Happy Monday, y’all!
Life has been crazy busy between grad school, work, and oh yeah, did I mention I’m training for the Philly half-marathon on November 22nd? That was a bit of a spur of the moment decision. I got talked into it by a runner friend a couple weeks ago, but I’m right on track with training!
I am coming at you today with a shoe review. I’d like to give a forewarning that I might be a bit biased in my review, since I fell in love with Altra (and everything their brand stands for) at the Runner’s World Half & Festival. But in all actuality I can be as objective as possible in my review and simply because Altra is so great, I would come off as biased.
Let me start off by saying, I have slight bunions in both feet. My toes seem to be super sensitive. They blister and bleed after a six mile run, let alone a half-marathon. And I have two particular toenails that like to go black and fall off during half-marathon training. Gross, I know. But if you’re a runner reading this, you know what I’m talking about.
Altra’s shoes are designed to beat all of those nasty runner’s feet problems. They allow the foot to go back to its natural state as if you were running barefoot, while still having the protection of a shoe.
Altra has two staple characteristics to their shoes that makes me choose them over any other running shoe brand. These characteristics naturally improve running technique and decrease impact. These characteristics are their foot-shaped toe box, and their zero-drop platform.
1. Foot-Shaped Toe Box
Most running shoes have a pointy toe box. Altra’s foot-shaped toe box allows the toes to spread out rather than being scrunched up in the shoe. That scrunching and squeezing of the toes is what causes the blisters on and between the toes. This also decreases the likelihood of plantar fasciitis, one of the biggest and very painful runners’ foot problems. My bunions especially like this feature
2. Zero-Drop Platform
As you know, most running shoes have more cushioning in the heel than the toe to supposedly protect joints. Co-founder of Altra, Golden Harper, and his crew, found this unevenness of cushioning can actually make one more prone to injuries. And so, they created a shoe that has a totally even platform.
When Golden Harper explained the science behind this, I immediately knew, this guys is GENIUS! And now I question, why hasn’t any other running shoe brand caught onto this?
A Behind the Scenes Story: While working at his father’s running store (prior to starting Altra), Golden and his father basically conducted experiments and surveys to come to the conclusion that a zero-drop platform is what injury-prone runners need – or any runner for that matter!
They took running shoes they sold in the store to a cobbler to even out the platform from heel to toe, and gave these hacked up shoes to runners who were experiencing injuries. They gave these customers surveys, told them to come back with the surveys after using the shoes for a while to see if their injuries got any better. Before those customers came back with the surveys, friends of those customers were coming in asking for those “hacked-up shoes.” All of a sudden everyone’s running-related problems were disappearing with this even platformed shoe. And so they named the shoe the zero drop because it has a zero drop in cushioning from heel to toe. Clever, huh?
The zero drop feature promotes proper form to reduce initial impact by 3–5 times! By making the heel and forefoot the same distance from the ground, the feet, back and body posture become naturally more aligned, again, reducing injuries!
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that these shoes are super fashionable and colorful! They are also all very lightweight. I got to hold all of them, and the different types vary in weight, but even their heaviest shoes is pretty light.
I also bought myself another pair of Altras at the Runner’s World Half & Festival Expo. These are the One 2.5’s. They are even lighter in weight than the Torins. They are great to take while traveling because they are so light. They have less cushioning than the Torins, but still have that zero drop platform and foot-shaped toe box.
I highly, highly recommend Altra running shoes. Ever since wearing them, my toes don’t get blistered anymore, I have yet to see a black toenail that later falls off, and I have had no other joint injuries or foot pains.
I’d also like to give a shout out to this brand for being so down to earth, authentic and personable. Founder, Golden Harper and co-founders, Brian Beckstead and Jeremy Howlett were at every event of the Runner’s World Half and Festival. They were present in their expo booth every time I passed it, sizing runners for shoes and working with customers one on one. I am so glad to see they haven’t got lost in the all the fame and success of their running shoe brand hitting it big. Major props to all three of them.
Disclosure: I was provided the Torin 2.0’s as a Runner’s World Half & Festival influencer. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.