When Altra launched the original Escalante it really mixed things up in their lineup in a good way. They created a new midsole, EGO, and went knit for the first time in any shoe. The shoe was built for speed and responsive and many people including professionals jumped on the bandwagon. These models gave rise to the Escalante Racer which was built for race day and has inevitably led us to the new Escalante 2, which has been tweaked a bit.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Re-designed, firmer, and heavier than it’s predecessor
- Weigh in at 8.8oz or 249g for a US Men’s 9
- Has 24mm of cushion and a 0mm heel/toe drop
- Retails at $130.00 USD and comes in 7 colors for Men and Women
Altra views this as a minor tweak, but I am going to go ahead right now and argue that point a bit. I am intimately acquainted with the original, the 1.5, and the Racer, and the new 2 upper is pretty much all new. The thing about the original versions that I loved was the simplicity of the knit and the stretch across the upper. It lacked structural elements and it made your feet do a lot of the work. Before even putting them on I could tell the Escalante 2 had changed a lot of that which left me concerned.
On the foot, the updated knit upper feels a lot thicker than before. It is supposed to be more breathable, but I noticed it to be a bit snugger overall and actually felt it ran a little small due to the increased material. It is not a bad thing, this structure will actually make it more accessible to a larger range of runners, but it lacks a little of the simplicity of before. It is more secure on the foot though and is still comfortable, so it is hard to complain all that much.
In a run, the ride is still just as fun as before. A bit of the freedom is lost that you may have found in prior versions, but this actually lets you run further with increased foot comfort. It corners well, handles slippery weather well, and it runs just fine but herein lies my issue. The first two iterations of the shoe were fantastic, but they did a lot of messing around here with a solid original recipe. I am just not sure why it was so dramatic and this weight increase was unnecessary. Also, it is just so much snugger overall so I am not entirely sure this will make its way into my normal lineup.
The new knit really changed the recipe from the original versions. All of the stretchiness is gone in favor of something a lot stiffer and almost hard to put on sometimes, and while it does feel okay on your foot, it is just a totally different feel up top.
The midsole is still EGO based, but they decoupled it from the midsole more which was supposed to increase flexibility. In all honesty, it actually feels stiffer underfoot than ever before which is a bit of a bummer.
The outsole remains relatively unchanged. It is decoupled from the midsole, but it still maintains targeted rubber landing pads. It is probably the high point of the shoe now as it does grip really well and those areas are highly durable.
Style & Aesthetics
Let’s face it, these things need to get a little flashier. The Racer editions are killer using vibrant colors, marathon edition overlays, etc… but the 2 is just a little flat. The black pair looks less like a running shoe and more like something you might wear to the office. These things need a shot of excitement.
The Escalante 2 is pitched as a subtle tweak, but we find it to be a bit more. The new upper makes things a little snugger and a general stiffer feeling. The midsole has firmed up a bit and the weight increase doesn’t feel needed. We would definitely try them on first as they can run a half size small. Fort shorter runs it might be fine, but again we liked the 1.5 a lot more.
Check Out Other Reviewers Thoughts
As always, we gather together some of our favorite reviewers so you can get a well-rounded view of the shoe. Here are our favorites.