I previously posted a review on Altra Instinct and was contacted by AltraZeroDrop as follows:
“Interesting review. A couple of things as I consider what is being said here. First, The Instinct is a neutral shoe and is sold as such. The Brooks Adrenaline is a motion control shoe. To compare the two with a pronator is not a fair comparison. To look at an Altra shoe that offers some pronation support please check out The Provision. This runner obviously needs some medial support and thus The Instinct may not be the best option right off the bat. As they strengthen their feet over time maybe.”
My reviews are based on the shoes that runners wear in, and the Instinct is the only shoe I’ve seen from Altra. In this runner’s case, he purchased the Instinct based on it’s “wider,” more supportive appearance, only to develop forefoot pain.
Altra’s website promotes Altra zero-drop footwear as “reducing forefoot pain, excessive pronation, IT Band pain, runners knee and shin-splints.” These claims are made independent of Altra model or style, but are instead specific to the zero-drop platform. So, based on these general design claims, this particular shoe should have worked for this particular runner.
My primary goal for doing shoe reviews is to reduce injury by educating runners about their foot type and alignment, and teaching them how to apply this to their shoe purchases. I agree that runners need to match their foot type (pronated, wide, etc.) to their shoes and I’m pleased that Altra offers a stability model.
I have asked Altra to send me a pair for review. I’ll keep you posted.
I have had several runners in my office asking me to evaluate to evaluate their Altra™ running shoes. As much as I want to recommend this shoe, I just can’t. There are too many runners for whom the fit and structure of this shoe is incompatible, as the following video shows.
Let me first say that I am not a fan of minimalist running for the majority of my patients. Having said that, “just don’t do it” is not an acceptable directive to runners who are going to run in minimalist shoes in spite of what I recommend. Due to this, I have reluctantly learned to evaluate minimalist running shoes. Not surprisingly, the best way to do this utilizes some of the same principles I use when evaluating non-minimalist styles.
First and foremost, does the shoe match the runner’s foot type? Unfortunately, most minimalist shoes only come in medium widths and none are available in narrow widths. This excludes up to 50 percent of the runners who need a narrow or wide width running shoe. Second, does the shoe make the runner’s stride, shock absorption and/or pathology better or, at the very least, not worse?
Armed with the answers to these simple questions, my colleague Samantha Gibson, Bsc(Hon) and I have evaluated over 50 models of minimalist running shoes on hundreds of runners with differing biomechanics, pathologies and foot types. Based on this, we have created a minimalist shoe list to give to patients to use as a guide and educational tool. It’s not a perfect list but at least these shoes have our preliminary seal of approval, which is important, given the constraints we are forced to deal with when recommending minimalist shoes.
Minimalist Shoe List
Once a minimalist shoe has been selected, I will evaluate the patient running barefoot, running in the minimalist shoe and running in an appropriately structured shoe. Based on this analysis, I will recommend whether someone is a candidate to wear minimalist running shoes or not.
Additional blog posts on barefoot and minimalist running are as follows and provide more of my thoughts about minimalist running: