We looked at a number of shoes from Altra over the last year and most of these tended to the maximum cushioning side. Going into this new year we started taking a look at the rest of the lineup to see what the difference might be. To kick it off, we took a look at the Altra Impulse which is also the new base for the upcoming AltraIQ connected shoe as well.
Design and Structure
The Altra Impulse is a super lightweight (8.6 oz) low profile shoe and like always features your staple Altra features like ZeroDrop, FootShape toe box and Stabilipods, but where differentiate itself is on the level cushioning and the addition of the H2Flo which is supposed to help vent water. The Impulse’s profile is significantly lower than others we have looked at and hopefully because of that would make you just a little quicker. In theory, this increased ground contact, lightweight body, and low profile allow for greater leg turnover/increased cadence. The Impulse outer is strikingly different from the rest of the Altra lineup. Its ultra-thin and composed of a Quick Dry Air Mesh and nothing more. This barely there outer gives you a ton of feel and provides a ton of airflow.
Running in Them
After logging quite a few miles on these, I can safely say they are quick. By that, I mean the reduction in weight and increased contact with the ground on my first run, I found myself in the having cut almost 30 seconds from my mile pace. By the end of it I found a cut almost a minute off my average pace. One of the drawbacks of course is that I’m not used to a lower profile. That increased ground contact and limited cushion made my legs a little sore. So I brought them into my lineup in a way that allows them to accent my workout program. Basically on those days where I want to do a little more high-intensity and lower distances, say 10K or lower, I would bring it out. When I want to go longer and maybe slightly slower, then I’ll switch and run with a higher stack and a bit more cushion.
Look and Feel
The Impulse honestly feel like nothing on your foot, its super light. It fits just like a second skin, almost like a sock and stays pretty true to fit throughout my entire run. I can see this being a fantastic shoe for gym workouts as well given their quick, so this could be a great for treadmill training indoors.
Well, the Impulse is very fast and probably the fastest I’ve tried from Altra so far. It doesn’t have a lot of extras for stability or control and instead puts your foot to the test and makes your legs do the extra effort. I find them to be a great fit on those days when you want to go faster and shorter and a great addition to other shoes in your lineup that have extra cushioning. This is definitely a road shoe and not a trail shoe as durability would be suspect on the trail. It’s also a fantastic treadmill shoe and works really well in the gym. So if you’re a treadmill runner, especially in these cold months, this might be the shoe for you.
The Altra Impulse is available direct for $120.