50 Mile Review of Altra Instincts

P7290006Initially I was going to wait until 100 miles to do this review, but I have been doing the 50 mile running shoe reviews since I started A Veteran Runnah and decided to keep doing it that way.

There have been so many reviews published on the Altra Instinct’s over the past year, that I probably don’t have any earth shattering insights about them, other than my own experiences with them.

So I will not bore you with the technical specs on the Instinct’s, which you can find on the Altra website or by doing a web search for them.

Some very good reviews of the Instinct’s can be found here (Birthday Shoes) or here (RunBlogger).

Many bloggers and others have tried to pigeon-hole the Instinct’s into this category or that category, but the only thing that really matters to me, is whether or not they work for how I run and if they are comfortable to me when I am running in them.

Isn’t that what is actually important? Not all the other noise and hoopla.

How are the Altra Instincts doing after 55.8 miles?

The Instincts still look boxy to me and as I said in my initial review of the Instinct’s, appearances are deceiving! They have a nice quick feel when running in them that promotes landing with more of a forefoot running style. Also they feel much more cushioned than the lower stack height and amount of midsole would indicate, which is very important since I am running higher mileage than I have in a long time.


I have done 2 double-digit runs (13 & 10), 50 mile week, had a 5.0 mile best time for this year in them. Yesterday, I decided to wear the Instinct’s in a 5K road race and ended up with a time of 22:03, (which was a 1:22 improvement over my best time this year), just to see how they would be at my race pace.

The faster times and longer distances have shown me that the Instinct’s are a very good multi-purpose running shoe and that they are working well for me.

On the gravel road down back, they have protected my feet quite well and I don’t have any aches or pains that I didn’t have before I started running in them.


The outsole is showing very little wear for having over 50 miles on them and even though they might pick up a small rock once in a while, it really is not the issue it was with my previous shoes.

So far the Instincts have done a great job with everything I have thrown at them and appear to be holding up quite nicely.

Aches and Pains

The dreaded calf pain that many runners seem to have when switching to a zero drop shoe, did not happen for me (running most of the year in 4-6MM drop shoes has helped). Although I completely did the opposite of what Altra recommends, I got lucky and it worked for me, since I ran 50 miles in them the first full week I had them


Initially I did have some issues with my right little toe, just not feeling comfortable. This is something that I have had a lot of problems with, in most of my shoes and one of the primary reasons that I wanted to try the Altra’s – the wide toe box. Part of the problem was the style of sock that I was wearing, but the shoe didn’t feel quite right. While I was looking around the Altra website, I saw this alternate lacing system and tried it. After changing to this lacing system and the socks I was wearing, that issue went away and the Instinct’s felt a lot more comfortable!


Yes I had to cut and tie the laces because they became too long after changing the lacing pattern.

The only problem that I have had with the Instincts was when I flew back from Minnesota and had loosened them up for the flight. In my rush to go from terminal A to terminal C in Logan, I forgot to tighten up the laces and got a blister on my right Achilles from the back of the shoe. I have read comments about this being an issue with other runners, so it is something I will keep an eye on.


This didn’t/doesn’t bother me when I was running, but I do notice it a little when walking in the shoes.

The reality is that

My experience in the Altra Instinct’s has been very positive so far.

Of all the shoes that I have run in this year, the Instinct’s are very competitive with anything that I have worn. I am looking forward to seeing how the Instinct’s will be doing at the 300 and 500 mile marks, IF they make it that far, though I am hopeful they will.

However, I am not going to get all excited and gush about how great a shoe is anymore, until I get up into the 500 mile range with them and want to go get another pair to run in again. I have had too many shoes that felt really great in the first few of weeks of running in them and by the time 200-300 miles come around they are done and I wouldn’t go out and buy another pair of that model, because of the lack of durability or other issues.

Overall – my early impression of the Altra Instinct’s is: so far, so very good!


    1. Jen I will know a lot more over the next couple of weeks, when I do a couple of longer runs tomorrow is 13-15 and then the following 18-20, but like them so far :-).


  1. My first two runs in the Instinct were 18 miles and 50k. On the latter I set my PR and fell in love with Altra. Thanks for the review. Let us know how they are holding up after 500 miles.


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