Altra Outroad 2 Road-to-Trail Runner Review
I‘ve been an Altra lover for years. Since 2019, I’ve worn at least eight different models of their trail and road running shoes for everything from day hikes, long backpacking trips, trail running, and long days on my feet at work.
I’m pretty particular about my footwear, and I love to have 3-4 pairs of shoes in rotation. I carefully select which shoe I’m going to wear whether I’m doing an easy recovery run or a long day of scrambling in the mountains. Where I live in Salt Lake City, there are plenty of opportunities to mix up my terrain and travel over a variety of surfaces in just a few hours.
The Altra Outroad was designed to be used as a road-to-trail shoe. With the second iteration of this model, they updated the upper to extend the durability and comfort of the shoe. With a moderate amount of cushion in the midsole and a medium to high stack height of 27mm, this shoe is extremely comfortable and easy to wear all day. I’ve really enjoyed cruising around in it this summer, and have added it into rotation for mixed surface adventures.
Altra Outroad 2 At-a-Glance
Weight: 17.8 oz (pair)
Stack Height: 27 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Midsole: Altra EGO foam; no rock plate
Width: Slim Footshape Fit
Circumstances of Review
For the last two months, I’ve run or hiked in the Altra Outroad weekly. Though this shoe is designed for light trail and road use, I wanted to test it in as much terrain as possible. I used it for beach runs while traveling, a technical hike/run up Black Butte in Northern California, my local neighborhood road-to-trail loop, and easy runs on mellow trails. So far, I’ve put about 150 miles on the Outroad and have been very happy with its performance overall.
Altra Outroad 2 Features
Updated Durability: Altra updated the upper on this second model of the Outroad for increased durability and comfort. Though I never wore the original Outroad, I can confidently say that the mesh upper is indeed very sturdy.
Responsive Midsole: The Altra Ego midsole is the same mid as their road running shoes designed for performance, like the Escalante racer. It’s comfortable yet responsive. Though the shoe itself is heavier than many comparable road runners, the midsole still has a bit of spring if I ever want to throw in a bit of speed play.
MaxTrac Traction: The bottom of this shoe is exceptionally grippy, yet with fairly shallow lugs that don’t wear down quickly when used on pavement.
Not Your Average Altra Fit
When setting up this gear review, I was recommended to go up a half size. Initially, I hemmed and hawed over this decision. My typical “street shoe size” is a 7.5, so I normally wear an 8 in trail shoes. I’ve never worn an 8.5 in any hiking or running shoe, so I didn’t know which was the right decision.
I decided to take the advice, and am incredibly happy I did. Because Altra uses their narrowest toe box on the Outroad, an 8 would have felt way too cramped. With an 8.5, my toes still have room to breathe and it doesn’t feel too narrow in the widest part of my foot.
However, the extra length is noticeably sloppy when running or hiking in rocky terrain. Though the intention of this shoe is NOT to take it in technical terrain, I wanted to test it anyway. Because of the slight sloppiness in the toe box, I opt to use it for mellow trails or road running.
Perfect for Winter?
I’ve been testing this shoe in the heat of summer, but I anticipate that it will be absolutely perfect for winter road running where I’m likely to encounter ice, slush, and/or fresh snow out my front door. It’s really tricky to find a shoe that works for those conditions, and I believe this will be my answer.
Altra Outroad 2 Pros
Durability: One of the main shortcomings with a lot of Altra shoes I’ve tried has been durability. After about 150 miles with the Outroad, there are still no visible signs of wear to the upper or the traction. Because I’m using them about once a week now for recovery and mellow runs, I anticipate I’ll be able to use this same pair for many months to come.
Versatility: I’ve taken these shoes on a variety of adventures, and they haven’t let me down. I’ve run on sand, pavement, rocks, and mellow trails with the Outroad and have never doubted the traction or comfort for any of these adventures.
Traction: For a “road-to-trail” shoe, the Outroad has excellent traction. Though the intention is not to use it in techy terrain, the MaxTrac outsole gripped incredibly well on slippery rock.
Comfort: As with all Altra shoes, these are comfortable right out of the box. Over the last four years of wearing Altra shoes, I’ve learned to never worry about immediately taking them from my doorstep to the trail.
Altra Outroad 2 Cons
Sizing issues: As stated above, I absolutely recommend going up a half size from your standard trail shoe size. And, if you use Altra specifically because you have wider feet, this might not be the shoe for you.
Breathability: When running in cool temperatures and for shorter distances, the Outroad gives me zero issues. However, when the temps creep up and I’m going for longer distances, I start to develop some hot spots on the outside of my pinky toes. The ultra-durable upper lacks breathability, so I wouldn’t want to take it on any backpacking trips in hot terrain.
To Sum It Up
The Altra Outroad is a wonderful training tool. Whether you’re running or hiking weekly, it’s always best practice to rotate at least a couple pairs of shoes to extend the lifetime of each. I love having the Outroad in my shoe quiver to pull out for my local mixed-terrain neighborhood loop and easy runs on non-techy trails. It’s also a perfect option for traveling when you need one shoe that will work in a variety of conditions. And, as stated, I anticipate it will be perfect for mixed-condition winter road running.
The main drawbacks are the atypical sizing and lack of breathability. For anything over 45ish minutes on hot summer days, I started to get hot spots. I’m quite happy I decided to size up as well because the narrow toe box without the extra length would have likely exacerbated those hot spot issues.
All in all, I recommend the Outroad for trail runners and hikers who want a shoe that will last and who plan to include it in a rotation with other shoes.
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The Altra Outroad 2 was donated for the purpose of review.
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