Read why I love the Altra Escalante 2.5 running shoe and how it compares to my other go-to running shoes in this review.
When I started to get back into running postpartum, I started looking into a few different shoes since my foot got a little bigger and my toes were feeling a bit more spread out and cramped in some of my previous go-to running shoes, especially my Nike Pegasus. I’d tried Altras about 8 years ago and didn’t love them, but I knew that a LOT had changed in the styles and models they offered so I was willing to give them a second try.
I ordered the Altra Escalante 2.5 and the Altra Torins. I LOVED how the Torins felt underfoot, but they rubbed the top of my foot, so those got sent back. But I absolutely LOVED the Escalantes, so much so that I bought a second pair just for walking. (I don’t use my running shoes for every day walking or casual shoes, which is one way to help running shoes last longer.)
I’m sharing the pros and cons of the Altra Escalantes in this post, along with the types of runs I use them for most often. You can see all my running shoes in this post (including Adidas, New Balance, Brooks and more).
Altra Escalante Review
But first, a little bit about Altra!
Altras are known for their FootShape™ toe box, which is wider than most running brands and gives your toes space to spread out naturally and relax. It also gives your big toe enough space to stay in a straight position vs. pushing towards your other toes. And that’s important for power and stability when running.
Altra is also known for making zero drop shoes. That means the heel and forefoot are an equal distance from the ground. Most running shoes have a higher stack under the heel than the front. However, zero drop helps create a more natural position which helps alignment, promotes better form, and encourages a low impact landing.
Oh, and fun fact: the guy who started Altra, Golden Harper, and his dad, Hawk Harper, actually fitted me for my first-ever real pair of running shoes in Orem, Utah when I was training for my first ever half marathon in 2004.
If you know the type of shoe you like, with the support type, drop, weight, etc. here are the specs to help you evaluate if they line up with your preferences. If you don’t know much about this stuff, join my online running course! There’s a full lesson all about shoes and what these different things means.
Altra Escalante 2.5 Specs
Support type: Neutral
Weight: 6.9 oz / 196 g
Sizing: True to size. I buy my usual 7.5 (I size up 1 full size in running shoes compared to my regular shoes.)
Stack Height: 24 mm
Okay, here’s my review!
Wide Toe Box
Like I mentioned, this is VERY comfortable for me! It may feel huge to you at first, but if you have a wider toe box like me, you’ll be really happy with this. I even found that some of my toes that used to curl under, making their way into hammer toes, have flattened out since I’ve been consistently wearing these.
I like them for easy runs, fast runs, short runs and long runs! (I haven’t tried them in anything over 7 miles.) And I tend to grab these most when I don’t have any set paces or set distance in mind. So if I had to pick just one run that they’re good for, I’d say steady paced, medium distance runs! I tend to reach for my New Balance Beacons on longer runs and I’m still trying to find a replacement for my Nike Pegasus, which I used to love for faster days, but they’re giving me a lot of issues lately.
Not overly cushioned
I don’t like a shoe that feels mushy underfoot, like it absorbs my power. These are not overly cushioned, but they still feel supportive.
Functional on groomed trails and wet roads
They work well on groomed trails without feeling like I’m slipping. They also work well on wet pavement. Some of my other running shoes get VERY slick when the roads are wet. I don’t experience that with Altras. However, I did just buy the Altra Lone Peaks for running in Boone, where the trails are less groomed. I’ll share a review once I try them out!
The upper is very lightweight and breathable. It almost conforms to my foot like a sock without feeling tight. I love it!
So many color options
While you certainly shouldn’t buy based on looks alone, if this shoe works for you, it’s easy to find a color you’ll like. The latest model has eight options.
Cute with regular shorts
Along those same lines of style, once my Altras are worn out, I transition them to day-to-day shoes for walking or just casual days. They’re cute with chino shorts, which isn’t always the case with running shoes!
A bit stiff
Sometimes they feel a bit stiff, but I think that’s just days where my body is craving more cushion. It may also be my body adjusting to running in zero drop, which I haven’t done in years. (I ran in Vibram Five Fingers for 3 years, but I’ve running in traditional running shoes with a 7-12mm drop for the last 10 or so years.)
Somedays the lack of cushion is a good thing, but other days my body craves it. I think the Torins would have been a great option for days where I want more cushion if they had worked out.
Where to buy Altras
Zappos and Running Warehouse also carry the Escalante 2.5. Both of those have good return policies too so I often buy running shoes from those sites as well.
Most local running stores carry them too.
These are a GREAT option to add to your rotation!
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