Our verdict

The Altra Timp 5 marks a significant leap forward, debuting a Vibram Megagrip outsole and achieving an impressive weight reduction from v4. At its heart, it maintains the zero-drop philosophy, and it's still great for daily trail runs, particularly on less demanding scenarios. In our tests, we noticed the ride leans toward the firm side, and for some minimalist enthusiasts, the Timp 5 probably lacks enough ground feel. Nevertheless, we think it's a stellar upgrade at a reasonable price point, providing a superb zero-drop choice for trail runners.

Pros

  • Vibram Megagrip outsole!
  • Massive weight improvement
  • Exceptionally stable
  • True zero drop
  • Ample cushioning
  • Secure fit
  • Wide, foot-shaped toebox
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Firmer midsole
  • Not for heel strikers

Audience verdict

82
Good!

Who should buy

After extensive testing on the trails and in the lab, we're convinced that the Timp 5 stands out for:

  • Low-drop fans seeking a trail shoe that promises stability and minimal weight while adeptly handling diverse terrains.
  • Forefoot strikers with wider feet in need of a versatile trail shoe that can accommodate all their running adventures.
  • Runners keen on transitioning to zero-drop shoes and beginning their journey with trail running as their starting point.
  • Those eyeing the Timp series but holding back due to the absence of a Vibram outsole.

Altra Timp 5

Who should NOT buy

If you're a fan of the Timp 5's features but you usually run in medium or high drop shoes, we suggest a gradual shift to avoid injury—starting with the Hoka Speedgoat 5. It's a middle ground in terms of drop that retains much of what we admire in the Timp 5, like the lightweight design and Vibram outsole. 

For those seeking a minimalist feel, we also think the Timp 5 isn't the best pick. Despite its zero drop, we found it quite rigid and too stacked. Instead, we recommend the Altra Lone Peak 8, which in our tests provided a more flexible and ground-connected experience.

Altra Timp 5 parts

Breathability

The Timp series is known for being Altra's all-rounder for trail running, so we expect at least decent breathability.

In our first test with smoke, the shoe got a fair score of 3 out of 5 for airflow. It's pretty good, but there's still some room for improvement here.

Then, in our light test, we noted that the upper was rather thick in the middle part of the shoe, which is different from a lot of other trail shoes. This means the arch of your foot can breathe easier and won't rub as much, which is great news if you have flat feet.

Altra Timp 5 mesh

Looking closer with a microscope, we saw that the Timp 5 doesn't have holes for air to get through, which might mean it'll do really well in our durability test to see how tough the mesh is.

Altra Timp 5 engineered mesh

When we checked out the upper by hand, we could tell it feels better than the previous version.

It stretches a bit and has just the right amount of padding to make it fit well and feel comfortable.

Test results
Timp 5 3
Average 3.3
Compared to 78 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Let's see the Dremel in action! We put the upper to the test and were thrilled with the results, scoring a solid 4/5.

The TPU overlay wrapping the toe cap proved its toughness, standing up remarkably well to the challenge. It was a superior performance that also showcased the engineered mesh resilience.

Altra Timp 5 Toebox durability
Test results
Timp 5 4
Average 3
Compared to 58 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

In our lab, we evaluate the heel padding at the standard spot we use for all shoes to ensure consistent, fair results.

The outcome was a just-average score of 3/5. It's unlikely to be an issue unless you are wearing socks made from sandpaper, which we don't think it's going to happen...

Altra Timp 5 Heel padding durability
Test results
Timp 5 3
Average 2.8
Compared to 56 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Finally! After being stuck with Altra's MaxTrac rubber, the Timp series has finally embraced Vibram in its fifth version. We're now treated to the Megagrip rubber, widely regarded as the pinnacle for trail running outsoles. This alone makes upgrading from the previous model a no-brainer.

Altra Timp 5 Vibram

To maintain a reasonable weight, the rubber coverage is strategically minimized.

Diving into our tests, we measured the hardness of the Vibram Megagrip outsole and recorded a robust 90.3 HC.

Altra Timp 5 Outsole hardness
Test results
Timp 5 90.3 HC
Average 85.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
72.5 HC
Outsole hardness
95.0 HC

Outsole durability

The grip is exceptional, as expected from Vibram's Megagrip. Durability, however, was a question we needed to address, so we brought out the Dremel once more here in the lab.

We were satisfied with the results! A wear of only 0.9 mm from our test suggests that the durability won't be a concern at all.

Altra Timp 5 Outsole durability
Test results
Timp 5 0.9 mm
Average 0.9 mm
Compared to 51 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Using our vernier caliper, we accurately checked the outsole's thickness—excluding the lugs—and recorded a 2.2-mm measurement.

This result is ideal for this shoe, especially since it lacks a rock plate. More than 2 mm of rubber ensures a certain level of protection against sharp rocks.

Altra Timp 5 Outsole thickness
Test results
Timp 5 2.2 mm
Average 2.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0.9 mm
Outsole thickness
6.5 mm

Weight

In our previous discussions, we noted the outsole's strategic coverage aimed at minimizing weight. This approach proved effective, as evidenced by the Timp 5's weight of just 9.5 oz (269g) in our lab—a superb achievement for a trail shoe.

The most notable improvement, however, is observed when comparing it to the Timp 4, which registered a stone-heavy 11.15 oz (316g) on our scales. That's what we call a massive improvement!

Altra Timp 5 Weight
Test results
Timp 5 9.49 oz (269g)
Average 10.34 oz (293g)
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
7.51 oz (213g)
Weight
13.37 oz (379g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

Concerns about a reduced midsole stack due to the lighter weight might arise, but rest assured, that's not the scenario here.

Our measurements show the heel stack remains consistent at 28.6 mm. This moderate stack height provides ample cushioning, ensuring comfort and support even for long runs, especially for lightweight runners.

Altra Timp 5 Heel stack
Test results
Timp 5 28.6 mm
Average 32.2 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
16.1 mm
Heel stack
42.4 mm

Forefoot stack

Shifting our focus to the forefoot, we anticipated a measurement mirroring the heel due to the shoe's zero-drop design.

Altra Timp 5 forefoot

Our calipers confirmed this, revealing a thickness of 28.7 mm—almost identical to the heel.

Altra Timp 5 Forefoot stack
Test results
Timp 5 28.7 mm
Average 24.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
15.2 mm
Forefoot stack
33.9 mm

Drop

Designed as a true zero-drop shoe, our meticulous measurements confirmed a negligible difference of -0.1 mm, well within manufacturing tolerances and measurement variations.

The Timp 5 earns our seal of approval as a true zero-drop trail shoe!

Altra Timp 5 Drop
Test results
Timp 5 -0.1 mm
Average 7.8 mm
Compared to 100 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
-0.1 mm
Drop
17.3 mm

Insole thickness

At a thickness of 4.9 mm, the insole sits comfortably within the standard range—nothing out of the ordinary. Throughout our test runs, it provided a seamless comfort.

Altra Timp 5 Insole thickness
Test results
Timp 5 4.9 mm
Average 4.7 mm
Compared to 101 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.

Altra's EGO MAX foam, blending EVA with TPU, strikes a nice balance between responsive spring and cushioning. While it may not offer the same energy return as Pebax-based midsoles found in trail shoes like the Nike Ultrafly, it does a good job.

In terms of softness, our measurement yielded a 24.5 HA score, positioning it in the realm of a well-balanced ride. It's not designed for a plush, walking-on-pillows experience at all.

Altra Timp 5 Midsole softness
Test results
Timp 5 24.5 HA
Average 23.0 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 77 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
9.1 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
39.0 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Designed as a versatile trail shoe, the Timp 5 needs to handle winter conditions. To assess its cold-weather performance, we chilled it near our ice cream stash for 20 minutes and then re-tested its flexibility.

The shoe only became 20.9% firmer—a good result, indicating it maintains its performance even in the chill.

Altra Timp 5 Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Timp 5 20.9%
Average 26.8%
Compared to 77 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Stability

Lateral stability test

Right from our first run, the Timp 5 felt like a trail-running version of a road daily trainer—smooth and reliable. It offers an impressively supportive ride for neutral runners, striking a perfect balance between stability and comfort.

Even those with mild pronation might find this shoe suitable, thanks to its well-balanced midsole and zero-drop design, which work together to stabilize the foot effectively.

Torsional rigidity

Upon removing the Timp 5 from our feet and examining its rigidity, the exceptional stability became clear to us. We rated this model a solid 4 out of 5—its rigidity impressed us, especially since it achieves this without the aid of any plates.

Yet, barefoot purists might find this rigidity off-putting, favoring greater flexibility instead. For those chasing the pinnacle of minimalist trail adventures, the Merrell Trail Glove 7 stands unrivaled.

Test results
Timp 5 4
Average 3.5
Compared to 95 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

The heel counter's design mirrors what you'd typically find in everyday running shoes, striking a balance between support and comfort at 3/5. In our opinion, this is an optimal approach for a shoe like the Timp 5.

Test results
Timp 5 3
Average 3.2
Compared to 93 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Upon initial inspection, the shoe didn't seem particularly wide. Yet, when measured with our digital calipers, the forefoot spanned up to 113.2 mm—a figure we consider standard.

This average dimension is particularly crucial for a zero-drop shoe, as it supports a forefoot landing and promotes a natural running form. Opting for a narrower design would have been detrimental in this context.

Altra Timp 5 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Timp 5 113.2 mm
Average 111.9 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
102.1 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
126.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The shoe's design narrows at the heel, measuring a slender 82.7 mm, which might not cater well to heel strikers seeking a broader base for impact.

Despite this, we recognize the intent behind this shape—it contributes to the shoe's overall lightness and nimbleness, presenting a favorable balance overall for most zero-drop enthusiasts, as they tend to be midfoot or forefoot strikers.

Altra Timp 5 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Timp 5 82.7 mm
Average 89.6 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
77.2 mm
Midsole width in the heel
109.3 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

Having previously noted the Timp 5's rigidity, we delved into testing its longitudinal flexibility, crucial for those uphill trail stretches where walking trumps running.

This Altra achieved a 28.1N score in our standardized 90-degree flex test, largely due to strategic outsole cutouts. These flex grooves ensured the shoe maintained just the right balance of stiffness, enhancing its suitability for a diverse range of trail adventures.

Test results
Timp 5 28.1N
Average 28.4N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
10.5N
Stiffness
54.5N

Difference in stiffness in cold

Mirroring our approach to midsole softness, we were eager to see how stiffness fared under winter temps.

The shoe demonstrated remarkable resilience again, stiffening by a mere 19.7%—a testament to its solid performance even in the coldest conditions!

Test results
Timp 5 19.7%
Average 35.3%
Compared to 98 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
102%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

We really liked how the Timp 5 works like an everyday trail shoe, thanks to its 3.0-mm lugs. These lugs are great for light trails and can even handle some road running. It might not be the best for very muddy or snowy places all the time, but it can deal with them once in a while. The Vibram rubber on the bottom gives it a lot of grip.

Altra Timp 5 cutouts

Instead of the usual chevron-shaped lugs on many trail shoes, the Timp 5 has a different approach to help keep you steady on flat and sloped ground. We really tested this out and it works well.

Altra Timp 5 Lug depth
Test results
Timp 5 3.0 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.7 mm
Lug depth
5.8 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

The Timp 5 showcases Altra's Standard Footshape, nestled between their Original and Slim fit models, offering a balanced fit in the brand lineup.

Altra Timp 5 Footshape

In our test, the toebox measured 100.1 mm across its widest point. While it stands out as broad when compared to many standard trail shoes, it presents a narrower silhouette by Altra's roomy standards.

Altra Timp 5 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Timp 5 100.1 mm
Average 98.7 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
92.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The big toe space is impressively generous, eclipsing shoes from other brands with ease.

We measured a spacious 90.1 mm, guaranteeing ample room for toe splay, even during the most grueling hundred-milers.

Altra Timp 5 Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Timp 5 90.1 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 63 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
70.5 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
92.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

We discovered that the tongue is seamlessly gusseted, keeping debris away from the toebox while guaranteeing a snug, secure lockdown—ideal for all distances.

Altra Timp 5 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Timp 5 Both sides (full)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The tongue boasts a comfortable 4.8 mm of padding.

Altra Timp 5 laces

The laces are exactly what you'd want in a quality trail shoe.

That's just enough for comfort without adding unnecessary weight to the shoe.

Test results
Timp 5 4.8 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 101 trail running shoes
Number of shoes
1.5 mm
Tongue padding
12.2 mm

Heel tab

At the heel, you'll find a handy finger-loop tab that not only makes slipping into the shoe a breeze but also looks awesome.

We also loved the gaiter attachment point located just below it—a clever Velcro strap that secures gaiters firmly to the shoe.

Altra Timp 5 Heel tab
Test results
Timp 5 Finger loop

Removable insole

The insole slips out effortlessly, yet given Altra's unique last shape, third-party insoles might not match up perfectly here.

Altra Timp 5 Removable insole
Test results
Timp 5 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

Yeees! We're fans of trail shoes that feature reflective details, and Altra has incorporated some into the Timp 5. However, we'd be thrilled to see an increase, like a reflective Altra logo for extra visibility...

Test results
Timp 5 Yes