Is the Altra Escalante 1.5 the perfect running shoe?
Do you have a favorite running shoe? Not the model you are consistently reaching for now to maintain fitness or train for an autumn race. No, the shoe that’s forever etched in your mind. Think Mount Rushmore scope and grandeur. A shoe hall of fame if you will. I achieved a personal best in the marathon last year in a Skecher’s running shoe, but I can’t liken it to Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, or Roosevelt. That GOrun 5 should be carved across my soul based on the stellar marathon finish time, but it’s not. Sigh.
Many runners dub the shoe I’m still searching for as the perfect running shoe. Every feature—from bottom to top—shines like the brightest star. The closest running shoe I’ve owned that exhibits pure perfection inside and out is the Altra Escalante. The engineered knit mesh upper, wide toe box, and Ego midsole makes this neutral cushioned daily trainer utterly remarkable. But a year has passed, which means the arrival of a dreaded word: update. However, the prospect of dread depends on which runner you ask as the revisions may elicit great fanfare instead of disdain and dreariness. Take a closer look at the Escalante 1.5 and decide if it’s worth trying on at your local Big Peach Running Co. location.
Instead of advancing by a whole number to 2.0, Altra opted for 1.5, which suggests marginal change. Indeed, the only major changes to the Escalante 1.5 are with the upper. First, the addition of an internal midfoot strap creates better lockdown. Second, the modified heel cup should reduce slippage that some runners experienced in the original Escalante. Finally, the (still) engineered knit mesh upper sports a slightly different design to enhance comfort and breathability.
In a men’s size nine, the Escalante 1.5 weighs 8.4 ounces, up six-tenths of an ounce from version one. The full-length Ego midsole is retained in the update, and despite being a soft compound underfoot, the shoe remains lively and responsive, an ideal platform for tempo runs and races. The stack height also remains the same at 19 millimeters. Sizing is true and toe splay is fantastic.
Like the midsole, the Escalante 1.5 outsole is identical to its predecessor. The FootShape toe box provides the feet with ample room to spread as grooves around the forefoot of the outsole provide excellent flexibility without being overly stiff.
Aside from retooling the heel cup and the inclusion of a midfoot strap, the Escalante 1.5 stayed true to the 1.0. That’s great news, as I wondered for months how this fan favorite would evolve. Would the changes be minimal or drastic? Thankfully, it’s the former, so join me in taking a breath. In summary, if the Escalante is your vision of shoe perfection, drop by your nearest Big Peach shop to slip it on in person and experience an immaculate fit, feel, and ride.
Austin Bonds is a Guest Advocate and writer for Big Peach Running Co.