Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Altra One 2 Review

Before talking about the Altra One 2, I want to let you know where I am coming from with this review.  I have run almost exclusively in Altra shoes for the past 3 years, and run mostly in trail races and a handful of ultramarathons.  Most of those were run in the original Altra Instinct.  As a Physical Therapist, I could tell you all of the reasons why I thought running in a zero drop shoe with a wide toe box is the way to go but a lot of it comes down to comfort for me.  They are just about the most comfortable feeling shoes I have ever worn.  And if you are going to have a shoe on your feet for 12 hours or more...they had better be comfortable. 

Altra is coming out with a lot of new shoes and updating their older models.  The One 2 is an update to the previous One but it’s really it a completely new shoe.  There is a lot to like about the new model.  The first thing I noticed about it is that the entire shoe is very flexible and lightweight.  It has that slipper-like feel when you put it on your foot.  Very comfortable. 

Altra One 2  
The upper is very pliable and soft as there are no rigid structures in the upper.  I want some snugness in a trail shoe.   For a road shoe though, I have recently learned to like a softer feel throughout the upper.  One complaint I do have is that the toe box height is very low.  I have tried a thinner sock and a thinner insole and that helped.  I did check after I had already starting wearing out the shoe and Altra does recommend sizing up.  If I could do it over again, I would go up at least a ½ size to help with both length and toe room.

Altra One 2 - Very unstructured upper
One big surprise I don’t remember having in a shoe before this one is the lacing system they have in the One 2.  The lacing system runs in a diagonal direction towards the lateral toes. 

Altra One 2 offset lacing
 The tongue is stitched on the medial side and free on the lateral side.  This seems to let the tongue just slide laterally as far as needed so that it doesn’t bunch up if you need to tie your shoes tighter.  The lacing system and the tongue really work well to secure your foot but without putting too much pressure on the top of your foot.

Altra One 2 with tongue stitched on one side only
The midsole is a soft, segmented, and very flexible.  I have heard other people compare it to the Saucony Kinvara or Viratta.  Of those, I have only run in the Kinvara and can see the comparison there.  I would say that the One 2 has less structure throughout.  If you like those shoes, but also like a wide toe box, this might be a good option for you.  Despite the light weight, there is still a lot of midsole under foot.  Enough that I could see running in this shoe in a road marathon. 

Altra One 2 midsole
Overall Impression...


     Light weight
     Comfortable, soft upper
     Lacing System
     Enough midsole for a daily trainer or race shoe up to marathon


     Low toe box height – highly recommend going up a ½ size.
     Prefer outsole to cover each segment to help w/ longevity of shoe

Bottom Line...

This shoe works for me.  It’s very comfortable for most of my daily road runs.  I could see this being a racing shoe for anything from a 5K to a road marathon.        

Update:  I finally got the correct size in this shoe (1/2 size up).  Since then, put many, many miles on this shoe, including the bulk of my training for my first 100 miler.  It's amazing to me how this shoe can be so light and still have so much cushioning.  It's the shoe I go to day after day.  I only find it lacking for the most rocky/technical trails.  Otherwise, you'll see me in this shoe for just about everything else.  

1 comment:

  1. Thx for the helpful review. I think your liking the light weight and disliking the fact that the individual segments don't have outsole speak to the same property of the shoe. In other words, I bet they have achieved the lower weight by sacrificing the tougher rubber. Maybe less durable, but sounds like worth it if the shoe is at great as it appears to be. I wonder: would the more exposed midsole material make the shoe more likely to sculpt/wear and if so is this good or bad as it "customizes" to our patterns. Would the effect of running on what is basically exposed midsole be kind of like those comfort insoles you put in the oven and stand on?