Altra has a special place in my heart. Several years back when I decided to get serious about my running, I went through literally 7 different pairs of shoes within 9 months. After my first half-marathon with less-than appropriate training, I lost two toenails and gained 5 blisters. Somewhere on my Facebook page, there is a scary picture of a women’s running shoe filled with blood (well, unless it was deemed too graphic and Zuckerberg and his team took it down). While I thought this was completely normal, my friend and seasoned running veteran assured me it was not. As I struggled through different pairs of shoes recommended to me by my local running store in Denver, I got more and more depressed. I thought that running just wasn’t meant for me. It seemed as nothing would accommodate me foot comfortably, until it was suggested I try a shoe by Altra.
After just a few runs in my new shoes, I finally believed that I could run and run in comfort. Altra’s shoes are designed to have a roomy toe box allows the toes to spread out naturally, allowing for more stability and reducing excess pronation, which is perfect for me; I have flat and wide feet and I over-pronate. Altra’s other claim to fame, is their patented Zer0-Drop™ technology which places the heel and the forefoot at the same distance from the ground, helping to improve running posture and strengthens the calves and Achilles. So, when I was given the opportunity to test out the new Altra Women’s One V3, I jumped at the chance.
The Altra One V3 will stand up to miles of speed training and racing alike. With an updated, reinforced upper featuring a TPU overlay, and the firmer Innerflex™ midsole, the One V3 acts like an extension of your foot. The FootShape™ toe box and Fully Cushioned Zero Drop™ platform keep you comfortably running with proper form, even on tired legs. The One V3 does not have the same soft ride as the One 2.5, but a firmer, performance-minded feel, perfect for road racing and speed training sessions. -From the Altra website.
Impressions: My running shoe is size is a 9.5W. Knowing that Altra has a roomy toe box, I ordered a 9. I knew it was a mistake the minute I put them on and sent them back for a 9.5. So, I can safely say that this shoe runs true to size. For the last 10 moths, I’ve worn a neutral running shoe so I am accustomed a shoe that is light and airy with little support. The One’s fit very similarly, but my current shoe has a 1omm drop (about half of the diameter of a penny), and thus just slightly noticeable when standing still. When running however, the design of the shoe allows you a faster push off on the two and allows you to lean forward more naturally.
During my test runs, I noticed that my toes spread out nicely and could get a good grip. The shoes almost felt a little too wide at first, and I worried that I had made a horrible mistake. However, once my feet started to swell (as feet normally do when your body heats up on a run) they were more comfortable. This shoe is marketed as the “one shoe you need” to handle all types of terrain, so my friend and I deviated from the asphalt a bit onto a trail by the Clackamas River. The blown Rubber FootPod outsole allowed me to remain steady with the uneven terrain. However, when the shoes got a little bit of water . on them, there was one point that I felt like I might slip, but the moment happened so fast that if I wasn’t paying as close attention to my stride, I probably wouldn’t have noticed.
In the days that followed, I noticed that my legs recovered a bit quicker than they normally do after a run. My feet were a little more tired than normal, but I attribute that to the fact that I was using more muscles and ligaments that I don’t normally when wearing a non-zero drop shoe. I guess it’s what I would consider a “good” tired. With a bit more stretching before and after, my feet felt less stiff and more alive. After the third and fourth wear, I noticed that my knee (the one that typically gives me some back-talk after 8-9 miles) didn’t hurt as much, which told me that the shoes were helping to keep my form in check when my body would normally start to get tired and my form sloppy. That in and of itself made me really like the shoes.
To summarize: The One V3’s are light and springy and provided a natural forward momentum. With the first few steps, I could feel how flexible the shoe is, without having to “break them in.” My feet didn’t ache or cramp up like they sometimes do when I wear new shoes. Most likely this is due to the lack of arch support; which I feel is important to note, because if you are looking for arch support, these aren’t your shoes. These shoes are made for the road, miles and for speed while racing. Would I buy them again? Most likely, but knowing the way my body is, I need to stick to my main running shoe that offers a bit more stability and support, in order to keep from having fall out from my pronation issues.
Price: $100 on Altra’s website
- Ideal Uses: Running, Road Racing, Speed Work
- Cushioning: Light
- Stack Height: 23 mm
- Weight: 5.7 oz. / 162 g
- Designed To Improve: Natural Foot Positioning, Walking Form, Toe Splay, Comfort
- Platform: Fully Cushioned Zero Drop™ platform and FootShape™ toe box
- Last: PFS-W
- Midsole: InnerFlex™ EVA
- Outsole: Blown Rubber FootPod Outsole
- Insole: 5 mm Contour Footbed
- Upper: Lightweight Quick-Dry Air Mesh
- Other Features: Natural Ride System