RoadShoe Reviews

Altra Solstice Performance Review

Altra Solstice

The Good

I put 50 miles on the Altra Solstice the first week I had them. I thought it might be best to lead with this information since it lets you know up front: I love this shoe. Now, on to the specifics.

Before I opened the box, I had the fleeting thought that they may have forgotten to actually put the shoes in there. At 4.7 ounces for a women’s 8, these are incredibly light. That said, as you might expect, there’s not much to them. These are not fancy running shoes. Altra is billing the Solstice as a sort of “entry-level” zero-drop shoe, allowing runners who may be curious about trying a zero-drop shoe to do so without dropping a lot of coin.

I received these in black, and I think they’re pretty sharp-looking shoes; I’d wear them casually if I weren’t worried about wearing them out too quickly. Keep in mind that I don’t hate the wide toe box look of most Altras; if you do, you’ll probably disagree with me on this point.

The upper is made of a breathable engineered mesh, with a more supportive mesh over the heel and midfoot. A 3-D printed design on the upper makes the shoe a bit more visually interesting. It has been cold AF in the Mid Atlantic the past few weeks, so the breathability aspect hasn’t necessarily been welcomed, but I can’t wait to wear a pair of these over the summer. THEY’RE SO LIGHT! The midsole is made of high-abrasion EVA with Altra’s InnerFlex grooves, designed to promote quick transition; the outsole is, again, exposed EVA with (minimal) rubber reinforcements.

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Altra Solstice

The Bad

Look, these shoes are $90, and they weigh less than 5 ounces. With about 60 miles on them, the outsole is definitely showing a decent amount of wear already. I did do a 22 mile run in these, which probably wasn’t a great idea — they felt great, but I’ll probably reserve them for tempo runs (if I did tempo runs, I mean) and races to extend their life a bit.

One of the first things I noticed when I put these on was a pretty aggressive seam on the inside where the midfoot and heel portions of the upper overlap by like a half inch. I had to hold it down while putting my foot in. Eventually, I trimmed it off, and it’s fine now. And it probably shaved another half ounce off. Just call me Bill Bowerman.

The only other complaint I have is WHY ARE THE LACES SO LONG? When I put the shoes on and tighten the laces, they come up past my knees. It’s pretty ridiculous.

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Altra Solstice

Altra Solstice Conclusion

This is a super light, super comfortable, no-frills running shoe. I would absolutely recommend it as a racing flat, probably for distances up to a half marathon if you’re someone who is used to running in a more minimal shoe (use your best judgment). It feels like you’re wearing nothing on your feet, but in a good way. If you’re curious about trying a more minimal, zero-drop shoe, I definitely recommend the Solstice. Disclaimer: maybe don’t put 50 miles on them in the first week. Even if you really want to. Get the Altra Solstice.

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Erin enjoys running ultras all over the East Coast, in addition to her hometown of Baltimore. Check out her gnarly review of the Georgia Death Race here.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the review.

    I couldn’t agree more with the outsole durability. I mean, really bad. One slow paced short run was all it take to show noticeable wear. I switched them for casual wear.

    One hotspot for my slightly high feet was pinching at the starting point of the lacing, caused by the thermal-welded bands. Probably for structural consideration, but it was too narrow in term of diameter for my feet to comfortably sit in.

    I like the rather squarish toe box for it fits my foot shape. Not triangular dead space at the front. It’s shame the supposedly welcomed roomy toe box was a bit too much for me. My toes had to spend the extra effort fo grip onto the midsole, otherwise sliding in all directions.

    That said, with thinner socks on and conscious the absence of outsole gripping, they ticked many boxes of comfortable runners – Room for toe splay, lightweight, right amount of cushioning, zero drop.

    I would love them even more if the midsole are trimmed to be less bulky (mid-foot to heel).

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