Who should buy the Altra Rivera 2

Take the Rivera 2 from Altra if you're: 

  • just transitioning to zero-drop running shoes (If you are not sure if these are right for you, see our guide on the heel-to-toe drop)
  • looking for a solid-all rounder that can handle daily training and tempo paces
  • searching for a roomy shoe that welcomes foot swelling after long miles
  • wanting to buy a pair of running shoes that can double for gym training

Altra Rivera 2 logo

Who should NOT buy it

If you don't mind paying extra for a snappier ride that's more performance-oriented, experts advise getting the UA Flow Velociti Wind instead. 

Altra Rivera 2 altra

And if you want more stack for recovery days, and anything slower, the Altra Torin 4 is a better option. 

Altra Rivera 2 vs. 1 

The midsole and outsole of the Altra Rivera 2 carry over the same components from the first iteration. The changes employed by the second version are mainly focused on fit, implementing: 

  • a softer, more pliable upper for a more accommodating fit
  • a snugger heel, addressing the heel lock issues of its precursor

Altra Rivera 2 rearfoot fit

Comes to life during fast runs

"Energetic," "rebounding," and "responsive." This is how the majority describe the ride of the Altra Rivera 2 when they pick up the pace.

Altra Rivera 2 responsive

Cozy for the long miles ahead

It's not a max-cushioned running shoe, but testers find its midsole adequate and comfy enough for high-mileage efforts. It's neither too soft nor firm, and the ground feel isn't too much. 

Altra Rivera 2 midsole

Keeps you steady

This is thanks to the Altra Rivera 2's broad forefoot and grippy outsole. On both flat and rugged surfaces, it encourages stable strides. 

Altra Rivera 2 rubber outsole

Won't weigh you down

Like the Altra Escalante 2.5 (8.5 oz), the Rivera 2 (8.5 oz) is light on paper and on the road. For reference, the average speed trainer weighs in at 8.9 oz in (US M 9).

Altra Rivera 2 padding

Roominess: Altra level

Although it's dubbed as Altra's "least roomy" running shoe, many still find the toe box "very spacious." Even those with wide feet and those with bunions can enjoy it. 

Altra Rivera 2 toe box

Adapts to the natural shape and contours of the foot

According to multiple runners, the Rivera 2's upper has "more give" and is "more pliable;" it wraps comfortably and securely. 

Altra Rivera 2 lacing system

With its higher heel collar, rearfoot lockdown is improved. The midfoot fit is also spot-on. 

A step-up in the looks department

Road runners describe the second edition of the Altra Rivera as "classy" and "elegant." With the shoe's perfectly-combined colors, gone are Altra's "toy-like" designs of the past. 

Altra Rivera 2 design

The Rivera 2 is too flexible

This hurts the snappiness of the shoe, hindering its full potential during faster efforts. 

Altra Rivera 2 flexible

Lackluster ride during mellow days

This is especially noticeable for recovery runs and anything slower. During landing, the heel feels very firm, and the ground feel is more pronounced, which can be bothersome. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 240g / Women 196g
Drop: Men 0mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: Men 26mm
Heel height: Men 26mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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Altra Rivera 2 video reviews

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.