• Discontinued
  • Terrain


    Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.


    Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.

    Good to know

    As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.

  • Arch support
    Arch support

    Neutral / cushion / high arch

    Shoes for runners who do not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with normal, high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.

    Stability / overpronation / normal arch

    Shoes for runners who need mild to moderate arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a low arch. See the best stability shoes.

    Motion control / severe overpronation / flat feet

    Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.

    Good to know

    - Rule of thumb: If in doubt, buy neutral shoes to avoid injuries.
    - More about arch support in this video.
    - Find your arch type by following steps from this video.

  • Use

    Daily running

    Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.


    Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.

    Good to know

    If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.

  • Price
  • Weight
    Men: 8.1oz
    Women: 6.5oz
  • Heel to toe drop
    Heel to toe drop
    Men: 0mm
    Women: 0mm

    The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.

    There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.

  • Heel height
    Heel height
    Men: 24mm
    Women: 24mm
  • Forefoot height
    Forefoot height
    Men: 24mm
    Women: 24mm
  • Width
    Men: normal
    Women: normal
  • Release date
    Release date
Show more facts


We spent 9.6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

6 reasons to buy

  • Most runners noticed the improve design, more responsive ride and softer upper unit of the newest version of the Altra Instinct.
  • The Instinct 3.5 has an improved lacing system that gained positive feedback.
  • This shoe features the Natural Ride System that promotes natural foot movements.
  • The FootPod Outsole provides a responsive ride and flexibility.
  • Some runners noticed that this version offered improved cushioning.
  • The Quick Dry Air Mesh and the seamless design of the upper makes the interior and exterior clean and non-irritating to the skin.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Some runners pointed out that the sole of this shoe was too firm.
  • Based on some reviews, the heel cup was positioned too high, causing some discomfort to the backs of their feet.
  • Others noted that the forefoot section of the Instinct 3.5 was a bit narrow.

Bottom line

The Instinct 3.5 from Altra offers a newer look, an improved upper, added cushioning and a more responsive ride. It is a reliable stability shoe engineered for long-distance running and ultramarathons.


Expert Reviews

Experts are runners, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

Are you an expert? Apply to contribute here.

82 / 100 based on 13 expert reviews

Show moreless reviews
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Updates to Altra Instinct 3.5

  • The lacing system in the Instinct 3.5 has been redesigned. The Instinct 3.0 had a lacing system that’s too limited and tightly woven. Now, this version gives the laces a wider space between each other, making sure that most of the topside of the foot is covered. The crisscrossing of the laces even extends near the forefoot area of the shoe, making it cover more surface area.
  • The mid-foot area has been designed to have a medium volume, but it’s a bit snugger this time around. The upper unit hugs the foot well, but it doesn’t make the fit too tight or too restrictive.
  • The FootPod Outsole still offers natural flexibility, but the material used in this outer layer is firmer and more resilient against wear and abrasion. The entire sole unit still follows the natural foot shape design that’s prevalent in Altra shoes.
  • The platform of this model is easier to break in, but firmer than the previous iteration. Improved cushioning systems make sure that the platform is both resistant to breakdown and still efficient in flexible & responsive underfoot cushioning.

Altra Instinct 3.5 size and fit

The Instinct 3.5 fits half-a-size smaller than the regular sizing scheme. It is advised to buy this model ½ size above the standard choice. The medium-width of the heel and mid-foot areas make the fit snug and secure, while the wider forefoot area allows natural toe splaying.


The FootPod outsole was designed to mimic the natural shape of the human foot. Having such a design provides runners with a more natural ride that’s balanced and stable. Natural flexibility, freedom of movement and responsiveness are the selling points of this foot-shaped outer sole.


The A-Bound is a mid-sole compound that’s made from recycled materials. It’s environmentally friendly, but very sturdy. It protects the foot from impact and discomfort when running.

Dual-layer EVA foam is a unit that offers shock attenuation, springiness and responsive underfoot support. It’s a high quality material that doesn’t easily wear off or lose structural integrity. Runners can expect a well-protected, highly efficient ride with this in the platform.

The Natural Ride System encourages natural movement of the foot by following the shape of the foot. The forefoot area is more spacious and the rear section is snugger.

The zero-drop system makes sure that the runner achieves balance, especially when transitioning from the heel to the toe. Landing the foot on the ground ensures equal distribution of impact protection, energy and natural performance.


The Quick Dry Air Mesh provides breathable support to the runner. It’s lightweight and flexible, and it has moisture-wicking capabilities while further enhances the overall comfort.

The Heel Claw construction makes sure that the rear section of the foot stays locked down and secure. It makes it easier for runners to prevent accidental slips and shoe-removals when performing.

Next-to-foot comfort is afforded by the seamless design of the upper unit. It’s an efficient design that gets rid of irritation and discomfort when wearing the shoe. Having such a comfortable inner construction allows runners to wear the Altra Instinct 3.5 even without socks.

The 5mm-thick insoles add more cushioning. Because this shoe has a low-profile design and because it has a zero-drop platform, the additional layer helps to make the foot more comfortable even when running for longer periods of time.