Verdict from 3 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • Most customers were of the opinion that the shoe was highly comfortable.
  • The wide-footed runners found its toe-box sufficiently roomy.
  • The testers admitted that the outsole showed minimal signs of wear, even after many miles of running.
  • The customers admired the impressively soft and breathable upper.
  • A few runners mentioned that the shoe needed no ‘breaking in’; they were able to do many miles in these shoes straight out of the box.
  • One user commented that it was easy to transition through the gait cycle running in the Altra Paradigm 3.0, owing to the pair’s enhanced flexibility.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some customers thought that the overall look of the shoe was rather ‘boring’.
  • A number of users found durability issues with the Paradigm 3’s outsole after several miles of running.
  • The toe-box was rather narrow, a few runners observed.
  • A tester thought that the shoe’s design made it very difficult to clean after some dirt was stuck in it.

Bottom line

Altra Paradigm 3.0 generated a mixed response from its users. While the neutral running shoe provided excellent comfort and higher flexibility, some people believed that it could certainly use an improvement in its overall look and design for better durability and a firmer hold.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

Good to know

  • The FootPod Outsole delivers maximum flexibility, an impressive energy return and a good amount of traction on roads.
  • The A-Bound technology, along with the two-layered EVA midsole foam, gives an unparalleled experience of comfort and resilience against weight and landing impact. The comfortability is further enhanced with the help of ‘Strobel Last’ full-length fabric finish, which offers a soft underfoot experience.
  • The shoe also boasts the Natural Ride System (NRS) design in its midsole with features such as a zero millimeter heel-to-toe drop and the metatarsal mapping. These clever technologies allow for a natural foot movement and a customized fit for the users.
  • The Quick Dry Air Mesh ensures instant drying and cooling of the foot when subjected to hot or wet conditions.
  • The Bunion Window with an open toe box construction prevents uncomfortable rubbing of feet against the shoe in the forefoot region.
  • The Reflective Overlays on the Altra Paradigm 3’s upper increase the runner’s visibility in low light conditions.

The Altra Paradigm 3.0 is a pair of neutral running shoes which comes in the standard length and the standard medium width of D and B for men and women respectively.

The Altra Paradigm 3.0 uses the FootPod Outsole for higher flexibility and better responsiveness during longer runs and shorter sprints on asphaltic surfaces. The technology follows the natural shape of the foot, which enables the shoe to adapt itself to changing running positions while also delivering traction. This outsole configuration is also used in the Altra Paradigm 4 and other running shoes from Altra.

An interesting feature of the Paradigm 3.0 is that it uses an environmentally friendly, recycled compound, the A-Bound technology in its midsole which has proven to be very resilient against impact forces.

It further enhances the cushioning experience for its runners by using a very soft and highly durable double-layered EVA midsole material.

For better adaptability to the foot’s shape and its movement, the shoe houses the Natural Ride System (NRS) with a zero-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and a design that follow the natural motion of the foot. It allows unrestrained movements and enhanced flexibility during running sessions. 

The highly breathable Air Mesh in the Altra Paradigm 3’s upper maintains a healthy circulation of air throughout the shoe. Its efficiently porous structure gives this mesh the capability to wick away moisture, thus keeping the runner’s feet comfortably dry and cool.

The asymmetrical lacing design offers a better fit and zero sliding of the foot inside the shoe.

The Bunion Window with an open toe box prevents chafing of the forefoot region against the shoe, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

The Paradigm 3 comes with 5 mm thick removable insoles for an enhanced arch support and a customized feel of comfort.

Another useful feature of this shoe is the Reflective Overlay Wraps, which allow for increased visibility even in the extremely low light conditions.

Finally, the ‘Strobel Last’, an additional full-length design established underfoot, offers a natural in-shoe experience that’s potentially comfortable and secure.

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.