When it was announced Altra was pairing with Kara Goucher for the Altra Paradigm 6, I was excited to try it. Altra worked closely with two-time Olympian Kara Goucher on every detail of Paradigm 6. So yes, it means there have been major updates to the shoe, including a slimmer aesthetic and more responsive midsole foam.
It’s been a while since I ran consistently in the Altra Paradigm. I actually couldn’t remember when I ran in the last but concluded it was the Altra Paradigm 1.5 . Thanks blogging for reminding me.
So yes, a lot is new since then. But there has been a big update since the previous version anyway!
Altra Paradigm 6 Quick Facts:
Heel to Toe Drop: 0 mm
Altra Paradigm 6 Introduction:
The Altra Paradigm 6 is a max cushioned and max stability shoe from Altra. Many people believe zero-drop shoes can’t do that, but Altra has changed the game. You can have both support and cushion from a zero drop shoe.
The Altra Paradigm 6 is an ideal running shoe for long runs and high mileage and people who over pronate but want a supportive shoe.
There is a lot new in the Paradigm 6, including the new Altra EGO max cushioning material in the midsole. The new Altra EGO Max cushion is lighter and “more springy” but doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a stable shoe.
Altra Paradigm 6 Fit:
If you’ve never tried Altra running shoes before, they are built to be foot-shaped. Not wide, but shaped like feet. This means that you will see a more rounded toe box that allows the feet to splay and not feel cramped. This does not mean they are wide. Altra is not the widest shoe option out there. Say that again: Altra is not the widest shoe option out there. Most brands that come in wide are wider.
The Altra Paradigm 6 feels comfortable when you step into it. There is an interior arch support mesh that wraps the foot. The Paradigm uses updated InnovArch technology that wraps around the inside of your arch and encourages a natural step cycle.
Like a premium cushioned shoe, the Paradigm has a padded heel collar and a plush tongue. I strongly believe the best running shoe uppers are the ones you don’t notice, and the Paradigm 6 disappears right off my feet.
The Altra Paradigm 6 fits true to size and has a wider toebox than many of Altra’s running shoes. It’s clear that it’s built for comfort. I’ve heard a few people mention that it’s not as wide as previous versions. I usually wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide in running shoes. The Altra Paradigm 6 size 10.5 fits perfectly. If you have bunions, the Altra Paradigm 6 is accommodating towards them.
Altra Paradigm 6 Ride:
If you’ve never run in Altra Running shoes, they are known to be a zero drop brand. This means the forefoot and the heel are the same height from the ground. Even with the zero drop, many models have more or less cushion to change the shoe’s ride. The drop in a shoe doesn’t mean it has more or less cushion. Think about those platform flip-flops from the 90s. They are zero drop but with a lot of cushion.
I had the opportunity to meet the founder of Altra, Golden Harper a few years ago at the Runners World Half Marathon. It was fun to learn all about zero drop and how Altra was created. Altra uses “Our Balanced Cushioning,” which means your heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground and have the same amount of cushion.
Altra continues its use of the new EGO foam” and adds it into the Paradigm 6. The EGO Max midsole makes the Paradigm 6 softer, bouncier, and more durable than previous versions. It also features a GuideRail which helps keep your feet aligned. Technically, the Altra Paradigm 6 is designed for pronation and if you need a “stability shoe.”
Durability and Traction: I’ve found all Altra shoes to have a lot of traction. I’m able to run in almost any weather condition without fearing that I’m going to fall. I also haven’t found an Altra shoe that lasts at least 400 miles, and the Paradigm 6 is no exception.
I’ve used the Altra Paradigm 6 with several types of runs, including easy runs, workouts, and a few trail runs. For me, it’s best as a recovery run shoe. I never thought I would be recovering in a zero drop shoe (usually, I like the clunksters for that), but it’s great for easy runs.
Something to note is if you never run in a zero drop shoe, it’s important to take it really slow. It’s not a shoe you just want to jump into. Otherwise, you might end up injured. I wrote about heel-to-toe drop here.
Altra Paradigm 6 Conclusion:
The Paradigm 6 surprised me! It’s a great easy run shoe, and Altra did an incredible job with the latest version. If you have wanted to try Altra Running but want a stability shoe, the Paradigm 6 is a great option. I forget it’s even a stability shoe.
My Current Shoe Rotation:
You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.
Looking to learn more about running shoes? In my ebook, I talk about why you need a good running shoe, a shoe’s anatomy, neutral vs. stable, and even myths of running shoes.
Questions for you:
Have you tried the Altra Paradigm 6?
What is your favorite running shoe?