Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I choose Altra running shoes

Some exciting news: in the midst of my recovery from surgery, I received notification that Altra has chosen me to be an ambassador for their brand! I first starting running in Altra running shoes in 2014 and I would never wear another. Up until I started running in these shoes, I had never found the perfect running shoe. I have a VERY wide forefoot, which I thought made me unique, but apparently is quite common. The typical running shoe (especially for women) is quite narrow. This means that my toes are always getting squished and my feet would burn on long runs. It hurt so badly that I would start heel striking just to offset the pressure on my forefoot! So, how has Altra helped me? The answer is three-fold:

1.My feet no longer burn. The wide forefoot prevents my feet from being squished up against the side of the shoes and allow my toes to splay properly upon impact with the ground. Not only does this feature improve stability and toe-off, but greatly enhances my level of comfort when I run. Now that I'm comfortable when I run, I can focus on my run form.

2. The Zero-drop feature benefits my running style. As a forefoot runner, I don't need the cushy heel that most running shoes have. Since there is less impact when there is no difference between the height of the heel and the forefoot, this feature is useful to prevent injury. A word of caution: for those with a history of calf/Achilles problems I would recommend gradually making the transition to zero-drop shoes. Start with 5 minute runs and gradually build from there. And once you are running in Altras, they will probably strengthen the Achilles and lower calf muscles.

Altras in Action: This is me running a sub-4:00/km pace during a training run in my Altras. No heel striking that's for sure!

3.They are cushy! Unlike most of the minimalist shoes that I have tried with a zero drop feature, the Altras actually have a lot of cushion in the forefoot. Especially the trail running shoes that I use for longer runs (Olympus). Even with this feature they are still surprisingly lightweight. I race most of my half-ironmans in the Torin, which weighs less than any other racing shoe I have tried.

Of note, is that prior to running in Altras, I had 1 to 2 over-use injuries in each of my 10 years of running. Since switching to Altras I have had no over-use injuries! (My current knee injury is a result of a forceful trauma to the knee).