Friday, November 20, 2015

Review-Altra Running The One 2.5. Easy Rider

Review by Peter Stuart

Altra The One 2.5 (Altra shoe names must be really confusing when they talk about them on the phone) is a 6.3 Oz, Zero Drop, neutral shoe that Altra describes as built for speed, without sacrificing the comfort needed to maintain that speed through the finish line”. Technologies touted on their website are FootShapeTM toe box, A-BoundTM cushioning, InnerFlexTM technology and Zero DropTM platform. Who knew that Altra literally has the patent on Zero DropTM? The stack height is 23mm across the board. There’s not a ton to these shoes, but they’re super fun to run in. They are slipper-like in fit, have just a couple of well placed patches of harder rubber and lots of exposed EVA.

Upper and Fit:

Okay, they look a little like bowling shoes. Let’s just get that out of the way. That said, they fit me really well.
These came laced ready for the lace-lock method of tying shoes, which works really well to secure the Altra to my feet. The lacing is standard, but looks almost asymmetrical because the shoe is “foot shaped”. These are the closest Altra has gotten to looking like a ‘normal’ running shoe. The heel feel solidly locked in, mid-foot is nice and snug and there’s plenty of room up front for toe-splay. These seem to run just a hair shorter than the Impulse. They aren’t short enough for me to size up, but it’s close. There’s enough room in the front of the shoe that I don’t have a problem.
The upper is well constructed, materials are nice and soft and the shoe goes on like a slipper. They are super light. First impression was good, but left me wondering if they would be enough shoe out on the road.

Midsole and Outsole:

The midsole is pretty cool. There is a layer of A-BoundTM foam directly under the foot that seems to, as promised, absorb some of the ground contact and provide some spring back. The
outsole looks like a slab of foam with a couple of rubber pads—but it doesn’t bottom out in the same way the Nike Free 3.0’s did for me. There’s a decent amount of energy return, which I’m guessing is attributable to the A-BoundTM layer and the InnerFlexTMoutsole. The outsole has lots of flex grooves, which essentially carve the shoe up into a bunch of little pods. This makes for a very, very flexible shoe. I’m a fan of flex. These flex.

There are only a couple of areas covered by harder rubber and the rest of the shoe is exposed EVA. I’m about 35 miles into these and there’s no disintegration going on, but they may not last as long as some other shoes. The rubber that is there is very well placed and feels good. This shoe, like the Altra Impulse, feels better when you hit it in just the right spot. If you land on the front of the mid-foot towards the forefoot you get a noticeable spring back from the shoe. That makes this shoe feel better when I’m going fast—though not at all bad when I’m just cruising. It makes for a fun game—hit the sweet spot and get a little more spring forward. I’ll be keeping track of mileage and wear and will update this later.

The One 2.5 rides better than I would have expected. It’s smooth and cushioned. The cushion to weight ratio is amazing! It’s super light and slipper-like but provides some nice protection from the road. I’ve done a few 8-10 milers in them and haven’t felt any particular foot fatigue. They do feel better when I land farther forward. They don’t necessarily roll through the transition as smoothly as something like a zante if I land towards the heel—which may be due to the zero drop. In terms of calf strain, adjustment time and soreness, Zero drop continues to be a non- issue for me. I guess I land far enough forward that the drop
doesn’t really come into play. The ride feels really natural. I kind
of feel like a little kid when I go out in these shoes, it’s just fun
to run and I rarely think about the shoes. I’m very interested to see how they ride compared to the Altra Instinct (which I’ve yet to try)—because if the Instinct ride similarly but have just a tiny bit more protection, they’d be a great long-run shoe.

Conclusions and Comparisons:
I’ve become a really big fan of Altra in the past month. I love the Impulse and really like running in the One 2.5 too. Both shoes just work for me. The One 2.5 is a great, free, light feeling shoe with enough protection to put miles on it—especially on shorter, faster days—while they’re fun at a loping speed, I really enjoy them when I drop to 7 minute miles. I’d highly recommend them to anyone looking for a fast, light shoe for the rotation. They wouldn’t be my choice as the only shoe in my closet, but they’re a damn fine addition.
One 2.5 vs. Skechers GoRun4
The GoRun4 and the One 2.5 are very similar shoes to me. They’re both super light but protective enough to put some real miles in. I’ve had a ton of fun running in both this year. They both have a fair amount of exposed foam and share many ride characteristics. Of course the GoRuns have a 4 or 8mm drop (depending on insole) and are a bit narrower. Hard to choose between them. Running in them side by side reveals some differences: There’s more shoe and more shoe hugging the foot in the GoRun. There’s also just a little better roll through the front of the shoe and a little more bounce back from the road. The Altra feels a little more like a slipper, and the Skechers a little more like a traditional running shoe.
One 2.5 vs. Zante
One 2.5 is a much lighter, more slipper-like shoe. There’s less cushion in the front, but it’s not bruising. They ride pretty differently—zante is a bit firmer and has more support of the foot for the long-run.

Score for The One 2.5- 4.5 out of 5
-0.1 for lack of versatility
-0.1 for running slightly short
-0.1  for potentially quick wear due to exposed EVA outsole 
-0.1 flex grooves pick up pebbles
-0.1 for looks

Peter Stuart's Running Bio
My running career got off to a slow start…in high school I was told I ran like a race walker and was thus relegated to race walking on the track team. I got back into running about 15 years ago and then into triathlon. Triathlon really rekindled my love for running, so about two years ago I hired a coach and really focused on the half and full marathons.  I broke a bad habit of putting in tons of moderately hard miles (and no easy or hard ones) and after plateauing at 3:25 (with some disastrous marathons in there), this past year I brought my marathon under 3:00 and my half under 1:25. Along the way I’ve developed a bit of a shoe problem.
The Altra One 2.5 is available from Running Warehouse for $100. 
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Disclosure: The Altra One 2.5 was provided at no charge to RoadTrailRun. The opinions herein are entirely our own. RoadTrailRun is an affiliate of Altra Running and Running Warehouse and receives a small commission on sales through the links below to support our site.

1 comment:

Σπύρος said...

How does the tougher material that runs from the eyelets down to the toes feel? Does it limit toe movement and breathability?