It has always been difficult to answer the question, “which Altra should I start with”, when people are interested in looking at the brand. Much of it used to depend on how much cushion, what type of running, etc, etc. However, it appears Altra has tried to answer that question with the launch of the Viho. The Viho combines many of Altra’s biggest technical achievements into a simple low cost package designed for people looking to cross train with running or to check out what a zero drop shoe feels like. It also doesn’t feel like any Altra we have run in before.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- An inexpensive gateway running shoe and trainer and to get folks hyped on Altra.
- Weighs in at 9.2oz or 261g for a US Men’s 9.
- Has 26mm of cushion and a 0mm heel/toe drop (as always with Altra).
- Retails at $100.00 USD and comes in 3 colors for Men and Women.
Altra has been sticking to the same recipe for quite a while with shoes like the Paradigm, Torin, and even the Escalante. When the Viho was released, we were excited simply because of two things, the price and the tech. The shoe is packed with many of the Altra features found in higher-end shoes and they packed it all into a low-cost multi-purpose road shoe.
On the foot, the shoe feels great on the foot, the upper is super flexible and breathable. The FootPod tech is definitely a little weird under the footbed as you can feel those pods supporting your foot like little pillows. It takes some time to get used to, but after a while, it starts to feel normal and that 26mm of cushion really supports you well. The heel does not lock you down at all, so you need to get a good tight fit from the laces. The laces… are super funky, I would prefer a flat lace on here.
In run, the FootPods kick in again and give you a little spring to your step, but nothing like a performance oriented runner would. For most runners, there is plenty here. Foot flex is very high here so you can really control your stride and your foot rotation, this is a great shoe for runners looking to ensure they are following proper form. Distance wise, expect this to feel comfortable at half marathons and under at easy paces. Pace wise, expect this to be for your easy effort days.
Last note, these also do really well as cross-training shoes. If you are doing some amount of lifting or plyometrics or crossfit or whatever, the Viho are a really great option.
The upper on the Altra Viho is composed of a multi-directional mesh which at first glance is is really interesting looking. There is a fine mesh underneath and the layer on top is more of a web of mesh that cages in the finer mesh. Some amount of durability overlays have been added to the shoe, but not enough to affect flexibility.
There is a very minimal heel cup, but no real structure so don’t expect it to lock you in place. The tongue is minimally padded and has no gusset. The laces are really weird in that they are both cylindrical and rigid. Probably the weirdest spot on the shoe honestly.
Construction: Midsole & Outsole
The midsole on the Viho uses Altra’s InnerFlex technology which are grooves that have been built into the midsole EVA. This keeps the weight down and allows the shoe to maintain a very high level of flexibility. When we say flex, we really mean it as well… there is no rigidity at all in the midsole.
The next layer down is the Altra FootPod tech and this is kind of a trip to feel. If you remove the insole you can even clearly feel them and the idea is they tried to map the pods to the bones and tendons in your foot to provide support in the right places. The feeling is a bit of a trip under your foot, but it does provide ample support.
The sole is finished off by rubber for durability and designed in a pattern that continues to provide more flexion during your stride.
Style & Aesthetics
The Viho has a traditional Altra profile including their FootShape toebox. The mesh is a new design which is definitely very different, almost cage-like, but the colorways are pretty stellar and do a great job disguising the oddity that is that mesh. If we had to poke a hole in anything here, it would be with the laces… super weird looking and feeling.
The Altra Viho is a well-designed consumer-level road runner that can also really turn it over when you want to. The FootPod design provides a ton of bounce and also cushion and while it can take a little getting used to, it really does feel so comfortable underfoot. The other thing great about this shoe is that it is a very easy cross trainer as well. If you lift, practice cross-fit, or even if you are just a walker, then there is something to like here. The Viho is pretty spectacular in its simplicity.
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.