About two years ago, this site was launched with little intention of having anyone outside of our family and close friends read it. Little did we know that our little site would manage to pick up so much steam, giving us the ability to review products from so many different amazing companies. Aside from our own growth, we’ve been able to watch several companies go from a garage to an office, and from bankrupt to highly profitable, plus we’ve seen restructures, re-namings, and complete re-brandings. One of the first companies we had the pleasure to work with was Altra. Altra went from small potatoes to one of the leaders in minimalist shoes, and, furthermore, they coined nearly every single phrase minimalist runners use today to describe their footwear (wide toe box, zero drop, foot-shaped design). With that said, over the last year, Altra has received little love from us, and not for any real reason. To be honest, we’ve been focused on so many new brands that we haven’t been able to go back and pay homage to one of the first companies to ever send us shoes to review, until now. Altra has continued to grow and improve their line, and are adding some amazing new or updated shoes this fall and coming spring.
So, without further ado I’d like to introduce the 2014 line-up from Altra Running.
While you’re perusing through this collection, you’re going to notice 2 major things:
The first is that Altra’s main focus seems to be on updating and improving the line they already have. For 2014, this includes the Instinct, the Torin, the Superior, and the Lone Peak. At a quick glance, the changes appear to come down to design, colorways, and, more importantly, stack height. The second major feature of the line that you notice is that while sticking with all of the minimalist standards zero drop, foot shape, and wide toe box), Altra has embraced the idea that minimal padding for endurance running may not always be the best answer. With that said, don’t expect any major changes to your favorite designs. Altra has only increased the stack height about 2 to 3 mm per shoe. Here is a look at some of the new color ways for the Instinct 2.0 along with the Superior 1.5 and the Torin 1.5.
The major surprise in this year’s catalogue is the completely new Altra Olympus, which is being introduced as a competitor to the Hoka. This should be highly welcomed for those of us who have struggled with the very narrow toe box of the Hoka–the Olympus is even being called “The Healthy Hoka.” With 32 mm of stack height, this highly-cushioned beast will compete with the Hoka and the Brooks Transcend. Clearly, thick cushioning is a new trend for us to keep an eye on. Meagan found the Olympus incredibly comfortable, and noted that the rockered design of the front of the sole essentially propels you forward, while still allowing you to keep a natural running form.
I decided to focus on the running shoes in this post, but wanted to note that other exciting offerings from Altra for 2014 will include a casual shoe and children’s models! Which model are you looking forward to trying the most?