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If we are provided with a test shoe from the brands, we always say so within the review.
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Founded in 2009, Altra is a newer brand to the market with a growing number of followers. Designed around two staple features/technologies - Altra have carved a beautifully unique space it the running market that gives the consumer a simple to understand and functional technology that some find massively beneficial to reduce injury.
Fully cushioned shoes with a deep EVA midsole but built on a ZERO DROP platform. This is an incredibly simple idea, but it has not been done for many many years where the heel and forefoot midsole heights are the same distance from the ground – meaning the foot is in a flat position in the shoes and not on top of a traditional wedge of cushioning where the heel is raised to a higher height that the forefoot, to deliver impact cushioning and a roll forward.
It is important to state here that a transition from traditional wedged shoes to zero drop needs to be managed, and it is not for everyone’s liking – wanting to run in zero drop is a personal thing and absolutely some people love it, and some hate it, especially on longer runs.
The last shape (the shape of the shoe) is designed to mimic the natural shape of the foot, which Altra call Footshape. Altra creates a more rounded toe shape with a squared off look, allowing the toes to spread out and the big toe to remain in a straight position thanks to the extra volume in the forefoot. The shoes look ‘funny’ but once on, they feel extremely comfortable and the last really does accommodate a wide foot easily.
Altra is a superb brand for runners seeking that barefoot/natural shoe but without a compromise of cushioning as they have the protection of a midsole for hard surfaces. We have recently tested the racing shoes and a trail shoe and both have been very well received by our testers. Altra are expanding the range to meet the requirements of a wider range of runners, but are really keeping true to the zero drop and foot-shaped design, so we cannot recommend them highly enough if your keen on trying the world of zero drop footwear.
The best ALTRA running shoe we have tested so far is the ALTRA TORIN