Being an Altra Ambassador is pretty sweet.
Since becoming an official Ambassador at the start of 2014, I’ve been able to “meet” a ton of other Altra Aficionados via Facebook and Twitter, and am looking forward to meeting a fellow ambassador in person at the Blue Ridge Marathon at the end of the month.
While my blog history shows that I don’t need an excuse to pronounce my love for this awesome company and their kick-ass shoes, allow me to expound a little bit about the 2 pairs of shoes that I received as part of being in the Ambassador program.
Altras in General
Running in Altras, or any zero-drop shoe for that matter, takes some getting used to. If you’re new to the zero or minimal-drop shoes, progress in them slowly. Altra does a great job of educating you on the best way to make the switch to their shoes from any of the “traditional” running shoes, but I just want to re-emphasize the importance of a gradual transition. I actually changed my running stride/mechanics BEFORE changing shoes, and I still dealt with tight calves for a while after making the switch.
But it has been totally worth it.
The original Instincts were my first pair of Altras, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.
When I was choosing which shoes to get as an Ambassador, I figured I’d get the newer model of my favorites, and then try a different model with my other.
Let me just tell you, the Instinct 2.0s are not even close to the same shoe as the original.
Now, to be clear, the new model is a great shoe! It just wasn’t at all what I was expecting.
The newer model has a thicker sole and is much more cushioned than its predecessor. The toe box is especially wide (an Altra specialty), and the fit is super comfortable. There is lots of cushion available with this shoe (not just in the sole), while still being surprisingly lightweight.
The Instinct 2.0 would be a great option for your first foray into the Altra catalog. This shoe does a great job of maintaining cushion for us road runners, while still delivering the wide toe box and zero drop that I absolutely love! Click for the men’s or women’s models (women’s equivalent is the intuition).
For my second pair of shoes, I decided to give the newer version of the Provision series a shot.
And I’m super glad that I did!
These shoes are, in my opinion at least, more like the original Instincts than the new Instincts are. Right now, the Provisions are my shoe of choice.
The Provision 1.5s have a slightly slimmer stack (sole) than the Instinct 2.0s, and I love that. It’s amazing how much of a difference 3 mm can make!
When ordering the Provision 1.5s, the Altra site suggests ordering a half size bigger than you’d normally wear. Take their advice! I didn’t, and when I got the shoe I was a little bummed. I hate being that guy that has to return something, but luckily these shoes came with a stability wedge that I could remove, and that made enough of a difference. The shoes are still a little snug, but they don’t bother without the wedge in place.
Check out the Provision 1.5s, or the Provisioness 1.5s for the ladies, and don’t be afraid to take the leap and give them a shot. I’m glad I tried the Provisions, because I think I might have found my new favorite model!
Like I said, both the Provision 1.5s and the Instinct 2.0s are great shoes. While I absolutely prefer the Provisions to the Intincts, I’m actually debating which shoe to wear for the marathon I’m running next weekend.
I’ve done most of my long runs with the Instincts, so logic would say that is the shoe I should wear. But I just love the feel of the Provisions more, and I’m leaning towards wearing them. Odds are, both shoes will make the trip to Virginia with me, and my decision will be made on race day!
If you’re at all interested in trying any of the Altra Zero Drop shoes, but you’ve got a few questions, please reach out to me! If I can’t answer your question, I’m connected to dozens of Altramaniacs, and I’d be happy to ask them on your behalf and share their experience with you.
All I know is that I love these shoes, and I’m so glad I took the chance on them back in 2012. As long as their are Altras available, I know I’ll never wear another shoe again!
Have You Tried Zero Drop Shoes? What Are Your Thoughts?
FTC Disclosure–As an Official Altra Ambassador, I was given two pairs of shoes to wear and review. I was able to choose the shoes that I wanted, and the opinions expressed about each model are entirely my own, and have not been influenced in any way by Altra, its associates, or any one related to the company.