If you are in the market for a great pair of running shoes, then Altra is the perfect brand to explore. Founded in 2011, Altra has designed many exceptional shoes in a relatively short period of time, and they are always looking to improve their brand. The Escalante 2 is the newest update in the well-loved Escalante family.
Zero Drop Technology
One of the best features of any Altra shoe is their zero drop design. Zero drop describes a shoe that keeps your heel and toes at the same level. Using balanced cushioning, the Altra Escalante will find the most natural position for your foot. It is a similar idea to a minimalist shoe, but without losing cushion and comfort. The balanced cushion encourages proper, low-impact form. The zero drop style can also improve your foot’s flexibility and your posture.
If you are new to zero drop, there is an adjustment period which may take a few weeks to work through. However, once your body becomes accustomed to your foot’s natural positioning, the aches and pains felt in a more traditional shoe may just disappear. You will be able to enjoy your longer runs more comfortably.
Wide Toe Box
Another distinctive feature in Altra’s shoe line is the foot shape design, specifically the wider toe box. A wide toe box allows your toes to splay out comfortably, providing better stability. This design can also reduce pain from blisters, bunions, or plantar fasciitis, and is also perfect for accommodating swelling toes on a longer run.
It is important to note that a wider toe box does not mean that the shoe is designed to fit a wider foot. Though it gives extra room for your toes, the Escalante 2 narrows at midfoot to create a snug fit.
Midsole and Outsole Technology
The Escalante 2 uses Altra’s EGO midsole for a responsive, yet soft feel. For the Escalante 2, Altra updated the midsole to make it less susceptible to compression. Some Altra fans have complained that this newer model is more stiff than the previous Escalante 1.5. However, for runners pursuing more intense training, the firm midsole is a positive change…it is more responsive to the road and more durable. To some users, this is an acceptable trade.
To help increase flexibility, the midsole is more decoupled from the outsole compared to past versions of this shoe. The Escalante’s outsole uses Altra’s Footpod technology to map your foot’s bones and tendons to help it bend and move more naturally. A heel liner also provides a more comfortable on-foot feel.
The moderate cushioning of this shoe and the stiff midsole disappointed some users. Others love the comfort this shoe provides. A few reviews from heavier runners found the shoe to give plenty of impact support while maintaining a comfy, plush feel.
Style and Fit
The knit upper of this shoe is very attractive and comes in a wide variety of colors. With a good mix of bright colors, blacks, and greys to choose from, you will certainly find the right look to suit your taste. The upper has more perforations than previous models, adding a captivating look to the shoe and increasing its breathability.
Fit seems to be particularly tricky to get right with this shoe. Some buyers report the Escalante 2 running too small, others say they run big. There is truly no consensus among the users about how this shoe fits. If you are buying online, it would be wise to order multiple sizes to find your best fit, and definitely make sure there is a good return policy in place before ordering.
Another common complaint is that the toe box is too shallow. Though the toe box is wide, the depth of the shoe is restricting, causing it to push down on the runners’ toes. This may be more of an issue if you have a higher arch.
The Altra Escalante 2 may have mixed reviews, but the runners who love them are fans for life. A lightweight feel with balanced cushion, these shoes are worth a try. They may be the perfect fit for you.