The following was contributed by Cydney Chasky, a minimalist runner, former competitive powerlifter, and has four years of experience as a running specialty store manager.
Altra is a hard sell to the Average Joe and Jane. At best, they “look like skate shoes”, and at worst the old “duck feet” response. To help alleviate those feelings, the natural running company has rolled out a slightly narrower model, with a more fashionable look.
The upper is the most noticeable departure from other Altras. It uses a knit fabric, which gives a lot of softness and flexibility. The heel cup is a bit low, and while heel-locking the laces helps a bit, the Achilles still just felt a little off. The midfoot grip felt snug, but not constricting.
When it comes to the sole, the midfoot is responsive and performance-oriented. The new Ego foam is great for those who like to feel the ground, without feeling it. Unfortunately, the heel is too firm when striking there, but since Altras promote a more natural gait, you most likely wouldn’t be slamming your heel down, anyway.
If you’re a pronating runner, watch out. The last of the toebox doesn’t quite flare out as much and there isn’t enough outsole for support, like other Altras. I can’t recommend it at all if you prefer more stability.
Basically the problem with the Escalante is that it falls too hard into the “athleisure” category. It looks pretty, at least as far as Altras go, but the fact that the midsole encourages a faster pace, but the upper doesn’t provide much security to do so, makes the shoe not live up to its potential. I’d recommend this shoe for an experienced 0mm drop runner or for casual use. Don’t make this the first pair of Altras in your possession, but it could make a nice addition for travel or speed work on a straightaway track.
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