Altra Paradigm 1.5 Review

Altra Paradigm 1.5 Shoe Review

A few weeks ago, I was given a pair of Altra Paradigm 1.5 at the Runners World Festival.  We sell Altra’s at work, but I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing a pair for myself.  To be honest, out of every brand we carry, I am the least familiar with Altras.  Luckily the rest of the bloggers and I received a first-hand lesson about Altras from the founder, Golden.  It was great to learn this information for myself but also for work.

altra paradigm 1.5

Back in July, I sent an email with my mileage and the current shoe models I liked.  The founder concluded the Altra Paradigm 1.5 would be the best fit for me.  I might be biased, but it’s awesome to have someone else fitting you for shoes.  It takes the hard work out of choosing a shoe.

Golden giving us a lesson on Altra
Golden giving us a lesson on Altra

Before the shoe review, we learned how Altra was created and a lot of history and brand facts.  Altra has separate shoe styles for men and women.  Women cannot just order a men’s shoe in the appropriate size…Commonly called “shrink and pink its method,” which means shrink the shoe size and make it more narrow.  (Believe me I’ve ordered men’s shoes plenty of times).

And also giving us a demo on form (via Altra)
And also giving us a demo on the form (via Altra) 

While I did receive the shoe for free, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Altra did not ask I post a shoe review. 

First, the Altra Paradigm 1.5 is a max cushion and zero drop shoe.

The box comes stocked with plenty of information about running form and the shoe
The box comes stocked with plenty of information about running form and the shoe

Altra Paradigm 1.5 Fit and Feel: 

The brand Altra is an entirely new feel to me.  Altra has zero drop in all of their models which means the cushioning is the same in the front as the back.  There is no built-up heel like most other brands. The zero-drop is something I can appreciate because with my running I need a shoe with more cushion towards the front.  I run like an Ostrich on their tippy-toes, so the front of my shoes always wear faster.

Altras are known for having a wider toe box and lacing that is a little further up the shoe for even more room! The top of the Altra Paradigm 1.5 is a little bit less giving than I expected.  In my opinion, this model runs smaller than many other brands.  I generally wear a size 9.5 wide or 10, but I felt the 10 were a little bit too small!  The brand Altra is known for its footshape toe box and the width of the Altra Paradigm 1.5 was fine, but the length was short.

I ultimately decided 10.5 was the size I needed. I appreciate the latest Altra Paradigm 1.5 has a knit upper, which I think is more breathable.

Altra Paradigm 1.5 Ride: 

We did receive the Altras at the Runners World event, but I did not run or race in them until later. I took them out the week after the races and have run about 100 miles now.  I did a few easier miles in them to get a good base.  Since then, I’ve run a few 10-12 miles in the Altra Paradigm 1.5 as well.  I don’t notice the difference in the heel to toe drop and I like the high cushion in the shoe. For the amount of cushion, the Altra Paradigm 1.5 isn’t heavy.

If you have never run in the Altra Paradigm 1.5 or the brand Altra, it will take a few weeks to get used too. Altra is zero drop which means the heel and forefoot is the same distance from the ground. None of the Altra shoes have a built-up heel and they use the Altra ego midsole. This allows you to run more naturally on your forefoot and have more energy return.

The Altra Paradigm 1.5 uses a stabilizing tripod and natural stability zone. What does all of this mean? The Altra Paradigm 1.5 has a guiderail system and dynamic support, so it gives you support if you need it. The Altra Paradigm 1.5 doesn’t give support if you don’t need it. This is especially good to prevent excessive foot collapse in one foot but not the other.  With the guide rails, it’s neither a neutral nor stability shoe but can cover both.  The Altra Paradigm 1.5 provides guidance only if you need it.

Altra Paradigm 1.5 Positives:

  • Max cushion in both the forefront and the back of the Altra Paradigm 1.5.
  • Wider foot-shaped toe box in all Altra models
  • The Altra Paradigm 1.5 is $130 for a max cushioned shoe versus similar brands being $150 for a max cushioning shoe.

Altra Paradigm 1.5 Cons:

  • The length of the Altra Paradigm 1.5 is short.
  • Not many similar shoes to the Altra Paradigm 1.5.
  • It takes time to work into the Altra Paradigm 1.5 because of the 0 mm drop.  You cannot purchase a pair and run 10 miles in them immediately.  You will probably injure your calves.

I would recommend the Altra Paradigm 1.5 for anyone currently running in Hokas or Asics Nimbus/Quantum. Or anyone who likes a high cushioned neutral running shoe.  Keep in mind, with any Altra shoe, it will take time to work into. Since the Altra Paradigm 1.5 is a zero drop shoe, it works your calves more.

In conclusion, I do think the Altra Paradigm 1.5 is a good shoe for me. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I like them!  I will keep the Altra Paradigm 1.5 in my rotation of shoes.

In case anyone is wondering: My current rotation includes the Saucony Triumph ISO 2, Saucony Zealot, Altra Paradigm 1.5 and soon to be reviewed the Nike Pegasus 32 (which I replaced the Vomero with).

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:
Have you ever tried Altras? Have you tried the Altra Paradigm 1.5? 
What is your favorite running shoe? 


  1. I am interested hear that you liked them!! Hmmmmm!! I am still not totally happy with the Pure Cadence, and I am so bummed about the Pure Connect being discontinued. Maybe it’s time to try Altras.

  2. I read your blog ,good topic
    Hollie wanted to ask what do u think of brooks shoes, that what I wear.
    Just seeing your opinion..
    Happy running

  3. I like the idea of Altra and was fascinated by their story but I just couldn’t run in them and feel comfortable for some reason. My feet are just so particular with what brands I’m wearing but I love their background and they clearly are experts on running so regardless of how the shoes fit me, I felt like I learned a lot.

  4. oh man, my running store just had a tech night on altras! We were going to do a demo test run too. Well, they did. I was busy that night 🙁 i’ve never really liked the fit though! I dont know why. but i know some people LOVE them.

  5. I’ve been waiting for your review on these since seeing your Runners World trip post! I tried the Altra Intuition a few years ago. I ran in them a few times and they were okay but I didn’t feel like I got a good “rocking” motion off of them because of the flatness. I now wear the same pair ALL the time for walking around and with jeans, out shopping, etc. They feel like slippers – so comfy and nice and wide.

    I’ve been curious about the Paradigm and the Torin.

    My Zealots are on their way from Saucony right now (my local store didn’t carry them). I also love the Triumphs and Brooks Launch and Hoka Clifton.

  6. I’m interested to hear what you think of the Pegasus 32 after we both had the same bad experience with the 31. I’m so loyal to my Nimbus 16s at this point that I’m hesitant to try another shoe, though I may pick up a pair of Hoka Conquest 2s since I liked the original, while I wait for the Nimbus 18!

  7. I’ve always wanted to try Altra shoes! I do worry that I will have heel trouble, but I think a zero drop shoe could actually help me. They’re really hard to find here in the UK though, and by the sound of it I would need a UK 6 instead of the UK 5 I wear now.

    I’m really stuck for shoes at the moment. I keep wearing the Asics Kayano 20s I’ve had for almost double the miles I should have run in them. They have no tread left on the heel at all, but no other shoes seem to fit me…or if they do, I skid around all over the place when it’s wet. I wish I knew how to tell which shoes would grip the pavement when it rains just by looking at them, but there seems no rhyme nor reason to it. I hate what Asics have done with the Kayano – both the 21s and the 22s are so rigid and they hurt my feet so badly that I just can’t wear them. I miss the Kayano 19s…those were the best shoes I ever had.

  8. I haven’t tried Altra’s yet. I would like to demo them, but I don’t think they’d work for me with my finnicky calves. My favorites are definitely the Brooks Ghost and Launch.

  9. ive seen a lot of social media presnece for them but have never tried them. i do have the hoka clifton 2 but they are a little too narrow for me…sounds like these may be too. might have to give them a try though i like more cushioning for long runs. thanks for the review!

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