL0A4QTP TIMP 2 Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

ALTRA Women's AL0A4QTP TIMP 2 Trail Running Shoe

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If you’re in the market for a zero-drop running shoe, this could be the one for you. The Altra Timp 2, one of the top-rated pairs of zero-drop running shoes for women has a lot of features that make it a good choice for running.

The Altra Timp 2 is lightweight yet still durable, making it very suitable for trail running. It features a zero-drop design, meaning the heel and the toes are at the same level. This helps improve biomechanics while running, which can prevent injuries.

The shoes feature an excellent construction with a slip-resistant rock plate at the bottom which provides excellent traction when running on a rocky or uneven trail. The outsole features a high-density rubber compound which is designed for improved durability and multi-directional traction.

6. ALTRA Women's Duo Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

ALTRA Women's Duo Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Great for trail running
  • Maximum Support and Comfort
  • Tough and durable

This shoe provides maximum support and comfort for mid to high arches. It has a great cushioning system and the shoe is accompanied by a flexible and a lightweight design. The shoe also includes NitroZene which is a superior shock absorber that relaxes the feet and lets you run at your comfort level.

The Altra Duo is best suited for treads where you need a shoe that provides maximum support and cushioning. The sole is also very flexible and durable, unlike most other running shoes which when worn make your feet feel tired and stressed.

7. ALTRA Women's AL0A4VR2 Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

ALTRA Women's AL0A4VR2 Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Cushioning
  • Sturdy and comfortable
  • They fit the shape of the foot snuggly
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not ideal for running in the rain or other wet conditions
  • They’re not ideal for road running

In the world of athletic shoes Altra plants themselves in the forefront of innovation. They’ve adopted a maxim of ‘Natural Born Shoes’ and craft every shoe with comfort and everyday use in mind.

The Torin comes with a special Impact Zone that disperses shock throughout the shoe and uses all-natural latex, which feels both cushy and flexible. The shoe offers great stability on both the road and on trails.

8. ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQT Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQT Torin 4.5 Plush Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Naturally cushioned
  • Great stability
  • Extra-supportive heel
  • VMO flex groove improves the efficiency of the gastrocnemius

Cons:

  • Runs a bit narrow
  • Takes some time to break in

Altra specializes in premium active shoes for a wide range of sports, including running, hiking, walking, and casual comfort wear. The Altra Torin 4.5 has a heel-to-toe drop of 4.5 mm, providing stability in pronation control.

The individualized midsole height discounts the excessive cushioning at the forefoot, which can lead to foot and knee injuries. Structural support is provided by the micro-grooved midsole in the transition zone, reducing stress load on the Achilles tendon, the heel, and the knee.

The seamless upper of the shoe gives your foot a comfortable and natural feel. This is coupled with breathable mesh that increases the airflow to the foot, keeping it cool and dry.

9. ALTRA Women's HIIT Xt Cross-Training Shoe

Our rating: 7 / 10

ALTRA Women's HIIT Xt Cross-Training Shoe

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The ALTRA Women's HIIT Xt Cross-Training Shoe is designed with a lightweight mesh upper, toe-pinching midsole, Energy Foam to cushion the feet, and BioMoGo DNA which is a special biodegradeable material in the midsole that breaks down over time.

This shoe also includes a rubber outsole that allows for maximum traction and a strong grip on any surface.

A completely new design for ALTRA, the Women's HIIT Xt Cross-Training Shoe is well-suited for cross training. This is an ideal shoe for interval workouts, cardio, and kickboxing.

10. ALTRA Women's ALW1733G Escalante Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Women's ALW1733G Escalante Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Innovative design
  • Low profile
  • Minimal design
  • Superior cushioning
  • Comfortable, soft construction
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile hybrid
  • Removable sock liner
  • The rubber outsole provides a stable platform when transitioning from heel to toe

Cons:

  • Low durability (they feel like they’re going to wear out quickly)
  • The heels are a little clunky
  • The inside lining is cheaply stitched
  • The space in the forefoot sometimes feels small
  • The tongue is a little bulky

If you are looking for a minimalist shoe with a lot of cushioning for long runs on the roads then check out the Altra Escalante road running shoe. It is a great looking shoe with a unique lightweight midsole that provides superior cushioning without the bulkiness of a running shoe.

If you want to go the minimalist route then the Altra Escalante might just be the right shoe for you. It offers a lot of cushioning with minimal weight.

The best way to describe the interior is that it feels like your toes are resting in a foam mattress wrapped in a thin layer of soft, flexible material.

11. ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQA Escalante 2.5 Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Men's AL0A4VQA Escalante 2.5 Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Arch support and upper stability
  • Good stability for pronation
  • Very lightweight
  • Supportive and very comfortable

Cons:

  • Width might be an issue for some
  • The color fades with time

We consider the Altra Escalante 2.5 as the best road running shoe, making it to our list of top picks. The upper is perhaps the most stable upper on the list of the 8 best running shoes. It’s not only breathable but provides very good stability without compromising comfort.

The shoe has a very good arch support, making it a good option for those with medium to high arches. The shoe provides adequate cushioning but is also lightweight and feels extremely comfortable.

The midsole is very responsive, which makes the shoe very suitable for running on the road. It has ample cushioning that is firm and lasts long. As far as the fit goes this shoe comes in a wide variety of widths, so it shouldn’t matter what your feet are shaped like.

12. ALTRA Men's Instinct 4.5 Sneaker

Our rating: 6 / 10

ALTRA Men's Instinct 4.5 Sneaker

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Pros:

  • Made in the USA in a variety of sizes
  • Good arch support and cushioning
  • Bead-blasted denim look
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Great for people with wide feet
  • High-quality design, leather, and stitching
  • Feature Gore-Tex for water-resistance
  • Come with a foot bed that can be removed … easily replaced by orthotics if you have
  • Provide good toe room and an ergonomic upper
  • A lot of support and cushioning for heavier people

13. Altra Men's AL0A3621 Golden Spike Running Shoe

Our rating: 6 / 10

Altra Men's AL0A3621 Golden Spike Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Very comfortable
  • Best All-Around shoe
  • Preforms well, especially for trails
  • Offers decent stability

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer much in the way of arch support
  • Could offer more in the way of protection
  • Not a lot of cushion, so can be harder on joints for longer runs

Altra is an innovative brand that focuses on bio-mechanics and improving the running experience. Their Golden Spike is a no-frills option that we love because it’s so comfortable and offers a fantastic ride.

It also has the added benefit of versatility: the shoe is very well suited for many different kinds of running surfaces and has a durable design.

We were very impressed with the soft feel of the shoe and how well it responded during longer distances for running. This is thanks to the ultra-cushioned ride it provides.

14. Altra Men's ALU1812F Vanish-R Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 5 / 10

Altra Men's ALU1812F Vanish-R Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Richly cushioned shoe
  • Very lightweight
  • Great arch support and overall support
  • Long-lasting wear
  • Unique design
  • Easy to wear for long periods
  • Great for running, but also as a casual shoe
  • Low price

Cons:

  • The air bubble in the heel has a tendency to come loose
  • The toe box is quite narrow
  • Not suitable for long hours of walking
  • Stitching is not very good

The Altra Men’s Vanish-R Road Running Shoes are the perfect shoe for any runner.

The shoe is made from a combination of lace-less breathable mesh and synthetic leather. This gives you a plush-feeling shoe that provides great flexibility and a good amount of arch support. The upper weighs an impressive 9.5 ounces making it a featherweight among running shoes.

It is also a low-heel shoe, minimally increasing the amount of stress on the joints and bones, while still providing great traction and feel of the road. You will barely notice it’s there.

15. ALTRA AFM1838F Men's Duo Road Running Shoe

Our rating: 4 / 10

ALTRA AFM1838F Men's Duo Road Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Very comfortable
  • Multi-purpose shoe
  • Can tackle varying terrain and different distances
  • High energy return
  • Good traction
  • Great overall support
  • Slim enough to wear with jeans or sweatpants
  • Minimalist shoes that are lightweight and comfortable
  • No break-in time or blisters
  • Eva midsole cushioning for added impact absorption

Cons:

  • More suitable for neutral runners
  • Not enough arch support
  • The laces are shorter than regular shoes
  • The sizing might be small

The Altra Duo Road Runners are some of the best shoes for men that will work for practically any situation in life. They are super comfortable and are great for a road run, trail run, soccer game, walk in the park, or simply wearing them to work.

The duo looks more like shoes you would wear to work and not necessarily for the gym. However, it is amazing how strong and sturdy they are. The outsole is made of high-quality sticky rubber providing outstanding traction and the EVA midsole is sufficient for the majority of runner’s needs.

16. Altra Hiit XT Men's Cross-Training Shoe

Our rating: 4 / 10

Altra Hiit XT Men's Cross-Training Shoe

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Pros:

  • The stiffer outsole provides stability even on the toughest of workout surfaces
  • Comes with a secure lace system for added security
  • Easy to maintain thanks to the synthetic upper material; can easily be wiped clean
  • Wide toe box
  • Provides excellent breathability
  • Offers cushioning
  • Great arch support
  • Lightweight
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Provides great traction thanks to the wide base and the outsole flex grooves

Cons:

  • Sizing is a little off
  • Can be painful when wearing for extended periods
  • Uppers are a little on the fragile side

The Altra Hiit XT Men’s Cross-Training Shoe offers a great value.

This shoe delivers exceptional comfort and support while reducing the risks of injuries. It features an innovative lightweigh zero drop platform that provides improved traction and allows for greater versatility.

The Altra has a wide toe box and provides flexible stability thanks to its waffle shaped lug outsole.

17. ALTRA Men's AL0A4PE9 TIMP 2 Trail Running Shoe

Our rating: 2 / 10

ALTRA Men's AL0A4PE9 TIMP 2 Trail Running Shoe

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Pros:

  • Nonslip traction on the outsole
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable ride
  • Good ankle support

Cons:

  • The fit isn’t great for those with wide feet
  • The material on the toe area is a little on the tacky side

Altra Men’s AL0A4PE9 TIMP 2 is a rugged outdoorsy shoe that’s ideal for both running and walking. It has a couple of small toe pockets that provide a bit of added traction when you’re walking on slippery surfaces.

This shoe comes with a zero-drop design with a roughly 12mm heel lift and an approximate 4mm cushioned heel that offers some additional shock absorption to make your run more comfortable. This design keeps your center of gravity low and allows you to wear the shoes for longer periods of time without developing fatigue.

They come with a squared off toe box, so they have a somewhat roomy fit which accommodates a wide variety of feet without any problems. Despite having the wider toe box, they still fit comfortably.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best Altra running shoe?

Altra Provision 3 and Altra Lone Peak 3.0

Are Altra running shoes any good?

From a company that makes Êìshoes that work for the human foot,ÊÏ Altra running shoes began to focus on footwear that helps underpronators. The company's research found that the best way to help underpronators was with a higher volume, wider toe box, and a lower drop.

This has given the Altra running shoe a cult following that includes runners who have suffered from plantar fasciitis to Olympic runners who want a little more structure in their shoes.

The higher volume and wider toe box mean that Altras have plenty of room for your toes to splay. They also don't have a typical heel-to-toe drop.

While some heel-strikers either embrace or tolerate Altras, forefoot strikers may like the balance they give on the run, or some may find them very unbalanced since they are designed to be underpronating shoes.

What is the most cushioned Altra shoe?

The Altra Paradigm is the most cushioned Altra shoe. It has 16mm of cushion compared to a standard shoe with 10mm. If you are looking for the most extreme cushion, this may be the shoe for you. It is available in men’s and women’s sizes 6-14.

Note: the Altra Instinct is an extremely cushioned shoe. However, the Altra Instinct is not considered a zero drop shoe by Altra standards because it does have a 4mm heel-to-toe drop.

How do Altra running shoes fit?

If there is anything that makes Altra running shoes stand out from the crowd it is the brand’s distinctive toe box design.

You may not realize it, but your feet naturally pronate when you run. This means that they roll slightly inwardly. Most athletic footwear is designed to encourage this motion.

When the toe box is very narrow and the shoe is designed to allow the heel to bend upwards, it provides a truer sense of natural running motion. There is also less pressure on the calf and Achilles tendon because the foot isn’t being restricted.

It may seem counter-intuitive to give your natural motion more freedom. But it has been proven that the Altra Zero Drop creates better running for a longer time because the body is able to take its own shape.

The slender sole, with its curved and cambered profile, works in synergy with the foot.

Conclusion

In this review we will give you a rundown of three models of Altra running shoes. We will look at the three models with their pros and cons, and give you our final recommendation for the best Altra running shoe for you.

To make it fair, the three pairs we look at are an entry level shoe, a mid range shoe and a top of the range model.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
ALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running ShoeBest OverallALTRA AFM1855F Men's Lone Peak 4 Trail Running Shoe
ALTRA Women's Duo Road Running ShoeBudget PickALTRA Women's Duo Road Running Shoe
ALTRA Men's Instinct 4.5 SneakerUpgrade PickALTRA Men's Instinct 4.5 Sneaker