Altra Escalante Running Shoe

8.9
8.9 score
(GearWeAre.com) score (8.9)/10

Our GearWeAre.com score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
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Altra Escalante Running Shoe Review Facts

If you have been a fan of the Torin of the Altra line, you’re surely going to love the Escalante even more. With some nice features and impressive cushioning, it is a nice addition to the technical running shoe industry. This minimalist running shoe with its ample cushioning is suitable for runners of all ability levels. The unique upper seems comfortable, even though it does not look that protective. The spongy midsole, thanks to the InnerFLEX layer, is impressive, whereas the outsole seems durable. Overall, this lightweight shoe with its fully cushioned zero-drop platform is as suitable for casual wear as it is for daily marathon trainers.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Stack height of 25mm means you will feel comfortable
  • FootPod technology plays a big role in making the shoe a lot more flexible
  • Altra EGO foam blend allows for a comfortable stride with a bouncy sensation
  • Use of fully knit and seamless upper reduces the overall weight of the shoe and makes you feel as if you're wearing a thick sock instead of a shoe
Cons
  • Toe-box height is quite low and can cause your toe to get in contact with the upper fabric
  • Some people have complained about the wrong sizing
  • Possible to experience mild instability when hitting uneven surfaces
See How
Reviews were analyzed here:
We read, analyze and sort reviews into positive & negative categories to give you the complete picture.
What are buyers saying?

We have spent 3 hours analyzing a total of 456 reviews.

These reviews are then categoried into "Positive" and "Negative" feedback.

Below you will read a summary of them:

Positive
  • The design promotes a natural gait.
  • The upper is breathable and very comfortable.
  • There are positive reviews from both experienced and new Altra wearers.
  • This is a good option for fans of zero-drop shoes.
  • The cushion gives a spring and bounce to each step.
  • Reviewers like these for running, work, or just lounging.
  • Some runners describe these as fast.
  • There are positive reviews from a range of ages.
  • While the toe box is spacious, the midfoot and heel cup provide a good hold.
  • Forefoot strikers like these shoes.
  • The upper and cushion give a slipper-like feel.
  • These keep feet cool in warm weather.
  • Different runners say these work well on tracks, roads, groomed trails, and for long distance.
  • There are no complaints about the grip or outsole.
Negative
  • The upper does not provide much protection from the elements.
  • Sizing is inconsistent with other Altra shoes.
  • These have minimal support for lateral movements.
  • There is limited availability.
  • The material of the upper is susceptible to easy tearing.
  • If you are looking for a true minimalist shoe, these may be too cushioned.
  • There are mixed reviews from heavier runners.
  • These are not recommended for people who pronate.
  • The laces are short.
  • Some buyers complain that these are overpriced.
Reviewmeter
The Reviewmeter shows you an overall score that you can easily refer to. The highest rating is 10 (100% positive feedback)
Of the 456 reviews we found in total, 11% were negative, and 89% were positive.
8.9
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Style

Style

If you're looking for stylish running shoes, the Escalante may well be a good option. It has a unique style designed to salute the unique beauty of the Escalante River region in Utah. It’s eye-catching with a sock-like look that adds to the aesthetics along with the just the right stack height.

The design will appeal to most people and the choice of colors, blue, gray and red, helps create a style statement on the wearer. Everyone will recognize you are sporting a pair of runners from the Altra even if they did miss the clearly displayed logo on the side of each shoe. Overall, the Escalante stands proudly for style and design.
Size

Size

With a standard running length and medium width of D for men, you will find it quite true to the size. The sizing is quite comparable to the Torin2.5, the Superior 3, and the Lone Peak3. The fit is good and the wider toe box adds to comfort for runners with wider feet.

There have been some who have called out an inconsistency in the sizing scheme, but we found it was more an issue of sizing for wider or non-standard shaped feet. But, if you like toe space in your shoes, the Altra Escalante is definitely for you.

That being said, you may find the foot to be a bit tight on the sides when you try it for the first few times. Many people may feel awkward due to its low toe box depth, but you will notice a considerable difference after a couple of short jogs. We believe that the change is mainly because the knit upper relaxes a bit after use.
Outsole

Outsole

FootPod Technology has been used in the design of the outsole. It reflects the anatomy of the foot so that the Altra Escalante bends and flexes with the natural movement of the foot. It makes for a more comfort and security when out running. It relieves pressure around the tendons too, greatly reducing the risk of injury.

However, we really think at the end of the day, it is a minimalist running shoe. There is not enough material on the outsole to ensure it can withstand the pounding of serious running. You're likely to experience some heel wear after a few runs, which points to the limitations the sole has.
Midsole

Midsole

The midsole is lightweight, mainly because it uses ZeroDrop technology that ensures ample cushioning. You notice the ZeroDrop most when shifting the balance from the forefoot to the heel. It makes you feel in control on the roads increasing performance.

The use of the AltraEgo cushioning means that the midsole is soft yet extremely durable. From the moment you start your run, you enjoy the springy and highly responsive underfoot experience that is down to the AtraEgo. Some runners liked it and felt the benefit, others not so much.
However, we believe that the peculiarly beefy insole may not work for everyone, especially for people who love Altra for its responsive cushioning and feel underfoot.
Upper

Upper

The Altra Escalante uses a lightweight upper, mostly mesh that looks quite like woven cloth. It adds a bit of flexibility and softness to the shoe. It also ensures good breathability and keeps you comfortable during runs. The foot-shaped toe box works just perfectly with the quality upper and ensures freedom of movement.

The upper, as well as being unique, fits snugly, but it creates a compromise on support and structure for your shoe's upper. Another concern is that the low height of the toe box. The box may have a roomy width but when the top of your toe is likely to rub against the upper fabric, it can uncomfortable at the least and cause blistering at worse.
Breathability

Breathability

The Altra Escalante is an extremely good option for anyone interested in buying shoes that are highly breathable. The fabric-like upper is comfortable and allows for a good airflow. The Escalante is right up at the top of the brands but there are better running shoes with knitted uppers. Even so, some people complained that feet become sweaty in hot weather, but the movement of air around the toes compensate for that to prevents issues such as chafing and blisters.

However, the drainage system of the shoe works impressively, even though the girth may be a hindrance. Combined with the woven upper, the moisture ports on the insole ensures good breathability and keeps your feet dry even on longer treadmill workouts in damp or humid conditions.
Comfort

Comfort

The shoe fits quite nicely and is comfortable to wear. Add a traditional lacing system to it and you will have a shoe that fits well and wrap around your foot securely. You will notice that the laces have a naturally smooth feel, and with the kind of patterning it has, it feels as if the laces are hugging your foot in the right places.

The use of the padded collar means that your heel stays in place and ensures that your foot does not come out of the shoe accidentally. A noticeable thing about the heel collar is that it is much plusher as compared to any other shoe from the Altra range. However, you should know that the counter is hardly noticeable that may or may not work for every runner, especially for those looking to manage excessive foot pronation.

Nevertheless, we really like the way the FootShape toe-box spreads out nicely to accommodate your foot comfortably. It means that the shoe stays comfortable even for people with rather wider feet.
Drop

Drop

It is important for runners to consider the drop, and the Escalante does not disappoint. It comes with a stack height of 25mm across the shoe, which actually means the toe and heel are equal distance from the ground, which is what a zero drop shoe is all about anyway! With this much drop, your foot can move naturally. However, you need to bear in mind it takes some getting used to if you've been running wearing a higher drop shoe in the past. Zero drop shoes can cause your calves to lengthen while running, which can prove a bit uncomfortable initially for runners used to a higher drop.
Durability

Durability

The upper seems like some high-quality fabric wrapped around your foot, but it is quite durable. The material used inside the heel collar is quite impressive and makes it tough enough to withstand some serious use. It does not break down and never makes you deal with the dreaded tunnel that is common in the padding.

The midsole maintains sponginess even after a prolonged use, but you may notice signs of wear on the outsole rather soon. There are gaps in the outsole that allow the overly mushy outsole to touch the ground in the stance phase. With that happening, you may notice wear patterns developing in the midsole, especially at the forefoot area.
Stability

Stability

With the patterned sole, the shoe certainly offers good traction but there have been some mixed reviews regarding how stable the shoes are. The Escalante performs reasonably well on different surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, compact sand, dirt trails, and more.

If you run on the streets most of the time, the Escalante will feel quite stable. However, most people have complained that it is easy to twist your foot when you hit cracks or uneven surfaces. While you're less likely to injure yourself, as the twisting motion is not severe, it may still feel a bit uncomfortable at times.
Traction

Traction

The minimalist outsole is the reason why the Escalante offers its reasonably good traction. You cannot fail to notice the footprint design on its outsole is coupled with rather gripping grooves. The pattern helps you enjoy better traction over wet roads. While the rubber compound really helps keep everything stable on the road and tracks, it does not work as efficiently over grassy areas.
Waterproofing

Waterproofing

Don't expect the Escalante to be a front-runner when it comes to waterproofing because it is focused more on keeping you comfortable with the use of the knit construction. As mentioned already, it has a cloth-like upper, so it may help with breathability but it does not serve as a barrier to water.
It means that if you get your Escalante wet, you're going to feel that on your feet as well. The upside is that the knit construction makes the Escalante extremely breathable, so your feet will get dry in no time at all.
Best Applications

Best Applications

The Escalante is a game-changer for the brand, and with its impressive cushioning, minimal drop, and roomy toe-box, it is capable of performing well in almost any setting. It is a great choice for runners mainly because of its low weight. Moreover, that bouncy midsole and flat-knit upper means that you will find it equally comfortable to wear during road marathons or track workouts.

Interestingly, you can also opt for the Escalante when you love tempo runs or go for long runs with intervals. The springiness makes it a perfect shoe for that.
Comparison to Other Brands

Comparison to Other Brands

The Escalante performs great in so many ways, and that is mainly because of its highly comfortable sole and upper. The flexibility of Escalante makes it work like the One 2.5s. The shape of the toe box is similar to the Torin 2.5, or something between the Torin 2.5 and Superior trail shoes. In terms of durability, the Escalante can beat most of the competitors in this crowded category. In fact, some users believe it is better than the old workhorse Kayanos because it is lightweight and not as clunky as those shoes from the past.
The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

It wouldn't be wrong to suggest that the Escalante is one impressive addition to the Altra line because of its zero-drop and highly comfortable cloth-like upper. Because of the comfort and fit, the shoe serves more like a "do-everything-shoe". The midsole performs well and is quite springy, but keep in mind that you may feel disappointed wearing the Escalante if you like to feel the ground underneath your feet while running. That spongy feeling stays intact for long, but the outsole may be a bit prone to wear, which is quite understandable for a shoe with such a price tag. It means that if you're okay with the ground feel you get while running, the Escalante is going to serve you very well.