Best Altra Running Shoes

If you are looking for some of the best running shoes for either the road and trail available, you’ve probably come across the brand Altra, a company whose recent popularity in the United States has spread like wildfire, because of their exceptional, high-quality products. Altra’s shoes are made to be technical and offer thoughtful designs and features created specifically to meet a runner’s needs.

So, when you are trying to decide on the best Altra running shoes to hit the road or trail with, you’ll notice you have a lot of fantastic options from this brand.  To help narrow down your choices, we’ve done the research to provide you with a list of the ten best Altra running shoes for road and trail,  and as always, we’ll provide you with an overview of some key features to help suss out the best suited shoes for your running style.

Last Updated: February 15, 2018
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

We've updated this post with newer Altra including the crowd favorite One 2.5 to give you even better options when you train.

Altra One 2.5
  • Altra One 2.5
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Good stability
  • Great ventilation
  • Price: See Here
Altra Torin 2.5
  • Altra Torin 2.5
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Great cushioning
  • Secure fit
  • Price: See Here
Altra Lone Peak 3.0
  • Altra Lone Peak 3.0
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Zero drop
  • Versatile
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Altra Running Shoes

 

 

Altra One 2.5

Altra One 2.5
The Altra One 2.5's are great road running shoes and are built for speed. These will be comfortable on your feet from start to finish with a noticeable cushion that creates a powerful toe-off with good spring. The sole has omni-directional movement and great flexibility which contours to your foot's natural shape and movement.
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The One 2.5's are some comfortable shoes. They provide stability, and good consistency on long runs to hold off any foot pain or fatigue. However, some runners have reported problems with comfort which is unfortunately the usual for Altra shoes.

The One 2.5's have a pretty good quality and durability to them. They will hold up on long runs and leave you pain free. They offer a lot of spring and bounce but are stable and consistent for long runs.

All together, the One 2.5's offer an excellent amount of cushioning but are lightweight at only 6.8 ounces, which will make a difference if you're looking for speed. At a higher price, these shoes might not be for everyone, but they are some of the best quality Altra has out there which is why we've ranked it number 1.
Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Built for speed
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Flexible range of motion
  • Can adapt to natural movement of the foot
Cons
  • Sizing might be a problem
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Altra Superior 3.0

Altra Superior 3.0
If you want a lightweight shoe that still provides a decent amount of cushioning and comfort, then the Altra Superior 3.0 Running Shoes just might offer you what you need. Made with a lot of durability and excellent traction to handle a wide variety of trail conditions, these shoes can handle both off-road running and trail running.
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Features

Altra’s Superior 3.0 Running Shoes offer a durable and breathable upper that provides great ventilation, helping to push moisture out as you sweat and keeping your feet both comfortable and dry. They are also very lightweight, so if you like running at higher speeds, these shoes won’t cram your running style.

These shoes are also made to provide runners with a comfortable fit and a lot of stability and support, which helps to boost running performance. The traction of the shoe also works well on wet or slipper surfaces, and also sheds mud easily.

Benefits

Altra’s Superior 3.0 Running Shoes are also designed to be flexible, and even with the cushioning in the shoe, you can still feel the trails as you run. With a lot of durability and protection, you’ll get a lot of use from these shoes.
Pros
  • Great traction
  • Good comfort and support
  • Durable
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Shoe runs narrow.
  • Shoe sizes run small.
  • Toe box could be more efficient.
  • Shoe does not dry quickly.
 

Altra Torin 3.0

Altra Torin 3.0
The updated Altra Torin 3.0 has done a great job of creating a cushioning system that seems to be very popular with many avid runners. Aside from great cushioning, which will keep your feet fully comfortable, these shoes are also known for the firm grip that is offered both inside and outside of the shoes.
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The Altra Torin 3.0 have been created to offer a runner the ultimate cushioning system for maximum comfort while hitting the hard pavement of the roads. Not to mention, the cushioning provides a runner with a faster recovery time.
These shoes offer a neutral arch support, which should work for most runners out there. And according to reviews, the Torin 3.0 has hit the mark in terms of stability. Feet remain firmly in place in the shoes without slippage or wobbling.

Overall, the Torin 3.0 keep the fantastic lightweight feel of the 2.5, but the updated cushioning system adds more support. The only down fall to these shoes, was that the toe can be a bit narrow for some. However, trying them on in the store should help you suss out whether they are, indeed, going to work for your feet type.
Pros
  • Secure fit
  • Stylish
  • Lots of cushioning
  • Responsive shoe
Cons
  • Sizes run narrow in the toe
 

Altra Lone Peak 3.0

Altra Lone Peak 3.0
Altra’s Lone Peak 3.0 Running Shoes were the first trail shoe this company ever made, and its high-quality design has helped retain its popularity and made it a sought-after running shoe. With Altra’s Lone Peak 3.0 Running Shoes, you get a zero-drop platform and a foot-shaped toe box for extra responsiveness as you run on the trail.
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Features

Altra’s Lone Peak 3.0 Running Shoes are made to fit securely so that the shoes always provide support and stability. Plus, these shoes come with a good cushioning system, great tractions so that you’ll be able to run through a variety of terrains, and a lot of durability so that they will last a long time.

Altra’s Lone Peak 3.0 Running Shoes provide a lot of comfort and an average amount of cushioning while still staying lightweight and flexible as you run. Also, the shoe works well whether you are running for speed or hiking, so you can do many types of activities with this shoe.

Benefits

The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 features a Gaiter Trap so that it’s easy to attach a gaiter to these shoes, and also offer a precise upper that helps with stability and support. With several color choices available as well, you’ll both look good and feel good in a pair of these shoes.
Pros
  • Gaiter Trap
  • Zero-drop but still comfortable
  • Durable
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Shoe runs narrow
  • Shoe doesn’t dry quickly
  • Sizing can run small
  • Can have better breathability

Altra Paradigm 3.0

Altra Paradigm 3.0
Altra’s Paradigm 3.0 Running Shoes are designed to fit runners well, and also provides a breathable mesh that helps ventilate your feet to keep them cool and dry as you run. These shoes offer a lot of comfort with maximum cushioning, great arch support, and still has good flexibility features.
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Features

Altra’s Paradigm 3.0 Running Shoes provide runners with a maximum amount of cushioning while still providing plenty of room in the front part of the shoe, which helps combine for an excellent level of comfort. Plus, the shoe is made to be long-lasting and durable so that you’ll get many months of usage from them.

Plus, these shoes work great for runners that have injuries and need extra stability and support to help aid in recovery while they still hit the trails. The toe box on these shoes also has a lot of volume in the area, which provides even more comfort for runners needing some recovery time.

Benefits

Altra’s Paradigm 3.0 Running Shoes are made as a versatile shoe that can handle a wide variety of running styles and terrains. Plus, they also feature reflective details for extra safety as you run, and they come in several style and color options.
Pros
  • Versatile
  • A lot of cushioning and support to help injured runners
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Runs small
  • Wide toe box doesn’t feel great to all runners

Altra Impulse

Altra Impulse
Altra’s Impulse Running Shoes offer runners an excellent combination of performance and stability that focus on both road running and trail running. Designed to be lightweight and response, these shoes also offer a lot of flexibility to help boost your performance as you run.
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Features

Altra’s Impulse Running Shoes are designed with built-in drainage holes, which helps these shoes shed water and also increases the breathability of the shoe so your feet stay dry and comfortable as you run. With these shoes, you’ll also enjoy a lot of movement benefits since these shoes are lightweight and flexible, and won’t restrict your range of motion while you are on-the-go.

Designed with StabiliPod technology, these shoes also prevent foot pronation, which is an excellent running benefit. Plus, you get enough cushioning with these shoes to still feel comfortable while you are running.

Benefits

Altra’s Impulse Running Shoes also offer a lot of stability and support to help your feet and legs feel great while you are running. Designed with a great ventilation system, comfort, and stability, your feet will stay comfortable each time you hit the trails.
Pros
  • Very comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Great ventilation
Cons
  • Could be more durable
  • Not a lot of cushioning
  • Narrow toe box

Altra Olympus 2.5

Altra Olympus 2.5
Altra’s Olympus 2.5 have been designed with a neutral arch support and to hit the trails. It's a great neutral runner that features a newly designed upper support system. oot.

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Designed to be more lightweight and stable, the Altra Olympus 2.5 Running Shoe is made with excellent traction and can grip on any terrain. However, they have been originally designed with trail running in mind. These shoes offer a lot of stability and support features that will keep your feet happy for many hours as you run.

Designed to be both long-lasting and comfortable, the Altra Olympus 2.5 Running Shoe provides you with maximum cushioning to keep your feet feeling comfortable with a better recovery time.

Along with cushioning, you will get a runner that is supportive of your feet, so they can stay firmly in place. Overall, this runner is a highly viable option for the trails.
Pros
  • Structure and supportive
  • Decent and easy break in
  • Good grip system
Cons
  • Some users experienced a rip in the fabric

Altra Instinct 4.0

Altra Instinct 4.0
Altra’s Instinct 4.0 Running Shoes offer runners some of Altra’s best features packed into one shoe, including Zero-drop and FootShape technologies. The Altra Instinct 4.0 Running Shoes are made to give runners a lot of protection for trail running or gym workouts, and brings a lot of versatility to the plate.
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Features

Altra’s Instinct 4.0 Running Shoes offer runners a comfortable and flexible shoe with plenty of space to hold the foot in a natural fit. Also, there is good breathability built-into this shoe, offering plenty of ventilation to help keep your feet dry as you sweat and run.

These shoes are also so comfortable and flexible, they can be worn on very long runs and keep your feet happy and strong throughout the duration of your adventure. However, these shoes are still designed to be light enough for faster speed runs, depending on how you want to use them.

Benefits

Altra’s Instinct 4.0 Running Shoes come with plenty of cushioning and flexibility, making most runs very smooth considering the affordable price of these shoes. Plus, these shoes are available in a variety of style and color choices.
Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Flexible
  • Durable
  • Great for long runs and short, speed runs
Cons
  • Forefoot and toe boxes can feel large.
  • Upper could fit better.

Altra Provision 3.0

Altra Provision 3.0
If you want some extra support and stability while you run, then Altra’s Provision 3.0 Running Shoe offers the advanced fit and average cushioning you’ll need on runs. These shoes are made to be both comfortable and breathable, and also are versatile enough for either trail or road running.
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Features

Altra’s Provision 3.0 Running Shoes are designed with excellent breathability, giving your feet plenty of ventilation to stay dry even as you run and perspire. The quick-drying mesh system in the upper also helps feet stay dry, since the mesh is designed to dry quickly each time the shoes get wet.

Designed with a wide toe-box, you’ll get a natural fit with this shoe plus Guide Rail technology to reduce pronation as you run. Also, there is plenty of stability built into this shoe, which will help boost your running performance each time you set out on a new trail or road adventure.

Benefits

Altra’s Provision 3.0 Running Shoes are also made with a normal shoe style and come in many color options, offering you a fashion boost that will help you look great and feel great as you run. With the variety of benefits like ventilation and comfort, you’ll get a lot of use out of these durable shoes.
Pros
  • Good ventilation
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish
  • Lots of stability
Cons
  • Sole isn’t as durable as it could be.
  • Can run small.

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Neo

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Neo
Altra's Lone Peak 3.5 have been designed for daily use on the roads, and they offer a neutral arch support to suit most runners out there. These shoes are an option that many road runners go-to for the comfort, durability, and overall flexibility that has been enhanced with the newest generation of the Lone Peak.
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The Altra Lone Peak 3.5 have been a reliable shoe to hit the roads with in confidence. Some reasons that make these shoes a fantastic option for many is that they are durable and seem to last for a good amount of usage, while offering consistent comfort and support. Along with this, they tend to keep their appearance quite well without looking to dinged up.

Another fantastic feature for runners, is that unlike some other Altra runners, the Lone Peak 3.5 has a decently wide food box, so that there is sufficient wiggle and foot expansion room.

The newly designed upper of the 3.5 is breathable and airy, so that your feet stay sufficiently cool on pavement treks.

Overall, these shoes will bring you a great sense of comfort, flexibility, and durability to lock down some miles with.
Pros
  • Water resistant
  • Flexible
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Heel cup can irritate your feet
  • Shoes can fit narrow

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

As a brand, Altra offers a lot to runners with their variety of running shoe designs and styles, but many of their shoes include many of the same features that you’ll want to consider when you evaluate what type of shoe you want to purchase. We’ve included some of the things you’ll want to look for before you purchase.

Zero Drop/ Non-Minimalist Shoe

Most manufacturers that make zero drop shoes nowadays design their shoes to be minimalist or barefoot in design, meaning there isn’t much cushioning in the shoe. However, Altra designs shoes with zero drop features that are not minimalistic shoes, but provide plenty of cushioning to help absorb shock and prevent your feet from getting sore and tired while you are on the road for long periods of time.

One thing you need to remember with zero drop shoes, and Altra does a good job as a brand of being honest about this, is that if you aren’t used to a zero drop shoe, you’ll need to gradually transition into these types of shoes. However, once you are able to adjust and adapt to them, they do offer plenty of benefits that will increase your running performance.

Altra still designs a wide range of shoe options for a variety of runners to help with things like posture, stability, and support. All of their shoes are made to help you better your posture as you run, which will cut back on injuries.

So, if you aren’t used to shoes that have a zero drop on them, that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a good pair of Altra shoes—it just means it may take time to get used to them. So, as you make your decision about what style of Altra shoes to buy, be aware of the features and the time it might take to get used to the shoe. Once you do get used to your new Altra shoes, however, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of improved performance and posture.

Altra designs their running shoes to reflect zero drop technology features, and provide different levels of support and cushioning depending on the type of shoe you buy. If you need a lot of support and cushioning, then the Altra Olympus Running Shoe offers the best benefits in this category. All Altra trail running shoes come with bonus features like rock plates, stone guards, outsoles with great traction, and durable uppers.

With the benefits, you’ll get from the foot shape technology designed into Altra running shoes, meant to improve your posture, and the zero drop features, you’ll enjoy the extra stability and support, as well as the boost in performance you get. If you want a shoe that features a lot of extra stability, then you might want to consider the Altra Provision 2.0, since it has a stability wedge in the shoe.

Designed to Prevent Discomfort

Altra’s running shoes are designed in a unique way to keep your foot and toe area in its natural state as you run, which helps to boost comfort and also reduces pain and injury as you run. All Altra running shoes can help decrease pronation, forefoot pain, runners’ knee, shin splits, and IT band pain.

Altra’s shoes help prevent discomfort because they are made to fit your foot correctly, and the shoes focus on creating a natural fit and feel that is not only comfortable, but performance enhancing since your feet won’t experience any restrictions in movement. Plus, Altra running shoes are also designed with a foot-shaped toe box that’s meant to fit your feet well, keeping the toes spread out in a natural state so they don’t feel crammed in your shoe. This style of design means you’ll get more stability out of the shoe, keep your natural stride, and experience a better run with far less pain or chance of injury.

Finding the Perfect Altra Running Shoe

When you’re trying to decide on the best pair of Altra running shoes to meet your needs, it can be difficult, since Altra does offer a variety of styles and choices. However, there are two things you should really be looking at when you’re looking for the perfect Altra running shoe, and that’s the amount of cushioning you need, and your arch type.

Once you know these two factors, you should be able to find a great pair of Altra shoes that will both fit you well and feel great. If you’re able to do that, you’ll feel great and motivated to complete your runs, experience less injury, and keep moving well.

Cushioning in Altra Running Shoes

While some people think figuring out how much cushioning you really need when you run sounds like an easy decision, most of those people assume more cushioning is the better option. However, that solution isn’t always true for all runners, because for some runners, less is more when it comes to cushioning.

In truth, cushioning is like any running shoe feature, and can vary greatly. The type of cushioning you really need when you run will depend on how you run and what you need to get out of your shoes. Typically, there are five cushioning options offered with these shoes, and we’ll cover each level in more detail below.

  • Level Five Cushioning. This is the maximum amount of cushioning you can get in an Altra shoe, and these types of shoes are also made with the best technology. Shoes with a lot of cushioning are best for runners that run long distances and need a lot of protection when they run.  These types of shoes are made for marathons and longer runs, and are great for runners who track many miles each day. They also work well for larger runners and runners recovering from injuries that benefit from extra shock absorption and protection.
  • Level Four Cushioning. These shoes offer a lot of high-level cushioning performance and also perform well for long distance runners that hit the trails or roads daily. They also tend to be very versatile and can handle a lot of different types of terrain well.
  • Level Three Cushioning. This type of cushioning provides a balance between cushion and flexibility while still keeping the shoes lightweight. Most of these shoes are meant for fast-paced daily running. This level of cushioning also feels more natural to most runners, and is great for runners that prefer to go faster on the trails.
  • Level Two Cushioning. Shoes made with level two cushioning are made to be very light and flexible, providing a little bit of cushioning and a minimalistic feel. These shoes can help you feel the road better and also help to strengthen your feet and form as you run.
  • Level One Cushioning. This type of cushioning offers only a thin layer of cushion and comes with the lightest, most flexible style of shoe.  With this cushioning level, you can feel the trails and strengthen your feet while you are running, training, or walking. They offer a barefoot type feel each time you hit the trails.

Depending on what you need to get out of your new pair of Altra running shoes, you’ll need to decide what type of cushioning will work best for you. If you are new to running or have injuries and need extra support, you’ll want level five or level four cushioning to help absorb shock. Level three cushioning is great for runners who want a combination of cushioning while still being able to feel the trails. However, if you prefer a more overall natural feel, then you’ll better enjoy level two or level one cushioning in your shoes.

Arch Type and Flexibility in Altra Running Shoes

Once you know your cushioning level, you’ll want to examine your arch type and the level of flexibility you’ll need from your running shoes. People’s arches can vary just like their feet, and the higher or less flexible your arches are, the less support you’ll need and want in your shoes. If you do require high arches, then you’ll want to aim for Neutral shoes with higher arches.  We’ll break down what you need to consider based on your arch needs below.

  • High arches. For people with high arches that don’t flex much, your foot style will put you leaning your weight towards the outsides of your feet. The best shoe to help support your type your arch is one made in a Neutral shoe style to help move your natural bodyweight so its sits a bit more inside the shoe and on the cushioning of the shoe.
  • Medium Arch/Pronation. Most people fall into this category, and have flexible arches that make your ankles favor going inward each time you step, which is known as pronation. If this describes your foot type, you’ll want a stability shoe because this type of shoe will be made to help stabilize the way your feet fall, giving you a more natural step.
  • Low Arches. Low arches usually have high flexibility to cause your feet to angle inward very far, which causes your arch to fall lower. If you have this type of arch, you’ll want a level 5 stability shoe that offers the most support you can get on the market.

Once you know what your foot arch is like, you’ll be able to figure out how much cushioning you can handle, how much you need, and what style of shoe you’ll be likely to buy. All of these concepts can factor into how well the shoes both fit and perform.

 

FAQs

Q: How long will my Altra running shoes last?

Many factors affect how long your running shoes will last, and a lot depends on the type of shoe you buy, your running style, and how well to take care of the shoes. If you can comprehend your running style, you’ll be able to better determine how long your running shoes are likely to last.

If you tend to land hard on pavement or the trails as you run, you are more likely to wear your shoes out faster. Also, if your landing is concentrated in a certain area, you’ll be more likely to wear out a certain area of your shoes faster. If your running form is already great, then you’ll avoid scraping your shoe as you land. That will help prevent wear and tear on the rubber and foam. However, if you do scrape when you land, you’re more likely to damage and wear the material out faster.

Most shoes wear out faster in the foam cushioning area, and not really in the harder rubber outsole area. The foam in the shoes will eventually become compressed, and you’ll notice a difference in the level of cushioning you actually experience as you run. While less cushioning is not really an overall problem, what does hurt the way you run is the way cushioning breaks down in an uneven way, which can affect the way your feet feel as you run, and how well the shoes absorb shock and vibrations. Also, the foam tends to wear out under the balls of your feet first, which can cause your feet to tilt towards the inside of the shoes, making the shoes fit incorrectly and causing injury. However, if you’ve bought a durable shoe, you can probably extend the life of it even after the cushioning wears out by using a foam rubber insole to replace the cushioning in the shoe.

Shoes that are thin also tend to last awhile in comparison to thicker shoes, which might sound a bit odd since most people assume thicker shoes tend to last longer. Most of this has to do with the midsole area’s thickness declining with increased use of the shoe, and thicker shoes wear out midsoles faster than thinner shoes.

The hard rubber outsole area of the shoe typically doesn’t wear down as quickly as the foam. Some shoes do use soft outsoles that do wear out quickly, but this isn’t typically the case. You need to be aware of the type of outsole you’re getting, and if you want a more durable one, try to go with hard rubber outsoles versus soft outsoles. However, if you do wear out the outsoles on your shoes faster than the insoles, you’re using poor running form, and you’ll want to revise your style of running to help prevent not only shoe wear and tear, but also injury.

Shoes made with soft outsoles tend to wear out more easily and suffer more wear and tear from abrasions and contact on the trail with other obstacles and debris. Scraping can also take a toll on these types of shoes, and while shoes with soft outsoles are typically more flexible, they aren’t as durable as other types of shoes.

Also, the temperature of the environment you are running in can also affect how long your shoes will last. If the temperature is warmer, then shoes can soften up more easily and also wear out faster. So, if you’re living in an area that also has a hotter climate, you’ll probably want to opt for shoes with hard rubber outsoles to increase the lifespan of your shoe.

Also, the running surfaces you typically hit can also have an impact on the shoe, as certain types of terrain will cause more impacts and abrasions. If you tend to run on hard concrete or asphalt, your shoes are more likely to wear out more quickly than if you run on trails alone.

It’s important to note that much about shoe wear and tear depends on a runner’s individual running style. Some runners can handle more wear and tear in their shoes than others before they decide to purchase new shoes. Some runners feel just fine in shoes that are very worn out, while other runners decide to change their shoes with just a little wear and tear. So, much of this also depends on personal preference.

Q: Are Altras good for distance running?

You’ll see many styles of Altra shoes advertising reviews that speak of how long and far you can run in the type of shoes you buy. The greater the distance you are likely to run, the more cushioning and protection you’ll want in your shoes because running for hours, and running long distances can create greater impact and injury problems without extra cushioning. Also, shoes designed for long-distance runs not only provide more cushioning to reduce injury, but also help cut back on fatigue.

However, much of the distance depends on personal preference, since some runners like to run far in minimalist shoes that don’t have a lot of cushioning features. So, there is really no one feature that tells you how far you can run in a particular style of shoe besides personal preference, and what you feel is comfortable when you hit the trails.

 

Final Thoughts

When you’re trying to decide on the best Altra running shoes for road and trail to meet your needs, you’ll want to consider your running style, the level of cushioning you need, and the amount of stability and support you’ll want to help you feel great when you run. Once you are able to factor in those features and needs, you should be able to select a great pair of Altra running shoes.

Altra’s running shoes offer you many style and design choices, so you’ll want to try on a few pairs before you decide on your purchase. Once you find the shoe that feels just right, you’ll be able to run for hours on the trail while your feet feel great.

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