Chances are, if you’ve been running for a while, you’ve seen Altra shoes explode in popularity. So what’s the big deal? Why the roomy toe box? Why a cushioned Zero Drop platform? We decided to test them for ourselves, and we started with the Altra Provision 2.5. A shoe designed to improve running form, assist fallen arches and excessive pronation. A shoe that sounded perfect for someone who wore cheap flip-flops the first half of their life in Florida and was now dealing with plantar fasciitis and tight calves.
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up an Altra shoe is the large toe box. The toe box allows your forefoot to spread out during a run or walk. This is said to reduce the risk of common issues such as bunions or plantar fasciitis. It helps your big toe to stay straight over your foot, which allows for a more natural position and improved stability. Every time I first put the shoe on, it feels a little odd to have that much room around my toes, but as soon as I start moving it feels comfortable and natural. The spacious room in the toe box wasn’t something I knew I was missing in a running shoe, until I tried it.
The next major feature of an Altra shoe is the Zero Drop platform and cushioning, and the Provision 2.5 is no different. Altra says that their cushioned Zero Drop platform puts the heel and forefoot at the same distance from the ground. This is said to strengthen your achilles and lower calf muscles, which are likely weak if you’re used to running on an elevated heel. The transition from my previous shoes with a 10mm drop took a few weeks to get used to. Where I found the biggest difference, was on uphill runs where I was used to the extra heel lift to propel my foot forward. This is something I still notice, after weeks of testing, likely because I have week achilles and it’s taken a while to build that muscle. On flat ground the transition was seamless. Easing into the transition with short distances is definitely worth it to prevent injuries. The other benefit to the Zero Drop platform is that it has helped improve my running form; it’s very obvious when you’re mid-foot striking versus heel striking in these shoes.
While we don’t need to go into each technology and detail Altra has put into the Provision 2.5 (visit their website to learn more), it’s clear that they have put a ton of energy into making a shoe dedicated to foot stability and support. From their Stabilipod Technology in both the midsole and outsole, to the FootShape Toe Box, the shoe’s technology is centered around those two objectives and we think they nailed it.
The upper mesh was light and breathable, perfect for the hot summer days it was tested in, and the outsole performed well on light trail and pavement.
This shoe is incredibly light and cushioned, it performed best as a shoe for longer runs when I was looking for comfort or needed a supportive shoe for all day wear. I found it to be a great option for someone wanting to break into a zero drop shoe, runners looking for a little more support out of their zero drop shoe, or all day wear for those battling feet issues and looking for a little cushioning and support.
Weight: 8.3 oz
Best used for: road running, walking, light trail or cross training