Altra Intuition Shoe Review

This review of the women’s Altra Intution came to us from our very good friend and athlete extraordinarre Crystal Sullivan.  You can follow her on Twitter and find her running with beautiful form and a big grin in the hills of North Carolina.

Altra Intuition: An In-Depth Customer Review
I’m sure you’ve read Patton’s post detailing the Altra Instinct features and why they are so loved at Natural Running Store. I wanted to provide firsthand perspective on how these features have affected my running.

Let me start off by telling you a little bit about my running history. I am a fairly casual runner. I hated to run up until I got to a point in life where I wasn’t being graded on my performance. Now I run for its multiple health benefits: physical and mental. Running is my go-to cardio routine, but it’s also a fantastic way to clear your mind and take in nature (provided you hit the pavement/trails).

Back when I started running on a regular basis, I wore traditional running shoes by Nike, Brooks, Asics, etc. Running was fun, but it seemed to be taking a toll on my body. The biggest nuisance was the pain in my shins. It was a sharp, jolting pain that occurred any time I knocked/brushed my shin against something. Frustrated, I began doing research to find the cause and why the multiple running shoes I’d tried weren’t alleviating the problem. Enter: Barefoot Running!

Since I couldn’t get my big toes in the Vibram FiveFingers, I bought a pair of Saucony Shay XC flats and they changed my life. My shin pain was gone and I was enjoying running more than ever. That was until just a few weeks later when the impact caused by the lack of cushion in my beloved racing flats caught up to me and resulted in an injured right forefoot. Sidelined.

My research continued and, for about another year, I ran in Mizuno Wave Riders. The shin pain came back, I was even introduced to some occasional hip and knee pains, but there was nothing I could do about it. I had once described to my husband the running shoes I would design if I were in the business: “They would have the traditional 12mm cushioning or even a few less, but most importantly, they would have a zero heel-to-toe differential. They would make life so much easier!” Then, one day during my search, I found out the running shoes of my dreams were already in the works!

The Intuitions have really made running carefree for me again. Contrary to the recommendation, I had to go up a full size, but they fit perfectly. I don’t have to worry about foot injuries anymore because there is 12mm cushion to protect me (Note: Follow a Transition Program when switching to minimalist shoes). Another thing I like about the cushion is the firmness. Before Altra Running released the Intuitions, I tried out the Saucony Kinvara, but I’m not a fan of the really squishy running shoes nor did they help relieve my other issues. Even the soles of the Intuitions have amazing grip and wear insanely slow. You can look at the bottoms of my shoes right now and it looks like I bought them yesterday. I even read the compression rate is only ~10%, while traditional running shoes compress at a rate of 70-90%. Only time will tell!

The foot shape of the shoes is fascinating to me. I would have never thought that running shoes weren’t already foot-shaped, but looking at them, they’re clearly not. I have a narrow foot, but I have to admit that the extra room in the toe box is really great at helping your toes splay to help promote natural balance. I’ll admit that the shoes look a little Ronald McDonald, but if they help you run better, who cares? The heel of the shoe wraps around so well that my feet don’t slide forward in my shoe while I run.

The Zero Drop™ benefit of the Altra Running shoes have made all the difference at relieving any pain I’ve had caused by running. I’m just so relieved that Altra released these shoes. They have made running an enjoyable part of my day again!

About  Founded on the idea the running is a natural and instinctual action, this store supports only shoes that promote the genius of human design.  You’ll find staff who are the leading experts on efficient running form and technique.  We are passionate about the running experience, highly opinionated and committed to the idea that each of us is born to run.

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8 Responses to Altra Intuition Shoe Review

  1. kelosaurus says:

    What a great review! I’m really interested in trying these shoes now. Thanks for posting 🙂

  2. Patricia says:

    Hi. Great review. I just bought a pair. Last resort (again) after a bunion surgery has left me sidelined for 1.5 years…I’m trying these for racewalking and some running. Any feedback yet on these for racewalking? Thanks.

    • Hey Patricia-Welcome back to the fold! I have heard of the Intuitions being used for running, trekking, racewalking, crossfit and a ton of other adventures. I’ll post a note out to our tribe to see if we have anyone with race walking experience in the Altra Intuitions. In the mean time if I can be a resource on form or injury, please don’t hesitate to reach out. -Patton

  3. Sylvie says:

    I was just wondering whether these shoes would fit women with wide feet? Say, D-EE range, due to hereditary bunions?

    • Sylvie-Thanks so much for the question. One of the genius things about this shoe is that they do run much wider at the forefoot. To give yourself a little bit of extra room you can make a few adjustments to lacing and even remove the sock liner. This shoe has been know to run very short. Most of the Intutions that we have sold are going up 1/2 to a full size from your current running shoe size.

      Another option is to try the Instinct to give yourself just a little bit more room. If I can be a resource or help you on sizing please feel free to drop me a line at


  4. Patti says:

    Anyone used these for crossfit? I would love to try them for the running portion but also looking for something that is good for the weightlifting aspect as well.


    • Hey Patti! Thanks for the question. We have put these on tons of crossfitters. The box owners of Crossfit Palo Alto, Crossfit FX TX, Crossfit Frisco and Crossfit Rocklin all use this shoe. The sole is firm and level. For lifting this creates and optimal environment as you are more naturally stable vs having to fight the pitch or softness of a traditional shoe. Let us know if you have any questions at all. Cheers-Patton

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