Altra Escalante 2.5
Contrary to its name, the Altra Escalante 2.5 is actually the fourth version of the Escalante.
It’s more than just a tweaked version of the Escalante 2.
If the 2’s stiffness, fit, and dramatic tongue slip were a deal-breaker, you’ll appreciate the new softer, lightweight experience and improved performance.
Let’s look at what this latest version of Altra’s most popular road shoes has to offer.
Pros and Cons of the Altra Escalante 2.5
- Comfortable upper
- Great for all-day wear
- Lightweight design
- Improves running technique
- Toe box is too large for narrow feet
- Lacks ankle support
- Sloppy lockdown during speed workouts
The new upper is one of Escalante 2.5’s best features. The 2s felt very restricting because of the stiff upper.
During our research, tons of reviews constantly mentioned the sock-like knit upper. It consists of soft, breathable, stretchy material with a cushioned feel.
One reviewer said it was so cozy that it felt like her favorite sweater. Our testers also found it soft and comfortable.
We like how the upper stretches in all the right places to fit one’s foot. It also has more perforations, making it more ventilated.
Like other Altra shoes, this pair features the brand’s signature FootShape design. The toe box is shaped like a foot to allow your foot to sit naturally and has room for your toes to splay.
As a result, it improves the overall comfort and stability of the shoes. Additionally, the tech adapts differently to address biological differences in men’s and women’s feet.
Although the lacing system is efficient, the laces only stayed tied when we used double knots. The tongue is better than the Escalante 2’s; it’s thin and stays in place.
However, one tester mentioned that the sides kept folding under whenever he put on the shoes.
Although the lacing system is efficient, the laces only stayed tied when we used double knots.
The tongue is better than the Escalante 2’s; it’s thin and stays in place. However, one tester mentioned that the sides kept folding under whenever he put on the shoes.
There were some concerns about the upper’s durability. But very few people complained about the knit.
The new upper, combined with Altra Ego, Balanced cushioning, and InnerFlex technologies, contribute to the 2.5s improved performance.
Altra Ego is responsible for the midsole’s responsiveness. It’s a soft, comfortable foam that adapts to different speeds while providing sufficient energy return.
Balanced cushioning is the platform Altra shoes are built on. It’s why Altra shoes have no heel-to-toe drop.
The foot sits flat because the platform positions the heel and forefoot equally.
It takes some getting used to since the foot usually slopes downward from heel to toe in most running shoes.
The cushioning helps set a natural foundation for better alignment, form, and low-impact running.
Altra encourages runners to be patient as they slowly transition and adapt to their shoes.
You can look forward to injury-free sessions and a boost in your performance.
If the Escalante 2.5s are your first Altra shoes, go easy in the first few weeks and slowly increase the intensity depending on how you feel during your workouts. You can also use other insoles or custom orthotics if necessary.
The shoes feature Altra’s Footpod technology to encourage the foot to move naturally. They have a foot-shaped pattern at the bottom with grooves for added flexibility.
Our testers had no issues with the traction and enjoyed a quiet grippy ride. According to Altra, the outsoles should last for 300 to 600 miles depending on the intensity of the user’s activities. There were no complaints about their durability from the reviews we read.
The initial feel and fit of the shoes made us instantly like them. They felt ridiculously comfortable and roomy. It isn’t surprising that some people compare them to soft bedroom slippers.
Although it’s cozy, we experienced an issue with the upper during speed workouts. One tester had trouble turning corners because his feet slid in the shoes. The slippage led to hotspots and a blister under the ball of his foot.
A reviewer also mentioned that the upper got sloppy when he went fast. Those who ran on steep terrain also had the same complaints. The poor lockdown even made a tester twist his ankles. You can try tightening the laces, but it doesn’t work for everyone. One of our testers said he didn’t feel completely secure.
No one complained about lockdown on easy runs and flat surfaces. Those who ran at easy to moderate paces really enjoyed the shoes. The capabilities of the Altra Ego foam seem limited because one can’t pick up the pace as they’d like. Its performance would stand out more if the upper were secure.
Testers with overpronation felt the 2.5s lacked heel support. The padding around the heel counter didn’t help much. A few even felt like the shoes intensified their overpronation.
Adapting to the zero drop shoes wasn’t easy. One tester felt they were working harder towards the end of their runs. They wished for a little more stack height because their legs hurt during long or recovery runs when they were exhausted. Some reviewers also felt that some additional footbed would improve the ride.
There were no complaints at shorter distances and moderate paces. The Escalante 2.5s make for great trainers when running under less than ten miles. We wouldn’t recommend them for long-distance running. They are better suited for some light running and helping you focus on your form.
A few testers felt sore after running in the Escalantes. They were concerned because the soreness didn’t occur with regular shoes. Altra’s Balanced cushioning seems to be the reason for this. It positions the foot in a way that makes runners use their calf and foot muscles more than they’re used to.
The upside is that you’ll eventually adapt to the shoes, and your muscles will keep getting stronger.
One reviewer equated the 2.5s to fast and fun slippers that you want to wear all day. And we couldn’t agree more.
We recommend them for light runners who want a natural feeling shoe for walking and easy runs. You can also add them to your sports and casual sneaker rotation.
Try them out if you want efficient and comfortable running shoes that can slowly build your ankle strength.