The Altra Escalante Racer is a shoe built for longer distance races such as half marathons and marathons. As a training shoe, it makes for the perfect tempo companion.
If you're a fan of minimalist shoes but still want enough protection underfoot, this is the perfect choice.
As the name suggests, this shoe is a much more stripped-down version of Altra’s popular shoes, it’s predecessor - the Escalante range. I do make several comparisons to the Escalante 1.5 in this review.
I’ve logged over 200 km in these shoes and here are my impressions.
The Altra brand is famous for its Foot Shape Toebox. As a frequent sufferer of fat foot-itis and having to search for 2E or 4E shoes, the Altra range makes for a very accommodating fit.
The extra room in the forefoot you get due to their FootShape Toe box makes their brand one of my go-to for any type of long run. It is extremely accommodating (foot splay) deep into those long runs.
The shoes have a visibility perforated upper that has fantastic breathability and is also sturdy enough to provide a snug fit.
Breathability is one of the biggest features of this shoe. The design of the upper allows for constant airflow, reducing the amount of sweat build up which can be quite a lot of discomfort in other shoes.
Compared to the Escalante range, the upper is definitely one of the major improvements. It is much more reinforced, making it less flexible.
This means that it doesn’t quite contour to your foot like the Escalante 1.5, but it does solve one of the biggest issues - slippage. It gives you a lot of confidence in turning corners or making sudden changes in direction.
One pitfall is that due to the sturdiness of the upper, thick socks are needed. Wearing thin shoes, I did experience some uncomfortable abrasion from the harder upper.
Straight out of the box the foam was very firm, almost too firm. But reaching over 20 km, the foam finally started to break in and though it retained a slight firmness, it started to feel much more bouncy.
For those that have worn the Altra Escalante's, there is 2mm less stack height on this shoe. But don’t let that fool you. It feels completely different underfoot.
Unlike the Escalante range, these shoes are very firm underfoot. That is because the 2mm that was removed provided much of the pillow softness to the Escalante.
The heel collar is very light and minimally cushioned. I loved how they removed much of the unnecessary cushioning that was present in the Escalante 1.5.
This makes for a much more snug fit around the heel and makes it feel very secure. I have experienced 0 heel slippages in this shoe.
There’s not much to say about the tongue other than to say that it is no-nonsense. It is a thin, soft piece of lightweight material.
It provides just enough protection from the laces. The tongue also features a handy tab to tuck your laces away.
Who says design doesn’t matter? If you feel fast, you’ll run FAST. These shoes have one of the coolest designs on the market.
Altra releases a different colourway of different marathons across the world and sold as "limited edition." I have the Singapore model but my other favourites are the Berlin and NYC models. They look absolutely fantastic.
If not for the awesome features of the shoes, you might as well buy them as an art display.
These shoes do come at an expensive price tag and this is the biggest drawback. Given that these are made as limited release shoes, and the design and colourways are absolutely beautiful, I can almost forgive the price tag.
The best selling point is that these shoes are like nothing else you can find on the market. Altra definitely makes unique shoes that are stylish but extremely functional.
As with all zero-drop shoes, if you aren’t used to it, it can take a while to transition into. Lower drop shoes will activate your calf, Achilles, and soleus a lot more. Without taking a steady transition you do risk injury.
Good to know
- The Altra Escalante Racer is the high-performance version of the Escalante model. This race-ready running shoe is designed to lighter and faster. It is packed with the necessary technologies for maximum performance and comfort.
- The lightweight shoe, with a Natural Foot Design, uses the Altra Ego compound in its midsole. It is designed to deliver durable cushioning that is responsive and bouncy.
- In the outsole of the Escalante Racer is the FootPod Technology. It aims to help the foot move naturally as possible.
- The shoe also uses a Static Engineered Knit, which delivers breathability, comfort, and added support.
The racing version of the Escalante 1.5 features the notable FootPod Technology. The purpose of this technology is to provide flexibility to the foot. It maps out the tendons and bones of the foot, helping the foot to flex and move naturally. It is also made of rubber material, which gives traction and durability to the outsole.
Just like the other running shoes from Altra, the Escalante Racer follows a Zero Drop Platform, which means the forefoot and the heel are placed at the same distance from the ground. This design promotes a low-impact landing, resulting in a more satisfying experience.
In the midsole of the Escalante Racer is the Altra Ego. It is a dual-nature midsole compound that extends from the forefoot to the heel area. It delivers a high level of underfoot cushioning that is soft yet very responsive. This technology also aims to give runners with long-lasting comfort.
For flexibility, Innerflex technology is added to the midsole. It is composed of grid-like grooves designed for the foot to flex efficiently. It encourages faster and better performance.
The removable 5mm contour footbed gives added cushioning and enhances the overall fit.
In the upper of the Altra Escalante Racer is the engineered knit mesh. It provides the foot breathable and comfortable foot wrap. The knit mesh is lightweight and flexible enough to accommodate the foot snugly.
It has a FootShape Toe Box which is designed to give the toes enough room to move.
The shoe has a lace-up closure that secures the foot while running. It also has a lightly padded tongue and collar for enhanced fit and comfort.