Who should buy the Altra Vanish Carbon

Take the Vanish Carbon if you're looking to buy a pair of: 

Who should NOT buy it

If you're looking for a less pricey version of the Altra Vanish Carbon, experts recommend getting the Hoka One One Rocket X. Alternatively, you can also get the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2. Both of these shoes are not only cheaper; their laces also stay tied. 

However, if you're an Altra loyalist and don't mind losing the carbon-fiber plate, you can always take a look at the Altra Escalante Racer 19 instead. 

The Altra Vanish Carbon has speed written all over it

A major takeaway from various comments on the shoe's ride is that its performance is "through the roof!" It's springy, bouncy, and responsive; many runners find the Altra Vanish Carbon's ride "sublime."

Its energetic midsole and carbon plate work well together; multiple testers say it propels their foot forward, promoting "efficient and quick-cadence" strides. 

Even more, the feeling of fast is taken a step further by the seamless transitions offered by the rockered design of the shoe. On top of this, soft landings are delivered by the Vanish Carbon's cushion. 

Surefootedness is key

More than half of the reviewers say that in contrast to the Nike Vaporfly 4%, the Vanish Carbon from Altra is "far more stable", especially when turning corners.

According to multiple reports, it has a wide platform that allows planted steps. Stability is also taken further by the carbon-fiber plate's firmness, preventing the foot from rolling far to the sides. 

No more achy feet

The shoe has a "pretty good slab" of cushion, providing ample protection from the ground. A handful of commenters claim that their feet and legs "don't feel trashed" because the shoe's cushioning "can chew up miles."

A race-ready fit

Unlike other Altra shoes, the toe box of the Altra Vanish Carbon "isn't baggy." Various testers haven't found their feet swimming inside the shoe. In fact, they compare the shoe's fit to the Altra Rivera 2, but more locked in. 

From the rear to the midfoot, the shoe is snug. There are no unnecessary movements. And despite the heel cup being unstructured, it keeps the foot tucked. Generally, the shoe's fit has been described as "true to size," "streamlined," and "foot-forming."

And in the forefoot, there's enough room for the toes to splay naturally. Even better, there's enough space when the foot starts to swell after long miles on the road. 

Doesn't discriminate against wide feet

Although it's described as the "most trimmed Altra" in terms of fit (toe box included), critics with broad feet find their toes happy in the Altra Vanish Carbon.

The toe room is neither too tight nor too spacious; it hits the sweet spot between security and comfort. 

The laces are the least exciting part of this shoe

"They're terrible." This is one comment that summarizes them all perfectly. The laces don't stay tied, they're too thick and slick, and they're heavy. They're so bad; they recommend changing them at once. And for $240, several road runners just find this absurd.

Keeps its cool

The mesh upper is thin; everyone agrees that it keeps their foot breezy even under humid conditions. So much so that there are NO reports of sweaty and toasty feet even after several miles under the heat. 

Won't tip the scales

On average, racing shoes weigh in at 208 g/7.3 oz. in US M 9 while the Altra Vanish Carbon weighs 204 g/7.2 oz.—not a world of difference but every gram counts in the world of racing shoes. 

The Vanish Carbon is so "stripped down;" droves of reviewers state it's "as light as a feather." This toned-down weight is all owed to the shoe's insanely light midsole, minimal overlays, and lightly padded tongue and heel collar. 

The Vanish Carbon hurts the bank

It retails for $240, which is a lot. Contrary to other carbon-plated running shoes, which retail for $224 on average, it's an "outrageous price" to pay. And for a shoe that's only built to last for 150-200 miles, it makes the price even more unreal. 

Disclaimer: The low-mileage life expectancy of the shoe is not to say that it's a bad shoe. Racing flats are not really designed to be bruisers. The Altra Vanish Carbon is just a hell lot expensive for its per-mile cost. 

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 204g
Drop: 0mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 33mm
Heel height: 33mm
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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Altra Vanish Carbon 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.