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Classic Trailrunner Cuts Weight and Price: Altra Timp 5 Review

Why is Altra so excited about its new Timp 5? The latest version is lighter, grippier, and cheaper. We laced 'em up to find out what else.

Lacing up the Altra Timp 5; (photo/Nested Photography)
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The cost of running shoes is ballooning ever upward, particularly due to cottage companies not realizing an economy of scale (i.e., Speedland) or mainstream companies increasingly utilizing expensive foam and plate technology. Being a gear tester — specifically, a runner and shoe tester — has given me a healthy dose of skepticism.

So it’s notable that not only has Altra added a more expensive material in its new Timp 5 (a Vibram outsole compared to its in-house rubber) and reduced the shoes’ weight, but also brought the price down $5. It’s not a lot of savings, but noteworthy in an era of $500-one-time-use supershoes (see adidas).

Since carbon plates and “super” foams have become an aspect of nearly all of my favorite shoes, I began testing the Timp 5 with trepidation.

After 3 decades of squeezing my feet into climbing shoes, ski boots, and narrow running shoes, my feet have rebelled. So on the one hand, Altra’s unique footshape last is highly appealing. But zero-drop lacks the “pop” of all my favorite shoes; it just feels sort of dead. Would the new Timp 5 help a zero-drop skeptic like me cross the line?

In short: The industry is telling us there is a (high) cost to running fast. But maybe that doesn’t have to be the case. The Timp 5 is a workingman’s shoe for trail racers and, unintentionally, a growing number of hikers as well. And lo and behold, it’s fun enough to convert a super shoe, high-stack, and foam-loving runner like me into a believer.

Altra Timp 5


  • Materials Altra EGO Max midsole, Vibram MegaGrip outsole, Quick-Dry Air Mesh outsole
  • Claimed weight 9.8 oz. per shoe (size 9)
  • Trail outsole lug height 4 mm
  • Heel-to-toe offset 0 mm (29 mm heel/29 mm forefoot)
  • Colors 4; olive, tan, blue/orange, lime
  • Price $155


  • Lighter weight than previous Timp models
  • Cushioning is outstanding for long miles
  • More precise forefoot shape
  • Industry-leading outsole performance


  • Still zero drop — no propulsive shaping
  • Cushioning might feel damp for heavier runners

Altra Timp 5 Shoe Review

Prior Timp Struggles, and What’s New

The profile of the new Timp 5 shoe in lime; (photo/Nested Photography)

The Timp line has always represented a do-it-all trail running shoe with good stability, moderate stack height, and comfort. But it hasn’t had wholesale appeal like two major Altra counterparts, the Olympus or Lone Peak. Its middling reputation had begun to put the shoe to the back of the shelf at retail and to the back of mind for many runners.

Recent iterations of the Timp suffered from in-between-ism: just OK outsole grip, a more narrow forefoot shape than the full splay you’d expect, and outsole overlays that added weight in exchange for durability. Similar shoes from other manufacturers like HOKA’s Speedgoat or Topo’s MTN Racer challenged the Timp’s place in the market and slowly eroded its relevance.

So among all things super shoe, carbon this-, and nitro-injected that, why should runners care about a slight revamp to a non-plated, non-rockered, zero-drop runner? Simple: it’s gotten better.  

Altra appears to have listened to runners’ feedback in taking features of its popular carbon-plated trail racing shoe, the Mont Blanc, and combined them with the Timp 4. Looking back from the first ever Timp to the latest iteration, the shoe has evolved underfoot, and now uses different compounds both in the midsole and outsole.

Specifically, it gains Vibram’s Megagrip outsole (like the Mont Blanc), a similar lightweight and more performance-oriented upper, and the same cushy 29mm midsole with the reliable EgoMax foam (instead of Altra’s Quantic).

Timp 5 Performance

The author out for a mixed gravel and trail run; (photo/Craig Randall)

Comfort & Fit

I have never been afraid of Altra’s fit (see rebellion comment above); though wide foot shape is highly appealing. I’ve run in all the classic Altras and the new-ish Mont Blanc and have found them to be extremely inviting.

The small sacrifice of “precision” (i.e., squeezing your too-wide foot into something like the Salomon Pulsar 2) is quickly forgotten in the pleasure of the Timp’s mega comfort. That said, the Timp 5 has gained some precision. 

The last few iterations of the Timp fit have proven to be a bit more narrow than the Lone Peaks and Olympus’. I appreciated this as a runner who trends toward super lightweight, race-oriented trail shoes. 

The pared-down upper (likely contributing to its weight drop) has deprioritized durability in favor of simplicity. Importantly, fewer overlays have not sacrificed lockdown; the shoe cradles and locks the foot very well with its thick laces.

The traditional laces serve to secure the foot, although there is a full 4 inches of vamp from the toe to the first lace eyelet. And the gusseted tongue has been especially helpful in the super-snowy and variable footing of my February trail conditions in Boulder (snow, mud, and slop). 

Ride & Durability

The lugs and outsole on the author’s Timp 5; (photo/Craig Randall)

The ride, though admittedly “flat” compared to my other favorites, really shines on up and down running. A long, big climb like Green Mountain in Boulder (gaining a couple thousand feet in 3 miles) is perfect as the gradient forces you onto your toes.

And conversely, the long, technical descent is made more confidence-inspiring by the surface area of the foot-shaped outsole. And heck, the Vibram traction likely helps too. 

With mixed dry-icy-snowy conditions right now everywhere from the trails to the roads, it’s a blast to trust a single pair of shoes like the Timp 5 on different surfaces. I like to avoid driving by running from my house to the trails. And I have found the midsole foam to be a cushy and somewhat bouncy experience on the pavement, while not feeling sloppy once on the softer surface of a trail.

The Timp 5 isn’t the only new shoe sporting the famous Italian Vibram rubber. The entire Timp franchise will now sport Vibram, including the new Timp Hiker and Timp Hiker GTX. 

Altra Timp 5 Review: Final Thoughts

The latest Timp 5 shoe upon arrival; (photo/Craig Randall)

Ahead of a product launch earlier this month at Vibram’s office in Boulder, Altra’s senior product line manager Alex Lind talked to me about the development of the Timp 5. With pros like Amanda Basham and 2023 Leadville 100 winner JP Giblin at his disposal, Lind said his athlete team has provided input ranging from initial fit feedback through long-term wear-testing.

Lind admitted that the consumers and athletes have contributed to the key changes in the Timp’s underfoot feel. And it was especially the latter who influenced the use of different compounds in the midsole and outsole.

At the end of the day, the Timp 5 won’t magically convert runners who prefer higher-stack shoes. But it should become the go-to for Altra fans who want a stable, max cushion, precise, and super-grippy trail shoe for running (or hiking) long distances. It performed well enough to earn a regular spot in my own shoe rotation — which no other Altra has managed to penetrate in about a decade.

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