TAKING THE ALTRA ESCALANTE OUT FOR A SPIN
I had never worn a pair of Altra running shoes before, so although I was excited to try something new, I also had a few reservations about running in a shoe that was so different to what I was used to, like the zero-drop aspect of the shoe and the wider toe box.
QUESTIONS I HAD BEFORE RUNNING IN THE ALTRA ESCALANTE
Since I was giving the Altra Escalante’s a test run for the JackRabbit crew, I wanted to consider all the aspects of the shoe that were going to be different from my usual choice and for both my running style and comfort zone.
- Altra shoes are known for their wider toe box: Would this wider toe box cause an uncomfortable fit and not hold my foot in place properly?
- Zero-drop shoes: Would the zero-drop dimensions of the running shoe put too much strain on my Achilles and cause any soft tissue strains or issues?
- Cushioning: While the Altras are not classified as a minimalist running shoe, nevertheless there is less cushioning than what I am used to running in. Would there be enough cushioning in the Altra Escalantes to help keep my “old” knees from acting up?
READY TO HIT THE ROAD IN THE ALTA ESCALANTE
From the first time I laced up the Escalantes, I knew that fit wouldn’t be an issue at all. Score #1! While there is more space in the toe box, the rest of the shoe really locked down my foot and kept it from sliding around inside the shoe. Kudos to the shoe architects at Altra for getting this fit right.
One thing that really stuck out to me immediately, was how well the heel counter of the Escalante locked down my Achilles and kept my foot from sliding up and down. This is a game-changer for athletes looking for a roomier fit in the toe.
My second concern was with the zero drop aspect of the shoe and how my Achilles reacts to the change in geometry under foot. I generally train in shoes with a drop of 4-8 millimeters, and have been ok with those, but the zero-drop just seemed like it might be a bit too extreme for me.
As recommended by the shoe experts at Altra themselves, I took my first few runs slow and was careful to focus on keeping my lower legs well stretched before and after. By my 4th run I was back to my normal pace and mileage and never once experienced more than mild tightness in my Achilles during the buildup.
My third concern was cushioning. I generally don’t like an overly cushioned shoe, but I was worried that this would not have quite enough to protect my worn out knees. However, because this shoe promotes me to run so much more efficiently, I felt like there was a lot less pressure put on my knees and hips than when I run in a more traditional running shoe.
POST-RUN THOUGHTS ON A NEW SHOE EXPERIENCE WITH THE ALTRA ESCALANTE
Overall the Altra Escalante provided a smooth ride while giving me the feel that I could run fast in the shoe if I really wanted to. The fit was one of the better I’ve felt in a running shoe in a long time, and I was pleasantly surprised with the feel underneath my foot. I will definitely be putting the Escalante in my rotation of running shoes, and I am looking forward to logging a lot more miles in the shoe.
Bravo Altra, the Escalante is an excellent shoe for those looking for more room in the toes without compromising on fit in the heel, and runners wanting to experience a more efficient running gait that the Altra shoe promotes.