Altra Escalante 2.5 Review

Disclosure: I’m a member of Altra’s Red Team and purchased the Escalante 2.5 at a discount.

I started wearing Altra shoes when the first-ever Intuition model came out several years ago. I was injured while working as an EMT, then hurt again while working in physical therapy in a hospital. My neck was a disaster. (It still is a disaster, but that’s another story.) I read about Altra and thought that the level platform and natural shape of the shoes might help me run again without jarring my spine so much. I’ve been hooked on Altra since that first pair of Intuitions arrived on my doorstep.

The Altra Escalante 1.5 is one of my favorites. It’s flexible, cushioned but not overly so, and a nearly perfect shoe. I still run in my last pair of 1.5s but as the miles add up, I decided I better search for a new go-to running shoe. The Escalante 2.5 was released at exactly the right time. I decided to give it a try.

altra escalante 2.5
I paired my new Escalantes with my favorite socks for their maiden voyage. The blue is more subdued in person.

Fit and Feel

The Escalante 2.5 was comfortable straight out of the box. That’s always been my experience with Altra– I can wear the shoes immediately without a break-in period. I tried both the men’s and women’s Escalante 2.5 because I have very sensitive feet, and sometimes the shape and width of men’s shoes is better for me. The women’s colors are awesome and I really wanted the Coral, but the men’s model definitely fit my feet better. I opted for Majolica Blue. The men’s Escalantes are slightly more curved and a tad bit wider than the women’s, and those two things are exactly what I need in a shoe.

I debated on size for a long time. Both the 7 and 7.5 men’s models felt great. I tend to run in tighter-fitting shoes than most runners, probably due to a lifetime of soccer cleats that purposely fit tight. It’s always best to leave plenty of room in running shoes, but it’s a hard sell for me. I ended up choosing the 7.5 anyway, but the 7 probably would’ve been fine.

The upper on the Escalante 2.5 is soft, wide, and considerably more plush than the 1.5. (I never got my hands on the 2.0, so all I can directly compare is the 1.5 to the 2.5.) Since the men’s model is pretty wide for my foot, I need to snug the laces, but they’re not pulled awkwardly close together. There are fewer eyelets, but the lock lace issue was solved for me with a simple hole punch. The lace length is perfect and the tongue is thin but not flimsy.

escalante 2.5
I used a hole punch designed for leather to pop a couple new lace holes into my shoes so I could get good heel lock. The blue is more vibrant in real life– somewhere between the previous picture and this one.

The midsole on the Escalante 2.5 uses Altra Ego and Innerflex, trademarked technologies that offer both responsiveness and flexibility. The underfoot feel is soft but not squishy and flexible but still relatively firm. The shoes were comfortable straight out of the box and seemed to conform to my feet quickly after only a couple miles of running. They’re not as flexible as the 1.5, which gives them a more secure feel on corners and at higher speeds.

I have nerve damage from Lyme disease, and my right foot is especially sensitive to ill-fitting shoes. I had no trouble with extra pain after a few minor lace adjustments on my first run.

Escalante 2.5 Factory Specs

  • Weight: 8.5 ounces men’s, 6.9 ounces women’s
  • Stack height: 24mm
  • Insole: 6mm

Verdict

Altra’s Escalante 2.5 is a win for me. It’s spacious and foot-shaped and allows my feet to move naturally without feeling unprotected or unsupported. I expect to get at least 350 miles out of them before retiring them to non-running use.

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