Monday, August 05, 2019

Altra Running Escalante 2 Multi Tester Review: A Happy Upbeat Ride

Article by Jeff Beck, Hope Wilkes, Sally Reiley & Dom Layfield

Altra Running Escalante ($130)
Jeff: The Escalante 1 and 1.5 were both big fan favorites, offering a relatively lightweight shoe that was well-cushioned for daily trainer duties while also being well suited for uptempo efforts. With the Escalante 2, Altra has changed up both the upper and midsole/outsole some, while still trying to solidify the shoe as their lightweight daily trainer. The upper added a little more structure to the shoe, while the Ego midsole material still gives it plenty of bounce. Unfortunately a more built up upper resulted in a weight gain, and the Escalante 2 starts to farther away from “lightweight trainer” and definitely more in the “trainer” camp.
Hope: When a shoe has a long update cycle, you know it’s good. For a couple of years the OG Escalante has been a favorite of mine for runs <13.1 miles and less. It proved to be not quite enough shoe for peak weeks of marathon training for me, but it’s fun, flexible, bouncy, and pretty stylish for a foot-shaped model. Enter the Escalante 2, with a women’s specific version (not just a shrink-and-pink, Altra has made data-driven decisions to change the specs of the shoe to better suit female runners) and substantial updates to the upper and midsole that make the shoe more, well, substantial.

Upper holds the foot much more securely than previous/Escalante Racer
Ego midsole material is BOUNCY
Upper breathes well and isn’t nearly as sloppy as many Altras have been
Outsole provides plenty of midsole protection and lots of traction, even in very wet conditions
Almost the same great outsole tooling as the OG Escalante
Secure upper
Bouncy ride
Works well for light trail use too.
Upper holds the foot securely
Midsole makes for a pleasant lively and bouncy ride
Durable outsole that handles gravel, light trails, and wet surfaces well

Jeff and Hope: For the weight I’d appreciate a little more squish/bounce
Zero drop can be a non-starter for many runners with calf/Achilles issues
Toebox is plenty wide, but is not very deep vertically
True to Altra tradition, laces are altogether way too long
Straight lines in the ankle collar make getting a secure fit challenging
Where did  the sole flexibility go?
Not as light as one would hope.
Would like more cushioning for the weight
Poor tongue retention: Tongue slips laterally to outside of shoe

Tester Profiles
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.
Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less.  Jeff runs 40 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in North Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39 both he is working to demolish with help from his coach Dave Ames.
Dom Layfield is a long-time trail and ultra runner.  He runs about 3,000 miles and 500k ft of vert a year, almost entirely on trail.  His most recent road race was a 2:46 at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon. He is currently training for UTMB.
Sally is a mother of five who ran her first marathon at age 54, and has now run the past six Boston Marathons and one Chicago, with a 2017 Boston PR of 3:29, good for 8th in her age group. Along the way she has raised over $200,000 for Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital running with Team Eye and Ear. A relative newbie to road racing, she has achieved All-American status in the 10K (44:04) and 5K. To commemorate her 60th birthday (and hopefully crush the new age group), she will run the NYC Marathon in November. Sally is a compact (petite) runner at 5' 2" and 105 pounds.

Weight: 9.2 oz / 261 g (men’s 9), 7.6 oz / 215 g (women’s 8) 
9.8 oz / 278 g (men’s 10.5)
9.8 oz / 277 g (US M10)
7.4 oz / 210 g (US W8)
Escalante 1.5:  7.9 oz. / 224g (US M9)
Stack Height: 19mm / 19mm
Available now including at Running Warehouse here and RoadRunner Sports here

First Impressions and Fit
Jeff: Fit is true-to-size 10.5 for me, and I’d make no changes in that regard. The midfoot is much more dialed in than a number of other Altra shoes, and while the toebox is a little shallow, the knit upper gives it a little bit of stretch vertically. My first impression of the nuclear blue shoe was that it has followed the example of many other lightweight trainers (thinking Saucony Kinvara or Hoka Clifton) that the manufacturer took a lightweight trainer, listened to the nitpicks, and the later version got heavier and lost some of the spirit the first version had captured. The little bit of extra support in the upper is appreciated, but the added weight is disappointing - especially when compared to its older brother Escalante Racer (which is 7.4 ounces in the same size and doesn’t feel like it is that much more pared down for the 2.4 ounce difference).

Hope: Jeff hit the nail on the head. Altra has produced an up-armored version of the Escalante for people who didn’t totally love the OG version. Instead of changing a shoe beloved by some to please the people who didn’t like it, I’d like to see manufacturers create new models or expand a model into its own line (a la the New Balance Zante family of shoes) to please a broader group of people rather than throw out what was crucial to the success of the original. Here we have a far beefier upper that indeed fits me true to size in terms of length. 
A little baffling given Altra’s commitment to making foot-shaped shoes, the ankle collar features harsh straight lines -- nothing on my foot follows a straight line! This geometric shape causes gaps and makes the fit somewhat imprecise. It looks like Altra is using this design in the majority of their low-cut models (excepting their featherweight racers), so I don’t expect to see it change.

Dom: I’m new to the Escalante game, not having ever run in earlier versions, so I had no preconceptions.  I put on the Escalante 2 and enjoyed everything about it. My sample shoes felt true to size, with -- for Altra -- a relatively snug forefoot (but still wider than most brands). They are comfortable, springy, and looked sharp. 

When I first put the shoes on, I noticed that the toebox was unusually shallow, with very little height at the tip, reminiscent of the Nike Terra Kiger 5 (RTR review).  But as Jeff observes, the upper is particularly stretchy in this area, and I never experienced any discomfort.  Arguably this shallow profile may help foot retention.
Sally: True to size but with a shallower toe box than the other Altra I have tried (namely the Torin 4). I was initially disappointed in the all-black color way for a woman running shoe, but actually grew to like the utilitarian look. I would be more apt to wear these with street clothes given their neutral appearance.

Jeff: The Escalante 2 upper is a reinforced knit mesh that holds the foot well, without overheating. Many Altra models over the last ~8 years have had numerous issues: too wide of a toebox, midfoot too sloppy, prevalent heel slip, and the Escalante 2 doesn’t suffer any of these. 
They stuck with their classic foot-shaped design that defines Altra, and the security of the upper is a nice change. 

Two minor issues showed up however. The laces continue to be too long, begging to be double or triple knotted, just to eat up some of the extra material. Not the end of the world, but how hard is it to ship shoes with laces that are the proper length? 
The The second issue is tongue related. The tongue is very thin (which I like in this case, it is just enough to keep lace pressure from being an issue) and has a thin stripe that the laces cross through, that stripe doesn’t keep the tongue in place very well. Several runs left the tongue slid completely around the side of my foot. Again, not world shattering awful, but a minor gripe that shouldn’t exist on a shoe that’s been around this long.
Hope: Again I’m generally in agreement with Jeff. However, I enjoyed the barely controlled chaos of the OG Escalante’s barely-there upper. Foot hold is vastly improved because the upper is stiffer. The knitted-in grooves appear to be a style element only with no apparent function. They do give a sense of how thick the upper is in places. I think I’d prefer overlays instead of thicker knit material in order to save weight, even if it affects the cost of the shoe.

Dom:  I really liked the Escalante 2 upper.  Compared to the Torin 4 that I recently reviewed, everything is a little snugger.  But thanks to the stretchiness of the upper, the Escalante 2 remains very comfortable.  Remarkably, foot retention is still excellent: crafting a shoe that is stretchy without being sloppy is a difficult trick to pull off.

I have only two nitpicks in regard to the upper.  Firstly, like Jeff, I found that the tongue had a tendency to wander off laterally.  The strip down the middle through which the laces are threaded eventually stops it sliding too far.  Nevertheless the shoe would be improved by more tongue retention: the burrito-style tongue used in the Superior 4, for example, would be perfect here.

Secondly, I find that I have an excess of space in the forefoot off to the medial side of my big toe.   Like 99% of the population, my big toe has been bent inward (presumably from years of wearing conventionally-shaped shoes while I was growing up) and no longer extends straight in line with my first metatarsal.  Consequently, my big toe ends up much more in the middle of the toe box, with oceans of empty space on the outside. Altra shoes may be “foot-shaped”, but they are not shaped like my westernized feet! For some reason, I was more aware of this issue while testing the Escalante 2 than with other Altra shoes.

Sally: Like Dom, I am new to the Escalante, so can’t compare to the OG, but I enjoyed the ride. Unlike other testers, I did experience some pressure/discomfort on the top of the toe box/forefoot after some miles. Hoping that the upper will stretch a bit more? Or perhaps there is some torquing due to the tongue slippage?

Like Jeff, I found the lateral slippage of the tongue disconcerting and basically unacceptable. One shouldn’t need to reach down to yank on the tongue midr.un Perhaps more loops farther up the tongue to secure in the laces would have helped?
Like Dom, I have way too much space on the medial side of my big toe in this shoe. Considering Altra prides itself on a woman-specific natural foot-shaped shoe, it looks like a clown shoe in a sense on my foot. They could lose some of the excess weight by shaping the shoe more to a modern day foot.

Jeff: Altra has a number of great midsole materials, Ego, Abound, and Quantic, and while I don’t have a firm grasp of what makes each different from each other, I’ve enjoyed each material in an Altra shoe recently. The Escalante 2 has their Ego material which I would characterize as incredibly bouncy. It does not seem to have any interior reinforcement to prevent lateral torsion of any kind, but it isn’t that bendy of a shoe either. The midfoot seems incredibly narrow for Altra (which means it is as wide or wider than almost everyone else), and that creates a very good platform for most runners’ feet. I could see lighter or more efficient runners looking at this shoe as a possibility for the marathon, while many runners would probably top out with it around 10 miles or so. 19mm in front and back is a decent amount of cushioning, but not as much as I prefer for that long of a run. That said, at the end of every run I had in the Escalante 2, my legs and feet felt good.
Hope: I’m not a big Altra head having only previously run in the OG Escalante and Golden Spike, so I can’t really speak to the quality of the other midsole compounds, but I can speak to the Escalante 2’s version of Ego relative to the OG’s version of Ego. The OG Escalante featured a single layer of mega soft, mega bouncy Ego (top black layer is just a paint job). The Escalante 2 has a much denser version of Ego -- gains a little snap, but loses all of the bounce. While I didn’t push the Escalante 2 to the long run limit, my sense is that the firmer midsole is more protective. I think Altra stripped the Escalante of its soul by changing the makeup of its Ego foam, but those who craved more stability from this model should be pleased with the change. The women’s version feels maybe a touch softer, but I really did not notice a difference between my M8 pair and my W9.5 pair. Most notably, the Escalante 2 is far less flexible than its predecessor (which I can easily bend in half). 

Dom:  Again, because I’m not familiar with previous versions of the Escalante, I can’t compare to them.  Not knowing what I’m missing perhaps, I loved the ‘bouncy-yet-firm’ underfoot feel of the Escalante 2.   I can however, compare to Altra’s Torin 4, which has a squishier midsole. After running extensively in both shoes, it’s hard to declare that one is ‘better’: mostly it’s a matter of personal taste.   I found the ride of the Escalante 2 to be lively yet protective. You can certainly run long miles in this shoe and not feel beaten up.

Sally: The midsole has a lively, bouncy ride, but is fairly firm underfoot. My legs felt fresh after a 12 mile run (though my metatarsals were suffering - that is a fit issue).

Jeff: The Escalante 2 continues Altra’s design language of using segmented rubber in a variety of shapes meant to mimic the human foot. As a result there is very good coverage even though I’d say roughly half of the shoe is exposed midsole. 
The exposed areas are recessed slightly, and that’s enough to keep virtually all wear to the rubber outsole. As a Phoenix-based runner I don’t get to test many shoes for wet performance, but while testing the Escalante 2 with a series of hill repeats I was caught in an early morning storm that created a number of puddles that were nearly ankle depth. Surprisingly, I didn’t experience any slip despite the substantial amount of water. While it took a full day to dry out, I’d easily recommend the shoe for any rainy runs - you won’t have traction problems at least.

Hope:  Traction is good, but I do miss the softer, almost herringbone patterned tread of the OG Escalante which gave it outstanding grip even on wet asphalt and imparted a bit of cushioning. Durability seems solid, I expect this one to last for the long haul.

Dom:  No criticisms of the outsole here.  The partial-coverage outsole rubber strikes a nice balance between weight, grip, durability, and flexibility.  As always, I took the shoe off-road, and found that the Escalante 2 performs quite decently on dry trail. Given that this a road shoe with no lugs, loose grit can act like ball-bearings underfoot, and the shoe will break away on steep descents or aggressive cornering.  But on mellow trails, the Escalante 2 has excellent manners. And there’s enough protection that sharp rocks and prominences don’t feel painful.

Jeff: Bouncy, bouncy, and bouncy, the Ego midsole does its job well. The shoe feels very natural, and not at all cumbersome or blocky. The foot protection is what I would term solid or decent, without being exceptional. At easy speeds or putting the hammer down, the shoe feels good either way - but there are many better cushioned shoes I’d prefer for the easy miles.

Hope: It doesn’t feel like what I expect from the Escalante, but I don’t mind it. The shoe has good go-fast manners because of the somewhat snappy midsole and still gamely handles my slow hot weather shuffles. It feels a lot more controlled than the OG Escalante which is a plus when form starts to break down.

Dom:  Springy and energetic, the Escalante 2 has a very happy and upbeat ride.  While it doesn’t feel like a “fast” shoe to me, in the sense of being a 5 or 10k race shoe, it has plenty of protection for the marathon distance.  I found the Escalante 2 to be a really capable training shoe. I felt like I could run hours a day, every day in this shoe, and it would just soak up the miles.  The ride is firm enough that I could also do intervals or strides without feeling that my energy is being dissipated in the shoe. Plenty of cushioning, but no mushiness here.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Sally:  I felt no strain in calf muscles after the first few runs in these zero drops, despite cautionary advice. I see no need to ease into this shoe. Escalante 2 handled all paces I tried them for and is a lively shoe. Powered uphills,  Jack of all trades! I will continue to keep them in my training rotation.
Sally's Score: 
Ride: 9.0 (50%), Fit: 7.5 (30%), Value: 8.0 (15%), Style: 8.0 (5%)       
Jeff: The Escalante 2 feels like a throwback to the original Altra shoe, the Instinct. It is decently cushioned, but not anything I’d throw into my big daily trainer category which lncludes Glycerin or Triumph. Some folks may find it well cushioned, but at 19mm it is about 10mm of heel stack height shy of hitting that mark for long distance work for me. And while there are many lighter shoes that likely excel greater as a dedicated speedwork shoe, the Escalante 2 feels great when speeds pick up. If you are a runner who only uses one or two shoes at a time (versus the type that has a half dozen or more in the regular rotation) than the Escalante 2 could be an ideal jack-of-all-trades type of shoe that would be great for all runs that don’t require lots of luxurious squish. If you haven’t dabbled in low/zero drop, then you should be cautious and work into it, it can put extra strain on your lower legs. This said E2 runs very well with lots of bounce, a solid breathable upper, and a rubber outsole that will give you hundreds of miles before any exposed midsole gets worn down.
Jeff’s Score 8.4/10
Ride (50%) 8, Fit (30%) 10, Value (15%) 7, Style (5%) 7

Hope: While I’m not wowed by the Escalante 2 (I’m kind of kicking myself for not stocking up on pairs of the OG), it should please a lot of runners who want a little more shoe underfoot. Jeff’s absolutely right that it’s a great “Swiss Army Knife” shoe in that it can handle just about every workout you throw at it. I’m not experienced with zero drop shoes and I never had a problem with either the Escalante 2 or the OG, so it’s possible to make a swift, painless transition, but I would still encourage caution.
Hope’s Score: 7.8/10
Ride: 8 (50%) Fit: 7 (30%) Value: 9 (15%)Style: 7 (5%)

Dom:  I think I liked the Escalante 2 more than the other reviewers.  The Escalante 2 just suits my taste. I found the shoe to be very comfortable and with surprisingly good foot retention.  It has a lively, springy, energetic ride while providing plenty of cushioning (and rock protection when taken off-road). This is a great high-volume training shoe.  My criticisms are mostly minor (tongue migration, excess space on medial side of big toe). The only factor that doesn’t have me skipping off to the altar in this shoe is its weight: at 277 g / 9.8 oz per shoe (US M10), it feels a little on the heavy side.  But for a trainer, weight isn’t so critical, and durability may be more important.
Dom’s Score:  8.4/10
Ride: 9 (50%), Fit 8 (30%), Value 7 (15%) , Style 8 (5%)

Index of all RTR reviews: here

Altra Torin 4  (RTR review)
Dom:  However excellent the Escalante 2, the elephant in the room for me is Altra’s Torin 4.  Both shoes are very capable road shoes that can be drafted into light trail use. The Escalante 2 has a narrower, snugger shape from front to back.  Despite not being as roomy as the Torin 4, it remains comfortable due to the stretchy upper. Both shoes have an impressive amount of cushioning, and both have excellent foot retention.  The Escalante 2 feels springier and firmer underfoot; the Torin has a cushier feel. I would lean toward the Escalante 2 were it not for the striking difference in weight: the Torin weighs 9.1 oz (per shoe in size US M10) while the Escalante 2 clocks in at 9.8 oz.

Sally: I agree with Dom in that I like both Altra shoes (my first Altras, looking forward to more in the future). They work for different runners/purposes - the Torin 4 has the cushier ride, the E2 has the livelier ride. Torin 4 wins for less weight, more cushion.

Adidas adizero Boston 8 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. The Boston 8 is one of those shoes that comes in both lighter than the Escalante 2 (by nearly a full ounce at 10.5 oz in my size 10.5) while also feeling more cushioned underneath the foot. Style-wise it wins by a country mile (for what that’s worth), but the upper is much more slim fitting than the E2 - even though the Boston 8 has a more relaxed fit than the earlier versions. Ultimately, I’d give the nod to the Boston - unless you have a wide forefoot, then stick with the Altra.

Sally: Boston has long been a top fav shoe of mine (I have run several Boston marathons in the Boston 6). I am lucky in that the Boston fits my narrow foot well, whereas the runner with the higher volume foot would do better in the Altra E2. Boston 8 hands down for me.

Altra Escalante Racer 
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size10.5. When I started testing the E2 my initial thought was “Just like the ER, just a little more dialed in and cushioned” and while that’s true, when wearing them on opposite feet it is jarring just how different the shoes are. I’m not one to bicker about fractions of ounces, but the Racer is 2.4 ounces less and cushion-wise has just a hair less. The upper is the biggest difference, with the Racer being a super-wide open knit (seriously, you can read the brand of sock through it), making it the most breathable shoe I’ve ever worn. Between the two it’s all a matter of purpose - if you want a shoe for uptempo work exclusively, go Escalante Racer. If you want an all-around shoe that will sometimes be on your feet for the fast stuff, Escalante 2.

Hoka One One Rincon (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. This one is a little unfair to the Altra, the Rincon just gets so much right. The Escalante 2 is the surefire winner for toe box size, but Rincon takes the cake with weight, cost ($15 less), more cushioning, feels better both slow and fast. Unless you have wide toes, go with the Rincon and enjoy my likely 2019 shoe of the year.

New Balance Beacon 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. New Balance’s lightweight trainer brings a lot to this matchup, with a better feeling upper and midsole, that feels much better at easy paces, weighs quite a bit less, and is also $10 cheaper. The Escalante 2 has a bigger toebox (though the Beacon 2 has more than ample room up front), much better long term durability, and feels better uptempo. I’d give the nod to the Beacon 2.

Hope (US W9.5, true to size): The Beacon 2 is a worthy successor to the nearly perfect OG Beacon. As Jeff mentioned, the upper improves upon the overly dense fabric of the OG making the shoe feel as airy and free as its spry, snappy midsole deserves. It’s a fun shoe that does long runs beautifully while still showing up for faster efforts. I think the Beacon 2 is more fun and will suit a broader group of runners than the Escalante 2, so it’s my pick.

New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. Nearly two ounces lighter, the Rebel come out punching. Its upper is sublimely comfortable, the midsole is something special, and the extra flange on the lateral side is something I’ve never known was an option as a supinator, but now that I’ve had it I don’t want to let it go. The Rebel is definitely the choice, provided you are looking for an uptempo shoe, at slower speeds the Escalante 2 is the better shoe.

Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Nike is half-size up 11 (standard Nike sizing for me), Escalante 2 is true-to-size 10.5. The Nike is $20 more (but if you are flexible on colorways can be found for less, even in the recently released V2 that changed very little) and is about an ounce lighter and brings much more underfoot than the Escalante 2. But the E2 feels MUCH better at uptempo speeds, and the Epic React has a fine toebox compared to the Altra amazing toebox. Give me the Epic React.
Hope (US W9.5): Nike made only subtle tweaks to the sublime Epic React with the ER2. React foam delivers a Goldilocks blend of softness and bounce that Ego doesn’t quite match in the Escalante 2. ER2 gets my vote.
Sally:  I am a huge fan of the Epic React (saw no real difference between OG and 2), and I love what Hope aptly calls “the Goldilocks blend of softness and bounce” of the ER2. It remains one of my favorite go-to shoes, and the Altra E2 doesn’t have that enviable silent softness. Epic React wins for me.     

Reebok Sweet Road 2 (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. These two shoes could be kissing cousins. Only a quarter ounce difference in weight, the Sweet Road 2 feels virtually identical underfoot as far as cushioning/responsiveness. The upper is both more restrictive (at the heel) and less restrictive (midfoot to forefoot) in the Reebok, and while the toebox is good, it isn’t an Altra. Flip a coin, both are great shoes.
Hope: I like the thinner, more flexible midsole of the SR2. It’s a bit like a heel-loaded Mizuno without a plate and has tons of giddyup plus a great-fitting upper. Value priced and easy on the eyes, the SR2 is my preference.

Skechers Performance GOrun 7 Hyper (RTR Review)
Jeff: Both shoes fit true-to-size 10.5. One of the top lightweight trainers (albeit with a fatally flawed upper), the GR7H midsole and ride are a class above the Escalante 2 - but you could say that about just about any shoe made in 2019. Hyperburst has to be in consideration with the best midsole material made today, while Altra’s Ego midsole material is very good. The GR7H upper loses it for me, being both too restrictive in the toebox and way too loose in the rest of the foot, and doesn’t hold the foot well enough to wear for uptempo runs. Unless you have a wide midfoot and narrow forefoot (and in that case, congratulations the GR7H was made explicitly for you), go with the Escalante 2.
Hope: Even with the upper issues, the GR7H is a shoe I love -- Hyperburst is an exciting, bouncy, freakishly light midsole compound. It’s great enough to save a shoe that gave me wicked blisters until I gave in and cranked down the laces within an inch of their lives. I like Ego, but it doesn’t move me like Hyperburst, so I would go with the GR7H. 

Skechers Performance Razor 3 Hyper (RTR Review)
Jeff: Razor is half-size up to 11, Escalante fits true-to-size 10.5. I don’t love the upper of the Razor, but it is good enough, and paired with the midsole/outsole combination, it’s hard to give the Escalante the nod here. The Razor is nearly 3 ounces lighter but also feels more cushioned (both for easy runs and faster ones - but the Razor really shines at uptempo speeds), and that’s hard to ignore. Unless you have a massive forefoot, take the Razor 3 Hyper.
Hope: Want better flex, better bounce, and better heel hold? Go R3. It was my choice for my “A” marathon in Fall 2018 and when everything else went wrong that day, the R3 stayed true.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Narovly said...

Dang not too many people are liking this version.

Anonymous said...

Any word on if this update will effect upcoming versions of the escalante racer? At the moment, the racer is my go-to shoe, though I wish they'd do general color schemes instead of major race + year colorways.

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Anonymous,
The Altra Spring 2020 catalog shows no changes to Escalante Racer.
Sam, Editor

Anonymous said...

This is a question for Dom: will you actually incorporate the Escalante 2’s into your rotation and run in them?

And with the added weight, which I really don’t understand, the Escalante seems to lose the niche it once had and there is basically no reason to choose it over the Torin 4 except for aesthetics. Perhaps the new Duo 1.5 will be the way to go for a super light daily fast trainer?

Telemarker said...

I feel obligated to point out that I'm not really a road runner, so have limited awareness of the subtleties of training shoes.

You might prefer the Escalante 2 over the Torin 4 because you like a snugger fit, or a firmer, bouncier ride.

Weight to me is particularly relevant because I often use road shoes for long trail races, shaving a few ounces at the cost of reduced protection, foot retention, and grip. For example, I used Hoka Clayton 2 at Western States and Hoka Mach at Rio Del Lago 100.

I'll also sometimes take a road shoe when I'm traveling, luggage space is limited and I don't know where I'll be running. Recently I spent two weeks on vacation in Portugal, and the Torin 4 was the only shoe I took with me.

Anyway, unless I'm actually racing, I don't know that weight is very relevant. As a training shoe, I slightly prefer the bouncier ride of the Escalante 2, but the roomier fit of the Torin 4. However if you're after a very lightweight trainer, it does sound as though the Duo 1.5 might be a better match than either.

Anonymous said...

Dom, thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. This is why this blog is my #1 go to website for shoe reviews. Please keep up the great work.

Will said...

Can any of you all compare these to the Topo Magnifly 2? I don't need road shoes for a while, and currently have the Escalante 1.5 - which I like but don't love - so was just curious if there is a comp there (and what might be better/worse... apart from the lace length, which is surely more sane, obvs).