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Happy Feet

Mine are. Now that I’m wearing these strange new shoes on my early morning run. The shoes feel great. I feel great. My running feels easier. More comfortable. Perfectly balanced. No aches, no pains. Anywhere.

High heels. Not.

These new shoes don’t have an elevated heel. They have a cushioned bottom, but your heels are no higher than your toes. They call it “zero drop” to distinguish it from a traditional shoe bottom that elevates your heel twice as much as your toes. Where the heel-to-toe “drop” is 2-to-1.

The design concept of the Altra shoe: when your heel’s got an elevated platform under it, your heel’s the first thing to hit the ground with every step. That’s called “heel-striking”. A lot of people who know about this think it’s bad. Because it’s unnatural and it transfers the impact from your feet through your legs to your spine in a damaging way. They point out that if you run barefoot, the way we humans did before we invented high heels, you land on your forefoot – not your heel. A whole different posture that our bodies are designed and evolved for.

Pointy toes. Not.

The Altra Provision and Provisioness shoes have another unusual feature: a spacious forefoot area or “toe box” that gives you room for your toes to spread out comfortably. Turns out this is a big deal. You notice immediately how comfortable this is. As soon as you start moving, you realize how important this is for balance and stability. You think, yeah, this why we humans have toes. Ten little stabilizers feeling the ground and making thousands of tiny adjustments in real time. To keep you on your feet and off your butt. Combined with the “zero drop” feature, this shoe design makes the happiest feet.

When you first run or walk in them, you have the “ah ha” moment. When you completely understand why these shoes feel so good: they’re the extreme opposite of those super high stiletto-heeled, pointy-toed shoes some hyper-fashionable women stumble around in. No wonder they have trouble stepping off the curb to cross the street. They’re walking on their tiny heels and their toes are numb.

For walking and running

Altra Provision for men
Altra Provisioness for women

For hiking

Altra Lone Peak Neoshell, Men’s and Women’s, on the Way to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Altra Lone Peak for men
Altra Lone Peak for women

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