One of the best parts of this job is getting to test the shoes I get sent. It’s been a while since I donned a new pair of trail shoes but when Altra contacted me and asked me if I would like to try these, the Altra Timp 5, I was happy to oblige. I mean, who doesn’t like new trail shoes? The only way to get a real feel for these shoes is to do what we do. I was allowed to choose the colour I wanted so I went for a very bright yellow/orange combo. They arrived within the week so when Sunday morning came around, I hit the local trails. Luckily, I live on the side of Worlebury Woods in Weston-super-Mare so off I went for a loop for my Altra Timp 5 review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect

I love getting new shoes – love the unboxing too however, I had decided before I put these shoes on that they couldn’t possibly live up to my Hoka Speedgoat so my expectations were low. This put me in a good place to critique the shoes as I didn’t really want to like another pair of trails. I put them on. The laces were a little short for a double knot and I didn’t want to tighten them as the shoes already felt tight. Doesn’t sound like a good start right? Well, all you need to know is that is where the negativity ends for me.

How did they do on road?

I got out of the door and started running. The first mile of this route is tarmac – a good opportunity to try them. I expected to feel sluggish – I have been ruined by carbon-plated shoes and anything other than a pair of road Alphas make me feel slow these days. I was pleasantly surprised. I was straight out of the blocks moving well along the road. The lugs aren’t designed to cope with roads however, I had some bounce in these shoes and I found myself moving well.

And what about technical trail paths?

Next, it was up onto the wooded trail path along the coast. It’s one of those paths where you can break you can easily twist an ankle – lots of rocks hidden by leaves. Up and down along the coastal road. The ground was dry but not rock hard and the shoes served me well. I was able to get some decent speed and the shoes felt like they were an extension of me – not bad for shoes I had run less than 3 miles in.

How did they handle a technical descent?

I then had to descend. Since I fell a couple of years ago on a night trail my downhill confidence has spiralled. However, you will recall I mentioned the shoes felt tight earlier. Let’s change that to supportive. My feet felt like they were in control down a rocky, technical descent that I managed to gather confidence on and fly down. This made me very happy as I have been concerned for a while about my descending speed. The shoes made me feel like I had proper traction though. They are described on the Altra website as grippy and light – they certainly are. According to Vibram®, the Vibram® Megagrip outsole offers unparalleled grip on both wet and dry surfaces. I have yet to try them on a wet surface but will update this review when I do. Let’s face it – it won’t be long in this country.

Climbing

I then had to climb – up a load of steps – I usually walk them but this particular day, the shoes had given me a boost so I ran. Nearly died as there were about 150 but I ran. I then took to a very woody path that is littered with tree roots, muddy patches and stones. Again, the shoes felt responsive, I felt supported and I didn’t feel every rock beneath my feet. I was at 3.6 miles when I reached a water tap – I stopped to do some filming to record my thoughts on these shoes – video embedded below

Then onwards along another rocky stretch, a long trail path and a beautiful quarry descent the likes of which I have not done for years. I stated in the video that these would be my new racking shoes – I stand by that. I like them. I didn’t think I would but I do. I have wide feet and suffer from shoes that are too narrow but they are comfortable – once you get past the initial feeling of tightness and realise it’s support (I always wear my shoes too loose).

The whole thing is on film which you can watch on my Instagram.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Running for the Hills (@running4hills)

 

Features of the Altra Timp 5

The shoe is a zero-drop shoe something I don't normally like - this is the issue when you are used to wearing Alphaflys for your quicker runs. I didn't have a problem with this though. What Altra does really well is a roomy toe box which you get with this shoe. All too often shoes are wide fit as they are wide across the back too. Altra don't make the prettiest of shoes but that is because they have a wider toe box - something which suits me well. In fact, I didn't ankle roll once which made me think that this is the style of shoe I should probably be wearing more.

My verdict

Anyway, enough of me rambling on. I have run in these shoes twice now - both times I have enjoyed the run - the shoes have served me well and I appear to be able to descend again which I am more than grateful for. I would keep them as my short-medium distance racing shoes although they are tipped as a trail running shoe that will keep you comfortable on the trails all day long, I do feel like they would serve me better when I am trying to zip along the ground. I am more of a plodder over longer-distance ultras.

WOULD I RECOMMEND? MOST DEFINITELY.

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