Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Why I am stoked to be an Altra Running Canada Ambassador for 2015

I started my running footwear journey with what must be called run of the mill loafers with a significant heel to toe drop and a stability or pronation control feature that had repeatedly been recommended for my stride. Since transitioning more and more from asphalt to trail running in recent years I developed some recurring issues with ankle sprains. It took a little thinking and the confirmation of a physiotherapist to figure that the added padding of the pronation control shoes made me more prone to roll my ankle than a more neutral setup.

A couple of years ago I also spend some time trying to work on increasing my stride rate. Developing a faster leg turnover seems to be nearly universally recognized as the gold standard to avoid big sloppy strides, a resulting heavy heel strike and high impact forces. Ideally the higher cadence and lower impact style will also help to avoid pain, stress, discomfort and injuries associated with a more traditional heel strike. Furthermore I became convinced to seek out footwear with a more natural fit and a lower heel to toe drop. So I slowly began working my way down until none of my trail runners had more than a 4 mm drop. I never quite felt comfortable in super minimalistic footwear. I must admit that with an abundance of technical trails strewn with rocks and roots right at my doorstep my happy place for footwear is a model with moderate amount of cushioning, an overall natural feel, a decent rock and toe protection and a wide toe box to accommodate my wide forefoot. Now I am not going to pretend that Altra is the only company to provide all these features in a trail running shoe. There are some great choices out there these days when it comes to good quality footwear and I am known to be the guy to buy the pair of shoes that fit my specifications while offering the deepest discount.

About as yellow as my new Lone Peaks will ever be. Looking forward to getting them dirty.

There are a few things though that I love about this brand:

- Each model I have tried so far have felt instantly awesome and comfortable
(a friend of mine, who helped to make me aware of the brand, claims to have run the Pine to Palm 100 miler with his Lone Peak 2.0 pretty much "straight out of the box")
- To the best of my knowledge neither of Altra's current trail or road shoes use leather or other animal products, which is important to me.
- My Altra Lone Peaks offer a natural yet protected "ride" combined with great traction and overall performance.
- Altra believes in their philosophy. All their shoes will have zero heel drop and a super wide toe box for your feet to splay naturally. That means I won't have to shop around and try to figure out the specifications of each shoe model and see which ones are designed according to my preferences.

If this got you interested enough in the brand, check out the links below for additional information. The first link also teaches you some great ways to setup your shoelaces to lock in your heel or make even more room for a super wide forefoot:

Also keep an eye out for new posts on what adventures my Altra's and I will be up to in the months to come. The next race on my calendar is the Gorge Waterfall 50 k in Oregon, before I turn my attention to BC events for the rest of the year.

Hope to see you out on the trails soon,