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Altra Zero Drop Footwear

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Altra Zero Drop Footwear Reviews

Paradigm
Paradigm Posted: 10/29/14
Reviewer: L.A. Guy from Los Angeles, CA
Overall: Rated:4 stars! Comfort: Rated:4 stars! Style: Rated:4 stars!

I have waited to write this review until I finished 50 miles with these shoes. The 50 miles were almost exclusively road-running, with only slight detours onto dusty soil. As an aside, I will finish each category below with a comparison to the Altra Olympus, marked with an asterisk*, as so many people want to know the differences between these two Altra models. ME: I'm a 36-year-old recreational runner, averaging 30 miles per week on concrete and some light trail running. I run for fitness and health, not competition. I pronate slightly due to flat feet, so I wear Spenco Total Support Max insoles in all my shoes for rigid arch support. I also wear Injinji toe socks so I can wear Correct Toes toe spacers to make sure my foot is in an optimal position. (I'm still suffering from an old turf toe injury, and the combination of Correct Toes and Altra's huge toe box basically eliminates the pain and allows me to run happy) Now..on to the Paradigm review: FIT: I have found that the Paradigm fits true to size, as I purchased a size 11. I wear a size 11 in the Instinct 2.0, Olympus, Lone Peak 1.5, and Lone Peak 2.0. (I had to size up to an 11.5 in the One2) I also wear a size 11 in Brooks, Hoka One One, and Asics running shoes. *The Paradigm is supposedly built on the same last as the Olympus, and I've found this to be true. While the Paradigm is just a tad more snug than the Olympus, I still wear the same size in both models. As a quick note...many people gripe about Altra not offering wide widths. As a person who used to wear EE in Asics, I find the D in Altras to fit fine. Their signature toe-shaped toe box allows for plenty of room up front, and basically eliminates blisters in my experience. UPPER: The upper is a nice compromise between structure and minimal. It's got enough structure to lock your foot down and keep you from pronating/supinating, but it's also not overly rigid or thick. It breathes nicely, and thus far has held up very well at 50 miles. Additionally, Altra has raised the outsole foam up a bit on the inside of each shoe, giving pronators a touch of stability. You can clearly see this in the product photos. *The Paradigm upper is definitely thinner when compared to the Olympus. I have found them both to be comfortable, with the Olympus snagging a win in this category with a slightly more plush upper feel. I have not experienced any hot spots in either model. MIDSOLE: The midsole foam is fairly stiff when compared to the Hoka Stinson or Bondi. Even though the Paradigm is classified as a max cushion shoe, the foam is not pillow-like. It's got some cushion, for sure, but it's stiffer and more responsive than other max cushioned shoes out there. At first I didn't like this feature, but it actually makes sense...the Paradigm is a road shoe. If the foam were too soft, the structure of the shoe would break down if your foot doesn't land perfectly flat. I tend to land on the outsides of my feet, and then pronate inward upon foot strike. With Hokas, the lateral part of the foam would compress and flatten after 100 miles, and my feet would lean outwards, making me very worried about ankle rolls. This also happened around 150 miles with the Olympus. Those shoes didn't last as long as they could have, due to my odd foot-strike. With the Paradigm, however, that has not happened yet, and I don't think it will. I have a feeling the firmer foam in the insole will maintain its structure for a long time...hopefully up to 300+ miles. *The midsole is where the Paradigm and Olympus differ the most. The Olympus is like walking on memory-foam pillows. While it is more responsive than a Hoka Stinson or Bondi, it still retains that max-cushion feeling of walking on clouds. The Paradigm's midsole, as I mentioned above, is an entirely different beast. It's firm and responsive. It's not as forgiving as the Olympus, but still gives you plenty of protection from the concrete. If I had to compare the Olympus and Paradigm directly, I'd classify the Olympus as my long-range comfort shoe, and the Paradigm as my speedy race day shoe. I like them both, but for different reasons. I think Altra designed them this way on purpose. The Paradigm is stiffer for the road, while the Trail-specific Olympus is softer so it's more forgiving on rocks, tree stumps, etc. OUTSOLE: The outsole of the Paradigm is road-ready, and seems to be holding up very well after 50 miles. There have been complaints online about durability issues, but I have yet to experience any. The black rubber is holding up very well on concrete. I also have great traction, with a few slight slips on wet asphalt. So just be careful in the rain. *The Paradigm's outsole is definitely more durable than the Olympus, but that makes sense given that this is a road shoe. That being said, I've put over 150 concrete miles on the Olympus, and they've held up very well. STYLE: Altra shoes have large toe boxes. To any person who is accustomed to the horribly narrow toe boxes of 99% of the sports shoes out there, this will look weird. But once you slip your feet in, you will not care in the least. In fact, you will wonder why all shoes don't conform to the natural shape of the human foot. I know I do. Altra has nailed this shape, and it's wonderful. If only other brands would follow suit. As for colors, I own the black/white colorway, and I love them. I wish all companies made black/grey/white colorways. Bright colors can be fun, but some of us adults like the more understated combinations. *The style of the Paradigm and Olympus are very similar, with the Paradigm looking a bit more sleek. I did experience some slight outsole paint-cracking issues on the Olympus, but it seems like Altra fixed this issue for the Paradigm. Altra is a young company, so small issues like this are bound to happen for the first few model iterations. ZERO DROP: I found no issues transitioning from a 12mm drop of Brooks to the 4mm drop of Hokas, and finally to the Zero Drop of Altras. I would recommend taking it slow and easy during the transition, but you won't regret it. Now, when I put on traditional running shoes, I feel like I'm walking in high heels. I won't comment extensively on gait or running form, etc., but my knees have thanked me since the transition to zero drop. PRICE: The price is on-par with other top-tier running shoes on the market. They're pricey, but so is every other brand. I find my Paradigms to be totally worth the price. CONCLUSION: If you want a max-cushioned road shoe with a huge toe box, I would definitely recommend the Paradigm. It's not as soft as the Hoka Stinson or Bondi, or even the Altra Olympus, but it still has plenty of cushion for long runs. They're durable, fit great, and make my feet happy.

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/28/14
Reviewer: Cristi from New Mexico
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

They definitely run small. Some of my shoes are 8, some 8.5. My Altra Zero Drop Olympus is size 9. I'm a 58-year-old woman and find that men's shoes fit me far better and have better cushioning, too. I bought these on the recommendation of an acquaintance. They look a little silly, maybe, but I seriously love these shoes. Due to a neuroma, Morton's foot, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I have been stuck in heavy-duty hiking boots with Plastizote insoles and metatarsal cookies for some 20 years. It has been the only way I've managed to stay out of a wheelchair. But I can wear these Zero Drop Olympus shoes, and don't even have to put orthotics of any kind in them. It simply stunned me to learn this. I'm free! A note: Morton's foot means the second toe is longer than the first toe. That means the shape of this shoe is not correct for people like me, and there are a lot of us. What I have found is that it makes no difference at all. If you have Morton's foot, the shape of the Altra shoes shouldn't bother you. If your toe touches the end, just get a bigger size.

Instinct 2
Instinct 2 Posted: 10/28/14
Reviewer: Izzy Edward from Montclair, NJ
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

Great running shoes for those of us with wider than average feet. I wear a 12 4E with most brands, but was able to comfortable fit into the standard width size. I owned the original Instinct 1.5's and had issues with the mesh ripping. Altra addressed that issue in the 2.0's and they've held up so far.

Instinct 2
Instinct 2 Posted: 10/28/14
Reviewer: from Brooklyn, NY
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

These lightweight, very comfortable running shoes have helped me get over a nearly debilitating bout of plantar fasciitis. They look sort of nerd cool, lace up a little strangely, and feel great.

Instinct 2
Instinct 2 Posted: 10/22/14
Reviewer: Andrew from Utah
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

I just finished my first marathon in these. I have bad knees and wide feet and have not been able to run distance until I got these shoes. I have always liked the zero drop and wide toe box in Altras, but the cushion was lacking. I also tried the Torin 1.5 which is supposed to have more cushion than the Instinct2 but they are too hard. The soft cushion of the Instinct 2 is exactly what I have needed. Not good for trail running, but any kind of distance on the road and they are awesome. I even qualified for Boston.

Lone Peak 2
Lone Peak 2 Posted: 10/17/14
Reviewer: from
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

Great shoe for the PCT. Definitely use arch supports with an cushion insole. My feet felt great in the wide toe box. I had good traction on rocks, mud and sand.

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/16/14
Reviewer: from Wilmington, DE
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

Pay attention to that break in period. I average 5 miles per day and needed a week of increases to acclimate my calves to the different sole. Also, be careful about toppling over if you have balance issues. I have tiny feet so opted for a half size increase and the shoe fits perfectly. Very comfortable and has significantly decreased my foot pain in both feet though I still have trouble with plantar fasciitis in the right foot. Alternated these with my hiking boots on a hiking trip and will be replacing my boots. These shoes were great on rocky terrain.

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/15/14
Reviewer: Tracey Rothenberger from Philadelphia, PA
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

I purchased the Altra Olympus to replace a pair of Hoka Bondi 3s. The Hoka's had been my favorite running shoe however they had two items that didn't make them perfect. The first is that the upper is stiff and rubbed against my ankle at an odd spot and second; the tread on the shoe wore down at a more rapid pace than other shoes (175 miles vs 300 in a typical shoe for me). The forefoot shape of the Altra intrigued me and the cushioning is similar to the Hoka, so I ordered a pair. I did size up size from the Bondi 3 to the Altra and the fit is perfect. The first thing I noticed was the Olympus upper is much softer than a typical running shoe. It has a slight padding to it in the tongue and in key areas that really makes the shoe feel plush. The toe box is also amazing. The shoes do look a little odd on your feet but the shape is anatomically correct and much more comfortable than I even expected. I also like that the heel fit seemed like it was a perfect match for my foot. When running in the Olympus I noticed that they did not compress as much as the Hoka's. This means the Hoka's offered a bit softer ride; however, I suspect the Altra's are going to hold up for more miles. The second thing that hit me was the need to have a short break in period, especially if you're not running in a zero drop shoe today. It's been a couple of years since I had a true zero drop shoe and I found that I needed to keep my first 3 to 4 runs on the shorter side to ease back into the zero drop and ensure I didn't stress my Achilles. Overall I could not be happier with these shoes. They are extremely comfortable, well constructed and have a toe box that has eliminated all friction points that I've ever experienced in other shoes.

Repetition
Repetition Posted: 10/14/14
Reviewer: Aaron Trovato from Staunton, VA
Overall: Rated:2 stars! Comfort: Rated:2 stars! Style: Rated:2 stars!

The shoes went south quick. It didn't take long to get used to the different geometry of the shoe, but after a couple weeks, the outer side sole crushed completely, making the shoes lean away from each other. The insoles wore through extremely quick as well. I would expect such an expensive shoe to last longer than 3 months. Bought in June, and they're garbage in October.

Torin 1.5
Torin 1.5 Posted: 10/13/14
Reviewer: from Swampscott, MA
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

These are the most comfortable running shoes I have ever owned. I have put about 40 miles in so far and I am not looking back. I love the zero drop and room for my toes. They help me focus on good form without making me feel like someone is hammering my forefoot like some minimalists I've tried. Awesome shoe.

Repetition
Repetition Posted: 10/13/14
Reviewer: Susan swinny from houston
Overall: Rated:4 stars! Comfort: Rated:4 stars! Style: Rated:4 stars!

Shoe has great fit...snug supported fit from heel to ball of foot with wide roomy toe box. My forefoot doesn't go numb anymore. The laces could really stand improvement. For a shoe in this price range, check salomon shoes. Easy on easy off. I do like the lacing pattern, just not the laces themselves...haven't used this type in years. Giving 4 stars.

Provision 1.5
Provision 1.5 Posted: 10/13/14
Reviewer: from
Overall: Rated:4 stars! Comfort: Rated:4 stars! Style: Rated:4 stars!

I purchased these shoes for cross training. They are very comfortable and stable enough for lateral movements. Definitely order 1/2 size up. If you have wide feet like me these shoes may be borderline acceptable.

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/12/14
Reviewer: from Pacific Northwest
Overall: Rated:3 stars! Comfort: Rated:3 stars! Style: Rated:3 stars!

Like other Altras i've owned, i LOVE the wide toe-box. I also really enjoy the significant midsole cushioning. At first i thought Altra was selling its "soul," so to speak, when it adapted to a high stack mid-sole. but i took to it wonderfully and was obviously able to retain the nearly-zero-drop design. Altra is clearly still learning design elements and this shoe honestly feels like a prototype. I tend to wear slightly to the outside (supinate). This shoe seems to almost cause me to roll over. When running, because i obviously am a mid-forefoot striker, the roll-over issue is not a big dea. but whenever before or after a run i walk with these shoes on, i feel like they are on the verge of an extreme roll-over, almost like an ankle roll. they actually don't feel safe in that way at times. maybe its the density of the material in the mid-sole? maybe its the unconventional molded side support isn't holding up the way someone designed it? (the side support is kind of an arch shaped rubberized stansion.)

Instinct 2
Instinct 2 Posted: 10/10/14
Reviewer: from Austin TX
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

This is first pair of Altra's for me and I want to buy another pair. I love big toe box and zero drop (more natural like feel). I can't compare 2s to previous models, so for me Instint 2 is a perfect running shoe.

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/8/14
Reviewer: from
Overall: Rated:4 stars! Comfort: Rated:4 stars! Style: Rated:4 stars!

Love these shoes! I gave them 4 stars only because they are billed as a super-cushioned shoe comparable to the Hokas. I've had 7 pairs of Hokas and decided to try these for a change, and I was intrigued by the toe box design. The Hokas are hands-down much more cushioned feeling. Running in Hokas is like running on playground foam. Running in these was slightly jarring. I have been running for 30 years so my knees are a little sensitive. The bottom line is cushioning for running is inferior to Hokas but the toe box on the Altras is perfect. If I could give them 5 stars for WALKING I would do it. These feel like they were custom made for my foot. Walking is a pleasure in these shoes. Just can't use them for running OK, recommendations for the manufacturer 1. One model with max cushioning for running. 2. More colors including a plain white version for working in a hospital. 3. Consider a version with a one-handed elastic lacing system!

Intuition Everyday
Intuition Everyday Posted: 10/8/14
Reviewer: Sue swafford from United States
Overall: Rated:4 stars! Comfort: Rated:4 stars! Style: Rated:4 stars!

I think these are very cute for the kind of shoe they are. The cushioning is really good. I accidentally went for a walk without the insole in the left foot, and they felt just fine because the cushioning is under the insole as well as in the insole. The first time I wore them they created a blister, which felt like a pin sticking into my heel. I had put in a Birkenstock footbed, and I theorize that the footbed put my foot too high and thus the blister, though the footbed has always been very comfortable in other shoes. I felt the inside of the shoe, and it is covered by a very soft suede cloth, very admirable and well made. I took out the footbed, let the blister heal, and the shoes are fine now. I feel that the arch support is non-existent and for this reason marked them down to 4 stars. I put in a different insole with variable arch support, and I'm still debating whether less cushioning with more arch support is better. Another reviewer mentioned the green top stitching. I hadn't noticed that, but when I did I liked it. I like the color. It's listed as gray, but I would call it dark taupe. In some lights it looks brown, and in others gray. Finally, the shoe fits very well. There is plenty of room in the toe box without being sloppy big.

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/8/14
Reviewer: Emily from Novato, California
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

I love my Altra's! I have really wide feet and these are great. They run small, so I ordered a size larger than I usually do. Super comfy!

Olympus
Olympus Posted: 10/4/14
Reviewer: from
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

Excellent shoe. I normally wear a 10 4E, and in these shoes I wear a 11.5. This is a very comfortable shoe.

Superior 1.5
Superior 1.5 Posted: 10/4/14
Reviewer: from
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

These are great! My first pair, and I don't think will be my last. They have a very roomy toe box, and surprisingly a lot of cushion and support. So happy with my purchase!

Torin 1.5
Torin 1.5 Posted: 10/4/14
Reviewer: debra from
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

I'm very happy with these shoes. I have a wide forefoot and bunions and absolutely need a shoe with a very wide toe box, but snug elsewhere. These are perfect, will be buying more of this same brand!

Repetition
Repetition Posted: 10/1/14
Reviewer: from Dundee Illinois
Overall: Rated:5 stars! Comfort: Rated:5 stars! Style: Rated:5 stars!

I have narrow feet but wide toes and have been squeezing into narrow shoes with resulting pain problems. These are the first really comfortable shoes I've purchased and although I do not run, just for everyday use these have made a huge difference when I have to be on my feet for a while. They are a great design.

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