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First Look: Altra’s ‘Goldilocks’ Trail Runner

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The Altra Timp hits a middle ground between the brand’s minimal and super-cushy offerings. In early runs, our editor found it just right.

Altra Timp trail running shoe review

Rocks, dirt, and mud puddles flitted under my feet as I ran up Dakota Ridge near Denver. Under my feet, the Altra Timp ($130, coming in July) provided grip and cushion against sharp edges.

The Timp fills an important gap in Altra’s line — the mid-cushion trail running shoe.

Previously, the Altra line jumped from Lone Peak, a fairly pliable, modestly-cusioned shoe, to the super-cush Olympus. The new Timp fills the gap with a 29mm stack height that hits a sweet spot a lot of trail runners will enjoy.

Altra Timp: Review

Underfoot, the Timp feels light and fast. I weighed my size 10 at 11.6 ounces per shoe, fairly middle-of-the-road for a trail runner.

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As with all Altras, the shoe has a “zero drop” midsole, meaning it is a flat profile from heel to toe. I love this platform for middle (five- to 10-mile training runs) and long (as in ultramarathon) distances. Runners new to zero drop shoes should take it easy at first and build into longer distances.

Altra Timp trail running shoe test and review

It also has a wide forefoot. I love this design, as I have a wide foot and like to let my toes splay while running. But on trail, runners will find this shoe less precise than those with a close fit. For super technical trails, this can amount to more missteps. It’s a trade-off I prefer, as the wide forefoot feels great to me.

The Timp is pretty flexible for a shoe with 29mm of cushioning. It flexed onto obstacles with excellent traction.

Altra Timp review

The outsole is burly, and large lugs up front grip on earth and rock. I found the shoe supremely grippy on most surfaces, including mud.

However, the 4mm lugs did not bother me when running on pavement. While not designed as a road-runner, this shoe can knock out a few miles of pavement (not uncommon in ultramarathons) with no problem.

So far, I’ve put about 20 miles on this pre-release shoe. I’ll update this article with relevant info after I have more distance on these treads.

Revised Lacing System, Reflectivity

For 2017, Altra appears to have upped the game in manufacturing. The Timp seems more refined than previous models from the brand.

For one, the new lacing system on the upper curves from the center toward the big toe. In use, I found it gives really good support without constricting the foot. It feels better than some other Altra models I’ve used, which I did like.

Altra Timp trail running shoe reflectivity
Photographed with flash, the Timp’s reflectivity is apparent

Reflectivity is built into the entire shoe, a bonus when running near traffic at night. It also has a Gaiter Trap for easy gaiter attachment.

Overall, the Timp strikes me as Altra at its finest. This shoe should hit a sweet spot for ultra-runners who don’t want a super cushy shoe, but still want some soft protection from rocks and roots.

I’ve noticed that Altra’s sizing is a little inconsistent, so I’d recommend trying these on, or getting a couple sizes and returning one, to find the best fit when buying.

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Those looking for a wide forefoot, zero-drop shoe for trail running should try on the Timp. If it fits your foot well, it should be a strong contender on the trails when it hits the market this July.

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