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Altra Escalante 3 – Tried, Teasted & Abused

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A classic in the Altra line up but with some tweaks to pull it in a sleek and speedy shoe.  With a new knit upper and an updated midsole its Altra’s answer to a more traditional racer/trainer. Team Accelerate Athlete Will Burton is a big fan of Altra, he’s been putting the new Altra Escalante 3 through it’s paces. Continue reading to find out his thoughts.

The Altra Escalante 3 is a minimal and lightweight shoe, perfect for running workouts and road races. I have been fortunate enough to test them over the last few weeks and have found them a great addition to my line up of running shoes. I have been a fan of Altra shoes for a while now, favouring the Altra Via Olympus for my recovery runs and Sunday long runs. I also like the Torin’s and have used them for steady runs, workouts and races. But as versatile as these shoes are, I prefer something more minimal for my sessions and race days. The Escalante 3 fits the bill.

STRAIGHT OUT THE BOX

Straight out the box the shoes felt great. The flat laces combined with a soft tongue and snug heel made the shoe feel comfortable and like an extension of my foot as soon as I put them on. The slim stack height of the shoe and trademark Altra zero drop from heel to toe also helps the shoe feel neutral. The vivid red mesh of the shoe and rich red laces look great, and we all know that good looking running shoes make you go faster! The shoes come in lots of other colour ways if this isn’t to your taste.

FIRST RUN THOUGHTS

The shoe felt very responsive and close to the ground from the first run. I felt agile and able to accelerate quickly and didn’t feel like the shoes would take long to ‘break in’. However, similarly to when I tested out the Altra Olympus, I felt it necessary to put a lace lock in the top of the shoe to keep my foot firmly in place when on the move (have a look at this video if you have not done this before). This is a matter of preference but it worth trying out to see how it feels. I do this with most of my shoes.

I haven’t worn a shoe this minimal for quite a while but was really impressed with how it has felt in my recent training. I think the shoe is great for track and road sessions where you want to run fast with a quick cadence. So far, I have used them for a 12 x 300m session and fast fartlek session, feeling able to kick hard from the first rep. They feel especially good after warming up in a slightly heavier and softer shoe. I think it’s always good to warm up in a heavier shoe as it helps you feel light and nimble when you start moving at speed. The shoe also felt great when doing drills before running sessions. Their minimal profile gives you a responsive feel underfoot and allows you to dial in the technique of your drills, improving your running form overall. In terms of racing, this shoe would be great over the 5k and 10k distance.

CONCLUSION

This shoe might take a few runs to get used to if you are used to more cushioned, high stack shoes. But it is an excellent option for runners wanting to take their training and racing more seriously, shaving seconds off their 5k and 10k personal bests. For longer races I’d favour something a little more cushioned but for road races of this distance it would be perfect. I plan to continue using this shoe for track sessions, tempo runs and road races as we come into the spring and summer season. Combined with something more cushioned like the Altra Olympus this shoe is a great, lightweight addition to your running shoe rotation.

The men’s can be found here and the women’s can be found here. Or if you are not quite convinced, pop down to the Accelerate Running Store and try a pair out now.

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