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FRIDAY FAVORITES: Altra Escalante Product Review

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FRIDAY FAVORITES: Altra Escalante Product Review

If you’ve been following along for a descent amount of time you know that I love my Altra’s! If you’ve met me in person, I was probably wearing them. Some may call it a slight addiction, but I say when you’ve found a great thing, stick with it! I love their story. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s a little excerpt from the founder, Golden Harper:

“For decades, virtually every running shoe has featured pointy toe boxes and heels that were twice as thick and heavy as the forefoot. While shoe companies claimed this design would protect your body from running injuries, the scientific research did not agree.

After unsuccessfully lobbying shoe companies for years to change their design, I decided to modify shoes into something that could encourage low impact running technique and prevent injury.

Using the research as my guide, I went to work with my trusty toaster oven to try and solve my customers’ injury problems. I melted outsoles off of traditional running shoes and removed the excess heel elevation. It was ugly, but it worked! I coined the term "Zero Drop™" to describe how the level cushioning no longer dropped from the heel down to the forefoot. We enlisted our local shoe cobbler to modify our customers’ current running shoes to Zero Drop™. This worked so well at reducing injuries that we had nearly 1,000 customers buy and modify their shoes that first year!” You can read the rest of the companies story here.

My love for Altra’s started about 3 years ago. It was pretty much love at first run. What’s there to love about them? Well if you’re asking this question you most likely have never tried them on, so I’ll fill you in with the inside scoop, then go get your feet in some and discover for yourself! 

The amazing thing with Altra’s is their signature design. The foot shaped toe box and the zero drop platform. What does this mean? Well first of all, the foot shaped toe box allows your toes to splay into a natural position, allowing your big toe to give your arch more support and releasing pressure from bunions and other foot issues. Seems like all shoes should be made in the shape of your feet right? duh! Second of all, the term “ZERO DROP™” was coined to describe the level cushioning and perfect weight balance from heel to forefoot. This natural balance aligns the feet, back, and body posture for less impact. It also strengthens the Achilles and lower calf muscles that have been weakened over a lifetime of running on elevated heels. If you’re coming from a traditional shoe with a heel to toe drop, you will want to transition into the Zero Drop. I will say I experienced some lower calf soreness for a couple months while transitioning into Altra’s, but it does go away, and its worth the process in the long run. Read what Altra suggests here for transitioning.

You get this natural fit, barefoot feel, but with the benefits of cushion! What I love about altra’s line up is there’s something for everyone and all terrain. When I saw the new Escalante coming out I knew I had to get my hands on them. I’ll admit, Altra’s design & look hasn’t been the best in years past, but with this shoe I feel like they’ve come a LONG WAY. I’ve already had so many compliments on them, and I’ve only had them for about a week (we all know we want our shoes to look good as well right!) So after a couple of runs in them and a workout in the gym, here are my thoughts. THEY’RE AMAZING! And I’m not just saying that. 

  • First of all I love the look. I have the black and grey ones and I love the neutral colors. I don’t have any Altra’s this color and I love the change from the pinks and bright blues. They go with everything. 
  • I love the feel. They have a sock like fit. The upper material is stretchy and moldable, and the sole is soft, but not too soft, super light weight, flexible, and just the right amount of cushion. 
  • I love the run. These shoes are equipped with Altra’s latest and greatest EGO midsole. Altra EGO offers the holy grail of running shoe cushioning, comfortable and soft, yet lively and resilient. With increased responsiveness and thinner cushioning, Altra EGO combines a closer to ground feel with the comfort of a plush ride. 

So there you have it, a little more about Altra, the brand, and why I love them! If you haven’t tried them, now is a great time to jump on the wagon with this brand new shoe, the Escalante. If you don't have a retailer close to you, no worries. When you order from their website you get free shipping both ways! That means if you don't like them or have the wrong size, or whatever the issue might be, you can return them within 30 days of purchase, full refund, and they even send you a shipping label to send them back! Pretty cool. Here’s a direct link to check them out

Let me know how it goes and if you have any other questions about the product! 

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ALTRA FOOTWEAR: Why its my shoe of choice!

Running is always more enjoyable with the right shoes! With Marathon season in full swing, I wanted to shed some light on my favorite running shoes for you guys. 

Last year around this time I was training for my first ever marathon! It was kind of a last minute decision. One of my clients was signed up for the Jordan River Marathon, May 30th, as a trial race for a bigger one she had coming up. She ended up being out of town and since the race entry can't be refunded, she asked if I would want to take her spot. I jumped on it! I had been wanting to run a marathon but it was one of those things that I wasn't going out of my way to sign up for on my own. So this was the perfect time to go for it. (It's one of those things that you can't think about for too long haha)

My training was going great, I was increasing my long run mileage to 10 miles, 12, 15, and I eventually got up to a 20 mile run a couple of weeks before the marathon. I was only running about 3 times per week, and continued my weight training + HIIT workouts in between. With a few lighter runs leading up to the race I noticed the outside of my foot started aching again (I had this issue about 6 months before but it had gone away with some calf massaging and icing). It was right at the metatarsal joint of my outside toe. It hurt to walk more than it hurt to run, so I thought I would be ok. I expressed the issue to my co-workers at Altra and they suggested that I change shoes. This obviously made me a little nervous since it was the day before the Marathon! I didn't know what to do! I didn't have many options. 

At this point I had been running in Altra shoes for almost 3 years, and I hadn't had any problems, my feet always felt amazing. I had a little calf soreness the first couple of months (which is totally normal when starting out with a zero drop shoe). One of the Altra co-founders suggested that the shoe I had been training in was becoming too broken in and now a little too soft for my foot, causing my metatarsal joints to sink in and strain a bit. He suggested a firmer shoe for the race, the Impulse. This was a brand new shoe, not even out to market yet, but I just happened to be the size of Altra's sample shoes so I had a pair. I took a quick jog around the parking lot in them and they felt great! 

So without running more than .25 miles in the shoes, I laced up Saturday morning, made it to my 6am race check in, and hoped for the best. I was amazed! I only felt my foot pain in the last 8 miles, but I think everyone feels a little pain going into the final miles of a marathon. I didn't go into the race with any specific goals other than to just finish but I actually was very pleased with the results! 3:38. If I would've known that the boston qualifying time was 3:35 I would've pushed just a tad harder. But for my first, spur of the moment Marathon I was pretty dang stoked! And my claim to fame is I was the first women to run a marathon in the Altra Impluse, pretty cool right? haha I'll take it

I share this story to express the awesomeness of Altra shoes! How many shoes do you think you could put on the day of a marathon for the first time and have them feel great! Once you adjust to Altra shoes from your current brand, you will have a hard time going back :)

This is because of the natural fitting design of Altra's. They have a foot shaped toe box design. This allows your toes to splay out, releasing pressure that can cause bunions, arch pain, and other issues. Along with the foot shaped toe box, all Altra shoes are built on a Zero Drop platform. This means that your heel and toes are the same distance off the ground. There is no drop from how high your heel is to your toes. This encourages a natural foot strike, landing on the middle of your foot rather than striking hard with your heel. This decreases the blow to your knees and shins. I used to get shin splints all the time but never have with Altra's. They have an awesome line up for the light weight fast pace runners (like the One2.5), to the high cushion - trail blazing runners (such as the Paradigm, or the Olympus for trail). They even have a Neoshell Polartec shoe that is water resistant for those rainy days or snowy running. 

Altra's Top selling shoe is the Intuition 3.5. It is an awesome all around shoe. Moderate cushion, Neutral support, built for road. I love mine in the gym or just walking around as well. 

There second best selling shoe is the Lone Peak 2.5 which is seriously my favorite! Working iwth Altra, I was encouraged to try out trail running and I fell in love! These shoes are why. They have a great tread on the bottom, with a built in rock protection, so you can cruise up and down the mountain without a worry about slipping or rocks bruising your feet. Also I think they're the best looking with the best colors :) Very important

The Third most popular shoe, and my marathon training shoe, is the Torin 2.0. a higher cushion, neutral road shoe. So comfortable you won't want to take them off!

One of my favorites for light runs and cross training is the One 2.5. It is super light weight so it is always my go to for traveling as well. It won't add much weight to your bag!

There's many other options to explore with Altra but I wanted to highlight my top picks for you. If you've never given Altra's a try, I highly recommend them! They have a 30 day return policy, so you can't lose! And a little side note - fun fact, I managed their customer service office for a few years so I can hopefully answer most questions you may have so feel free to comment on this post if you want to know more! You can also check out this review from Runner's World about there up and coming gear and future innovations. HAPPY RUNNING!