Altra Duo Zero Drop Running Shoes Review | The Duo is In Stock Now
High cushioned or maximal cushioned running shoes are usually designed for the long slow ‘plods’. The easy Sunday runs. The cushioning is soft with little energy return and the shoes are all about comfort & protection. Altra’s new maximum cushioning shoe, the Duo, is different. This is a maximum cushioning shoe built for speed.
As you would expect, the Duo is incredibly light at 224g (for a UK8). This is even more amazing when you consider that the midsole is 30mm thick. This weight is achieved by slimming down the upper and using a new lightweight midsole material.
The upper is a very thin breathable mesh which is tough enough for road running but, naturally, wouldn’t cope with anything more than cutting through a light trail. The padding around the heel is much less than in other Altra shoes which makes the shoes feel like they aren’t even there. The fit is very much the traditional Altra broad FootShaped Toe Box. It reminded me of the fit of the Torin 1.5 around the toe area. Definitely plenty of room for most peoples’ feet to splay. Which is ideal for long runs or races.
For a maximal cushioned shoe the Duo is flexible. This is achieved by internal flex grooves in the midsole and an outsole that also have plenty of flex grooves. This allows your foot to function more in the shoes and gives a much more natural feel to the shoes. The very mild downside is that the grooves do tend to pick up the odd stone or two. This isn’t too much of a problem though, as the midsole is thick enough for you not to feel rocks etc underfoot.
The underfoot feel is not what you expect from such a cushioned shoe. You would expect to sink into a soft pillow like midsole but midsole feels firm and responsive. I found that my usual routes felt that bit quicker with no added effort and although the cushioning is firm it still gives that extra protection. The day after a long run my legs wouldn’t feel dead and heavy like they would do with a less cushioned shoe.
For a lot of runners this may well be the one shoe that can do everything from an interval session, to a long run giving you the responsiveness you require to run quickly and the protection you want for the long runs.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
Other shoes to consider:
Hoka Cavu: Part of Hoka’s Fly range. The Cavu is designed to give a high level of cushioning but, feel light and responsive. They are a narrow fit in comparison to the Altra Duo and the rocker in the Cavu gives it much more of a controlled feeling. As oppose to the more flexible natural feel of the Duo. The Cavu also isn’t quite as well cushioned and in my view doesn’t offer the same protection as the Duo for the longer runs.