I love going barefoot. Barefoot outside in the summer. And barefoot in the house. Barefoot in the garden. Even barefoot in the barn. Enter: Altra running shoes. The shoes that allow my feet to keep their barefoot shape!
When I am forced to wear shoes, I like a comfortable, functional pair. What better shoes than ones that fit my feet rather than making my feet fit into them!
That’s just what Altra running shoes do for me. No longer am I trying on shoes debating on how squished my toes can be and still be “comfortable.” You see, I have wide feet. Really, really wide feet. I was measured at a specialty shoe store once and my size is 4E. That’s wide with an extra…in men’s. Women’s doesn’t even go that wide!
What’s a girl to do!?
Before Altra Running Shoes
For a while I would buy as girly looking men’s leather shoes as I could. Then I would take them to a cobbler to have them stretched. [Yes, cobblers still exist.] This was cheaper than the $200 shoes I was finding in stores that only sorta fit.
As for running shoes, I would shop in the men’s section and find the widest shoes in my size and debate how much I could make them stretch. That’s what I was stuck buying. Let me tell you, not many men have feet as small as mine so the selection is even more limited!
Back Pain Forced Me into Zero Rise Shoes
I had never heard the term “zero rise.”
My physical therapist explained that most shoes have a thicker sole under the heel than the toes causing the pelvis to tilt forward and put pressure on the back. Zero rise shoes are the same thickness front to back, or “neutral.” This level surface allows the body to stand the way it would if there were no shoes on.
If I was lucky enough to find a shoe store clerk who knew what zero-rise shoes were; the store didn’t carry any. So I began looking online. Thank goodness for the internet! I was able to find several options.
Altra running shoes stood out to me right away because of the huge toe box! This was the first time I had seen shoes that didn’t have a pointed toe! I immediately began scouring their site and found tons of shoe options that looked appealing to me.
They have running shoes of all variety. The thinner sole for the intense racing runner, extra support for the compromised arch, and extra grip and thickness for rough terrain . Plus, Altra has a casual shoe selection that looks great with slacks!
I was hesitant to spend so much money on a pair of shoes but the thoroughness of their foot assessment put me at ease. I was able to learn the why behind their shoes and understand what style best suited my needs. Their site is very educational as well, ensuring a smooth transition into their zero rise shoes.
Great Customer Support
Altra has a great satisfaction and return policy. This was especially important for me because I had no clue how the shoes would fit. [I was still doubtful that such a wide shoe existed!]
I was sold on Altra because they had a great clearance section that I was able to find something I liked from….on Amazon. I called customer service to get a few questions answered. Through the course of the conversation I asked about how often shoes get moved to their clearance section. The person I spoke with recommended Amazon since I couldn’t find my size on the Altra website’s clearance section!
I was shocked to be sent to Amazon! But I found what I wanted!
When it came time to buy another pair my finances were a bit healthier so I was able to pick from their regular selection on the Altra website.
Only One Downfall
I am so satisfied with Altra running shoes that I will continue buying them. However, this would not be an honest review if I didn’t mention the one thing I’m disappointed with.
I still have to buy men’s shoes. Yep, my feet are that wide.
Buying men’s shoes isn’t enough to make me shop elsewhere because I love the shoes so much. And the designs and colors are neutral enough that I don’t feel like I’m wearing men’s shoes.
After my last purchase from Altra, I e-mailed customer service with my dilemma. I explained to them that these are the best fitting shoes I’ve ever worn and that the zero rise was helping my back stay pain-free! I also said that now that my toes are comfy I need a wider width further down the shoe where the great toe joint is. Altra kindly responded to my e-mail and said others have requested the same for the women’s styles.
I really don’t know if anything in the women’s selection has changed because I haven’t had to buy new shoes for over a year.
Customer for Life
Now that I have purchased several pairs of Altra running shoes I know that I will continue to go to them for all my footwear needs. Their zero rise design and large, roomy toe box provide a great shoe wearing experience for this barefoot-at-heart girl!
*Altra did not ask me to write this review. I was not compensated in any way for my opinions. This review is 100% my opinion.