Altra Escalante 2.5 Review | Zero Drop Road Running Shoes
The Altra Escalante is designed for those that want a light, responsive, cushioned ride. This would have been referred to as a racer/trainer back in the old days. Like all Altra shoes they are designed to allow the foot to function in the shoe. So, they are zero drop and have a broad rounded toe box.
The original Escalante had a very soft ride to it. This is nice for trotting a long at a nice easy pace but, makes the shoes unresponsive when it comes to picking up the pace. So, the midsoles have got a little firmer and a bit more responsive in the more recent models. I would say that the Escalante 2 was maybe a little too firm for most runners to do their everyday runs in initially. Although it did soften up. The midsole of the Escalante 2.5 seems a bit softer from the off. Which makes it more of a versatile, do it all type of a shoe for those who like light, responsive shoes.
The main change between the Escalante 2.0 and the 2.5 is the upper. The original Escalante had a one piece knitted upper. This had a bit of stretch in it. It was lovely and comfortable but, didn’t hold the foot onto the midsole well when cornering at speed. So, the Escalante 2.0 had a knitted upper with no stretch. It was still a once piece upper with no seams and did now hold the foot onto the midsole when cornering at speed. However, it lost the soft feel of the original Escalante upper. The Escalante 2.5 upper has brought back some of that soft plush feel. The upper still hold you onto the midsole as there is no stretch but, it is a bit softer. This gives the Escalante 2.5 more of the slipper like feel of the original Escalante.
Fit wise the laces felt a bit more comfortable over my foot than on the Escalante 2.0. Although I’m knit picking a bit here. As I only noticed this when I put both on together. I have been happily running in the Escalante 2.0 without any feeling of discomfort. The Escalante 2.5 is a bit broader with a little more height in the toe box too.
Although the Escalante probably isn’t the shoe for the long slow plods. It is still a shoe that you can do everything in. If your long run is an hour and a half or so then you can probably happily run in the Escalante for everything from you fast track session to your slow recovery runs. The midsole is responsive enough to give you a bit of spring when you want to run quickly and yet soft enough to happily trot along as a slow pace. It would make an ideal marathon racing shoe too as its light, responsive and comfortable.
If you aren’t used to low drop shoes then it’s advisable to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes initially. This is because the lower drop allows your ankle and foot to function. If you have been using shoes/running shoes with a high heel then your feet and lower legs won’t have been working. So, you need to allow them the time to strengthen up. The advantages of lower drop shoes is that you can run easier and quicker as you are utilising your body better. You also share the stresses and strains out between your feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back. Rather than your knees and hips having to take more of the strain.
In Summary if you like light shoes with a versatile but, responsive ride and a low drop then the Escalante 2.5 is worth considering.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
Topo Fli-lyte 3: 3mm heel to forefoot, broad rounded toe box. Bit more flexible and a bit more feel for the ground. Here is our review:
New Balance Tempo: Available in two widths. More of the classic pointy toe box shape which some customers might prefer. 6mm from heel to forefoot so also good for the heel strikers. Here is our review:
Hoka Rincon: 4mm heel to forefoot. A narrow fitting shoe. A soft but, flexible ride.