New to the 2017 Altra performance lineup, the Escalante introduces Altra Ego, described by Altra as the “Holy Grail of Running Shoe Cushioning.” The Altra Escalante follows the trend of soft yet responsive cushioning packaged into a stylish performance trainer. The question in my mind is this – will the Escalante stand out from the pack of new performance trainers?
Upon step in, I noticed the full-length Altra Ego midsole provided a soft underfoot that compares well to adidas’ Boost and Saucony’s Everun technologies. Despite being noticeably low to the ground, the Escalante provided my feet with sufficient ground protection over a variety of distances.
On the run, the Altra Escalante excels. With each foot strike, I felt the midsole deliver ample bounce back, especially when I was locked in at an uptempo pace. As I slowed to a more daily training effort, the Escalante felt soft and comfortable.
The Escalante’s outsole construction features a Footpod Outsole design that roughly follows the outline of the foot. On my road runs, the rubber pods felt sticky and well placed to give a ride that feels smooth and flexible. After a 50-mile week of running in the Escalante, I noticed the wear was minimal, but like other performance trainers, I predict its durability might be limited.
From a fit standpoint, the Escalante provided what I expected from a performance oriented Altra shoe. A wide toe box design that offered plenty of room for my toes to naturally splay. In regards to fit, it’s impressive how the stretchable, engineered knit makes the Escalante feel sock-like and easy to slip on. In addition, the stylish pattern makes it one of the most eye-catching Altra road shoes I’ve seen.
Aside from aesthetics, the close-knit upper hugs the midfoot well but feels loose in the toebox. The top construction is minimal with no seams or plastic overlays, leaving the heel feeling flimsy, and the overall shoe with little structure. However, the minimal construction does keep the Escalante at a lightweight of 7.8oz, lighter than both the Saucony Freedom ISO and HOKA ONE ONE Hupana.
Runners who like a low zero drop shoe will enjoy it for daily running, but most people will find it to be a better option for workout days. For runners new to lower drop shoes, consider transitioning it into your training cycle.
For future renditions, I hope Altra adds a more secure heel collar; that would vastly improve the running experience. Nevertheless, the Altra Ego midsole technology is something I’m excited about, and I look forward to future Altra shoes that use it. Overall, the Altra Escalante is my favorite shoe of the year so far. I recommend the Escalante for your steady state road runs and quicker tempo road runs.
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Alan has been in the game for 11 years, running cross country from high school through his years at Chico State. Now as our Footwear Marketing Coordinator, he puts his expertise into practice, specializing in knowledge of daily trainers and performance running shoes.