Our verdict

The Altra Outroad 2 emerges as a road-to-trail option that delivers a well-rounded mix, mostly hitting high notes: It's priced right at $120, handles all roads and some trails, and its MaxTrac outsole offers both great grip and impressive longevity. In our tests in the lab, we really liked its foot-shaped design, combined with the authentic zero-drop running experience Altra is known for. On the flip side, we think that the foam could have a bit more energy return, and it's not the shoe for rugged trails or high-speed runs. All in all, we think that the Outroad 2 is a solid choice for those seeking a versatile, budget-friendly hybrid shoe that doesn't sacrifice comfort for performance.

Pros

  • Perfectly versatile for both road running and easy trails
  • Spacious upper featuring Altra's FootShape design
  • Not as overly wide as some other Altra models
  • Attractively priced at $120
  • Excellent grip on fire roads and smooth trails
  • Natural, zero-drop running experience
  • Exceptional outsole durability
  • Comfortable enough for all-day wear

Cons

  • Could benefit from being lighter
  • Insufficient cushioning for heel strikers
  • Not suitable for moderate to difficult trails

Audience verdict

80
Good!

Who should buy

We believe the Altra Outroad 2 is a perfect match for:

  • Loyal Altra enthusiasts seeking a reliable, road-to-trail running shoe.
  • Midfoot or forefoot strikers eager to dive into their first zero-drop adventure.
  • Natural-running aficionados looking for an affordable, versatile option.

Altra Outroad 2

Who should NOT buy

The Altra Outroad 2 is fantastic for many, but it might not be the top choice for heel strikers due to its low heel-to-toe drop.

We think other shoes we've tested in the lab, like the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 or the Hoka Challenger 7, might suit that footstrike better.

Altra Outroad 2

Also, if you're looking for a more dynamic, cushioned experience, this might not be the best Altra pick. While its Ego foam is decent, Altra has more to offer. The Altra Olympus 5, for instance, boasts a higher stack height and the more vibrant EgoMax foam. However, it's a bit pricier.

Breathability

The Altra Outroad 2 features a multi-layered engineered mesh that, at first glance, doesn't look very breathable—it lacks visible ventilation holes and doesn't appear thin. But let's see how it performs in our smoke test.

We were pleasantly surprised this time. The mesh actually offers good ventilation in the lab, earning a solid 4/5 rating from us.

This proves the importance of a rigorous approach when assessing breathability. For example, when we moved the upper over the light, it seemed to lack breathability.

Altra Outroad 2 microscope

Then, we took a closer look under the microscope.

Altra Outroad 2 microscope

We never get tired of checking out uppers under the microscope.

Here, the engineered mesh upper revealed its intricate design—a mix of threads in multiple directions, striking a balance between breathability and durability.

Finally, we examined the exterior and interior parts of the upper. We found it decently padded, although not very stretchy, which aligns with the construction we observed under the microscope.

Test results
Outroad 2 4
Average 3.3
Compared to 83 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

With its impressive breathability and pleasant feel, we were bracing for a disappointing result in the durability test.

And sadly, our suspicions were confirmed. After putting it through the wringer with our Dremel, we had to give it a lowly 2/5 score.

Altra Outroad 2 Toebox durability
Test results
Outroad 2 2
Average 3.1
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Next, we kept the Dremel running and focused it on the heel to gauge durability in this critical area.

Fortunately, the Outroad 2 exceeded our expectations, outperforming the average and snagging a commendable 3/5 score.

Altra Outroad 2 Heel padding durability
Test results
Outroad 2 3
Average 2.9
Compared to 61 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Switching gears to the MaxTrac outsole, we grabbed our durometer—a tool designed to measure material hardness.

We used it to check the hardness on the Altra Outroad 2, getting a feel for the toughness of the rubber used. With a reading of 86.5 HC, it's right there in the average range, likely aiming for a sweet spot between durability and grip.

Altra Outroad 2 Outsole hardness
Test results
Outroad 2 86.5 HC
Average 85.4 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

In our final Dremel test, we were super curious to see how durable the outsole was, especially after finding out it's not particularly hard.

Well, Altra really knocked it out of the park with this formulation! We only measured a tiny 0.5-mm indentation after our Dremel test. That's impressive, considering most shoes usually show double the wear!

Altra Outroad 2 Outsole durability
Test results
Outroad 2 0.5 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Considering the Outroad has a 2.8-mm thick outsole, it's highly unlikely that any user, no matter their weight, would wear down this part of the shoe.

Altra Outroad 2 outsole

Actually, for version 3, we'd like to see a thinner outsole to help shave off some weight.

Test results
Outroad 2 2.8 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

Talking about weight, the Outroad 2 hit 10.3 oz or 291g on our scale. Sure, it's around the average and doesn't feel like a brick, but honestly, there's room for improvement.

We believe Altra could easily drop this shoe below the 10-oz mark with minimal sacrifices.

Altra Outroad 2 Weight
Test results
Outroad 2 10.26 oz (291g)
Average 10.30 oz (292g)
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Like many Altra shoes, the heel isn't very high, since a higher stack would likely make the forefoot too elevated in a zero-drop running shoe.

So, you'll have to give up some cushioning in the heel. However, this shouldn't be a big deal for most Altra fans, as zero-drop shoes are mainly designed for forefoot and midfoot strikers.

Altra Outroad 2 Heel stack
Test results
Outroad 2 26.9 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot thickness is on par with most running shoes at 25.5 mm, striking a nice balance.

But don't expect the Outroad 2 to excel in the long stuff. Its sweet spot is more for casual, short-to-medium distance runs.

Altra Outroad 2 Forefoot stack
Test results
Outroad 2 25.5 mm
Average 24.5 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

Although it's advertised as a zero-drop shoe, our measurements show the Outroad 2 with a slight heel drop of 1.4 mm. This isn't unusual for Altra shoes; they're almost never exactly 0-mm. For example, we measured the Torin 7 with a -0.8 mm drop.

However, this difference is pretty minor. For all practical purposes, the Outroad 2 still feels like a zero-drop shoe.

Altra Outroad 2 Drop
Test results
Outroad 2 1.4 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 105 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

There's not much to say about the insole thickness—it's pretty standard at 4.5 mm.

Altra Outroad 2 Insole thickness
Test results
Outroad 2 4.5 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
2.7 mm
Insole thickness
9.8 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

Shifting to the midsole, we encountered Altra's Ego foam, featuring a balanced softness at 25.5-HA.

As outlined in our advanced foams guide, Ego is a run-of-the-mill EVA foam, yet it offers pleasing cushioning and a moderately responsive ride. Also, it's unrealistic to expect higher-end varieties like Ego Pro or Ego Max in a $120 shoe.

Altra Outroad 2 Midsole softness
Test results
Outroad 2 25.5 HA
Average 22.7 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Midsole softness in cold

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

To see if cold temperatures affected the shoe's feel, we put it in the freezer for 20 minutes and then tested it again. After cooling down, the shoe felt a bit firmer, measuring 29.9 HA.

Altra Outroad 2 Midsole softness in cold
Test results
Outroad 2 29.9 HA
Average 28.2 HA
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
11.8 HA
Midsole softness in cold (soft to firm)
48.4 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

This marks a 17.2% increase, which is notably better than most running shoes. It's more evidence that Ego isn't just your cheap EVA, but a more interesting version with superior qualities.

Test results
Outroad 2 17.2%
Average 26.4%
Compared to 82 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

We experienced impressive stability while testing the Outroad 2, but let's make it clear—this isn't a stability shoe.

However, it boasts prominent sidewalls in the midfoot that guide the stride effectively. And, with its firm foam, we can confidently say it's suitable for those who typically need mild stability in their shoes.

Torsional rigidity

After twisting the shoe, we settled on a 3/5 rating for the Outroad 2, which is pretty average.

This seems like the right call for a shoe aiming to be versatile and comfortable for various activities, whether it's walking the dog or strolling through the forest.

Test results
Outroad 2 3
Average 3.5
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter also takes an average approach, earning another 3/5. It's well-crafted and secures the heel nicely, so we're quite pleased with it. Making it stiffer could have increased stability for heel strikers, but the trade-off in comfort would have been too great.

Test results
Outroad 2 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Staying true to Altra's unique FootShape design, the Outroad 2 boasts an impressively wide forefoot area, measuring 115.6 mm. This further confirms that the shoe is ideally suited for those who strike the ground with the front part of their foot.

Altra Outroad 2 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Outroad 2 115.6 mm
Average 112.1 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The heel, on the other hand, is quite the opposite, being notably narrower than most running shoes at just 85.1 mm. If we typically don't recommend zero-drop shoes for heel strikers, this narrow heel is another reason to consider a different shoe if that's your running style.

Altra Outroad 2 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Outroad 2 85.1 mm
Average 89.7 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

In the lab, we used our digital force gauge to bend the shoe all the way to 90 degrees.

We measured a resistance of 25.5N, which further highlights this shoe's comfort and flexibility. It's clearly capable of all-day wear!

Test results
Outroad 2 25.5N
Average 28.1N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Stiffness in cold

We put the shoe back in the freezer to mimic cold conditions and then repeated our bending test. This time, the force needed to bend it increased to 33.5N.

Test results
Outroad 2 33.5N
Average 38.0N
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
11.9N
Stiffness in cold
92.1N

Difference in stiffness in cold

This 31.1% difference means the change will be slightly noticeable for those living in very cold climates. However, for the rest of us in less freezing temperatures, we won't really feel any difference.

Test results
Outroad 2 31.1%
Average 35.1%
Compared to 103 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

As a versatile road-to-trail hybrid shoe, the outsole needs to handle asphalt, dirt roads, and moderate trails. As we covered in our outsole guide, this typically means shorter lugs.

Altra Outroad 2 lugs

Altra smartly chose this path with 2.2-mm lugs, ideal for fire roads and easy trails, and even suitable for some road use if necessary. However, it's not the best choice for tackling muddy or challenging terrain. Check the Salomon Speedcross 6 for that.

Altra Outroad 2 Lug depth
Test results
Outroad 2 2.2 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Altra is widely known in the running biz as the "wide toebox" company, but there's an exception—shoes with their "Slim fit" design, and this is one of them.

Because of that, the measurement in the widest part of the toebox came in at 99.4 mm, which still can be considered medium-to-wide, but for being an Altra, is on the narrower side.

Altra Outroad 2 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Outroad 2 99.4 mm
Average 98.8 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Of course, true to the FootShape design cues, the toecap is very rounded, and we measured it at 82.8 mm. This is how we think in the lab that most daily running shoes should feel—roomy, with enough toe splay, and resembling the shape of a foot.

Altra Outroad 2 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Outroad 2 82.8 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 68 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue is semi-gusseted and does a great job. It's not very common to get this kind of tongue in a $120 shoe, so we're really happy with this.

Altra Outroad 2 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Outroad 2 Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

With a 7.1 mm thick padding on the tongue, there's more than enough cushioning to prevent almost any issue, even for those who tie their laces with Hulk-like strength.

Altra Outroad 2 Tongue padding
Test results
Outroad 2 7.1 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 106 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

We discovered a finger-loop heel tab, which not only adds a cool touch but also makes it super convenient to slip on the shoes and head out for a run.

Altra Outroad 2 Heel tab
Test results
Outroad 2 Finger loop

Removable insole

The insole isn't glued down, so you can remove it easily and without any fuss.

But there's a catch—since this shoe incorporates Altra's FootShape design, most third-party insoles might not fit perfectly in it...

Altra Outroad 2 Removable insole
Test results
Outroad 2 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

We're huge fans of reflective elements on running shoes and really think they should be a must-have on trail shoes.

So, you can imagine our smiles in the lab when we shone the light on the Outroad 2. They've added reflectivity in a rare way, but we totally loved it. Just check out those laces!

Altra Outroad 2 Reflective elements
Test results
Outroad 2 Yes