Comments: The only problem with the altra shoes is that once you get to 100 miles on them you will notice the bottom of the shoes get very worn. They use a very cheap rubber compound as compared to other shoes.
From: bc, ny usa
Just ran my first half marathon in the Provisions and they were fantastic. My legs felt fresh throughout the race, and I didn't have any soreness or sluggishness afterˆˆhell, I could have kept going. It seems much easier to make and notice subtle tweaks to my form, especially in terms of foot placement. I know these may not give the road feel of some more minimal shoes (Merrell Road glove, etc) but I honestly feel like I get a decent amount of feedback but
still get some cushioning and protection for the longer runs.
From: Matt, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Comments: I have a particularly difficult foot to fit, as it is pretty wide, especially in the middle at my toes, and has very little are to speak of. I pronate some (more in my right foot) but am a fore-to-midfoot runner so don't need a traditional stability shoe (they actually give me knee pain). I am 5'9" and 165 lbs, so can get away with lighter weight shoes. That being said, I have found it almost impossible to find a neutral shoe that is somewhat supportive but not overly heavy/cushioned, is relatively light weight, and doesn't have a structured arch. The only neutral shoe I'd found that worked was the Nike Vomero 6; however, the big heel stack really got in the way of my gait, which was especially noticeable in the last 6 miles of my last marathon (NJ, May 6 2012).
The Altras feel like they are custom made for my feet. They have a nice roomy toe box, the heel feels secure, and the midfootˆoh the midfootˆis a dream. It doesn't feel like my (non-existent) arch is spilling over the side of the shoe like a sausage bursting from its casing. The shoe feels incredible stable, yet very responsive and I find running in them very enjoyable and incredibly freeing. Not having a huge heel stack means I have been able to fine tune my form even more, as I can actually feel what its like to land on my midfoot. It's not a truly minimal shoe, as there is cushioning (and it's not as flexible as something like the Merrel Road glove) but it's not sloppy cushioning. It feels just right: like something I could use for long runs (doing a 1/2 marathon in them this weekend so will update review) and for speed work. My calves were a little tight when I first started using them, but as I was already a forefoot runner my legs and feet felt preppy prepped for using the Provisions. I did a 6 mile run in them this week with a 2-mile speed work section and they felt great, and my calves and Achilles felt totally fine. That being said, if you're a heal striker or not that efficient you should definitely ease into these (they provide great instructions for how to do so).
My only qualms would be, and these are minor: the fit feels like it runs a little small compared to others, as I had to take a 12.5 in the Altra Provisions and I'm a 12 in the Instincts. I feel like I could maybe get away with a 12, but still, they feel between sizes. The laces are also too long and feel a little cheezy compared to the rest of the show. All in all I'm very pleased with these and optimistic they will be good for many distances.
From: Matt, Brooklyn, NY, USA