It’s always an exciting time when I get to try out a pair of shoes by Altra. I’ve been wearing shoes by Altra consistently for the last 5 years. In fact, I currently have three different pairs in my running shoe rotation. The only time that I don’t wear shoes by Altra, is in the gym when I’m cross-training. This Utah based company is dedicated to making shoes with their trademark Zero Drop™ technology that helps runners maintain a proper low-impact running form. If you are new to running or don’t know about the benefits of a shoe with the heel and forefoot at the same distance from the ground, head on over to Altra’s website to get educated.
The first time I laced up my new Escalantes, I immediately noticed how cushy yet light they were. The design uses minimal foam to keep these true “racing” shoes. The ample room in the toe box wasn’t too much or too little and I could tell I’d have plenty of room for when my feet swelled. (For reference, I wear a size 9.5 wide running shoe). Since I’m a natural forefoot runner who pronates, I appreciate having cushioning on the outsole to help minimize the impact on the bones and tendons of my foot.
My first wear test was on the treadmill. It was a rainy day and I didn’t want to get my new shoes gross right out of the box. I felt like I was bouncing! I was quite pleased at how comfortable they were. My foot didn’t slide around inside and I found that when I transitioned from walking to running, the shoe becomes more responsive when speed increases.
I also noticed that this shoe was more flexible than my other Altra shoes and didn’t offer much support. I definitely noticed that my Achilles were quite sore the next day, more so then with my other Altra shoes which was an unwelcome surprise. (It takes time to get used to shoes with a zero drop if you are used to wearing a traditional running shoe). However, after switching back and forth to another pair of shoes for a few runs, I got used to the Escalante.
Subsequent wears were at the HIIT class I attend a few times a week. While I try and wear only my dedicated gym shoes for anything other than running, I found myself lacing these guys up because they were so awesome. To be honest, the other pair of Altra’s I currently have in my running shoe rotation have not been worn for a few weeks because I love these so much! I will say that there is one big thing to consider before purchasing the Escalante, and that is the lack of traction. Just to be clear: this is a road shoe and is not meant for the trails. The bottoms are smooth and could cause slippage on a wet surfaces so exercise caution when wearing.
Altra’s shoes have come a long way in terms of atheistic appeal from just a few years ago. I used to feel like I was wearing clown shoes, because they were just so boxy looking. However, they really have really worked on making their shoes just as pleasing to the eye as more well-known brands. The sleek knit design of the Escalante can definitely compete with similar shoes on the market in terms of good looks. Do not hesitate to give this shoe a try!
Shoe Specs and Details:
(The below information is taken directly from the Altra website)
- Ideal Uses: Running, Racing, Training
- Weight: 6.5 oz. / 182 g
- Cushioning Moderate
- Insole: 6 mm Contour Footbed
- Platform: Fully-Cushioned Zero Drop™ platform and FootShape™ toe box
- Stack Height: 25 mm
- Midsole: Altra EGO™ with InnerFlex™
- Outsole: FootPod™ Technology
- Upper: Engineered Knit
- Other Features: New Altra EGO™ Midsole Compound; Engineered Knit Upper; Sock-like Upper Fit; Metatarsal Mapping, Performance Last for Fast Training and Racing
This shoe currently retails for $130 on Altra’s website or can be found on Amazon between $129-$139. To visit a store locally that carries Altra, Foot Traffic, Fleet Feet Sports and Portland Running Company all carry the Altra brand.
While this is a review of the Altra Escalante, currently one of my most favorite shoes made by the brand, I also recommend the One V3 (a shoe I’ve also reviewed in the past), the Solstice and Paradigm 2.0. Each comes with a varying degree of cushion and levels of stability based on your needs and preferences.
Thank you to Altra for providing us with shoes to test. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.