We have run in a lot of Altra shoes over the years and all of them felt a lot like an Altra, but the Vanish Carbon brings something totally new and it’s unfortunate that people who have dismissed Altra in the past may not get a chance to try it because it feels totally different. So yes this is Altra’ race day shoe but it’s also a really solid speed trainer and up-tempo shoe given the amount of cushioning and the responsiveness of that midsole. This is a shoe that definitely puts Altra on their front foot and iis unlike some things we’ve seen from them in the past.
Quick Details, Specs, and Availability
- Altra’s carbon race day offering is really worth a look even if you’re not an Altra aficionado.
- Weight – 7.3oz or 207g for a US Men’s 9, 6.2oz or 176g for a US Women’s 7
- Cushion – 33mm of cushion and a 0mm heel/toe drop
- Pricing – $240.00 USD
- Colors – 2 colors for men and women
Construction and Materials
- Upper – Uses a breathable engineered mesh, very light and unstructured up top.
- Midsole – Mixes Altra EGO PRO, and a carbon half-plate.
- Outsole – Straight-up exposed EVA foam.
Altra has had an interesting relationship with the race day shoe and we’ve tried many over the years including things like the Escalante which were meant to be thinner, faster, and still well cushioned, but we’re clearly following Altra’s older model. Typically a lower stack and not necessarily a modern feeling in terms of what competitors we’re doing. The Vanish lineup comes along and the Vanish Carbon in particular is on par to change all that because well… there’s just something about this shoe.
What we loved
The fact that this shoe isn’t totally over-engineered is what makes it so attractive. It uses a simple breathable mesh upper which can be a little finicky at times yes, but it does have that racing style fit meaning a lot less structure in the upper and a more minimal heel counter, but still fits very well and still provides that very natural tow box that Altra is famous for. The midsole is their EGO PRO foam mixed with a carbon half plate. that foam is nice and responsive while still providing plenty of cushion and has quite a nice bounce to it. That carbon plate helps deliver performance off the toe and keeps that energy moving forward.
The nice part is there isn’t a lot of complication to this shoe and even if you’re not someone who’s familiar with running at zero drop, this shoe seems like it has a shorter learning curve than other Altra shoes we have tried. It might be because of the Vanish Carbon has so much bounce to it and that once your feet are going turnover is that much simpler. It is really just a fun shoe to run in and while we didn’t get the same level of speed as some of the flagship racers that are out there, it’s really close and probably negligible.
What we didn’t
The only real negative for us is going to be in that upper because it’s definitely that race-style fit. You have to monkey with the tongue a little bit to get it on properly, and the edges kind of wanna roll in as it goes on given the lack of structure around the ankle. While stability in the ankle is good it probably could use a bit more of a substantial counter and a bit more padding around the ankle itself.
We have long been fans of Altra but it is hard to convince people to make the switch given that move to zero drop. Altra doesn’t like to use that moniker anymore, but it is so noticeable on people’s legs when they first try it that it makes them a bit wary. The Vanish Carbon doesn’t have that same feel which makes it much more approachable and even someone who runs in a higher drop shoe could run in the Vanish Carbon and not have too many problems. The bounce in the shoe and the general playfulness of it make it a joy to run in. we can’t wait to see where they take this in V2.
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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.