Altra Viho Review

Altra Viho Review
My new Vihos kept good traction on damp pine straw, grass, and asphalt.

Full disclosure: I’m a member of the 2020 Altra Red Team and purchased these shoes using a team discount.

I can’t overstate how excited I was to see the impending release of the Altra Viho. As a longtime Altra Intuition devotee, the Viho looked like it would perfectly fit the hole in my heart left by the demise of the Intuition (ok, maybe an exaggeration, but I really loved the Intuition).

I ordered the Viho as soon as it went live on Altra’s website. I chose Ice Flow Blue but would’ve been happy with any of the colors. The other options were Deep Teal and Purple. I haven’t had light-colored running shoes in a while, so I opted for change. My new Vihos arrived yesterday, and as soon as I opened the box, I was happy with my choice.

Specifications

I prefer to focus on fit and function when I talk about how shoes fit me, but specs are important, so here you go. Altra posted these details about the Viho: stack height, 26 mm; midsole, InnerFlex™; outsole, Rubber FootPod™; weight, 7.4 ounces; and upper, Multi-Directional Mesh. And, of course, they’re on Altra’s hallmark zero-drop, balanced-cushioning platform, meaning the heel and forefoot remain level within the shoe. They’re listed at $100, making them more affordable than most quality running shoes.

Sizing and Fit

Altra Viho
The insole on the left is from my size 9 Altra Intuition. On the right, my size 9 Altra Viho. Dog hair courtesy of my babies.

I’m consistently a size 9 in women’s Altra shoes, with a few random exceptions over the years. One pair of Superiors fit me in 9.5 several years ago, and the latest Torin was best in 8.5. Otherwise, I’ve always been a 9. The Viho fits me best in a size 9. I pulled the insole out of my old Intuitions and compared it to the Viho insole and the size 9s are almost identical in width and length.

Altra Viho side view
The Viho upper reminds me somewhat of the fit of the old Intuition version 1.5, but with more give and fewer overlays.

The upper is stiffer than the last (final) version of the Intuition, and it felt a little too snug at first. However, after walking through my house for a few minutes, the upper began to feel more forgiving and comfortable. I have a pair of miserable tailor’s bunions from a lifetime of stuffing my feet into soccer cleats, so I’m very sensitive to shoes if the forefoot is narrow. I was concerned about the Viho at first, but after my short stroll around the house, the upper felt like it softened up and made room for my bones.

As with all Altras, the overall footprint of the shoe matches much more closely to an actual foot than most shoes do. The toebox allows my feet to function more naturally than they can in tapered, pointed-toe shoes. I stand most of the day at work in a chiropractic/PT clinic. Not only do I feel the positive effects of foot-shaped shoes on my own feet, but I see the ramifications of ill-fitting shoes in my patients. No shoe or brand is right for every foot, but I’m a big believer in Altra. The Viho is definitely one of my new favorites. And, yes, it seems quite similar to an updated version of my beloved Intuition.

The Altra Viho on the Road

The storms finally stopped the day after my new Vihos arrived, so I took them for a jaunt around the park near my house. It was almost 70 degrees in the morning (ugh, in freakin’ February), and the upper on the Viho allowed my feet to breathe as much as feet can in heat plus 100% humidity. They provided a springy but not mushy feel underfoot. The rubber outsole felt secure on damp roads and damp grass.

As with any new pair of shoes, it took me a few minutes to get used to them, but once I did, I was in love. The laces are tubular shaped and stayed tied (I always double-knot for safety). The heel is padded but not overly structured, and the tongue is fairly thickly padded. I adjusted the laces a few times during my first outing, as I do with all new shoes. Once I got the fit just right, I didn’t want to take off the Viho.

Durability

Altra Viho
The sole of the Viho has sufficient rubber for solid traction and durability but also is nicely segmented for lightweight flexibility.

I can’t speak to durability since I just got the Viho, but the rubber outsole looks substantial and the upper seems solidly made. I could imagine the heel breaking down a bit if you get into the habit of cramming your foot in without thoroughly unlacing, so if you’re prone to that, maybe budget an extra couple seconds to loosen the laces and slide your foot instead of shoving it. (If you’re a shover, I know you– I, too, used to break down the heels of shoes by convincing myself I was saving time by not really loosening my shoes enough. Stop. I promise it’s worth it, and it’s better for your feet, anyway.)

I get a lot more miles out of my running shoes than most runners, in part because I run mostly on grass and dirt instead of concrete and asphalt. I’ll update this review after I get substantial mileage on the Viho.

Verdict

The Viho is a win for Altra in my book. It’s not overly cushioned and also not minimal, and will likely appeal to people who like neutral, versatile running shoes. Even though it’s a completely different shoe, I view it as a solid replacement for the Intuition. If the snugness of the upper is an issue for some women, it’d be worth trying on the men’s Viho to see if it provides a little extra room. As for me, I’m sticking with the women’s and I’m very happy with my new shoes.

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