In the trail running world, Altra is a huge name. They sponsor a ton of racers, and are a fan favorite shoe for many, many runners. They’re also zero-drop shoes, which is why I’ve shied away from them for so long. A couple of years ago I did give them a spin with some demo shoes, but I’ve held off pulling the trigger on my own pair until now. In January I picked up a pair of Timp 1.5 trail shoes, and have gotten around 40 miles on them so far.
One of the things that drew me to the Timp’s was how incredibly comfortable that they are. They are perhaps the most comfortable shoes I’ve put on my feet. The wide toe-box and the soft cushion makes then an incredibly enjoyable ride. Altra’s are known to be a bit snug in the mid-foot, but I didn’t find that to be the case with the Timp’s.
The biggest issue for me was learning to adjust to the zero drop. For my blog readers who aren’t in to shoes, a “drop” is the hight of the heel minus the hight of the toe. That difference is how much your foot is sloping downwards from the back to the front. I started running in 2010 in shoes that had a 12mm drop, and have slowly been moving further down the scale.
Back in January when I first put these on, I was dealing with a big of a niggle in my knee. I had seen an orthopedic, and gotten some exercises, and things were slowly starting to get better. However, when ran in the Altra’s I discovered that the pain went away. I was pretty confused at first, so I alternated between the Timp’s and my Saucony Guide ISO2 shoes. Every time I ran in the Saucony shoes, my left knee complained. Moved over to the Altra, and the complaining almost entirely went away.
The fact that these shoes helped with an issue I had been dealing with for a long time is a huge step in convincing me that this is the right time to transition to zero-drop. So much so, that I even picked up a pair of Altra Torin Plush road shoes (I’ll review those later). I haven’t noticed any calf issues from going to zero drop, and that might be due to the fact that I’ve slowly been moving to lower drop shoes for years. For a long time 8mm was my sweet spot, and then in the past couple years I’ve done a bunch of runs in 4mm drop shoes. Over the course of time I’ve managed to move my body more into alignment with a lower drop, but it’s been slow and measured process.
In terms of the shoes themselves, I find them to be one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. The midsole material is comfortable and cushy (despite not being their new Quantic material), and the upper is soft but supportive. The outsole feel grippy in the little bit of mud that I’ve been running in, but due to the pandemic, I haven’t hit any really steep or rocky climbs to test them on. The only weird thing is this fin that sticks out the back of the outsole. It’s like a little horizontal rudder that is supposed to add more stability, but I really can’t tell.
Right now the shoes seem like they’re pretty durable, but I have had friends who have worn through their uppers in 200-ish miles. Those were a few years ago, so I’m hoping that these newer models have a bit more durability going for them. If nothing else the outsole feels really solid, and seems like it will take a beating.
Because the 2.0’s are out now, I managed to score a decent closeout price on the 1.5’s. I’m curious to try the next version because apparently a LOT has changed on the shoe. I do always worry though when a shoe goes through significant revisions. I’ve had more than one occasion where the revision has completely ruined the shoe for me. With summer almost upon us, I’m hoping to spend some more time running on dirt, so I might need a second pair of trail shoes before too long.
Overall, I’m loving the Altra Timp 1.5’s. They are a solid trail shoe, that is incredibly comfortable. Having a nice wide toe-box is a huge perk, and I love how my toes can splay more than in normal shoes. You can probably still find some 1.5’s on clearance, so if you’re curious about a zero drop experience in a great shoe, I’d highly recommend giving the Timp’s a try.