7 Best Altra Running Shoes in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Altra Running Shoes in 2024
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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 Altra shoes on the roads, trails and in our shoe lab, 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!

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 callipers, durometers, scale, our custom-made smoke machine, etc. 

Best Altra running shoes overall

Altra Outroad 2

What makes it the best?

Outroad 2 offers comfort, support, and performance while retaining Altra’s authentic zero-drop experience. This hybrid shoe is our top pick of all the Altra running shoes we lab-tested and ran with. It delivers the agility, stability, and grip we need on our road-to-trail adventures.

Each stride feels natural with Outroad as its low-to-the-ground and flexible profile boosts our surface sensitivity. Our caliper measures a 1.4 mm heel drop that practically feels leveled when running. In terms of midsole adaptiveness, our bend test confirms it’s 16.8% more flexible than average — confirming it’s a comfortable and versatile pair.

Overall the ride feels firm and stable underfoot. Outroad uses Ego foam that registered a balanced 25.5 HA in our durometer. This is complemented with prominent midfoot sidewalls for extra support for mild pronators.

We found the MaxTrac outsole handles all types of roads and light trails with ease. Its 86.5 HC durometer measurement is around the average, hitting the sweet spot between traction and longevity. Outroad has 2.2 mm lugs, which is the perfect depth for a hybrid shoe — grippy for easy trails and not too chunky for roads.

Because of its low drop, thin heel cushion, and narrow heel width, we find Outroad 2 to be ideal for mid-to-forefoot strikers.


  • Perfectly versatile for both road running and easy trails
  • Spacious upper featuring Altra's FootShape design
  • Not as overly wide as some other Altra models
  • Attractively priced at £130
  • Excellent grip on fire roads and smooth trails
  • Natural, zero-drop running experience
  • Exceptional outsole durability
  • Comfortable enough for all-day wear


  • Could benefit from being lighter
  • Insufficient cushioning for heel strikers
  • Not suitable for moderate to difficult trails
Full review of Altra Outroad 2

Best Altra daily running shoes

What makes it the best?

Like most Altras, Paradigm 7 is a zero-drop shoe. It's accommodating even to new Altra users with its balance of flexibility, comfort, and a hint of stability — all in a lightweight package. Our actual runs and lab results validate it’s the best daily trainer among Altra running shoes.

This heel-to-toe drop is at a microscopic 0.1 mm (basically zero). Its 27.6/27.5 mm stack makes it ideal for mid-to-forefoot strikers with its cushioned front. Its Innerflex technology utilizes grid-like cuts in the midsole to allow the foot to flex naturally. Allowing free-flowing movements, it's 28.9% more adaptive than average in our flex test.

The Ego Max cushioning blends comfort and support. Our durometer shows it’s 18.8% softer than average, but it doesn’t feel like we’re sinking. This enhances stability since it prevents lateral wobbles.

As a minimalist shoe, it weighs lighter than average (9.3 oz/264g vs. 9.5 oz/268g average). The upper is designed with large holes, allowing the breeze to come in. Its perfect score on our lab breathability test confirms we don’t need to worry about hotspots or sweaty feet.

At £180, Paradigm 7 is on the higher end of the spectrum vs. the £150 average of other Altra daily trainers. We recommend checking other options if budget is a priority.


  • Exceptional space for toe splay
  • Highly stable and supportive
  • Really light
  • Features Ego Max foam for added comfort
  • Innerflex technology promotes natural midfoot striking
  • Outstanding durability
  • Versatile for walking or gym use
  • Genuine zero-drop design!


  • Becomes uncomfortably firm and stiff in cold weather
  • Priced on the higher end of the spectrum at £180
  • Not suitable for fast-paced running
Full review of Altra Paradigm 7

Altra running shoes with the best cushioning

Altra Olympus 5

What makes it the best?

Zero-drop shoes tend to conjure the image of a minimalist shoe with scant cushioning. Well, Altra flips that misconception on its head with the Olympus 5, a maximalist shoe sitting on a hefty stack of forgiving foam that brings a touch of softness to the harshest terrains. It’s undoubtedly our choice for the best cushioned Altra running shoe. 

Giving us a durometer reading of 23 HA, the Olympus 5’s midsole is 16% softer than our current average for trail shoes. This means that we enjoyed well-cushioned landings with great impact dampening during our test runs, whether on asphalt, gravel, or dirt. Furthermore, the midsole’s pleasantly snappy rebound and slight toe rocker geometry provide excellent energy return that makes gobbling up miles an absolute treat.

Further amplifying the shoe’s cushioning is its massive stack. Measuring 33 mm at the heel and 31 mm at the forefoot, the Olympus 5 is 1.2 mm and a whopping 6.8 mm higher than average, respectively. This lofty stack pampered and protected us from the harsh trails below by allowing our feet to sink into the midsole. This left us feeling fresh even after long, grueling runs or hikes. 

The only discomfort we felt in the Olympus 5 came as a result of the tongue. Using our caliper, we measured it to be 7.4 mm thick, which is 1.3 mm more padding than the average for trail shoes. While this does provide good comfort around our instep, the way the padding tapers towards the top of the tongue, however, means that we still experienced some niggling lace bite during our runs.


  • 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

Best Altra running shoes for long distance

What makes it the best?

Amidst our extensive testing of Altra running shoes, the VIA Olympus 2 emerges as the optimal choice for long-distance endeavors. It offers unparalleled comfort and energy return for enjoyably accomplishing grueling miles. Crafted with purpose, it mirrors our natural foot shape, enhancing comfort throughout our runs and withstanding multiple marathon distances with its robust outsole.

With the EGO MAX foam providing a cushioned and lively ride, we eagerly pursued extra miles. The plush 14.5 HA foam adds a delightful bounce, effortlessly propelling us forward. It features Altra’s hallmark zero-drop design, with our precise measurements revealing a -0.2 mm drop due to the stacked 34.8/35.0 mm heel and forefoot, the latter being one of the highest we’ve encountered in the lab.

The FootShape design mimics our foot shape so that it’s comfortable for most runners. With a generous 104.4 mm toebox tapering to 91.1 mm at the big toe, it gives room for our feet to swell during prolonged runs. Even the outsole, featuring FootPod technology, aligns with our foot anatomy to flow with our movements. While its 73.3 HC rubber measures below average, it proves its resilience by showing 33.3% less wear than average in our Dremel test.

However, a red flag is its lack of ventilation, potentially leading to discomfort such as blisters and hotspots. We recommend using this pair during the cooler seasons.


  • Incredibly roomy toebox
  • Authentic zero-drop design
  • Extremely cushy and soft midsole
  • Superb all-around durability
  • Cosy upper
  • Remarkably stable
  • Ideal for long runs


  • Limited ventilation
  • Tongue not gusseted
  • Still a bit heavy
Full review of Altra VIA Olympus 2

Best Altra tempo/race running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Escalante Racer lives up to its name, embodying speed in every stride. With its swift and organic feel in our runs, this nimble shoe swiftly won us over, securing its spot as the top Altra tempo/race shoe. Our lab agrees it blends speed and flexibility effortlessly with its lightweight and low-profile design. 

Weighing a mere 7.3 oz (208g), the Escalante Racer seamlessly integrates with our stride, offering a featherweight feel on the pavement. Its sleek midsole amplifies ground feel and maneuverability, elevating our agility.

Embracing a low drop and minimal cushioning, this speedster trains our leg muscles to do the work. With a stack height of 19.0/18.5 mm, it gives strong ground connection. The resulting 0.5 mm drop is hardly noticeable, fully embodying Altra’s zero-drop trademark. 

Engineered with FootPod technology in the outsole and InnerFlex technology in the foam, the shoe is intently designed to mimic our feet. Its flexibility shines through in our lab tests, boasting a remarkable 62.9% higher malleability than average and earning the lowest 1/5 score for torsional rigidity. We find it perfect for building speed without relying on stiff plates.

However, its minimal cushioning may lack the plush comfort needed for prolonged use and extensive mileage. Those who prefer more impact protection should look elsewhere.


  • Durable, breathable upper
  • Exceptionally flexible
  • Minimalist, natural ride
  • Superior grip
  • Spacious toebox
  • Stable
  • Really lightweight
  • Authentic zero-drop design


  • Minimal energy return
  • Not the best for winter
  • Non-gusseted tongue
Full review of Altra Escalante Racer

Altra running shoes with the best stability

What makes it the best?

Our intensive lab tests and run sessions reveal Altra’s best stability shoe—Provision 7. It delivers subtle support that doesn’t interfere with our strides, yet we know it’s there when we need it. This trainer feels light and low, with extra features that enhance stability, such as a firm ride and the GuideRails technology.

We feel surefooted throughout our runs since we have maximum surface sensitivity due to Provision 7’s balanced platform and low-drop convention. Our lab tests confirmed our sensations, revealing the foam is 10.2% harder than average while the heel drop is 4.8 mm.

An added stability boost is the GuideRails, which are midsole sidewalls that prevent our feet from collapsing in. Provision 7 adds some flexibility in terms of longitudinal movement to counter the rigidity. Our bend test confirms a 26.4N measurement, which feels comfortable enough for daily walks and other activities.

Surprisingly, the shoe feels light as a mid-stability trainer. Compared to the 10.4 oz (296g) average of supportive shoes, Provision 7 is only 9.1 oz (259g). It’s even lighter than many neutral pairs.

Some runners may find the cushion too firm for long runs. We recommend exploring other options if comfort is a priority.


  • Snug and secure lockdown
  • Foot-shaped toe box for natural toe splay
  • Stable without being intrusive
  • Excellent traction across various surfaces
  • Highly breathable design
  • Ideal for a wide range of paces
  • Performs well on light trails
  • Good durability


  • Midsole might feel overly firm for certain runners
  • Unexpectedly narrow upper
  • Limited energy return
Full review of Altra Provision 7

Altra running shoes for trail

What makes it the best?

In our outdoor explorations with the Lone Peak 8, we felt very agile as we could easily maneuver unpredictable grounds with its fluid, balanced, and grounded ride. Our lab confirms its versatility, shining as the ultimate trail shoe among Altra running shoes.

The shoe's 3.0 mm lugs provided excellent grip on dry surfaces during our tests. They are strategically patterned along our foot structure, allowing for natural bending and movement. The lower resistance gives us more control and confidence to run faster in the wild as we can easily adapt to unpredictable obstacles. Our bend test confirms it’s 27.1% more adaptive than the average trail shoe.

We could keep going all day with LP8’s supportive fit. Its cushion remains low to the ground to enhance ground feedback and has a firm composition to protect us from rocks and debris underfoot. In true Altra fashion, our caliper reveals a mere 1.4 mm drop, which feels essentially zero and boosts a natural feel. Our durometer confirms the foam is 11.4% denser than average, promoting stable strides as it won’t compress unevenly.

However, we recommend avoiding wet and muddy tracks as we felt less surefooted along these paths. For those prioritizing unparalleled grip, we suggest exploring alternative options.


  • Responsive midsole
  • Natural barefoot feeling ride
  • Low to the ground and stable
  • Doubles as a reliable hiking shoe
  • Breathable and durable ripstop upper mesh
  • Secure midfoot lockdown
  • Accommodating toebox
  • Generously padded and comfy
  • Dries quickly
  • Gaiter attachment ready


  • Not so grippy in wet conditions
  • Subpar outsole durability
Full review of Altra Lone Peak 8

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 specialising 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.

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.