Altra Vanish Tempo Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Altra Vanish Tempo is a shoe that makes running fast feel easy.

This shoe was designed with the intention of being lightweight, fast, and ready to take you to new levels of running performance.

Made on a neutral platform of support, the Vanish Tempo has ample cushioning and a forefoot rocker to create a cushioned yet efficient toe-off with every stride.

The performance of this shoe compares closely to the Brooks Hyperion Tempo, Saucony Endorphin Speed, and Hoka Carbon X 3.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed training in this piece of footwear. Let’s dive into Altra a little more and see what makes this product so unique in the running market.

Altra Vanish Tempo Infographic
ProsCons
Ample CushioningRunners might need to go up in size
Forefoot rocker for energy conservationUses the Slim “footshape-fit” – not always a favorite among Altra fans
Great responsivenessTakes time to adjust to Altra footbed
LightweightPremium price point

Marathon Handbook rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

4.2 / 5.0

Altra Vanish Tempo: First Impressions

Altra Vanish Tempo 1

Opening the box and getting my first look at the Vanish Tempo I was immediately impressed with the shoe.

With breathable mesh and ample cushioning combined with a lightweight feel in my hands, I rushed to get them on my feet.

Upon lacing the shoes, I quickly determined that the Vanish Tempo was already my favorite running product from Altra.

This slim design of the upper accommodated my foot well; creating a nice hug on the midfoot while still providing space for my toes to spread comfortably in the forefoot.

Altra EGO PRO midsole cushioning produces a soft, yet propulsive feeling underfoot. Paired with the geometry-inspired rocker in the forefoot, it’s difficult to resist running in the Vanish Tempo.

At a similar level of effort, I was able to run an average of 30 seconds faster per mile in the Vanish Tempo compared to a typical daily trainer.

Altra Vanish Tempo: About the shoe

Altra Vanish Tempo 2
  • Weight: M 8.2 oz / 232 grams | W 6.9 oz / 195 grams
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 0 mm
  • Category: Neutral
  • Terrain: Road
  • Pace: Racing / Fast training

The Altra brand was launched in April 2011 with a primary goal in mind; balancing cushioning under the feet and promoting natural bio-mechanics with gender-specific fits and foot-shape designs.

Balanced cushioning, also referred to as ‘Zero-Drop’ is found in shoes where the heel cushion sits at the same stack height as the cushion in the forefoot.

Every model in the Altra lineup is a ‘zero drop’ shoe. Altra’s firm belief is that taking away the raised heel common in other footwear allows the individual to run more naturally and efficiently.

By not promoting a heel strike, Altra promotes a more natural loading of effort in the calf and Achilles regions. Some might find this new alignment more comfortable as it takes pressure away from the lower back.

The features mentioned above are all present in the Vanish Tempo. With 33 mm of foam from heel to toe, the Vanish Tempo is a highly cushioned piece of footwear.

The foam in the Altra Vanish Tempo is Altra EGO PRO, Altra’s lightest and most responsive midsole foam.

Vanish Tempo 6

Featuring a geometry-inspired forefoot rocker, the toe-off feels incredibly smooth and takes much of the strain away from the ankle by reducing flexion and saving energy.

A visible feature in the Vanish Tempo is the midfoot cage, a side panel weave attached to the laces that helps to lock the midfoot into the shoe and create a secure fit.

The other more prominent visual feature is the ever-present foot shape design.

Altra’s foot shape is seen in all their footwear. This unique design allows more room for the metatarsals while maintaining a secure fit across the rest of the foot.

The Altra Vanish Tempo uses the slim Footshape design; probably the least popular of the Footshape styles among Altra fans. Others include ‘standard’ and ‘original’.

While the Vanish Tempo lacks a carbon plate, it does have a more durable rubberized outsole and a softer heel package for longer-lasting performance and comfort.

Little sister to its carbon-plated counterpart the Vanish Carbon, the Vanish Tempo is designed for fast training while also being a viable option for superior performance on race day.

On the other hand, the Vanish Carbon is intentionally engineered for racing and is not ideally worn every day.

Altra Vanish Tempo: Colors and Widths

Altra Vanish Tempo 3

The Altra Vanish Tempo is currently offered in limited color variants. Both men and women have the same two color options available. One comes in a white/coral combination while the other is listed as gray/yellow.

Some people place a great deal of importance on color options, while I personally care more about the overall performance; especially when it comes to a shoe of this caliber.

More important than the color of the shoe is the overall fit and available sizing. For women, the listed sizes available are 5.5 – 12. Men have sizes available from 7 – 15.

As is typical with comparable shoes across brands in the racing/speed category, the Altra Vanish Tempo does not come in a variety of widths.

Seeing as this is the first release of the Vanish Tempo, it is possible that widths might be available in the future.

Many consumers have found that they need to size up 1/2 size from their typical size in running shoes. This is an observation that I have found to be fairly common across many Altra products.

Although the shoe does feel a bit snug, I personally did not find the need to size up from my standard shoe size.

Altra Vanish Tempo Road Test: How Did It Perform?

Altra Vanish Tempo 4

The Altra Vanish Tempo performs beautifully on the roads.

My first run in the Vanish Tempo was a speed session of 400 m intervals. Each repeat was manageable and consistent with my expectations.

At no time did I feel the need to compensate for something the shoe was not providing. I felt cushion, bounce, and momentum consistently throughout the entire workout.

My second activity was an easier-effort run over the course of several miles. My pace was significantly faster than expected, all while maintaining my typical “easy” heart rate zone.

Since these initial efforts, I have put forth countless miles in the Vanish Tempo and the experience has been consistent every time.

Made to be longer lasting than the Vanish Carbon, the Tempo has a more durable outsole. That said, keep in mind that this shoe is not made to last 500 miles of running.

Most lightweight speed shoes break down before or close to 300 miles; 100-200 miles if they have a carbon plate. This is a relatively subjective claim.

Listen to your body and check the condition of your shoe to determine whether or not you’re ready for a replacement. Better yet, track your mileage if possible.

Key Takeaways: Should You Buy The Altra Vanish Tempo?

Altra Vanish Tempo 5

Altra is a unique brand with a one-of-a-kind sensation underfoot. Zero-Drop is not for everyone, but is definitely worth exploring.

For the regular Altra runner, the answer is simple. Yes, you should buy the Vanish Tempo. The Vanish Tempo is an excellent option for faster runs and winning races.

Should the Vanish Tempo be the only shoe in your arsenal? I would not encourage running exclusively in this shoe. You want shoes for different activities and efforts.

I have really enjoyed the Vanish Tempo and will continue to use it during my speed sessions throughout the week, but not for everyday training. I prefer a slightly more supportive and long-lasting shoe for the bulk of my mileage.

I personally love rotating through different drops and levels of cushion. Altra has found a place in my regular rotation through the Vanish Tempo.

Marathon Handbook rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

4.2 / 5.0

Photo of author
I love running! Surprised? My favorite race distance is 10k. To me this is a fast distance that also requires a great amount of focus and strategy. I work in a local running store in Vero Beach, Florida which helps to feed my running addiction. When I'm not working or writing shoe reviews I'm likely running around town, at the dog park with the pups, or spending time with my lovely wife.

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