The Shoe Brand that could transform your run - Introducing Altra
How did the Altra running brand begin?The story of Altra began in a specialist running store in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah.
A couple of shop assistants and avid runners noticed their customers return with the same injuries despite the myriad of shoes they tried and tested.
Being runners themselves, they related with the frustrations of being injured and decided to create running shoes shaped like our feet.
What if running shoes were more like our feet?Our feet are the foundation of our body. If they aren’t strong and functioning properly, its hard to train effectively and stay injury free.
A common misconception is that ‘Altra shoes are a wide fit’, but this is untrue. The heel and midfoot area are the same in comparison to the majority of running shoes but Altra’s space really opens up throughout the front part of the foot and into the toes.
During running, when we land we put up to 3 times our body weight through our feet and lower leg. If your foot resembles the red colour in the image this means that is likely being restricted due to the shoes you wear, preventing the distribution of force and natural shock absorption that our feet are designed to do. This causes common podiatry symptoms such as bunions, metatarsalgia and tendinopathy.
Enabling our feet to naturally engage with the ground allows the landing forces to distribute, stimulating the receivers on the plantar plates, preventing foot malformations whilst providing greater stability and balance to our feet.
All Altra shoes are made on a flat, ‘zero drop’ platform, meaning the heel and forefoot are same distance from the floor. Balancd Cushioning removes the heel from the sole of a shoe and encourages a midfoot strike, which is just behind the toes. This natural way of landing helps to align our posture and reduces the ‘breaking’ feeling we experience when running in shoes with a high drop.
People often remark that midfoot landing makes them feel faster, but it in fact creates efficiency with less landing time on the ground.
Levels of cushioningAltra are not minimalist running shoes. They offer varying levels of cushioning, depending on the intended use or terrain and all allow for the natural foot strike whilst still protecting the feet.
For instance the Paradigm 5 is a popular maximum cushioned training shoe with a stack height of 30mm.
How stable are Altra running shoes?Running pronation is the inward movement of the foot/ankle and is a common function which has nothing to do with injury. With normal pronation we can expect the foot to roll inward about 15% and this helps to provide shock absorption and allowing this to happen is a founding principle to the Altra design process.
All Altra shoes are ‘neutral’, however certain runners, and particularly when we are running tired, can over-pronate beyond the 15% and this is when a guidance shoe may be required, especially for longer training runs when your form is tested.
In this case the Paradigm 5 provides gentle stability, encouraging the foot to come back into a ‘neutral’ position. The foot sits low down into the shoe and is supported by the Guiderail - a canoe shape that holds the foot in the cushioning and guides the foot where needed.