Our verdict

A do-everything shoe, the Timp 4 from Altra is positioned as the brand's trail runner that can go the distance. With its plush and comfort-oriented construction, it delivers a soft and forgiving ride on our easy days out on the trail. Whether you're running on light or moderately technical trails, we can highly recommend the Altra Timp 4.

Pros

  • Grippy on wet trails and steep descents
  • Bouncy and responsive
  • Natural-feeling ride
  • Pillowy landing
  • Dampens impact
  • Wide toe box
  • Secure lockdown
  • Drains fast
  • Breezy under warm conditions

Cons

  • Way pricier than the Timp 3
  • Lacks stability on technical trails

Audience verdict

76
Bad!

Who should buy the Altra Timp 4

In our opinion, you should get the Timp 4 if you're looking to buy a: 

  • trail shoe for both long and short-distance daily trail runs 
  • soft yet peppy ride for light trails and moderately technical terrains

altra-timp-4-review

Who should NOT buy it

Runners who want a cheaper alternative to the Timp 4 can buy the Altra Superior 5 instead. And those who want surefooted strides on highly technical trails can consider the Altra Lone Peak 6.

Altra Timp 4 vs. 3: From hybrid to a more trail-ready shoe

Past iterations of the Altra Timp have been perfect for door-to-trail excursions, travelling, walking, and even hiking. In the fourth version, the changes made the shoe a more trail-specific one:

  • a new midsole that's softer and livelier
  • a modified lug layout to increase traction and flexibility for a more natural ride
  • a taller heel collar for a better fit
  • an altered heel that's plusher for a more premium feel

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Cushion is oozing with goodness

The midsole is softer than the last version, and there's so much of it; each footfall feels pillowy.

Whether running low or high miles in the Altra Timp 4, it mutes out ground feel and dampens all impact; it keeps pain at bay. 

We checked the Timp 4's foam softness with a durometer and it is indeed on the softer side. It is 37% plusher than trail shoes on average!

altra-timp-4-cushioning-softness-durometer

Disclaimer: The photo shows 1 out of 5 measurements that we took with the durometer to ensure accuracy.

However, the shoe's midsole has a tendency to firm up in cold temperatures. After spending 20 minutes in the freezer, the foam got 61.3% firmer.

This is a significantly bigger change compared to how other running shoes react to cold (24.5% firmer on average). So, the Altra Timp 4 is likely to require a little breaking in on a colder day.

altra-timp-4-cushioning-in-cold-temperature

As for the stack height, the shoe's got an average level of thickness in the heel (29 mm) but is considerably thicker in the forefoot (28.9 mm over the average 24.4 mm). The measured heel-to-toe drop (0.1 mm) also corresponds to Altra's zero-drop promise.

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altra-timp-4-forefoot-stack

Disclaimer: Our stack measurements include the insole. In the Altra Timp 4 it is 4.2 mm thick.

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Stability is somewhat sacrificed to the softness

However, the shoe's softer foam hurts its stability, especially on highly technical terrains.

In our tests, we also found that the shoe has less-than-average torsional rigidity which might as well contribute to the feeling of instability.

Dries fast, breathes well

Thanks to its porous upper, this shoe doesn't store moisture. Having run through creeks and puddles, the shoe didn't feel heavy when wet because it drains water really fast. Apart from excellent drainage, the shoe also maintains a breathable sensation under humid conditions.

See how easily the smoke passes through the upper on the Altra Timp 4 in our breathability test.

You can also see which parts of the upper are more breathable in our transparency test below.

The ride is better than ever

With the redesigned cushion, the Timp feels not only soft but also bouncy and fun! It didn't feel sluggish at all when the pace started to liven up. 

On top of this, the shoe is flexible which makes the ride even more natural-feeling. It is a little more flexible than average, but not too much. Only by 8%.

Disclaimer: We take 5 measurements before finalising the results to ensure accuracy.

The Timp 4's traction is great

It's definitely grippier than the Altra Timp 2 and 3 which lacked the bite on slick and rocky descents.

altra-timp-4-traction

In this new iteration, the Timp sticks not only on wet surfaces and steep descents but also bites better on light-fire roads and moderately technical terrains. 

This is actually a nice surprise given that the lugs of the Timp 4 aren't the deepest. We measured them at 2.9 mm, while the average is 3.5 mm.

altra-timp-4-lug-depth

Toebox: Altra roomy

The Altra Timp 4 may be in Altra's standard fit, but when compared to other running shoes, it's still exceptionally roomy.

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The shoe remains comfy and spacious even when the foot starts to swell after long miles of running.

The upper of the Altra Timp 4 has a solid width of 100.7 mm in the forefoot. This is roomier than the average 98.2 mm.

altra-timp-4-toebox-width

If you're an Altra fan who prefers an even wider toe box, have a look at the Altra Lone Peak.

Keeps you locked in

The Altra Timp 4's midfoot is snug and we have no complaints of slips. And in the heel, the shoe was made plusher and more secure as a result.

But do keep in mind that the heel counter is pretty flexible. We rated it as 1 out of 5 (1 being the most flexible) in our manual assessment test. This can be a downside to those looking for a highly supportive heel hold.

The gusseted tongue also plays its part in keeping the foot in place throughout the run.

altra-timp-4-gusseted-tongue

The tongue is extra padded where it's most needed

Altra went with an interesting design tweak by putting more padding on the very top of the tongue, where the risk of lace bites is higher. It is 10.4 mm thick in this area.

altra-timp-4-tongue-thickness

However, closer to the toes, the tongue is made thinner where padding isn't so necessary. It is 6.7 mm down there.

altra-timp-4-tongue

A big jump in price

From £150, the Timp 4 from Altra goes all the way up to £170. That's a pretty significant price increase! To put it in perspective, trail shoes, on average, retail for £150. 

altra-timp-4-weight

Gaitor attachments are handy

You can easily add a gaitor thanks to the Velcro piece on the heel and a hoop on top of the laces.

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