Shoe Review: Altra Escalante Racer
The original Altra Escalante was one of our favorite updates to come out how Altra in a while. The addition of the EGO midsole immediately improved performance and the feel of that upper, no matter who we put it on, they just seemed to love it. The Escalante Racer is really just a scaled-down version of that show, lacking some of the trimmings. It does still have that awesome EGO midsole and a lighter version of that all knit upper though. It’s really built for performance, so our question was is it just as good a shoe?
The Upper on the Altra Escalante
We mentioned the upper and it is still knit, but so much thinner and so much more breathable almost in a weird way. You can definitely see through the majority of the toebox given how wide the knit is and it can feel a little big upfront because of that. It does contribute to weight loss, so again pushing this model more into that performance race category. On the toebox itself, this feels wider than any Altra we’ve had on in a while so plenty of room for the toes to relax. It also has a sock-like fit, so you get very little movement once they are ratcheted down. One thing… the laces are just bonkers long, very unclear why and no great fix.
That EGO Midsole and Responsiveness
The Escalante Racer still uses the EGO midsole, but it is a firmer and thinner version than the flagship Escalante. There is a flex system that spans the midsole and outsole and allows for a more natural fluid movement. The amount of cushioning is definitely minimal, so the Racer is definitely firmer, but still maintains a strong sense of responsiveness. It is built on Altra’s PFS Performance last which is supposedly designed for a more high-performance fit.
How does the Outsole grip?
The outsole is composed of targeted blown rubber for durability and seems to last quite a while. It tracks fairly well, but on inclement weather days you can definitely slide a bit. This can be a tough one in the Pacific Northwest, so something I’d save for a non-rainy day.
Just Beautiful Marathon Specific Styling
Probably one of the coolest elements of this shoe is the styling given that Altra printed them in specific colorways for a number of the major marathons including Boston, NYC, Chicago, London, Tokyo, and they continue to add more. They also did an amazing job with the actual styling of all of them, so instead of just throwing something on there, it looks like some thought went into it.
What It’s Like to Run in Them
Out of the box, the Escalante Racer is like a slipper for your foot. That sock-like upper is definitely real, but there is more to it… it feels like almost anything on your foot. The toe box is so wide, your toes never seem to even the sides, the front, or even each other. It feels almost like a barefoot shoe. Lastly, they do look sick… the design choices are insane.
Performance in a run is just as solid, although some mix feelings between a few of our team members. For faster runners with stronger, more aggressive legs and running styles, the Escalante Racer was a real top contender. For slower runners or even newer runners, the shoe was a bit too firm and lacked enough cushion to make it an everyday shoe. Performance runners saw numbers drop and exalted at the EGO midsole’s performance, but slower runners definitely put them to the side in favor of other Altra’s like the Paradigm or Torin.
Wrapping it Up
The Altra Escalante Racer is a sweet shoe for performance runners. That being said, if you are sitting just above that level then potentially we might take the weight hit and go with the normal Escalante. You do lose out on the sick designs they came up with, but you’ll have a little more cushion. It really just rides a fine line. Overall though, totally cool shoe top to bottom.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
- Weight: 6.8oz (size 9)
- Drop: 0mm heel/toe
- Cushion: 22mm
- Type: Neutral Road
- MSRP: $140.00
- Available: Now