Altra One v3 vs. Altra Escalante | Reviewed! What’s the Best Lightweight Road Running Shoe?

The New Altra Escalante or One V3?

Two Fantastic Zero Drop Lightweight Road Shoes

This article is written for those who already understand the benefits of Zero Drop, the roomy FootShape Toe Box and more features of Altra’s extensive running shoe range.




When customers have been researching a lightweight natural running shoe, we often get asked which would be better; the Altra Escalante or the Altra One v3. As you would expect from Altra, both shoes are Zero Drop and have a FootShaped Toe Box which is broader and more rounded than most other brands. Both shoes are light in weight. So, why would a brand make two shoes that on the surface look like they are offering the same thing?


The Altra Escalante is a lightweight training shoe. It has a soft feel to it and is ideal for your faster paced training runs. Everything from steady upwards. The Altra Ego cushioning gives a rebound ‘springy’ type feel. If  you are light enough on your feet and your form is good then the Escalante would be cushioned enough for you to use on your easy or recovery runs.  The decoupled heel makes the shoe very flexible so your foot can really work in the shoe. For some runners this might not be what they want and they would be better in an Instinct/Intuition or Torin. But if you have a strong flexible foot then this could be the shoe for you.

Altra made an Esclante Boston colourway to illustrate that although it is lightweight this shoe offers enough cushioning to run up to marathon distance. The knitted upper is very soft and stretchy. There’s no rubbing without seams, which is great for when your feet get hot and expand. However, this type of upper doesn’t hold your foot onto the midsole of the shoe so it is best for feet that have a natural structure. If you need the shoe to help hold your foot onto the midsole then a more structured upper on something like an Instinct/Intuition might be a better option.

“When you have these shoes on you want to run fast as the firmer responsive feel coming from the shoe encourages you on.”

altra_escalante_one_v3Altra’s One v3 is Altra’s racing shoe. This is the latest version of the One Squared which was a very popular shoe. Although it’s a racing shoe, the cushioning level is high so you can do tempo runs and warm up and down in the shoe too. They would also be fine for up to marathon distance. The cushioning will look after you on the closing miles when your legs are tired.

Although when compared with the traditional racing shoe, these shoes aren’t hard, they do have a firmer more responsive feel than the Altra Escalante. When you have these shoes on you want to run fast as the firmer, responsive feel coming from the shoe encourages you on. This is a big contrast to the smooth, plush feel of the Altra Escalante. The One v3 is definitely not a shoe you would want to run easy or recovery runs in.

The One V3 is still very flexible like the previous version. The One Squared had splits in the midsole to improve the flexibility of the shoe. This did tend to pick up stones as you ran, (which wasn’t really a problem it was just annoying as they made a noise as you ran). The One V3 doesn’t have these notches.

The One v3 isn’t as soft as the One Squared. The new inner flex midsole is firmer and built more for speed. The upper has also been improved to be lighter and tougher. There is now more volume in the toe box than in previous models so your feet can spread on impact and spring you into your next stride.


Simpy put, if you want a fast, responsive and encouraging feeling from a neutral, form improving race shoe try the Altra One v3. If you want a softer, lightweight training shoe that could be used for slow and/or recovery runs in addition to faster paced sessions, then try the Altra Escalante.

If you want to get into casual running with Zero Drop, always start with a heavily cushioned model like Olympus.

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