Sample size of 1.
I’ve been running in Altras for the past … 3 years? A mix of Torin’s and Lone Peak’s for road to trail. The latest Torin (3.5) had some nice updates. The mesh is nice and cool when it’s hot. The sole no longer extends beyond the upper so it looks less like a duck foot. After a 12 mile run 2 weeks ago, they started to just feel kind of flat. I was tired and my form wasn’t the best, but even running on asphalt, they just felt really firm.
So I started to think about something with a bigger stack height, something softer for long training runs on dirt/gravel/concrete/asphalt … which means moving away from Altra zero drop. I moved from New Balance to Brooks Pure Flow’s maybe 8 years ago and destroyed my calves and achilles. I think it’s common when moving to a zero drop shoe. It took an entire season to recover from the Plantar Fasciitis I had back then – mostly I just ran through it and iced and stretched it. I was sleeping in a boot on my right foot. It sucked.
Once I had the foot strength built up for run in zero drops I never went back. Using a custom orthotic in a zero drop shoe I would guess I’m getting maybe 3-4mm toe/heel drop. It’s been working for me – with the exception of the recent hard landings in the Torin 3.5. I always just thought I was sore from the running. That my quads and hips were just sore from the effort.
I picked up a pair of Hoka Clifton 5’s to throw into the rotation and see if they would work for longer mixed surface runs. Not saying I’m a fan boy yet – but I’m no longer sore when I wake up in the morning. I did a long 9 mile road/trail on Friday and didn’t feel any residual soreness on Saturday. I took Saturday off and then did a medium/hard (downhill) run on Sunday. I was running downhill fast (around 6:00 pace). And I was thinking my quads were going to be shredded running that hard – but Monday morning – nothing. It’s the Hoka cushioning (I think). I could be just adapting to the increase in mileage, but I really think I’m getting a softer landing.
I’m considering a Hoka for trails, but one thing I love about the Lone Peaks is the ground feel. I’m not sure I want to be that high off the ground.