Altra Timp 3 Review
Altra shoes are designed to allow your feet the room to function inside the shoes and for you to run in a more natural upright posture. The shoes have a broad rounded toe box so that your feet can spread on impact. This helps you absorb shock, stabilise and spring into your next step. All the Altra shoes are zero drop to promote a more midfoot strike. This means that you load the foot in the best way to utilise the cushion and spring from your feet.
The Altra Timp 2 was a popular shoe among our customers. The soft cushioning made it an ideal road to trail shoe. However, it was much narrower and had less volume and height in the toe box than Altra shoes traditionally have. They also fitted half a size smaller than the normal Altra sizing. To the Altra fan who wants their foot to have the space to function inside the shoe the Timp 2 didn’t do the job. The Timp 3 has kept the same outsole and cushioning of the Timp 2 but, is now broader with more volume in the toe box then the Timp 2. The sizing is also back in line with the normal Altra sizing. It is not as broad and roomy as the Lone Peak but, allows a lot more foot function than the Timp 2. The heel cup and tongue feel no different to previous version. The lack of a plastic heel cup will be a bonus for those with heel spears. Other runners probably won’t notice as the upper is pulled in snuggly around the foot to give a good fit around the heel.
The Quantic midsole is as soft and bouncy as it was in the Timp 2 so the Timp 3 feels very comfortable and smooth on tarmac. Perfect for a road to trail shoe that you want to perform well on both a variety of trail and road. The Maxtrax outsole gives a good grip on most trail surfaces. As with all outsoles of this type they aren’t going to get you round your local cross country but, then your cross country shoes wouldn’t be comfortable in a 10km road race. The Timp 3 has the ability to be serviceable on a variety of surfaces.
The soft midsole is designed to absorb some of the stones and roots on the trail like a mountain bike tyre does. This works as well as it did in the Timp 2. There is no rockplate in the shoe but we have plenty of other options for that level of protection. I found that the 29mm stack height gave me enough protection to not get bruised feet.
The shoes have maintained that lovely flexibility so the shoes bend with your feet. You never feel like you are fighting against the shoe to get on your toes while running up a steep climb.
The Timp 3 has a gaiter trap at the heel and a loop at the base of the laces to take the Altra 2 point gaiters.
Personally I tend to prefer less cushioned, more responsive feeling shoes but the flexibility makes these shoes so easy to run in that I find I am often reaching for them for my easier and long runs! A pleasant surprise and I judged them as initially as being too soft for me!
In summary the Altra Timp 3 is a fantastic, cushioned and comfy road to trail shoe. Working well on all but the most severe of trails (where you would trade off other features for cushioning/comfort) yet still cushioned and suited to spells on the hard track/tarmac.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
Hoka Challenger: A similar level of soft cushioning but, in a very different shoe. The toe box is more pointy and the fit narrower. The rocker will give a less natural feel for some and for others it will remind them to pull their feet behind them increasing cadence and reducing over striding. https://www.northernrunner.com/hoka-m92/challenger-t92
Topo MT-3: A similar shaped toe box to Altra. 3mm heel to forefoot drop. A much firmer more responsive ride.
Inov-8 Parkclaw: A higher heel to forefoot drop of 8mm make these less of a midfoot running shoe. However, they have the same versatile outsole and cushioning. https://www.northernrunner.com/search/parkclaw
Scott Kinabalu 2: 8mm heel to forefoot, rocker to help maintain cadence and an upright posture. Better lug depth makes than a little better in the mud: https://www.northernrunner.com/search/kinabalu-2