7 Best Altra Running Shoes in 2023

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Altra Running Shoes in 2023
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Whether it’s a trail or road running shoe you’re after, Altra has got you covered. The brand has always been highly regarded for its top-quality, supportive, and comfortable running shoes. 

And if you’re searching for the best of all time, we are here to help you. Having tested over 30 Altra running shoes, we are more than sure that we can give you the Altra gold mine from different categories. Thanks to our independent lab, along with our tools and gadgets, we are able to further examine each shoe, empirical style!

Best Altra running shoes overall

Altra Outroad

What makes it the best?

The Altra Outroad is an outlier in the Altra lineup as it has a more conventional toebox width. It also has a comfortable upper and enjoyable ride, which makes it our choice for our best Altra shoe option for narrow feet.

The Outroad has a slimmer fit than most Altra shoes, but it is by no means a narrow shoe. Our measurements had the forefoot at 99.1 mm, which is right around the average for running shoes. And our experience while wearing the Outroad was that while it still feels snugger than other Altras, it has more than enough toebox space and is not tight at all. 

The snug-fitting upper is quite comfortable as well. There is a generous amount of padding around the ankle and a semi-gusseted tongue that doesn't slide around. The heel counter scored a 2 out of 5 on our stiffness test, where 5 is the stiffest, which adds to the comfort.

The Outroad's midsole, which had a softness that we measured at 29.8 HA, is just slightly over the average of 27.8 HA. But it is nicely balanced as it provides a soft yet responsive ride on both trails and roads. 

However, the Outroad does get significantly less flexible in the cold. It got a shocking 71% stiffer after 20 minutes in the freezer, which made it 9% stiffer than the average running shoe at the same temperature. 


  • Great on roads and trails
  • Pliable upper
  • Amazing outsole durability
  • Comfy padding
  • Less bulky than other Altras
  • Low stack
  • Doubles as a traveling shoe
  • Appealing design


  • Toebox is not Altra-wide
  • Breaking-in needed
Full review of Altra Outroad

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Any color
Gray/Yellow (AL0A7R6N270)
Green (AL0A7R6N302)
Grey (AL0A7R6N241)
Tan (AL0A7R6N922)
White/Orange (AL0A7R6N108)
Orange (AL0A7R6N380)

Best Altra running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

There's no shoe in Altra's lineup that can better handle long-distance runs than the VIA Olympus. The shoe's beefy midsole offers excellent impact protection, while the smooth ride and comfortable upper make for an enjoyable overall running experience for long miles.

Cushioning is fantastic in the VIA Olympus. With 34.2 mm of heel stack height and 32.6 mm in the forefoot, which are 1 mm and 8 mm more than average, respectively, there was more than enough midsole foam to keep our feet well-protected on long runs.

The rocker geometry provides a nice smooth ride, which makes it enjoyable to cruise at easier paces. And while the midsole foam lacks bounce, we do feel a fair bit of responsiveness on our runs.

Despite being plush and generously padded, the upper is still well-ventilated and keeps our feet nicely cooled. We gave it a 4 out of 5 on our breathability test, with 5 being the highest score, as the smoke we pumped into the shoe had no problem passing the upper. 

The Altra VIA Olympus is a ridiculously stiff shoe. Aside from more than doubling the average shoe's score on our 90 degree bend test, it also got a 5 out of 5 on our torsional rigidity test, with 5 being the stiffest. So runners who want a shoe with more flexibility for added comfort on long runs should look at other options.


  • Comfortable and premium-feeling upper
  • Roomy, unmistakably-Altra fit
  • Secure lockdown even for narrow feet
  • Smooth and responsive ride
  • Good for any distance at an easy pace
  • Effective, but not obtrusive, rocker
  • Copious amount of padding
  • Breathable
  • Absorbs impact well


  • Cushioning on the firm side, but a toss-up on how firm
  • Doesn’t feel like a zero-drop shoe
  • Substantial break-in period
  • On the heavier side
Full review of Altra VIA Olympus

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Any color
Mineral Blue (AL0A82BW419)
Grey (AL0A82BW270)
Black (AL0A82BW000)
Orange (AL0A82BW013)
Beige (AL0A82BW140)
Neon Blue (AL0A82BW740)

Altra running shoes with the best cushioning

Altra Olympus 5

What makes it the best?

The Olympus 5 from Altra screams premium inside and out. It's the brand's most cushioned, most protective, and most expensive trail running shoe yet. With its luxurious midsole, running long distances is an easy feat. And if you want one shoe for your hikes and runs, the Altra Olympus 5 is ready for you.


  • Grippy on wet and dry trails
  • Protective muscles
  • Comfort is a 10/10
  • Toe box welcomes wide feet
  • Gives out energy
  • Breathable
  • Stable ride
  • Heel lockdown is terrific!
  • Easy on and off


  • Durability couldn't be worse
  • Annoying lace bites
  • It's a splurge
Full review of Altra Olympus 5

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Any color
Beige (AL0A7R6P922)
Grey (AL0A7R6P233)
Navy (AL0A7R6P445)
Orange (AL0A7R6P880)
Black (AL0A7R6P020)
Brown (AL0A7R6P990)
Blue (AL0A7R6P440)
Beige (AL0A7R6P921)
Burnt Orange (AL0A7R6P802)

Best Altra versatile running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Provision 6 features surprising versatility for a stability shoe. With its light weight, ample cushioning, and fantastic grip, the Provision 6 can capably perform on speedier sessions up to long-distance runs, which is why it is our top pick for the most versatile Altra shoe.

The Provision 6 is pegged as a stability shoe, and it does that job so well. We were pleasantly surprised by the Provision's personalized overpronation control, which can be adjusted through the laces. The tighter the laces, the more stability control. It worked fantastically well for getting just the right amount of support.

The Provision 6 can easily pick up the pace as well. It is very lightweight at just 9.14 oz (259g), which is a good 11.5% lighter than the average stability road running shoe. Its midsole is 100% harder than average, and we felt that firmness was great for going on some faster runs.

Moreover, its midsole has more forefoot cushioning than other Altras, which have an average forefoot stack of 26.5 mm in our database. The Provision 6 has 29.18 mm of stack height in the forefoot, which provides a good amount of protection on our long-distance runs. 

We were also amazed by the rubber outsole's ability to keep us securely stuck to the ground during our runs on wet and dry surfaces alike. 

However, the durability of that rubber outsole is a bit dubious. We measured its outsole to be 29% softer than average, so this shoe may wear out more quickly than most.


  • Fits true to size
  • Very light for a stability shoe
  • Great for wider feet
  • Ingenious stability system
  • Incredible grip
  • More stability in the outsole
  • Good cushioning for a zero drop shoe
  • Great to have in a rotation
  • Good durability
  • Consistent flex in all conditions


  • Forefoot may be too wide for some
  • Getting a good heel lock can be hard
  • Orthotics may not fit properly
Full review of Altra Provision 6

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Any color
Blue (AL0A5475036)
Sand (AL0A5475921)
Navy (AL0A5475445)
Black (AL0A5475000)
Blue (AL0A5475440)
Green (AL0A5475324)

Best lightweight Altra running shoes

Altra Rivera 3

What makes it the best?

The Rivera 3 is a pair of daily trainers that delivers velvety-smooth strides on days when you want to go nice and slow. Altra fans also recommend this model as a “great introduction” to the zero-drop experience. With a super comfy and plush feeling underfoot, these neutral runners from Altra give zero-drop fans happier miles on their feet.


  • Great for easy runs
  • Superb comfort
  • Can go sockless
  • Plush cushioning
  • Unhindered and smooth strides
  • More forgiving ride than the Rivera 2
  • Responsive ride


  • Lockdown needs a lace lock
  • Laces get untied easily
Full review of Altra Rivera 3

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Any color
Black (AL0A7R6Y000)
Blue (AL0A7R6Y470)
White/Orange (AL0A7R6Y108)
Gray/Yellow (AL0A7R6Y270)
Blue/Orange (AL0A7R6Y480)
Blue (AL0A7R6Y448)
Light Green (AL0A7R6Y333)

Altra running shoes with best grip

What makes it the best?

The Lone Peak 7 provides the latest and greatest in grip performance within the Altra line. As we discovered in the lab and out on our runs, its traction on wet and challenging terrains is simply second to none, while its responsiveness and secure lockdown are also superb.

The outsole is the star of the show on the Lone Peak 7. The outsole material inspires a ton of confidence during our runs. Whether it's high-speed turns, soggy plods through mud, or wet pavement, the Lone Peak 7’s performance is as good as it gets.

That grip certainly comes in handy in terms of staying connected to the ground since this is quite a speedy shoe. The 28.3 HA midsole, which is just slightly firmer than the 27.6 HA average softness for trail shoes, delivers a good amount of responsiveness, making it a great shoe for some fast runs in the mountains.

And the shoe’s excellent lockdown adds even more confidence. The gusseted tongue, ghillie-style lacing system, and snug heel cup all keep our feet feeling fully locked into place even in some more technical terrains.

However, the Lone Peak 7 does come at a premium price point. At $150, it is more expensive than the $136 average price for trail shoes, so those looking for a cheaper grippy trail shoe should consider other options.


  • Very wide toebox
  • Protective midsole
  • Superb lockdown
  • Super grippy outsole
  • Excellent for fast runs in the mountains
  • Added heel cup provides stability
  • Super comfy
  • Easy to clean


  • Colorways might be a downer
  • A bit pricey
Full review of Altra Lone Peak 7

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Any color
Navy (AL0A7R6H445)
Green/Teal (AL0A7R6H008)
Black (AL0A7R6H020)
Tan (AL0A7R6H922)
Deep Forest (AL0A7R6H307)
Taupe (AL0A7R6H923)
Red (AL0A7R6H680)
Dark Purple (AL0A7R6H252)
Light Green (AL0A7R6H333)

Best Altra speed training shoes

What makes it the best?

The Escalante 3 from Altra is a road running shoe that's perfect for those who want to feel connected to the ground without feeling its harshness. If you're new to zero-drop running shoes, experts suggest that this shoe is best for short to mid-distance runs. For long-time runners, it shows its full potential at speed sessions and long miles.


  • Comfy all-day
  • Responsive ride
  • Allows ground feel
  • Delivers planted strides
  • Grippy on both road and light trail
  • Supportive fit
  • Very spacious toe box
  • Built like a tank
  • Great for the gym & walking


  • Heavier than before
  • Tight midfoot for wide feet
Full review of Altra Escalante 3

Today's best price

Any color
Blue (AL0A7R6M440)
Black (AL0A7R6M000)
Orange (AL0A7R6M280)
White/Green (AL0A7R6M130)
Orange (AL0A7R6M880)
White (AL0A7R6M110)
Grey (AL0A7R6M220)
Navy (AL0A7R6M445)

Comparison of the 7 best Altra running shoes

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How to choose Altra running shoes

The first Altra shoes were born out of DIY “shoe-hacking” experiments performed by running store employees in Orem, Utah. Beginning with wildly successful small-batch prototypes, the brand has since carved out a reputation for its unique zero-drop design and comfortably wide anatomical toe boxes.

Escalante 3 POV

Altra road running shoes

Altra found its start specializing in trail shoes but now boasts a serious road shoe lineup as well. Altra road running shoes share the same signature zero drop and roomy toe box design that earned their trail shoes a cult following among runners and hikers while adding more emphasis on speed and comfort on hard pavement.

Altra VIA Olympus

High-Cushioned Zero Drop Shoe

The Altra VIA Olympus uniquely marries maximalist cushioning with a zero drop midsole. The shoe provides great lockdown and a roomy toe box, ideal for piling up easy daily miles.


Altra Escalante

Zippy Short Distance Shoe

The Altra Escalante offers a more minimal midsole for better ground connection and nimbleness. The light zero-drop shoe is made for workouts or longer tempo runs.

Altra Escalante 3 profile

Altra Rivera

The Do-it-All Training Shoe

The Altra Rivera is comfortable and well-cushioning, without feeling clumsy or heavy. It fits slightly narrower than other Altra models, but its all-around performance is perfect for long runs, tempo workouts, and recovery days.

Altra Rivera 2 outdoor run

Altra trail running shoes

Altra’s trail running shoes have long been incredibly popular with trail runners and hikers. The wider fit is naturally suited to the demands of long days on trail terrain, while the zero-drop design promotes a natural running stride.

Altra Lone Peak

Do-it-all Trail Shoe

If there is a flagship shoe that best defines the Altra brand, it is the Lone Peak. It is moderately cushioned, zero drop, grippy, and extremely comfortable—a quiver killer of a trail shoe.


Altra Outroad

Secure and Durable Training Shoe

The Outroad fits narrow, for an Altra shoe at least. It is better for runners who love the zero drop, comfortable Altra experience but find themselves swimming in the wider fit of other models.


Altra Superior

Minimalist Race Shoe

Featuring a slim midsole and light mesh upper, the Altra Superior is the shoe for short and fast trail runs. It provides an excellent ground feel and promotes a natural stride for races or speed workouts on the trail.

Altra stability shoes

Altra Provision

Zero Drop Stability Shoe

The Altra Provision is a mid-stack stability shoe that is, of course, zero drop. It features Altra’s lightweight and effective stability system and excellent grip on concrete and pavement.

Altra-Provision-6- 35.jpg

The tech and design of Altra shoes

Altra running shoes share a few distinguishing designs and technologies, beginning with the 0mm drop found in all their shoes.

Zero drop

“Zero Drop” was a term coined by Altra to refer to shoes with a 0mm drop—meaning there is no differential in height between the heel and forefoot of a shoe. Running shoes traditionally featured a drop of 8-12mm, which encourages a heel-striking stride.

Shoes with a low or zero drop encourage a midfoot-striking pattern that mimics the natural stride humans adopt running barefoot. By combining robust cushioning and a low drop only seen in hyper-minimalist shoes, Altra effectively reimagined what made for a great running shoe.


FootShape design

Altra’s famous toe boxes are a product of the brand’s proprietary FootShape design technology. Men’s and women’s shoes are designed on unique anatomical templates. They are the only running shoe brand to feature a female-specific design in all its shoes.

Different FootShape fits include the Original (the widest) and the Standard, which is now used in most Altra shoes. A limited number of shoe models, like the Outraod and Rivera, feature a Slim FootShape, and have a slightly snugger toe box that will be better for narrower feet.

Forefoot width on Rivera 2


What makes Altra running shoes special?

Altra shoes combine a 0mm drop with the cushioning of more conventional running shoes. You get the natural stride of minimalist shoes, but with the cushioning and protection you need for daily running. Along with their wide, anatomically designed toe boxes, Altras offer a unique running experience that few other brands compare to.

Can I transition right to zero drop Altra shoes?

Zero drop shoes stress leg muscles in different ways, so prepare for an adjustment period, especially if you’re coming from shoes with an 8-12mm drop. High-cushion Altras, like the Lone Peak or Olympus, will make the transition gentler. Add Altras into your rotation gradually at first to let your calf muscles and stride adapt to a midfoot strike.


Are Altra shoes minimalist?

Altra has shoes that range from max cushioning to light cushioning, but none of their shoes are truly minimalist. The zero drop mimics the stride that minimalist shoes promote, but even scaled-back Altra shoes provide more cushioning than true minimalist or barefoot shoes.

Heel stack height on Rivera 2

Are Altra shoes good for women?

Altra is unique in that all of its female shoes are designed to be anatomically specific, accounting for subtle differences in the physiology of female feet and running gait. It makes them an excellent choice for female runners.

How we test running shoes

We don’t randomly decide on which shoe makes it to this list. We take our time testing each one of them in our independent shoe testing lab. And to really back our recommendations, we make sure to: 

  • Buy all the Altra shoes with our own money to prevent bias and brand loyalty
  • Rake in at least 30-50 miles in each shoe to see how well they perform and how sturdy they are
  • Cut each of them open to see the details inside and measure them with our calipers, durometers, scale, our custom-made smoke machine, etc. 

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.