Shoe Review: Altra Paradigm 4.0
In what might be a favorite Altra evolution to date, the Paradigm has been fully redesigned in this 4.0 version. The last version of the Paradigm felt lvery squishy and it feels like Altra really went back to the drawing board and came up with a shoe that combines some of the great features from all portions of the lineup. This includes features like the EGO mid from the Escalante as well as this whole new upper model they’re putting in place.
The Paradigm 4.0 sports an all new knit upper that sits somewhere between the Escalante and the Torin Knit. It’s a little less stretchy, but it definitely feels great on the foot and breathes really well. It does have a small piece of toe protection and also features an symmetrical design which helps with support over. The interior was built to handle orthotics, so Altra very clearly made this accessible for many types of runners, but particularly transitioners.
The midsole is where the real Frankensteining happens. The primary tech here is the new EGO material brought over from the Escalante. It has a ton of cushion, but also gets back a lot of responsiveness due to the updated mid. The mid also has their Stabilipod and GuideRail systems built-in, which are normally reserved for Support shoes. This blurs the line, but at distance this support is great to have.
The outsole features a pattern of rubber at primary contact points against the mid material. It also features their InnerFlex technology which allows the shoe to flex properly and encourage correct turnouver. The rubber contacts and holds very well on top of it, they have plenty of grip.
Style & Aesthetics
Honestly, one of our favorite elements in this redesign is that a real solid look has been taken at the aesthetic of this shoe. It is so much better than the 3.5 and really any other Paradigm released from the mix of colors to the styling of the knit, even the midsole color combinations are strong. As always they are available for both men and women, in three color choices for each. The white/black combo we tested was definitely a favorite. The all black models are getting booooooring Altra.
When we interviewed Golden Harper, Altra’s founder, a few years back, he described the Paradigm as their gateway shoe. It had enough cushion that people who were interested in moving to zero drop would still find comfort and additionally the shoe provided longevity over longer distances. Something has changed with this version though, this is no longer a gateway shoe, but a flagship shoe. From the moment these hit our feet, we knew they had done something special with this model.
Out of the box, the shoes comfortable right away. The new midsole is stiffer been prior generations, but in a great way because honestly they started to feel too mushy in the last version.It is still a higher statue so you get a few extra millimeters of cushion as always. The feel of the upper is dramatically improved by the addition of the net and not only do they look good but they feel good, they feel like they have structure.
In run, it just gets better. The shift in the midsole to EGO was a great choice because it provides not only a heightened level of responsiveness to the shoe, but that extra stack height still gives you comfort and cushion at distance. Across numerous runs of varying distances I really saw no dramatic performance loss and normally with the Paradigm you might keep them for your slower and more chill days, but you don’t need to with the 4.0. These things can go, just dial it up and you’ll feel the responsiveness right away.
Needless to say, but we are impressed with the new Altra Paradigm 4.0. Sure there are very very minor nitpicks (like it’s still a little heavy), but this is a maximum cushion shoe So honestly landing a little over 10 ounces is amazing. What we were really over the moon about was ultra’s ability to reinvent the model. They took the best elements from their lineup, while staying true to what Altra is good at and turned it into something awesome. Some may see this as a Frankenstein, but these are the roots of Altra. You take the best parts, you glue them back together, and build a great shoe and that’s what they’ve done here. It’s a great transition shoe for zero drop converts and will definitely benefit the 9+min/mile pace or those that need cushion even more.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 11.2oz (size 9)
- Drop: 0mm heel/toe
- Type: Neutral (but has Stability features)
- Stack Height: 30mm (M)
- MSRP: $110.00
- Available: July 2018