Altra Timp 4 Review

Altra’s Timp 4 is Altra’s road-to-trail type trail shoe and is next up for review. It’s made on Altra’s ‘standard’ last, which like all Altra shoes has a broad rounded toe box and is Zero Drop. Other shoes made on the standard include the Superior, Mont Blanc and Provision. The standard last is a snugger fit through the midfoot, has less volume in the upper and is slightly narrower in the forefoot than Altra’s ‘original’ last which is used for shoes like the Lone Peak 6 and Olympus 4. If you haven’t worn Altra running shoes before, then the Timp is still likely to feel a roomy shoe unless you have very broad or high volume feet. The width is similar to a 2E in a lot of other brands, yet a more rounded shape.

Altra shoes are designed to give your feet the room to function and to promote you to run with good posture. This reduces the chance of injury by letting each part of your body play its part in running. Your feet can expand on impact and then spring you into your next stride. The ankles can flex to absorb some shock and spring you forward and so can your knees, hips etc. A narrow-pointed toe box shoe with a high heel stops your feet and ankles from working naturally. Your knees and hips have to work harder to absorb shock and push you forward. If you aren’t used to a shoe that allows your feet to function then you need to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes. This will let your feet, ankles and lower legs get used to the extra movement and strengthen up without getting over loaded.

The latest Timp 4 has been significantly strengthened in the upper, compared to the previous versions of the Timp. There are TPU overlays over the big toe and around the shoe to increase durability. This offers a lot more abrasion resistance. There is no plastic heel cup so the heel can mould to the shape of your heel. This provides a snug fitting heel. There is a loop at the back for pulling the shoes on and the Timp 4 also has the Velcro gaiter attachment on the heel and a ring on the tongue that allows you to attach Altra’s gaiters to the shoes. The tongue is lightly padded and thin at the top. If you prefer to wear socks that are very low cut, it might cause some irritation, but we didn’t notice any when using injinji mini-crew length socks that came up higher than the tongue. I had no issues.

The midsole is Altra Ego Max. This has a soft and springy feel, although they aren’t quite as soft as the Timp 2 and Timp 3 and offer more energy return. The 29mm stack height also offers more underfoot protection than the previous versions of the Timp so you won’t feel as many rocks through the sole of the shoes. The midsole in the forefoot has a mesh wrapped around it. This reduces how much compression you get in the forefoot of the shoe and therefore gives you more propulsion. So, the Timp 4 has a soft landing at the heel but a firmer more positive feel in the forefoot.

The Altra Maxtrac outsole offers enough durability for a mile or so to your trails on the road. The rubber it still somewhat soft in order to give some traction on wet surfaces, and it’s not designed as  a replacement to a road shoe and will wear down if used too much on the tarmac. The lugging is designed to offer good grip on hard, dry trails that most trail runners find themselves on and aren’t designed to offer traction in deep, sticky mud. We found that the grip works really well on pavement, gravel and nice and dry grassland in spring/summer.

The laces are reflective, which makes them light up in low light conditions to give a little bit more visibility on the winter commute when it comes round again.

In summary; the Altra Timp 4 is an ideal everyday training shoe for those running on a mixture of dryer surfaces. There is enough durable cushioning for longer runs and they have a soft cushioned feel with a secure and comfortable fit. The Zero Drop and a broader toe box are fantastic technologies for better running, although the Timp 4 isn’t as roomy as, say, the Lone Peak 6. However, it has been designed to be more cushioned and tackling stints on the road in relative comfort, which a lot of our customers need. From doorstep, to trail, and back.

Other Considerations

Scarpa Goldengate: These are 6mm from heel to forefoot. The toe box is quite broad but not as rounded as an Altra shoe. Here is our review:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/scarpa-golden-gate-atr-review/

Hoka Challenger: These are 5mm heel to forefoot with a more pointed toe box. They are available in two widths. Here I a link to some more information:
https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/what-is-the-best-hoka-one-one-trail-running-shoe/

Topo MT 3: These are 3mm from heel to forefoot and have a more responsive feel to the cushioning. The toe box is rounded like the Timp 4 designed to allow you feet he room to spread on impact. Here is our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-mt3-review/

Icebug Outrun: These have a more aggressive outsole that is much stickier on wet surfaces. They offer good enough grip for some mud. They aren’t as smooth on the tarmac and the cushioning isn’t as soft and deep. Here is our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/icebug-outrun-rb9x-review/

New Balance Hierro: These have a similarly soft feel to the cushioning and are smooth on the tarmac. The toe box shape is more pointed but they come in two widths Women’s and three width’s Men’s. https://www.northernrunner.com/search/hierro

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