With this latest release, Altra, a brand synonymous with zero-drop running shoes, takes a step in a new direction.
For the first time, Altra is releasing a low-drop shoe.
The new AltraFWD Experience pivots away from the brand’s renowned zero-drop and comes in with a 4mm drop.
Altra was founded by Golden Harper and Brian Beckstead in 2011. Since then, the company has developed a loyal following of trail and road runners thanks to their unique shoe design.
The brand gained traction in the running world with its zero-drop and spacious toe box.
Until now, Altra’s zero-drop shoes meant that the stack from heel to toe remained the same. This provides a level platform for the foot and encourages a more natural stride.
The spacious toe box Altra is known for encourages the toes to relax, spread out, and move more naturally.
Altra’s unique shoe design aims to reduce overuse injuries and increase running efficiency.
Drop (Heel To Toe Drop) Explained
So what exactly does “drop” mean?
Drop, in terms of running shoes, refers to the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot. The greater the drop, the steeper the angle.
Drop is a hot topic in the running community.
One not suited to a runner’s natural stride will force them to adopt an abnormal stride. The sudden change can increase stress on muscles and tendons, increasing the risk of overuse injuries.
Generally, a drop greater than 6mm is ideal for runners with a natural heel strike, whereas a drop less than 6mm is ideal for midfoot or forefoot runners.
Altra’s zero drop Lone Peak 7 is the bestselling trail shoe in the US right now
The drop that is right for you is very individual and depends on your stride. The best way to ascertain this is through expert-conducted stride analysis and speaking with your local running shop.
It’s important to note that drop is not the same as sole thickness. A shoe can have a thick sole, but still be zero-drop. Likewise, there is no relation between drop and distance, it is all dependent on your natural stride.
The latest AltraFWD Experience, with a drop of 4mm will retail for $140. Men’s stack height will be 32mm-38mm heel to toe, and 30mm-26mm heel to toe for the women’s shoe.
The shoe, reportedly developed and tweaked through continuous athlete testing will run at 8.5 ounces for men and 7.1 ounces for women.
The rocker-shaped geometry is reported to provide efficient toe-off.
The new AltraFWD Experience, available in four colorways, will retain the brand’s signature foot shape and wide toe box.
Altra explains that brand expansion and product evolution will increase accessibility for more runners.
Cal Neff, an Altra-sponsored athlete, was involved in the development and weighed in on the brand’s shift:
“I believe there are a lot of benefits to rotating in a 4-millimeter drop shoe that complement the use of zero-drop shoes. Biomechanically, the 4-millimeter AltraFWD Experience will allow for an efficient running form and forward-propelling stance, especially as fatigue sets in.”