I was drawn to the Altra Escalante due to the knit upper. I had seen the Nike Fly-Lites before and was equally intrigued by the choice of upper material, but I never tried them out because the heel - to toe - drop was too much and the toe box was too narrow for my toes.
When I took a look at the Escalante...BOOM! Zero drop heel - to - toe differential [flat] and and naturally shaped toe box [widest point of the shoe is the toe box]. My concerns about an ill fitting shoe were laid to rest. Time to run.
Out of the box and onto the road, the Escalante's felt stupid light for the amount of cushion provided. I am a hardcore ultra-minimal runner, running for the past three years in shoes or sandals 10mm or less stack height. For me to feel comfortable in a shoe one and half times thicker than I am used to was a pleasant surprise. I needed a few minutes to adjust my reaction time with added cushion, and after I did I actually felt like my ground contact time decreased [I'll be testing this in weeks to come]. The midsole material was incredibly flexible, it flexed in all the directions my feet wanted to bend in order to run, another good mark of shoes that work for me. As you can see, Altra placed rubber on the outsole for traction and grip on every spot you could want it. I loved the slotted toe design, I felt it allowed for maximum flexibility of toe box while giving my toes grip against the grain of the pavement.
I chose some open road that neighbored the Antietam Creek near Sharpesburg, Maryland. Trailrunning courses through my veins, so if I am going to run roads...those roads are going to lead me to either beautiful places and/or beautiful people. This road was exactly that as it led me to Devil's Back Bone park. What I noticed the most about the Escalante's as I ran down the road towards the park was the feel of the upper against my barefeet. It was so sock like even with the added construction of the shoe's tongue and laces. The only part of the Altras that felt like a shoe was the sole. The lightness of the shoe with 25mm of cushion paired with the knit upper made for a run that I really enjoyed because I did not feel slowed down like most traditionally cushioned running shoes, nor did I feel any constriction on the top of my feet as I do with traditional mixed material uppers.
Overall, the Escalantes, which I picked up from Two Rivers Treads running, are awesome road shoes: excellent anatomical shape and attractive design. They offer a lightweight, flexible run without feeling flimsy and cheap, and I feel this is achieved by utilizing a high quality knit upper and plenty of rubber grip on the outsole. I really enjoyed this road run. Even though the Escalantes were the focus, the road led me to a beautiful spot beyond the shoes that I won't lose sight of anytime soon.
Nice work Altra! Until next time! #RUNANDLIKEIT