The Altra Escalante line brings a well-cushioned, yet minimal shoe, which works great as a daily trainer, for subtle speedwork, and long runs likewise.
The 0 mm heel to toe drop is well-balanced by the Altra Ego midsole construction, providing excellent support for almost any regular distance.
Altra really did listen to the runners, improving the well-received Escalante 1.0 in almost every way.
While the Escalante 1.0 had a nice sock-like, highly comfortable feel right out of the box, it also had some flaws, especially in sharp turns, easy trails, and speedwork. These did not let the comfy construction of the Escalante 1.0 shine.
But, Altra did a fantastic job updating this. Although the 2.0 version of Altras shoe did not feel as great as the 1.0 out of the box, after a couple of runs it felt even better.
Sure, the 1.0 is comfortable beyond everything on a daily basis, running is just more fun when you can trust your footwear in any situation. And this is what the Escalante 2.0 certainly provides.
The newly engineered upper is probably the biggest change. It feels less sock-like, and the midfoot is well-secured, giving a snug fit on the one hand without restricting the toe box.
Basically, you keep what you bought Altra shoes for: Zero Drop and a roomy toe box and add the secure feel of regular running shoe.
Pros of the Escalante 2.0
After a really short break-in period, the Escalante 2.0 feels extremely good on almost every distance and every speed. I use it for my longer runs (25 km), recovery runs, and they do not let me down if I want to add a little speed in fartlek sessions or up-tempo kilometres.
I always felt that minimal shoes break in a little prematurely and show high abrasion where other shoes might hold up better, especially the Altra Escalante 1.0.
The Escalante 1.0 showed abrasion on the exposed midsole material pretty quickly, and the rubber wore down quite fast. Thus, leaving the outsole with less traction even on easy trails.
But, the Escalante 2.0 are surprisingly durable. Even after 400 km, they show very little signs of abrasion and even the exposed midsole material holds up quite well.
I even increased the amount of trail running, meaning rougher surface in general. So, I have to say I am really satisfied durability-wise with the 2.0 update.
Version 2 on the left side, Version 1 on the right
I could recognize my cadence goes up while running in zero drop shoes. Therefore, I can highly recommend the Escalante 2.0 as a reliable, well-cushioned, yet minimal trainer.
It really helps to shake up the routine and comes with a nice health benefit—higher cadence, less impact force, better running form.
There is not a lot to say against the Altra Escalante 2, but I experienced an issue with the tongue. It kind of needs some time to adjust to my foot, which takes like 1 or 2 km, after that everything is fine and back to normal.
Another issue might be with the sizing. The stretchy upper my toes tend to overgrip, which sometimes feels kind of weird but does not bother while running.
When to choose Altra Escalante 2.0?
The Altra Escalante 2.0 is a perfect update to an already incredible engineered 0 drop line by Altra. I would definitely rate the shoe with 94/100, there is room for minor improvement, but in the end, the shoe just works.
Updates to Altra Escalante 2.0
- Having been designed to improve natural foot positioning, walking form, toe splay and comfort, the Altra Escalante 2 features several technical components and upgrades that complement these promised functionalities.
- The Altra Escalante 2 features a decoupled midsole and a decoupled outsole. This helps bring down the weight of the shoe and allows a more natural bend of the foot. It also enables smoother traction on the ground.
- The EGO™ midsole of the shoe is tailored to be firmer this time around to enhance the responsiveness of the ride.
- The shoe now employs a Balanced Cushioning, instead of a Zero Drop midsole, in order to promote equal distance of the forefoot and the heel from the ground.
- For added stability, the reinforced knit upper of the Escalante 2, compared the Escalante 1.5: its predecessor is much firmer to keep the foot in place while providing comfort. This upper has been equipped with more perforations to enhance the breathability of the shoe.
- The new 6mm polyurethane (PU) insole is established on the shoe for a softer underfoot experience and for superior comfort.
Size and fit
The Altra Escalante 2 is available in standard sizing measurement for both men and women. You can purchase a pair with your usual sizing preference.
The engineered knit upper provides a sock-like fit. Situated on the shoe’s upper is a padded collar and tongue. These help secure the foot while maximizing the in-shoe comfort. To allow an adjustable fit, traditional lace closure is employed by the Escalante 2.
FootPod™ outsole is made out of durable rubber that secures long-wearing qualities and added protection to the shoe from abrasive elements. It is modeled after the construction of the human foot, allowing maximum flexibility and promoting the natural movement and bend of the foot.
For a lightweight running experience, the outsole of the Altra Escalante 2 has been decoupled, along with the shoe’s midsole. This allows the foot to flex more freely.
The Altra EGO™ dual-nature midsole basically adapts to your pace- it becomes softer when you’re slowing down, and it becomes more responsive when you start to speed up. It boasts a fast and springy feel while still delivering comfort.
Just like the FootPod™ outsole of the shoe, the Altra EGO™ midsole has been decoupled. It is constructed with InnerFlex, comprised of a flex groove system that provides additional flexibility for a smoother transition. It also encourages the natural bend of the foot and cuts weight for a generally increased performance.
No longer employing the Zero-Drop midsole, the shoe now features a full-length Balanced Cushioning which basically delivers the same function of the Zero Drop. It places the heel and the forefoot at equal distance from the ground to promote correct, and low-impact form when running.
The FootShape™ toe box allows more comfort and stability during ascents and descents by enabling the toes to relax and spread naturally.
For increased comfort and long-lasting plushness of the shoe, a 6mm PU contour footbed is supplied to the shoe.
The reinforced engineered knit upper of the Escalante 2 provides a secure fit; it conforms to the shape of the foot for a sock-like fit. This upgraded upper of the shoe basically gives you more stability while maintaining the shoe’s snug fit. It also features added perforations for added breathability.
The Dri-Lex® Dri-Freeze heel liner has been integrated into the Altra Escalante 2 for heat control. It keeps your feet cool even after a long run, making sure that the moisture building up inside the shoe will quickly dry up.
For an adjustable fit, a traditional lace-up fastening system is employed by the shoe.
The shoe features a padded collar and a lightly-padded tongue embellished with multiple lace loops that disables the lace from getting in the way. It is responsible for making sure that the tongue is secured and does not move back and forth.