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Altra Paradigm 2.0

- published February 2017

74

2017

RATINGS

Comfort
7
Fit
5
Responsiveness
4
Speed
3
Ride Quality
5
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
74

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$130.99
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THE GOOD

  • Roomy toe box for wide feet
  • Very light
  • Suitable for heavier runners

THE BAD

  • Firm outsole reduces ride quality
  • Zero drop not for beginners
  • Midsole requires some use to soften up

THE VERDICT

Like other Altra running shoes, the Paradigm 2.0 is a niche shoe designed to serve those who have issues with mainstream running shoes restricting toe splay. Best suited for heavier runners and those who require a roomy toe box, the Altra’s design is a favorite among ultra runners looking for a natural and relaxed toe splay. New for this season, the Paradigm 2.0 gets an improved upper for better durability, increased reflectivity and new color options.

FULL REVIEW

The Altra Paradigm 2.0 offers neutral runners a very cushioned ride with zero heel drop. Designed with Altra’s Footshape toe box, the Paradigm 2.0 fosters a natural and relaxed toe splay for maximum comfort and stability.  A zero heel-to-toe drop offers equal cushioning throughout the midsole and is designed to promote a natural, low-impact running stride.

Comfort
Sitting down, the Paradigm 2.0 is extremely comfortable. The upper is flexible and plenty of padding surrounds the heel collar. However, once up and around, the Paradigm 2.0 feels as if you’re walking on a firm platform. The Footpod outsole material is extra firm, which reduces the midsole ability to absorb impact, contributing to the awkward feel. 

Fit 
The Paradigm 2.0 fits unlike any other running shoe on the market. Altra’s claim to fame is their extra wide toe box, which is designed to follow the shape of your foot for “better comfort, balance, and running efficiency.” Initially, the large toe box feels loose and odd. One tester noted having issues with the topsole feeling lumpy, noting “it felt like my heel was sinking below my toes into the mush--and a lumpy feel on the top-sole that turned into a hot spot where the arch meets the ball of my foot.”

Responsiveness 
Poor flexibility throughout the forefoot severely affects the Paradigm 2.0’s ability to respond. Despite having a zero drop, there was way too much foam under the forefoot, which negatively affected how force was transferred to the ground. 

Speed
Despite being the lightest shoe tested in the comfort category, the Paradigm 2.0 was the slowest. Try flexing the midsole and you’ll quickly see the Paradigm 2.0 has no flexibility to it. With 31mm of cushioning under the toe box (more then any other shoe tested), it’s impossible to get a nice roll off the toes to pick up the pace.

Ride Quality
The combination of a zero drop and 31mm of cushioning underfoot gives the Paradigm 2.0 a rather clunky and platform-like feel. The zero drop, which favors those who naturally transition to forefoot running, offered little forgiveness for rear-footed strikes. Underfoot, the midsole took awhile to break in and soften up. 

How We Tested It

The shoes in this test were used by multiple testers over varied terrain including concrete, dirt, grass and track ranging from 4 to 15 miles. Testers covered a wide range of paces to determine performance. All testers used Farm to Feet socks for consistent fit and feeling.

For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our other cushioned road running shoe tests, lightweight road running shoe tests, trail running shoe tests, along with other related running gear tests

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

About the Author

Donald Buraglio

Donald Buraglio

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

Shop for the Altra Paradigm 2.0

MSRP
LOW PRICE

$130.99
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$130.99
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Comfort
7
Fit
5
Responsiveness
4
Speed
3
Ride Quality
5
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
74

Specs

  • Heel Height: 31mm
  • Forefoot Height: 31mm
  • Heel Drop: 0mm

Weight

9.7 oz

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