Nu Shooz: Altra Instincts

I have been pretty pumped for the opportunity to write this post for some time. I really like running and I really like shoes. Several months ago I decided that I would give the minimal running thing a try. I had nothing to lose. I found some New Balance 101’s for $65 because I needed a pair of trail shoes. The rest as you can read in that link is history. As I was researching the minimal running technique, a shoe company kept popping up as a somewhat revolutionary minimal shoe, Altra Running and their Instincts. I had never heard of them and didn’t think too much of it. A few months of this company showing up on Twitter and after reading some reviews, one in particular from someone who I consider to be the best running shoe resource on the internets, Pete a.k.a. Run Blogger, I thought I might like them. Pete likes the NB 101’s and the way he described the fit it sounded like we might have a similar foot shape & preference. I read this review in March of 2011.

Six months later I am finally able to write my opinion of the Altra Instincts. A couple factors got in the way of this review for 6 months: 1) If I bought another pair of shoes in March, my wife would probably kill me. She still may as it looks as I am hoarding them and may need to dedicate a room of my house to running crap. 2) You can’t buy Altra’s anywhere within 450 miles of St. Louis. I would hate to buy a pair of shoes I’ve never tried and be stuck with them. So I like to try them on before I make my decision.
Within this 6 month period, I actually became somewhat internet-friends with Jeremy over at Altra. We had chatted back and forth and I even went into a few running stores here in St. Louis to try and get their product in here. It was the least I could do. Unfortunately, like most other things clothing/fashion, it takes new things about a year or two to come to St. Louis. So, that’s when Altra and I started talking a bit more about business. To my surprise they were willing to set me up basically as a shoe store here in St. Louis. So, I now have the ability to sell their shoes to the public. Kind of a weird thing if you look at it. I’ve never stepped foot into one of their shoes and here I am now authorized to sell them, and essentially I have started a small side business because of it. So anyway, I had to buy a pair to make sure I believed in what I was pushing. Funny how life works out.
Ok, back to the shoes. I took them out (today) on a Sunday morning for 5 easy recovery miles. This was going to be a good test of how far I had come as a minimal runner since putting on the NB’s. We started running and immediately it stared raining. Well this was definitely going to be a good test for them. The route we took at a local park is a mix of asphalt, dirt, grass, & gravel. The shoes performed well on all surfaces. I was a little weary on their grip with it being wet outside but they held onto the ground quite nicely. The shoes also handled the rain remarkably. In past runs, I had noticed that my shoes (Brooks Adrenaline) would become water logged and heavier. These shoes seemed to take the water in, but more importantly, let the water out which kept the shoes from getting weighed down. They felt really light on my feet and I liked them on the pavement. Since switching completely over to the 101s, even for road running, I forget what padding feels like between my feet and the ground. 
The fit of the shoe is great also. I have large, wide feet (14EE) and my feet had room to move around. I kept the typical lacing pattern that most shoes use, but I think I will switch it up to the hybrid lacing style that Altra promotes on their website. I think I need just a tad bit more room width wise. Well either this or I will slap some Yankz on there and call it a day.
Alternate Lacing
So after only 5 miles, I am a fan of these shoes and incredibly happy with the progress I have made as a minimal runner. I am about a month out from the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis Half-Marathon and I hope I can do it in these shoes as its going to be all pavement and I want to save my feet a bit. 
Oh and I wouldn’t be a good business man if I didn’t say this… So if you want to buy some of these bad boys or any other Altra products, drop me an email  or DM me on Twitter (@RunShepRun).
Finally, just a disclaimer, if these shoes would have sucked, I would have written so. While I stand to profit from these if I sell them, I wouldn’t BS my readers. The fact that I can regard these so highly, strengthens my decision to sell them, I just went about it a bit backwards.

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