Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Altra Running Timp 5 Multi Tester Review: 6 Comparisons

Article by Ernst Linder and Mike Postaski

Altra Timp 5 ($155)


Ernst: I discovered Altra shoes in 2020 since they were recommended for wide feet.  I purchased the Torin 4 and liked it so much that I purchased another pair in 2021, and a Torin 4 Plush in 2022. I was comfortable with zero-drop shoes. Although they are road shoes I used them on trails as well, especially after the cushioning was worn down a bit.  I ran 1000 miles on each of the Torin 4, and 750 miles on the Torin 4 Plush at which point the outsole started to flake off in places due to too much trail racing.  

For my frequent trail running I also used the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 which I liked a lot after some wear-in.  Disappointingly  after 500 miles, the uppers on the Lone Peak started to either separate from the midsole or developed large holes. Otherwise I could have comfortably added another few 100 miles to these. 

I also run and race trails in the Altra Superior 5 (currently 500 miles), but I feel that they are too minimal, especially for long races.  The upper jam my toes a bit, and yet they seem thin and flimsy.  I recently tried the Altra Timp 4 and was not impressed: Too heavy for my taste, and not a good rider - too rigid with a large stack height invited ankle-rolling.  Now after 150 miles, they feel more comfortable - I’d rate them as a so-so training shoe.

I was hesitant to try the Altra Timp 5 when it was offered for the test.  Yet unexpectedly, I was positively surprised from the very start. It is a much bouncier, lighter shoe, with good cushioning and with much better flex that provides a smoother ride.  And we get a new and excellent Vibram MegaGrip outsole. It is clear this new version of the Timp has been considerably re-designed with several new positive features.


  • 1.25 oz / 35g less weight than the previous version. Ernst / Mike P

  • Useful for shorter races.  Ernst

  • Overall very comfortable - I feel protected from the elements.  More substantial insole gives better arch support. Ernst / Mike P

  • Good energy return and smooth toe-to-heel transition because of higher upward forefoot curvature (rocker) and larger heel bevel compared to earlier versions. Ernst / Mike P

  • Excellent traction on wet leaves, rocks, and snow provided by the new Vibram “Megagrip” outsole.  Ernst / Mike P

  • Rear velcro strap and front D-ring to attach gaiters if needed. Ernst / Mike P

  • $5 less than Timp 4 Ernst / Mike P


  • Altra is continuing its trend of narrowing the toe box in their shoes. I would welcome in particular a vertically roomier toebox. Ernst

  • I am not a fan of flashy colors (yellow, orange): they quickly darken when running through mud and fresh grass. Ernst

  • Seams on the side of tongue may irritate top of foot Mike P

Please find Ernst’ and Mike's run bio at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Sample: men’s  9 oz / 255g (US 8.5), 9.8 oz / 278g (US 9.5)

Stack Height: men’s 29 mm heel / 29 mm forefoot ( 0 drop spec) 

$155. The Timp 5 is available now at our partner REI HERE

Available more broadly Feb 1, 2024

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Ernst: The shoe fits me true to size in my men's US 8.5 . 

The front overlays are firm with extra reinforcement for toe protection.  

The upper is not overly stiff and fits my foot laterally quite well.  I would prefer a slight vertical enlargement as there is a slight pressure on my big toes.

Mike P: I gave an overall positive review to the Timp 4 that I tested 2 years ago. It had some good features, namely a comfortable, slipper-like fit, and a soft and somewhat lively EGO MAX midsole. But its drawbacks prevented me from using them too much after the testing period. I found the upper fit a bit much for me - just overly wide and spacious. I noted that this could work from those runners that truly NEED a wide toebox, but I’m not really one of them although I do not have a narrow foot.. 

Another drawback was the weight - 11.2 oz (318g) is a bit much for me, especially for training miles. But probably the biggest drawback was the very limited outsole. I touched on this in my Quick Tabe on YouTube about the Timp 5. I found that it didn’t work great in smooth & dry terrain, and also didn’t work in any type of loose or mountainous terrain.

Straight out of the box I noticed major differences - a big weight drop, Vibram Megagrip outsole (!), and overall a more dialed in fit in the toebox (for an Altra). For more details, please check out my YouTube “Timp 5 Quick Take” where I mainly discuss the upper and fit.

Midsole & Platform

Ernst: Zero-drop platform with good curvature : forefoot rise and heel bevel plus arch curvature.  This provides good stability even with a relatively large stack height for a trail shoe.  

Mike P: I found the EGO MAX foam of V4 to be a big bright spot of that shoe, although perhaps its effectiveness was somewhat dulled by the other drawbacks that I mentioned earlier. V5 retains the same 29mm zero drop stack - “EGO MAX” in name, but I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same formula. V4 used a mesh wrap around the forefoot area foam (seen in other trail shoes such as the original Endorphin Trail and the Nike Ultrafly), which is no longer there in V5. I’m not sure if this means the new foam is firmer or more stable?

On the run, it definitely feels more responsive and energetic - a lot more so than I felt with  V4. V4’s midsole gave the impression of being more absorptive, but again perhaps that’s in part to the roomier upper, new outsole and also the noticeably heavier weight.

Another factor could be the insole - V4 used a soft, thick Ortholite insole, whereas V5 now uses a standard EVA. Ortholite definitely enhances the feel of cushion, and also generally dulls responsiveness. This was a positive update in my opinion.


Ernst: Vibram Megagrip has rubber lugs throughout the entire sole. 

Previous versions had only a few in the front and back of the sole. The rubber lugs  do not compromise running comfort.  Traction is improved.

Mike P: Again, refer to my YouTube “Quick Take” for commentary on the outsole. Further testing confirmed the obvious first impression that Vibram Megagrip is a big upgrade. The well-spaced lugs and flexible rubber arrangement really compliment the much more agile nature of the shoe. 

I was able to run some pretty quick sections in wet and mushy conditions with full confidence. The rubber itself is quite soft and flexible, so it really contours well over anything underfoot. I had no slips or issues at all. With that type of soft rubber, I’d  normally be concerned about durability. But Vibram Megagrip is tried and tested, so I’m not concerned. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Ernst: The pronounced curvature of the midsole with front rocker shape and beveled heel provides for a pleasant ride and mimics grabbing of the terrain” which used to be the hallmark of minimal shoes. It promotes a smooth ride, it feels zippy, and feels surprisingly stable. All that while there is very good cushioning throughout.

 I am very pleased with the traction of the new Vibram Megagrip sole which enabled safe running on sloped rock faces, loose gravel, wet leaves and wet wood on my New England trails. I am very pleased with the Timp5 and would strongly recommend it as a versatile trainer for trail running. Very good cushioning, relatively light weight, and excellent traction may also make it a good choice for long trail races.  

Personally I prefer a lower stack height, and perhaps a slightly lighter shoe, especially for trail racing. I need a bit more (vertical) room for my toes. But besides my preferences, this shoe excels in almost everything else.

Score: 9/10


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE Roadtrailrun 

Ernst:  Because of my very different first impressions between the Timp 4 (orange) and Timp 5 (yellow) I made a detailed comparison.  Here are the shortcomings of the Timp 4:

Altra Timp 4 (RTR Review

Less curved in forefoot, 

Midsole feels rigid

Heel bevel is minimal - too far back in the shoe?

Outsole provides less grip:  Only a few lugs in the front and the back of the sole. 

The heel collar cushioning is at a higher position which could rub against the ankle.

And the Timp 5:

Curved midsole with pronounced forefoot rocker and bigger heel bevel.  Provides a smoother ride and an overall zippier feeling.

Excellent traction with sideways/multi directional oriented lugs interspersed through the entire outsole. 

Heel cushioning lower, but stability is reinforced with stronger material in the upper around the heel. 

The insole is more substantial with a slightly better arch definition. All my previous Altras have more minimal insoles, which tend to bother the ball of my feet in long runs.

Mike P: Compared throughout the review as well as my YouTube “Quick Take”. The Timp 5 is a much better shoe across the board. Really a great update. The only issue could be the sizing for some. It’s definitely more dialed in - in comparison to V4. It works well for my foot, which is not overly wide, but I do prefer a spacious toebox. But those looking for a “Lone Peak” style, OG Altra fit, might feel squeezed in these. I also noticed Ernst’s observation regarding the arch definition. I’m not sure if it’s just the insole, or maybe some contouring of the midsole itself - but it does feel more defined that the flatter-feeling Timp 4.

Altra Lone Peak 

Mike P: I haven’t tried on one of these in a while - sorry! Beyond V3, they’ve been massively wide for my foot.

Altra Superior 6 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Superior is much closer to the ground with much more ground feel. I’d say they’re in a totally different class cushion-wise. The Superior has a similar upper width as the Timp, but it’s a little shallower in the toebox and also around the midfoot. I find the burrito tongue of the Superior to be more comfortable than the Timp’s wide-ish tongue. But the Timp’s more rigid upper material is more secure and I actually find the ride to be more agile. Both are really good options from Altra - depends on how much you want or need underfoot. Superior is a good looking casual shoe too.

Brooks Divide 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Throwing this one in there since it has a very spacious toebox for a “normal” running shoe - almost on par with that of the Timp. It has a 6mm drop, but I find that it feels lower. The Divide is more of a budget shoe though, and its foam is firmer and not nearly as responsive as EGO MAX. It’s outsole is good for its considerably lower $100 price and general usage, but Vibram Megagrip wins out. It’s a good shoe and a bargain, but I like the Timp better.

Topo MTN Racer 3 (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Despite the 5mm drop of the Topo, I feel like this is the closest comp in terms of ride and feel. The Topo does sit at 28mm under the forefoot, which is almost the same as the Timp. The Topo Zipfoam is softer underfoot and doesn’t feel as responsive as EGO MAX. Topo also uses an Ortholite insole, which I’m hoping they will change in the future. I think it dulls the ride of the MTN Racer a bit. 

The Topo is more flexible underfoot, and gives a highly versatile ride, especially with its softer feel. The Timp does feel more responsive though, and also more protective, as the EGO MAX is denser. I really like both shoes, and there are subtle differences as described above. The 5mm drop of the Topo works better for me personally, but I think it would be great if it had Altra’s foam underfoot. Fit and sizing is the same between the two - the Topo may have a touch more space in the toebox.

Topo Pursuit (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): The Pursuit (at 28mm zero drop) seems more similar to the Timp on paper than the MTN Racer, but it doesn’t ride that way. It actually rides more like the Timp 4. Again, the Zipfoam is duller and less responsive, and the Pursuit is a heavier shoe, similar in weight to the Timp 4. Timp 5 blows it away in terms of weight and responsiveness. The toebox of the Pursuit is much wider though - it’s in the Lone Peak class. If you need that much space, you need it. Otherwise, Timp 5 is a better shoe.

Please watch Mike Postaski's Timp 5 initial video review (4:12)

Altra Timp 5 is available now 

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Ernst lives in the New Hampshire Seacoast area and loves being able to run "from his doorstep" on several connected trail networks.  While being the shortest student in grade school, he found almost all sports to be overly challenging, but "distance" running seemed to be natural for him. Eventually his family steered him towards competitive orienteering in his teenage years in Switzerland. This all stopped when he became an exchange student and moved to the USA. 

But the seed was sown, and eventually the running spirit reemerged. Throughout the years he has rediscovered orienteering, pursued road, trail and mountain running, adventure racing, triathlon and nordic skiing. 

He turned towards more competitive running when Loco started organizing races in the Seacoast area, first half marathons in 2007, and later marathons. His marathon PR is 3:03 at age 59, and he has numerous USA Track and Field New Hampshire age group state records.  He is 68 years old 5ft 5 inches (165cm) tall and weighs 135 lb (61 kg).

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to 100+ mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. From 2022-23 Mike has won the Standhope 100M, IMTUF 100M, and Scout Mountain 100M trail ultras. He also set a CR of 123.74M at the Pulse Endurance Runs 24H and completed the Boise Trails Challenge on foot in 3 days 13 hours, besting the previous record by 7 hours. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review. I’m surprised about the one tester review. I am a long time Altra supporter but have often times felt they have lost their way. Especially the timp 4. This is by far their best shoe and a serious contender for trail shoe of the year. I hope you can get more of your testers in this shoe as they will likely sing its praises. I want Altra to know we need more of this.

Anonymous said...

Not sure you guys put your full effort into reviewing this shoe. I follow your reviews and also have a few runs in the TIMP 5 and compared to previous versions this shoe has quite a bit to talk about. Of the few sentences provided, most are focused on preference of colors and stack height.

Mike P said...

I've got a sample pair on the way for review, so I'll definitely get some runs in as soon as they arrive. I tested V4 and I wasn't super enthused overall. The outsole was pretty limited so Vibram in V5 should be a big upgrade. I'm also intrigued by Ernst's comments about the feel under the arch - which should work well for me. I found V4, and normally Altras in general, to be too flat under the arch for me.

Anonymous said...

Big fan of the fit/cushioning of the Timp 4 so very excited to get my feet into the Timp 5 with all its upgrades. Can anybody compare the fit/sizing in detail? I've read that the toebox is a fraction shorter (in length) and lower volume (height). Would you get your usual (Timp 4) size or go up a half?

Mike P said...

I think Enrst would be the best one to answer this. My incoming test pair will be in my regular US 9.5, same as I have in the Superior 6 - which fits me very well. I had Timp 4 in a 10 so I won't be able to compare apples to apples. I'll comment if I do notice anything drastically different.

Mike P said...

Just got my test pair, haven't run in them yet. They definitely resized the toebox from V4 to V5. I did size down, but still, there's a lot less space all around - width and height than V4. I'd say it leans more towards a Superior fit as opposed to a Lone Peak fit. The upper is more structured though, less loose, so I think it will feel a lot more secure on the run.

Anonymous said...

In the Altra Running Timp 5 review, it's clear that the shoes provide a level of comfort and stability that can support runners who follow training programs like the tg macro, which focus on precision and consistency in running.

Mike P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike P said...

My Quick Take now up on YouTube:

Altra Timp 5 Quick Take

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike for the response/comments on sizing, good to know. Great little bit-sized review!

Anonymous said...

Mike I’ve been daily running and racing in Altra Superiors for years now. I recently bought a pair of MTN Racer 3 to train for a 12 hour race and I feel like I’m putting forth a lot more energy to run a lot slower. How is the flexibility of the Heel Counter, Ankle Collar and Arch Support Height of the Timp vs the MTN Racer? I prefer a less structured , lighter weight shoe with a glove like fit.

Mike P said...

I think it's probably the softness of the MTN Racer that feels like it's sapping energy. It's a very soft and also flexible shoe. I really like it as a versatile and comfortable training shoe, but I wouldn't race or try to run fast in it.

Ankle collar is about the same between the two, the heel collar of the Timp 5 is softer. Heel counter is a little stiffer in the MTN Racer, but not much. Both are a lot more structured than the Superior (6), which is quite soft all around. I do think the Timp 5 has a snugger fit than the MTN Racer 3 - more close to the Superior. The Topo is quite wide up front.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike. I’m really trying to figure out what I need and what my preference is for my 12 hour race that I’m training for. I’ve
done 3 50k’s in my Superiors and they were fine for that but I’m in uncharted territory training and racing this 12 hour. It’s a 4.6 mile loop consisting of 3.5 miles of very small gravel fire road and a mile of pavement. Descent amount of rolling hills throughout.

Mike P said...

I think if you've been good with the Superior for 50K's, the Timp would be a good step up - in terms of having a similar fit and volume (for similar comfort), but with more cushion underfoot for the longer distance/duration. They're similar shoes, with the Timp being a bit "more" underfoot

Anonymous said...

Good deal. I just bought me a pair of Superior 5’s I found on sale and they were like a breath of fresh air. I’ll do all my daily runs in them like I always have and probably trade my MTN Racers in for the Timps and use them on my weekend long runs. I’ll then decide closer to race date what I’ll wear in the race. Since it’s just a light gravel trail and pavement loop I’m thinking about a road shoe so I can get a light weight shoe. I love a lightweight shoe. I feel like my legs can just flick along. I’d take any suggestions or thought on my race day shoes for that said terrain. Thanks for your replies Mike. I really appreciate it. Good Day!!

Mike P said...

One great shoe that comes to mind is the Catamount 3 - it's the exact same weight as the Timp although I have it in a 10, and the Timp 5 in a 9.5. The outsole is quite smooth for easier trails and the sky vault plate gives it some oomph. I've been talking it up a lot since V2 (which is now on sale at a great bargain).

Other options are the Topo Specter if you want some more cushion. I've been liking the new NB Rebel V4, although it's very soft and quite different than a Superior. But crazy light for its stack. I've been kicking around the idea of running those two shoes on lighter trails.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been contemplating the Rebel V4’s for race day and some of my training. The Rebel V3 was the first shoe I ever had that had any kind of real stack height. I’ve only ever run in Altra Escalante Racers, Superiors and Vanish XC. I’ve run the Rebels many miles on gravel and a little on single track. They where always unstable though until the midsole got packed down. The new Rebels being supposedly firmer than the V3 and wider, they would inherently be more stable on “light off-road” or single track that is dry and where I can dance around and over rocks and roots, which I like to do anyways. The outsole also looks beefier and better for going off the pavement. And reviewers have said it is a better long run shoe than the V3. Also it has a nice toe box. The point is more in front of the big and second toe rather than in the middle of the shoe and it doesn’t push my big toe in. I think you just confirmed what I’ve been contemplating. Thanks Mr. Mike!! Sorry for all the ongoing questions . I like to talk running and fitness and I like to talk shoes. Have a good one and let me know how those Rebels do on the trails!