Boasting an unconventional combination of cushioning, support, and a zero drop platform, the Provision (Men's) and Provisioness (Women's) provide protection while keeping the foot in a natural position.
Stability in a shoe meant to allow natural running? As counterintuitive as that may seem, Altra makes it work with the Provision, making their zero-drop natural running formula available to slight overpronators not yet ready to give up the support in their transition from a more traditional trainer.
Just looking at the flexible support wedge under the sockliner, you wouldn’t think it could do much for pronation control. But we found that it provided a surprising level of support, ample for the mild overpronator. The wedge is removable so runners can choose whether or not they want any support in their shoes.
We found the cushioning in the Provision sufficient for daily use, and though a touch firm, not unlike that of many traditional trainers we’ve tried. True to its zero-drop design, the Provision did promote a forefoot strike – reduced material under the heel means you wouldn’t want to heel strike for very long in the shoe.
Though the last is meant to mimic the shape of the foot, our testers felt the shoe was simply too wide in both the forefoot and heel, despite cranking down on the laces. With the relative snugness of most other zero-drop options, however, a runner with a wider or higher volume foot looking to try such a shoe may feel more at home in the Provision.
The stability wedge in the Provisions may not seem like much, but the amount of support it added was definitely noticeable, and more than I expected.
Overall, I like the zero drop with a bit of cushion approach. There’s too much room in the forefoot for me - the extra material up there leaves me scratching my head, but doesn’t really get in the way when I’m running.
Plenty of cushioning, not usually found on a zero-drop shoe, makes this very runnable and an easier transition from a traditional trainer.