Altra Intuition Shoes

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Manufacturer Description

Forefoot pain? Bunions? Shin Splints or Knee pain due to traditional running shoes that cause heel striking and over-striding? The Intuition gives you a female foot shaped shoe to free your toes & alleviate your forefoot pain along with a Zero Drop platform to help you run better and reduce impact. Get the benefits of barefoot (& ultimate comfort) without sacrificing the cushion, comfort, & support you love. On top of all that, The Intuition has been engineered from the ground up to be female specific in every way —from the shape to the amount of cushioning and beyond. No shrink it and pink it here! Trust (& run with) your intuition and experience the world’s first cushioned, foot shaped, Zero Drop running shoe.

Features

  • Foot Shaped Design – Female TW-W Last
  • NRS – Natural Ride System
  • FootPod Outsole Encouraging Natural Motion

    Click to See Larger
  • Quick dry air mesh upper with minimal seams
  • Asymmetrical Lacing, Heel Claw, and A-Wrap for superior fit
  • Drilex Premium Liner
  • Strengthen and Support Insoles
  • Measured women’s size 8.5
    • Weight – 205 g (7.2 oz) without insoles
    • Strengthening Insoles -10 g (0.4 oz), 3 mm thick
    • Support Insoles – 16 g (0.6 oz), 5.5 mm thick
    • Forefoot width – 93.1 mm (3.7 in)
    • Stack height – Heel (13.6 mm), Toe (13.0), Drop (0.6 mm) without insoles
  • Retail – $100

YMMV Review

Altra is a small company out of Utah. It was started by a couple guys who wanted to make shoes that help people enjoy running by running more naturally. JJ was able to talk with them in early 2011 right before the release of their first shoes the Instinct and Intuition and was very excited for their release. Altra created these shoes to be biomechanically correct and shaped like your foot. A while back Altra sent us some shoes to test out. JJ reviewed the Instinct Shoes but due to an injury and having to slowly work into zero drop footwear, this review took a bit more time to get written. Before these I had never run in a pair of zero drop shoes so this was a totally new experience for me. JJ has been a running in them for some time and it was finally time for me to give it a whirl.

Testing

I have been mainly testing these while running on the road. My runs have varied between three and seven miles. I have also used the Intuition’s for walking and some circuit training.

Design ★★★★☆

The Altra Intuition Shoes are different than any other shoes I own. Altra has taken a novel concept, they built the shoes in the shape of your foot. When I first put them on they definitely look different. Altra calls it their Foot Shaped Design. This means a narrower heel, wider toe box, and traditional width through the midfoot. The Altra Intuition Shoes use the Female TW-W Last. Altra has made the men’s and women’s shoes differently. The midsole, outsole, and fit have all been customized specifically for each gender. For example, women have a unique foot shape; with a narrower heel, longer arch, higher instep, and different metatarsal positioning.

Top View

The Intuition has an air mesh upper with minimal seams for comfort against the skin. The upper features Altra’s A-Wrap structure. Wrapping the midfoot, this innovative design offers a snug fit for necessary control. The tongue is also made of air mesh to breathe and has a loop for the laces to pass through and keep it in place. The synthetic overlay also covers the toes to protect them from hard objects. The inside of the upper is made out of Drilex, a wicking polyester lining. This lining helps wick away moisture and keeping the shoe climate comfortable.

The Intuition is a cushioned zero drop shoe. There is enough cushioning to protect you feet from the ground while still providing some ground feel. Altra gives you two insoles to use with these shoes: a Support insole and a Strengthen insole. The Support insole has a bit more structure to it and a deeper heel cup. It is thicker and weighs a bit more as well. The Strengthen insole provides a bit less cushioning and is flatter so your feet have to work more. The midsole is cushioned with Altra’s A-Bound material and EVA foam. Offering extra protection, the A-Bound layer sits directly under the foot to return energy back into each stride. It reduces the impact of hard surfaces while still maintaining ground feedback. Traditional running shoe foam compresses 70-90% while A-Bound compresses 2-3x less so it won’t deform over time.

FootPod Outsole

In the outsole Altra uses the FootPod outsole. The FootPod outsole is designed to be similar to the foot. The outsole maps the bones and tendons of the human foot allowing for maximum flex and responsiveness. With canted lugs mapping your foot, this unique outsole provides a natural all-purpose traction system for a variety of surfaces from road to treadmill to dirt paths.

Materials ★★★☆☆

The Altra Intuition Shoes seem to be well made and built to last many miles. I have not seen any wear as of yet and the upper looks new. The upper is made of a synthetic overlays and a mesh. It is actually quite similar to other running shoes in these aspects. The midsole on the other hand is made of Altra’s A-Bound material and EVA foam. A-Bound is made out of recycled materials which is great. To my knowledge none of the rest of the shoe is but hopefully Altra can address this down the road. Both the insoles are also made of light EVA foam.

Support and Strengthen Insoles

Performance ★★★★☆

It took me a while to get enough miles in the Intuition’s to write this review. This is mainly due to the fact that I have not run in zero drop shoes before and had to transition slowly. When you first make the transition you will definitely notice parts of your legs being sore because they have not been used as much before. For me this was my calf muscles. Over time I have now gotten accustomed to the lower drop shoes and use them for the majority of my runs. I still prefer the Support Insole over the Strengthen Insole but might work my way up to it eventually. The shoes are very comfortable to run in and over time I could tell my stride shortened a bit and my cadence increased.

The Intuition has a little bit of ground feel. JJ says that it is pretty minimal compared to more minimalistic shoes out there. I have not tested any of these yet so these have the most of anything I have worn. That being said I like having cushioned shoes and these do not disappoint. The amount of cushioning has been good for me and I like how the sole flexes right where my foot does. This has made the ride very comfortable for me.

Insoles from Above

Comfort ★★★★½

These are the most comfortable running shoes I have owned. On my first couple runs I had to keep reminding myself that I had shoes on. This is due in large part to the amount of room in the toe box. There is plenty of room to spread out your toes while you run and I have not had this feeling before. I found the length of the shoes to run slightly on the short size so I sized up a half a size and this has worked perfectly. The heel cups my foot and the shoes are comfortably snug through the midfoot. The Altra Intuition Shoes have been comfortable no matter what activity I am doing. Over all my testing I have not had any issues with chafing or discomfort. My mom tried mine one weekend and ended up purchasing a pair as well. She loves the fit and uses them for her daily walks and Zumba classes. She also sized up a ½ size from her regular size.

Box Top Information

Overall ★★★★☆

I think Altra has done a great job with their first model of shoes. They now have a couple other models available. The comfort is outstanding and the performance is solid as well. I have not had these shoes too long to comment on their durability but so far so good. I sometime lift my big toes when I run and wear holes in the uppers of some of my shoes but have not seen any evidence of this happening with these so far. Maybe I just needed more room for my toes. =) I think the Intuition’s are a good shoe for many activities. I have liked them for running, walking, circuit training, and wearing around town. I know JJ was a fan of the Instinct Shoes as well.

One thing to make sure you do when transitioning to Zero Drop shoes is to be patient. If you have always ran in traditional drop shoes the transition will take some time to do safely. I may have pushed it a bit too fast as I definitely had to miss a run or two from soreness. Altra is great as they include some instructions on the inside of the box and an included guide. Not only does this explain about the shoes but also the reasoning behind many of the design features. They also explain how to effectively run and transition into Zero Drop Shoes. This is a great addition for those that may not know exactly how to make this transition. For me it was interesting reading as I have heard JJ talk about it for some time. Altra Intuitions retail for $100 which is fairly reasonable as they should have a long lifespan. Click on the link below to go to Altra and check out their other new color. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Super comfortable
  • Wide forefoot
  • Zero-Drop
  • Comes with 2 insoles
  • Functional across a wide variety of activities, not just running

Cons

  • Easy to get injured if you do not transition slowly

About the Author

I am JJ’s wife and main training partner. I also do triathlons, hike, and ski with JJ. When possible, I chip in with a review here or there.

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