93
Great!
1.451 users: 4.5 / 5
15 experts: 88 / 100
Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 7.9oz / Women 6.5oz
Heel to toe drop: Men 0mm / Women 0mm
Arch support: Neutral

Verdict from 8.1 hours of research from the internet

10 reasons to buy

  • Some runners who purchased the Altra Escalante 1.5 said that it was comfortable to wear.
  • Several consumers noted that this Altra running shoe has excellent cushioning
  • The footwear was true to size, according to some reviews.
  • A few purchasers admired the color combination of the shoe. They said that the color schemes are compatible with most running apparels.
  • A significant number of testers agreed that the Altra Escalante 1.5 was perfect for walking and jogging.
  • Many runners mentioned that the Escalante 1.5 has a super fit; it also provides the ankle a secure feeling.
  • A couple of buyers lauded the sufficient support the shoe has provide.
  • More than a handful said that the shoe is lightweight.
  • The upper has a breathable coverage and some testers liked it.
  • Some purchasers noticed that the Escalante 1.5 has a more structured upper compared to the previous version.

2 reasons not to buy

  • One purchaser said the fabric on the upper part of the shoe was too stretched. As a result, it made the grip on the foot not secured during exercise and running session.
  • According to a few reviews, the sole wears off quicker than expected.

Bottom line

The majority of the testers admired the shoe's performance in jogging and walking activities. They noted how the shoe was comfortable to the foot especially when in motion. Though one of the buyers was not satisfied because of the fitting, others still recommend the footwear because of its design and color combination. Overall, the shoe was accepted by many because of its sizing, style, and performance. The Altra Escalante 1.5 is an excellent option for those who are looking for a comfortable and well-cushioned running shoe.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Our reviews

93
/100 by Mordechai Sopher, posted on .

For those of us with wide feet or those looking for a wide toe box shoe, almost any pair of Altras is a great choice. The wide toe box is a big focus of Altra shoes, and yet some models have more spacious toe boxes than others.

 

 

Finding a wide running shoe is not always easy as most tend to run narrow and even extra-wide sizes, can still press against the toes. Altra shoes have a great toe box design and the comfort level is higher than most any other running shoe that I have tried.

It may take a little bit of an adjustment looking down and seeing a wider, front of your running shoe, but this quickly feels natural and the comfort is well worth it!

The name Escalante sounds a bit like the Escalade truck made by Cadillac and maybe this is no coincidence. Both Altras and Cadillacs are known for their unique design and high level of comfort.

A Cadillac Escalade is a spacious, comfortable car, and the Altra Escalante allows toes to spread out, improving toe splay and providing a smooth and comfortable running experience.

Day to day use

Altras, especially the Escalante, is one of the few types of running shoes that I can comfortably wear throughout the entire day.

This was a big factor for me in switching to Altras as a fitness trainer, Physical Education teacher, and someone who needs to be in comfortable athletic shoes all day long.

If you are in a profession that requires comfortable shoes, these could be a great all-day footwear option for you to consider. There are a number of types of athletic shoes out there that have the sock-like, ultra-comfortable feel.

 

 

The Escalante is in this category as well, but with features that make the shoe better for running and more durable. The Altra Escalante has the classic Altra “wide toe box” but also the stretchy mesh fabric that makes it feel as though you are wearing a sock.

The shoe has tremendous comfort and is also very light and has a nicely cushioned, zero drop, sole.

Stability

In my opinion, many shoes of this sock-like mesh nature generally have issues with stability, and comparatively the Altras have better stability, but not perfect.

The stretchy material, which makes the shoes super comfortable and cool on the feet, does not succeed in really holding the foot firmly in place.

They are also not so good for quick changes of direction and could be a potential problem for those prone to twisting ankles.

I have played sports involving quick changes of direction in them and my foot has slid over the side of the sole. The mesh seems to loosen with time, which can make this even more of a problem.

 

 

If I go out on a nice and easy run where I am “cruising” or not changing direction so much, the shoe is very comfortable and does the job well.

For pushing myself to run faster or do tougher courses, I would prefer to use a different shoe because of the Escalante’s lack of stability and lack of attachment to my foot.

Sole

The sole is a medium thickness, zero drop, very comfortable and springy, and suited largely for road running. I really like zero drop shoes and I have gotten used to running with them.

However, I know that for some who are transitioning, the zero drop can feel a bit less cushiony. Zero drop means that the sole is the same thickness from front to back.

It is different from most running shoes, which are stacked higher in the back. A higher back promotes more sitting back on your heels while running.

Wearing zero drop shoes or minimalist shoes, force you to run more on the balls of the feet where your foot is naturally more cushioned.

There are several benefits of learning to run on the front of your foot such as:

  • The front is the naturally cushioned part of the foot that best absorbs shock (much better than the heel) and thus is healthier for the body.
  • Running on the front of the foot is better for sprinting and running fast (watch how sprinters never touch the ground with their heels).
  • Running on the front of the foot also forces you to have more mindful and form oriented running and it provides a better leg workout, especially in the calf muscles.

 

Prior to Altras, I was running with minimalist shoes that have almost no sole cushion, which really forced me to run on my forefoot with proper form.

I felt that for longer runs, I needed shoes that were still a bit cushiony but also forced me to run with proper form.

Fortunately, Altras have provided me with a good mix of zero drop, but with a sole that has some nice cushion to help out during longer runs.

The Escalante sole is designed for road running in that it doesn’t have too deep lugs of a trail running shoe.

 

 

And, although the shoe does perform fine off-road, the sides start to peel a bit from the trail running and the shoe starts to look less aesthetic quicker than would a normal trail running shoe.

Aesthetic

The shoe has a nice mesh design and looks sharp. It has a bit less of the “duck-like” front of the shoe look than some other Altras, due to the mesh.

 

 

I like to wear the shoe as a day to day shoe because of the comfort and also because they look sharp and respectable for my work as a fitness trainer and Phys Ed teacher.

Summary

Many people enjoy running in the Altra Escalante, and it is sold primarily as a running shoe. I have run a considerable amount in them and have enjoyed jogging with them on easy courses.

They are light, very comfortable, and look good. As mentioned, I get nervous by their lack of stability, which is common in this type of mesh shoe.

For running, I generally prefer a shoe that feels like it is solidly attached to my foot. As a trainer wearing a shoe all day, a little bit of give and flexibility in the shoe is okay.

The comfort and lightweight nature of the shoe make them a great all-day footwear option. The shoe is also well-made and durable.

This is not always the case with shoes in this genre, and the mesh ventilates well and keeps the foot from overheating. I am a huge fan of Altras, and this is a good shoe for easier road running, walking, and all-day use.

Mordechai Sopher | Level 3 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Mordechai! I work as a professional fitness trainer and high school Physical Education teacher. I have been a runner since childhood, however after serving in the military at age 23, my love for running developed into more of a focused passion for distance running, as I was previously more of a middle distance runner in track and field. I live in Israel and have run all of Israel's 5 full marathon courses at least once.

96
/100 by Lars Wichmann, posted on .

About half a year ago, I got my first pair of Altra shoes - the Superior 3.5. Running in the Superior 3.5 was such a profound experience that when I needed a new pair of more road-suitable running shoes, I looked towards Altra.

I soon found the Escalante, and as soon as they released the Escalante 1.5 in Europe, I got myself a pair. I don't know how to put this in terms that will not completely blow this review. The Escalante 1.5 is simply the most comfortable running shoe I have tried in my entire 25 years of running marathons and ultras.

 

Simple, classic yet stylish looking one-piece knit upper.

 

Not only is it super comfortable, but it is also springy, fast and light. What more could a recreational ultra-runner wish for? Well, let's have a closer look!

Fit

The Escalante is comfortable right out of the box. The upper is extremely soft and pliable - hardly a shoe! More like a comfy sock with a cushy outsole. It is made up of a thin and breathable fabric, and ventilation is excellent.

 

The soft and thin knitted upper provides super ventilation but also poor protection against the elements.

Heel & collar

The heel cup is rather wide, and the ankle collar sits at a standard height. There is a lot of foam within the collar itself, whereas the lower sections of the heel cup consist of two layers of fabric only. This gives a nice soft and hugging feel around the heel and ankle.

 

Heavily cushioned ankle collar and thin tongue.

Tongue

The tongue is extremely simple and thin. It is an independent unit and attached to the shoe at the very bottom of the instep only. This is perfectly in line with the rest of the shoe - light and simple.

However, also one of my major gripes with it. Not a deal-breaker but definitely something to take into account.

Because the upper has no structural elements, it is difficult to tie the Escalante properly. Either they end up too soft, resulting in a fair amount of in-shoe-sliding and little control or you tighten them too much ending up hurting your instep.

 

Zero drop (no head-to-toe offset) and no real structural elements in the upper.

Looks

The Escalante comes in many colors both upper and midsole. Most colors somewhat inconspicuous, others a bit more attention-grabbing (like my Lime/blue European version).

Some are available in the US others in Europe. A common denominator for all of them is a wide midsole and a one-piece knitted upper with a flecked pattern — a stylish yet casual look in a normative package.

The Escalante is so good looking that it easily "doubles" as a sneaker. I'm certain quite a few people will wear the Escalante as an everyday shoe. Pretty much like a whole lot of major brand shoes like Nike and Adidas.

 

Full frontal view of the lime/blue (Europe) knit Escalante 1.5.

Performance

The Escalante is one fast shoe! The springiness of the EGO midsole and the way the entire shoe propels you forward is just phenomenal. I can't recall having this much spring in my step - ever. It is quite remarkable.

Not only is the Escalante springy it is also lightweight for its amount of cushioning. My pair (size UK 7) currently weighs in at 224 grams after 300+ km. The springiness and low weight in combination vouches for a very fast shoe.

I trialed the Escalante head-to-head against two other reasonably fast shoes. I did this by running the same half marathon (mixed trail) in all three shoes within a week. All three runs without consciously trying to control my speed (i.e., mosey on) as I always do.

The Asics DynaFlyte came in pretty much on my average speed for the route. The Inov-8 TerraClaw 220 (my favorite racing flat) was about 12 seconds faster per kilometer.

The Escalante came in one-second faster again per kilometer. An unscientific test against a rather random selection of shoes will not hold as evidence in the high court. However, it is still a fairly good indication that the Escalante is a fast shoe.

When it comes to ground-feel, I find the Escalante a bit of an odd beast. The 25mm stack height is quite sizeable, yet you still get a fairly good feel for what you are running on.

Even on soft forest-floor type trails, you are not running completely in the unknown. Somehow the EGO midsole lets you sense the track. Perhaps the very minimal outsole is the key not only to save weight but also to provide an okay ground feel.

The midsole and outsole are wide all around (as is the last). This provides a nice sense of stability and security. No fear of twisting those ankles! This is a huge plus in my book!

 

Wide and minimalistic outsole offers a stable, cushioned yet responsive platform.

Distance

When it comes to running far, the Escalante is quite good. I have taken mine as far as 30km on mixed road/trail, and I wouldn't mind taking on a marathon. One of the big pros for the Escalante is that they are so comfortable, and have ample room for the feet to splay and swell.

However, it is not all rosy red. The springiness and soft EGO foam also make running a bit wearisome or perhaps disagreeable is a better word. They provide too little support near nothing from the upper and the EGO midsole is springy is not supportive.

Hence, despite their super springiness, my feet tire and my footpads numb after a while. This is no good for an ultra.

I have also found that running consecutive long runs in my Altra shoes (e.g., alternating between Escalante and Superior) I end up with a niggling pain on the outwards lateral side of my feet.

If I then switch to more supportive shoes for a while, the pain goes away. It is highly not the shoe that is to blame; rather me and my feet, but now you know there might be issues with lack of support.

Where and when to use

Because the Escalante is so light and the upper super breathable, it is a perfect shoe for summertime runs. Not so much for cold and wet conditions! As soon as there is a bit of moisture around, your feet will be instantly and constantly soaked. Hence, not much of a cold-season shoe.

Similarly, if there is a bit of dirt, sand or other bits of geology around they are bound to end up inside your Escalantes quickly. Don't even think about wearing gaiters!

Okay, perhaps not that bad but you get the drift. The Escalante is not a trail shoe!

Discussion

As a trail runner, I miss a bit more "structure" in the Escalante. Something that holds together the shoe and upper - frankly speaking, "a bit of real shoe." Because the entire shoe is so soft, you have no sense of control.

On the other hand, this is not a shoe for the rugged trails. It is clearly meant for urban conditions: straight, flat and easy routes on tarmac, footpaths and in parks.

During the six+ months, I have run in the Escalante. I have had to take the occasional break from them. This because my instep hurt as soon as I put them on.

The only way I can wear my Escalante today is having the laces very loose. This is of course, very comfortable. However, it also provides a rather sloppy fit with little control.

Had the tongue been just a tad bit thicker, it would be easier to find some sort of equilibrium lace tightness. Or perhaps a bit of structure that could help (re-)distribute the lace-tightness across the foot? Then again, if you added those bits, it wouldn't be the Escalante - or would it?

Value for money?

The Altra Escalante is expensive at $140/ EUR150. If you look for deals, you might find them on sale for less. Nevertheless, they are costly.

Are they worth it? Well, it sure is a comfortable shoe. It's light, fast and fairly good looking! So far, my pair is holding up nicely. No build issues, and wear and tear are less than what I would otherwise expect.

If I keep up their current usage, I estimate mine to last somewhere around 500 miles before retirement. Yes, I would say they are worth the money.

Conclusion

The Altra Escalante 1.5 is without a doubt the most comfortable running shoe I have ever tried. The space for your toes is phenomenal. However, extreme comfort comes at a cost. They offer little support, and you may find you lack control.

In my opinion, the Escalante 1.5 is a three-season shoe at best, and suitable for anything from urban running to light, easy trails. They are very fast and well-aligned for short to medium-long runs. Get one of the racing editions, and you'll literally be flying!

As with all Altra shoes, the Escalante has zero drop, and this may take a bit of getting used to. The sizes are reasonably large, so better try before you buy - you may be able to go half if not an entire size down.

The Escalante 1.5 is not suitable for rugged, technical or muddy trails with shoe/toe-destroying obstacles. I find that they are not suitable for ultra runs either, because of the soft midsole and minimal outsole. You may think otherwise, but go try it out, it is worth it!

Lars Wichmann | Level 4 expert Verified
Hi, I'm a recreational ultra trail runner doing some 2000+ km per year, almost exclusively on trails. I did my first marathon in 1995 and my first ultra in 2001. I run to exercise my body and relax my mind. I love to reach that blissful state when there is nothing but you and the trail, and once you get to your destination you can't recall how you got there and how much time has passed. I'm a gear-freak and running shoe aficionado and regularly browse the web for inspiration and good deals.

80
/100 by Blake Chunko, posted on .

I bought the original Altra Escalantes on a whim. I had run in Altras before, so when I saw them on sale, I thought I’d give them a try.

Fast forward to over 260 miles later, and simply put, I love the shoes. So, when the 1.5s came out, it was a no-brainer. But, will I end up loving them as much as the originals?

Design

I decided to go with the all-black colorway. I really like the understated look to them. They aren’t flashy and look more like work shoes than running shoes.

 

 

In the past, I’ve had some issues with the look of Altras. They have always had a bit of a clown shoe look to them due to the wide and roomy toe box.

Altra is getting better at making sleeker, better-looking shoes. But, I still think the look of these is a bit goofy.

Fit and Feel

The first time I put on the 1.5s, I noticed a slight difference from the originals. Something didn’t feel quite right, so I decided to make a side-by-side comparison.

What I found is that the heels of the shoes were different. In the 1.5s, there was a lot more padding. I have no clue why they felt they needed more.

All the extra padding does is make it harder to lock in the heel, which sometimes leads to heel slippage. This is something that I think a lot of the early Altras suffered from.

When I got the original Escalantes, I was excited to see Altra finally got the heel right. So, it is quite disappointing to see Altra go back to their old ways with the 1.5s.

 


Originals - Nice cup for the heel 

 


1.5s – too much padding

 

Another thing that adds to the lock-down issues of the shoe are the laces. The new laces are stretchy and are about six inches too long.

I absolutely hate stretchy laces. They do nothing to improve the fit or feel of the shoes. In fact, they make it worse. Also, I find myself having to tuck the laces because these are too long.

Otherwise, they would flap around and hit my inner legs and annoy the crap out of me on my runs. The laces feel like something they changed just for the sake of changing things.

Next thing I feel that I need to gripe upon is the tongue. It is the same thin flat tongue as in the originals. This is the one thing that Altra should have actually changed instead.

Due to it being so thin, it often gets a wrinkle or crease that causes discomfort. It isn’t a huge issue, but it is worth noting.

The 1.5s are also slightly heavier than their predecessors with both weight measurements below being for size 10.


Weight of the originals

 


Weight of the 1.5s

 

Increasing weight in newer versions is a big no-no for me. Shouldn’t they be trying to lose weight and not add it?

If the trend of increasing weight continues, later versions may end up much heavier than early versions.

Performance

I can finally start to sing the praises now. Up until this point in the review, I have been a bit negative. That is only because the original Escalantes had set such a high bar.

When I finally got the 1.5s fitting decently enough to go for a run in them, I was pleasantly surprised. These sport the same breathable upper and bouncy EGO midsole as the originals.

I find I can pick up the pace if needed. As compared with the originals, I don’t think faster paces are where they shine (there is a reason why Altra came out with the Escalante Racer).

Instead, these are my go-to shoes for long runs. I often feel like I go into cruise control while wearing them. I did a 20 miler and was amazed at my mile splits when I looked back at them.

They were all +/- 10 seconds of each other. Usually, what happens is that I can’t sustain my initial pace due to leg fatigue. Thus, my later miles are usually 20-30 seconds slower at least.

But, not so with the 1.5s. It is the main reason I fell in love with the originals and why I still run (and will continue to run) in the 1.5s despite all my earlier criticisms.

Long story short, these are true work horseshoes that won’t beat up your longs on long runs.

Durability and Value

Due to my love for the original Escalantes, I did not hesistate to buy the 1.5s when they came out. I bought them at the retail price of $129.95.

I have put over 260 miles on the original Escalantes, and I am amazed at how good they still look and feel. I can see myself easily getting upwards of 400 miles on them.

That said, I have over 125 miles on the 1.5s, and they appear to be just as durable.

 


The 1.5s on the left and the originals on the right—both showing little wear

 

At a value standpoint, the nearly $130 price tag isn’t that bad considering I should be getting at least a 3-1 ratio of miles to cost.

Add-in that they can often be found on sale and the value ratio only gets better.

Conclusion and Final Score

To quote comrade Dyatlov from the TV show Chernobyl, “Not great, not terrible.” That about sums up these shoes. I still like them and wear them often.

But overall, I think Altra took a step back with the 1.5s. I would rate the original Escalantes at a 95/100 and the 1.5s at an 80/100.

The changes Altra made were not improvements and have left me feeling a bit wary on the future of the line.

Pros

  • Midsole has the same bounce and feel as the originals
  • Great work horseshoe that lasts a long time
  • Durable soles that show little signs of wear
  • Zero drop

Cons

  • Too much padding in the heel
  • Stretchy laces that are also too long
  • Tongue is thin and can fold when not adjusted correctly
  • Heavier than its predecessor

 

Blake Chunko | Level 2 expert Verified
My name is Blake and I am a Pittsburgher, an engineer, and most importantly a runner. I have run races from the road mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, and even a 50k. When not running I enjoy climbing, traveling, drinking beer, and cooking good food.

95
/100 by Lorenzo Clerici, posted on .

Altra Escalante's first model has been my favorite road shoe. It's lightweight, flexible upper part, wide toe box and perfect cushioning.

This was a better version of the Nike free RN which I used to love for road running. Since I am such a fan of the Escalante, I was pretty sure the 1.5 wouldn’t let me down.

 

Fit

As soon as I put on those brand new kicks, I felt the well known and amazing Altra’s sensation. The foot perfectly planted on the upper sole with enough space to spread toes in a natural position.

Compared to the first version, the wrap around felt firmer on the feet. Still flexible but with some more control.

Laces are holding comfortably and smoothly the upper part of the foot although due to the large toe box, it can become quite tricky to tie them extremely tight on the lowest part.

And they seem pretty hard to untie while running. Lose laces are my worst enemy. I dream of a future world with only BOA lacing shoes.

First run

Went out for my habitual 8 miles route, I usually do for testing. Alternating flat to a hilly, road to trail paths (no technical trail).

The first thing I noticed was the new sole. Stiffer than the previous version; therefore the first thing I thought was "will this hurt after long distances?" Well, I’ll reveal this later.

What I was sure about was the fact that thanks to this stiffness, the shoe is much bumpier and therefore faster than the older version and I was pretty confident this would have helped me to conquer new Personal Bests.

Long run 

And so it was. A week later I registered to a local half marathon where I’ve been able to lower my PB (1:25:08) with 5min lower than the previous I did with the Nike free RN a year before.

And even after this mid-distance has done at my personal full speed, the stiffer sole supported my feet perfectly with no pain at all at the end.

Another good thing about the sole is that it seems much more durable than the previous one (lasted around 200 miles) although it still has a short life compared to other thicker running shoes. But this is pretty much the best you can expect for a minimal shoe especially for heavy runners like I am.

Upper

The upper fabric is comfortably enveloping the toebox giving the toes enough space to spread and breathe.

 

Tongue

The tongue is thick enough just like ankle collar to give that soft and free feeling. There is obviously not a lot of support for the ankle, but this is not what you would expect from this kind of shoe.

Reflecting labels have been added on the tongue and heels to improve your security while night running.

Outsole

Sole is almost irreproachable. The outsole has a perfect grip even on non-technical trails.

 

Midsole

The midsole is firmer but bumpier than version 1. It gives you the perfect pop to speed up your runs.

Upper sole gives your feet perfect stability. Maybe a little bit more arch support would have helped for the longer runs.

Bottom line

The upgrade of this shoe is 100% approved and takes now the lead into my road shoe chart. The only thing I would improve is their durability without losing its minimal aspect.

And since this made me even more confident about Altra’s improving their models in the right direction, I’m pretty sure I’ll buy and try their new Timp 1.5 trail running shoe very soon.

Lorenzo Clerici | Level 2 expert Verified
Hi, I'm Lorenzo! I usually run an average of 45km per week alternated to yoga, gym, and cycling. After a youth of team sports and rowing, I started competitive running in 2016 with some short mountain races (10-15km) early season, to do my first mountain marathon in November 2017 and first ultra in 2018. I've also participated in Valtellina Wine Trail (42km), Cortina Trail (48km), Campo dei Fiori Trail (45km), TransRuinaulta (42km).

98
/100 by Andrew Bank, posted on .

I rolled into the running store in search of a nice, plush low drop shoe for my liking. I rolled out with possibly the best pair of shoes to ever touch my feet.

 

 

I had heard of Altra before, but I always figured that zero drop was a bit extra and rough for me. Out of pure curiosity, I requested a pair of Altra trainers, and they felt fantastic.

The Hoka Rincon, New Balance 890, and the Hoka Clifton 5s came nowhere near the comfort I had with the Escalante, so I pulled the trigger and never regretted it.

The Escalante 1.5 is a neutral trainer/racer. I use it mainly for training, but I have on occasion used it for a time trial where spikes seemed unnecessary.

They’re one of the fastest shoes I have run in, as demonstrated by a 4:50 mile time trial (pr 4:40). In addition to racing and training, I also have used them on moderate, dirt trails without much consequence.

On rocky parts, however, problems become evident, as the Escalantes are too thin and squishy to provide much protection from them.

Design

The Escalante has quite a reputation for its design. I got the blue and white colorway, but for those of more interesting tastes, it comes in much more gonzo colors such as lime green and blue.

 

 

On a team full of judgemental teenagers, it isn’t exactly Nike or Adidas, but it does look nice enough to be respectable. It goes well with both white and black socks, which is key.

Also, the shaded pattern on the Escalante makes for a subtle yet pretty aesthetic.

The only two things holding this shoe back from being a significant fashion icon are 1. Brand name recognition and 2. The wide toe box (a little unorthodox).

Fit

Be careful when picking your size. Unless you have previously worn Altra, the sizing is a little different from all other shoes due to the toe box.

With most other shoes I wear, there is a sizeable gap between the tip of my toe and the end of the shoe. This is because my second toe is smaller than my big toe.

With Altra, however, the front of the shoe is almost flat, not pointed like most other shoes. As a result, I wear half a size smaller Altra than most other shoes.

Besides sizing, though, the Escalante 1.5 felt amazing right out of the gate. Needless to say, it took next to no break-in time.

Function

The Escalante 1.5 is equipped with all of Altra’s signature features: zero drop, foot-shaped toe box, and gender-specific fit.

Zero Drop

In all Altra shoes, the front stack height is equal to the heel stack height. This means wearing the shoe feels like standing on level ground.

This is significantly different from most other companies, such as Brooks or Nike. Most mainstream shoes have around a 10 millimeter difference in stack height from the heel to the toe.

According to Altra, this drop in the heel to toe disrupts natural running form. Along with the shoes, Altra gives a cute little booklet on how to run correctly and transition to zero drop.

 

 

Although 10 millimeters might not seem like much, it is quite the change, so tread carefully.

Foot-shaped toe box

As mentioned earlier, the Escalante’s toe box is unorthodox. It looks almost club-like in comparison to most other shoes. I didn’t think too much of toe boxes until I wore the Escalante.

 

 

It is extraordinarily roomy, especially when compared to notoriously tight Nikes. I have received minor blisters from other shoes that have forced toes to rub up against one another—not in the Escalantes.

 

 

One’s foot is allowed to naturally splay out. Even if you don’t think you need it, it does wonders for comfort.

Gender-specific fit

I'm not going to elaborate too much on this. It’s a bit self-explanatory.

As a male, it doesn’t affect me, but apparently, female feet are slightly anatomically different than male feet. Altra makes shoes accordingly.

Durability

After 300-some miles, they’re still going strong. The tread is an interesting foot-shaped pattern, which has shown minor signs of wear.

Annoyingly though, my foot strike lands right in between two of the rubber portions, which wears the foam instead.

 

 

The cushion seems to have stayed nearly the same from when I first started running in them, which is good. The upper has also remained sturdy.

I’m expecting to get around 500 miles out of them, probably more.

Ride

The cushion in the Escalante 1.5 is absolutely perfect; It is just squishy enough to provide excellent comfort, but also firm enough to not become cumbersome after over 10 miles.

The ride is beyond fantastic. The midsole is extremely flexy.

 

 

As a neutral shoe, it makes no attempts to impede upon form whatsoever, which is fine by me. I strike near the midfoot, which serves well on the Escalante.

With every stride, I feel a nice strike, toe-off, strike again. Weight-wise, the Escalante isn’t exactly feather-light, but it is light enough to be barely noticeable.

It is so accommodating that I occasionally forget I am wearing shoes until I look down.

My only minor complaint, which seems to be widespread, is that when I make a sharp turn, my foot slides in a gap between the upper and midsole. Thus, it is not for agility practice.

Comfort

Comfort-wise, this is where the Escalante 1.5 shines brightest. As mentioned earlier, the midsole is the best on any shoe I have ever worn, and I have worn Ultra Boosts casually.

The upper is a nice mesh material that is well-ventilated. The tongue is a little odd because it is thin and minimal, but it has minimal movement and discomfort.

 

 

The padding around the heel is soft and non-abrasive, which is uncommon in higher performance shoes. The shoes are so comfortable that I bought another pair for everyday wear.

I have only one complaint and that is the shoelaces. The tricky little things keep untying themselves whenever they can.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen, buy ‘em while you can and make sure to buy stocks because these shoes take it to the next level.

This shoe has single-handedly made me completely loyal to Altra. I yearn for the moment each day when I can don these masterpieces on my feet.

Once you’ve transitioned to zero drop, you may as well say goodbye to the prospect of owning any other shoe brands.

Have a wonderful day and remember, stay speedy!

Andrew Bank | Level 1 expert Verified
Andy Bank has been an avid distance runner since he was 15. He became fascinated with shoes after his first couple of injuries were attributed with simply having the wrong shoes. He is currently on a quest to enlighten others on the wonders shoes hold. Or eating. Actually, he’s probably just eating.

85
/100 by Jin Kato, posted on .

I've done well over 400 km on the Altra Escalante 1.5 and still love it as one of my go-to Long Slow Distance (LSD) shoes.

If you're looking for a shoe to wear for long mileage or just need a comfortable pair on those recovery or easy days, the Altra Escalante 1.5 is the perfect shoe!

 

Altra-Escalante-1.5-upper-3.jpg

 

Altra Running is a smaller brand that many people might not be familiar with. They are known for their zero heel drop and for what they call their natural foot shape toe box, which means that the platform is much wider near the forefoot to allow for your foot to splay.

The Escalante range is one of the more minimal style shoes in their range.

Pros

Foot-shape toebox makes for a very comfy ride even after long ks. It is very accommodating for the extra foot spray that happens far into a long run.

As a wide foot runner, I usually have to wear 2E or 4E width shoes (or suffer significant blistering) in many brands, but the Altra line makes for quite a roomy and comfortable fit.

 

Altra-Escalante-1.5-outsole-3.jpg

 

Cushioning. At 24 mm of stack height, it makes for quite a cushioned ride. The Altra EGO™ midsole feels very soft but bouncy and will carry you through any length of a long road run.

I've taken this shoe over multiple 40+ km road runs, and my feet feel fresh at the end of it. I have no issues with foot fatigue wearing these shoes.

 

Altra-Escalante-1.5-midsole-3.jpg

 

The knit upper is very comfortable and quite breathable. Being a knit material, I have found it much more comfortable than any of the mesh or synthetic type materials that are used quite frequently in other shoes.

Knit materials are much softer and more flexible. It feels as though the shoe upper contours itself around your foot shape. Around the heel collar, the cushions on the side and back make for a secure and soft fit.

 

Altra-Escalante-1.5-upper-material.jpg

Cons

The foot is not secure due to the very flexible upper. I encountered significant slippage of my foot from the platform of the shoe when doing any sort of turning.

It is quite terrible at turning sharp corners. If you're a fan of running in a straight line forever, then you'll have no problems.

Responsiveness. It's a shoe well and truly built for LSD. Intervals or tempo workouts won't quite cut it. It's perfect for any type of long steady run at a very consistent pace.

But as soon as you up the tempo, you really feel like the shoe lets you down. It does not respond well to changes in pace.

Transitioning to low drop shoes. This last one piece of advice: if you aren't used to wearing low drop shoes, transitioning to Altra's may take some time.

It's wise to slowly change your shoe drop over a period of time as you will feel your calf, soleus, and achilles working a lot more.

 

Altra-Escalante-1.5-zero-drop.jpg

To sum it all up

I think the Altra Escalante is an amazing shoe for running Long Slow Distances. They are my go-to shoe for any type of slow, consistent pace run, such as recovery or easy days.

It does have few problems when it comes to turning but makes for a fantastically comfortable ride. Just don't take them out for those fast, snappy runs.

If you enjoyed this review, check out my next review that compares the Altra Escalante 1.5 to the Altra Escalante Racer, it's slightly more slimmed-down version made for racing.

Jin Kato | Level 1 expert Verified
Age Champion Senior Men's 1 YTF 50km embracing the freedom of trail running. Run fast, run slow. Run high, run low. If you're having enough fun, you'll have eventually run an Ultramarathons without realising. Relax, breathe, and enjoy the experience.

  • Designed for runners with neutral foot mechanism, the Altra Escalante 1.5 receives a major update in its upper. Having a Zero Drop platform with the same midsole and outsole technologies, the shoe continues to deliver a soft and springy ride.
  • The new Altra Escalante now features am engineered knit upper which offers enhanced comfort and breathability. The knit material is stretchable enough to wrap the foot snugly.

The Altra Escalante 1.5 has a standard running shoe length. It offers a medium fit in the heel and midfoot section, and it has a wide toe-box area. The FootShape Toe-box allows the toes to move comfortably. This running shoe is available standard medium width for both men’s and women’s versions.

The FootPod technology is integrated into the outsole of the Altra Escalante 1.5.  The main purpose of this technology is to map the bones tendons on the foot. The goal of which is to aid and improve in the bending and moving of the foot in a natural way.

The outsole is made from a durable rubber material which is designed to deliver durability and traction. The outsole design is sturdy enough to make the shoe last longer.

The Altra Escalante 1.5 has a fully-cushioned Zero Drop midsole, same as the Altra Torin 3.0. With the Zero Drop platform, the heel and forefoot are placed on the same distance from the ground. This design is to promote proper foot movement. It also reduces impact throughout the gait cycle.

To give runners a soft yet responsive cushioning, Altra makes use of the Altra Ego midsole compound. This material is described as a dual-nature midsole cushioning. It is focused on providing a more responsive and bouncier underfoot feel. It also aims to deliver consistent and durable cushioning throughout the run.

The InnerFlex design is also integrated into the midsole of the Escalante 1.5. It is composed of grid-like grooves strategically placed in the midsole. It allows the foot to bend naturally while running. Either for long-distance or short runs, the InnerFlex aims to provide flexibility for a smoother transition.

The 6mm contour footbed offers the foot added underfoot cushioning. It also enhances the overall fit of the shoe.

In the upper of the Altra Escalante 1.5 is the engineered knit material. It is designed to give the foot a comfortable and breathable environment. The knit material is stretchable enough to wrap the foot snugly.

360 reflective details are added into the upper knit material. It increases visibility, especially on low-light running conditions.

This lightweight running shoe features the FootShape toe-box. The primary focus of this material is to enable the foot to relax throughout the running session. The toes can also spread out comfortably and naturally. As a result, foot positioning and stability are enhanced.

The decoupled heel offers minimal construction for a fast and lightweight running experience.

The collar and tongue of the shoe are moderately padded. They aim to enhance comfort and overall foot lockdown.

The Altra Escalante 1.5 has a lace-up closure. Runners can easily loosen and tighten the laces to get the perfect fit. Lace loops are also attached to the tongue of the shoe. The loops keep the laces from getting in the way while running.

Escalante 1.5 is one of the dependable racing shoes from Altra. It is has a lightweight design with breathable coverage and consistent cushioning. Based on some Altra Escalante 1.5 reviews, runners positively accepted this model; they are truly delighted by the shoe’s performance. But how does Altra Escalante 1.5 compared to other racing shoes?

Nike Zoom Fly SP

The Zoom Fly SP is a popular competition running shoes from Nike that is sold at an expensive price. The upper of the is very lightweight and it offers breathable coverage to the foot. The shoe has a very responsive and durable cushioning. Designed for the roads, the Nike Zoom Fly SP has reliable traction for paved surfaces. The performance of the Zoom Fly SP is comparable to the Altra Escalante 1.5. Both running shoes have gathered positive reviews from users of all levels.

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon

The Fresh Foam Beacon is one of the newest running shoes from the New Balance’s competition shoes. Designed for road running, the Fresh Foam Beacon has a lightweight design, responsive cushioning, and comfortable fit. Just like the Altra Escalante 1.5, this New Balance running shoe also gained positive feedback from users. Performance-wise, the Beacon is also a good option, especially of runners who are looking for cheap running shoes for competition use.

Nike Odyssey React

The Nike Odyssey React is a popular running shoe designed for road running. Just like the Escalante 1.5, the shoe offers an impressive and comfortable fit. It has an affordable price but performance-wise, the Odyssey React is not as impressive as the Escalante. But overall, the shoe is still worth trying, especially for runners who are looking for a budget-friendly competition shoe.

Size and fit

True to size based on 379 user votes
Small (14%)
True to size (80%)
Large (6%)
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Same sizing as Altra Escalante 2.5.

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How Escalante 1.5 compares

This shoe: 93
All shoes average: 86
58 99
This shoe: $130
All shoes average: $119
$40 $350
This shoe: 7.9oz
All shoes average: 9.5oz
3.5oz 16.2oz
Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com