Three Things We Love About Altra

This is a shoe we have been waiting a long time for.   When we first heard whispers of this company being developed we got really excited.  We expected this to be a big splash into creating more options for natural running footwear.  There is something really compelling about their overall message; make a shoe that was designed to promote a more natural movement and put a premium on learning efficient running technique.

This is a company that gets it; if you create a healthy environment for the foot and empower anyone with a little knowledge to become more efficient then the quality of the running experience is limitless in how great it can be.

At NaturalRunningStore.com a ton of thought goes into the kind of shoes and companies we carry.  We work to provide shoes that are level (6mm or less), light, flexible.  We actively seek companies that promote the importance of efficient running technique.  We could not be more proud to have them as a partner and Altra has set a pretty high mark for themselves right out of the gate.  Currently available are the Instinct for men and Intuition for women.  Expected soon is the minimalist shoe, The Adam (expected in July) and the trail shoe, The Lone Peak (late summer 2011).

There is a ton to like about this shoe, but here are our three favorite things.

 “Zero Drop” platform:  Not all shoes are created equal and this is one of the best features about this shoe.  Zero Drop refers to the difference in the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot.  The standard in a traditional running shoe is around 12-15mm, and even a well know five fingered shoe has a 2mm drop.  Standing barefoot on the ground with good posture, you are as naturally balanced as you could ever hope to be.  This is the environment your body is designed to handle.

As we introduce any kind of raise in the heel your center of balance changes.  This makes you less stable (or have to work much harder to be so) and manipulates the angles in your back, hips, knees and ankles while shifting the weight from the center of your foot to the front.  (Check out our video on the case for a level platform.  Good music too.)

Why most shoes have an elevated heel, is anyone’s guess because there is ABSOLUTELY NO RESEARCH that supports this as a better alternative developing efficient running form.   Some traditional shoe manufacturers have difficulty communicating why there is a raised heel in a shoe or to show you the science behind it.  (Interesting thought:  What if shoe companies had to be held accountable for the claims they make and the design of their shoes in the same way a pharmaceutical company is?)

The Altra Instinct - Zero Drop Natural Runnning Shoes

Anatomical last and wide toe box:  Dear America, you need to know something.  For the most part you wear your shoes to small and you don’t even give your feet a chance to be as awesome as they could be.  Part of that is your fault for putting on something that looks nothing like the shape of your foot and the other part is on the shoe designers for creating a tapered toe box that pushes the little piggies together.  Why do people have such a problem with pinkie?!?!

But not too worry, Altra is making shoes with room to roam for your toes.  The shape of this shoe is wider by design in the toe box.  If you can create an environment where your feet can communicate with the ground, you can naturally create a more stable landing area.  Every part of your foot likes this idea, and you will to.

The promotion of efficient running technique:  The “Learn to Run Initiative” is a great way to get the basics of efficient running form and technique.  The exciting part is that it is such a big part of their message to having the optimal running experience.  Every pair of shoes includes clear instructions on developing efficient running technique and they will be putting on clinics all over the country.  Power to the people.

Altra Learn To Run Initiative

The next evolution of footwear is a natural one and Altra is ahead of the curve.  This is a really smart approach to running and a shoe.  Give these a go and enjoy a little gift from NaturalRunningStore.com.  Enter the code:  ZERODROP10 and get FREE SHIPPING and save 10%.


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