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Altra Paradigm (5/5 stars)

(long-term review)

Basic Description:  Maximum-cushion road running shoe


  • The most cushion I’ve felt in a shoe, yet surprisingly lightweight (9.1 oz. men, 7.9 oz. women)

  • Zero heel-toe drop

  • Comically wide toe box is very comfortable

  • Durable


  • On some feet, wide toe box causes the toe to hit the front of the shoe (I’ve been able to fix this by lacing my shoes carefully and wearing thick wool socks)

  • Insole bunched during a long, wet run that had lots of steep downhills


  • I’ve logged a total of over 700 miles on three different pairs of these shoes, with nearly 400 miles on one pair.  Without a doubt, these are my favorite running shoes.  I was originally a fan of the Hoka running shoes, but found that the huge sole on the Hokas has gotten hard, so that the newest Hoka models feel like big, heavy shoes without any of the cushion that originally attracted me to Hoka.  Not so with the Altra Paradigm.  As an added bonus, the color schemes (especially the red) look hilarious.


Altra Olympus 2.0 (2/5 stars)

(short-term review)

Basic Description:  Maximum-cushion trail running shoe


  • Zero heel-toe drop

  • The navy and green pair looks cool

  • Good cushioning


  • Feel very unstable

  • Feel narrow


  • Every time I put these shoes on, I feel like I’m going to twist my ankle.  That might be because I have.  It might also be because the sole feels very high and narrow, especially when compared to the Altra Paradigms.  When comparing the soles of the Olympus and Paradigm sole to sole, the difference in size doesn’t seem significant, but the perceived difference makes me uneasy when I wear the Olympus.  To be fair, I’ve only worn these for 7 miles, but I think I’ll relegate these shoes to jogs on grass or snow-covered pavement, and use another shoe (even a non-trail shoe) if I’m going to run on gnarly trails.




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