Altra Escalante Review

There’s a reason the Escalante is one of Altra’s best-selling running shoes! The Altra Escalante packs the winning combination of unbelievable comfort and natural-feel thanks to the shoes zero-drop, close to ground ride that not only provides sufficient protection and comfort, it allows you to keep your forefoot strike correctly engaged when running, which is proven to work out for the best for performance and injury prevention!

Altra Escalante Review

Its also noteworthy to underscore that the Altra Escalante was awarded Editors Choice from Runner’s World Magazine!

What is the Escalante Good for?

The Escalante performs best on the roads, especially beaten-up, harsh roads and really excels at chasing fast times over all distances, especially longer distances, like the marathon, in warm or extremely cold drier conditions.

Altra Escalante Review

The Altra Escalante not only performs best at long distance road running, it also performs admirably well when running on light, soft, flat, easy trails in drier conditions.

Altra Escalante Review

Bottom line, the Altra Escalates are for minimalist runners who prefer a more plush, cushier ride for the long haul.

Sole Specifications 

The Escalates sits on a zero-drop (completely level) rubber FootPod with a 25-mm stack height that surprisingly and impressively delivers adaptable cushioning for better responsiveness to create natural forward momentum.

Altra Escalante Review

The 25-mm stack height also includes a high-energy midsole that feels soft and bouncy, but does not feel mushy or sloppy. Your landings will always feel stable and secure, making your runs smoother, faster! 

Altra Escalante Review

Most relevant, the sole does the necessary job at being functional by being flexible, allowing your foot to flex where it needs to.

What’s so interesting is the underfoot materials are textured to replicate the comfort of being barefoot and is the only type of cushioning that comes  closest to the barefoot feel. And despite the larger stack height, your foot feels in close contact with the ground, thereby offering a more energized, zippy feel! 

As mentioned earlier, the Escalante is a great winter option, but there’s one minor downfall to the sole. It lacks tread. Luckily, you can easily add tread to it with these puppies:

DueNorth Wearable Spikes Review
With the DueNorth wearable spikes on your Escalantes, you’ll get reliable traction without compromising the feel of the terrain nor comfort or the weight of the shoe!

The Altra Escalante is super warm for running in deep freeze temperatures, but again, the sole lacks tread for icy, snowy conditions. You can completely winterize the shoe, like I did, with the DueNorth ice spikes which brings the shoe up to par to perform VERY reliably in blizzard, slick conditions!

Altra Escalante Review

Even better, you don’t have to worry about the sole’s durability. I run 21km a day on the roads, and the sole lasted years! Its really the most capable sole I’ve experienced. 

Upper Specifications

The upper has a lightweight, uncluttered design made of stretchy knitted and meshy materials that conforms to a wider foot-shape. Most important, the upper bends, flexes and overall swiftly moves with your foot, while the wide toe-box allows the toes to spread and relax.

Altra Escalante Review
The Escalante’s upper is sufficiently wide to ensure the forefoot can expand to its natural state. The functional advantage of this is it increases surface area to improve balance and spread impact pressure evenly across a larger area, thereby preventing uneven stresses on the foot.
Altra Escalante Review
In warmer weather, the upper provides plenty of air flow, keeping your feet cool. There’s also more airy mesh at the toes that offers good air flow and flexibility, too!

To improve your winter running experience, the upper offers plenty of room to wear thicker socks, making the shoe a solid choice for extreme winter conditions. Its also handy the upper dries fast, too!

Altra Escalante Review

Final Thoughts

What I love most about the Altra Escalante is they are the only minimalist shoe that allows me to continue to run outdoors in the winter, no matter how cold it is. I’ve ran long distances in temperatures as cold as -27C and my toes were toasty throughout!

All in all, the Escalante was designed for minimalist runners who prefer cushioning, but desire an unrestricted, close to the ground ride. The Escalante gives the best of both worlds! With the Escalantes, you’ll get more top notch protection than any minimalist running shoe, while the underfoot is still fully forefoot strike encouraging and embracing.

Altra Escalante Review

If you’re interested in the Altra Escalantes, you can get your paws on a pair here! Also, check out the DueNorth wearable spike to improve your winter running experience, here!

If you liked this review, you’ll love my reviews on other barefoot shoes here!

Also, be sure to check out my YouTube channel: Run Forefoot where I talk about the evidence-based reasons why forefoot running is the safer, more efficient way to run than heel strike running.

If you’d like, you can support Run Forefoot and help keep it going by making a donation in any amount of your choosing:

Or, you can also support Run Forefoot by shopping at the following top minimalist shoes brands, and be sure to bookmark the links:

Be Lenka:


Xero Shoes:


Soft Star Shoes:

Wilding Shoes:

Earth Runners:



Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!