Altra PARADIGM 6 Review


We put the Altra Paradigm 6 to the test.  An experienced group of Big Peach Running Co. men and women runners took to the roads and paths in the new shoe. Some of our staff were familiar with Altra and some were new to Altra.  All gave honest feedback on the shoe to help guide our Guests best.

Altra is quick to point out that Paradigm 6 is NOT YOUR DAD’S SUPPORT SHOE™!!  And are they right!  Thanks to the input on all details and features of the shoe by Two Time Olympian Kara Goucher, Paradigm 6 is dynamic and attractive in all ways that a runner & walker want.

Kara Goucher shares her thoughts on the Altra Brand and Paradigm 6 in this video.   She discusses some of her foot issues and training challenges that the Paradigm has helped her with …. and they are experiences that we can all relate to.  They are not just Olympian-level experiences, but runner experiences.

Overall Impression

Our Staff reported back with very positive feedback after their wear test.   The shoes were given solid miles, not just a 1-time run.  Those familiar with Altra stated how they enjoyed the experience and how it compared to other models within the Altra brand.  And always is interesting to hear the feedback of runners new to the brand.  They too came back with happy feet – and some surprised how well they liked the shoe.

Paradigm Components

What makes the Paradigm ‘The Paradigm’?  First of all, it keeps to Altra’s well-known design of its signature FootShape™ and zero drop.   The shoe is designed to allow your feet to naturally splay out and is specific to men’s and women’s foot shapes. The Paradigm 6 is springy and colorful, not bulky and heavy like stability shoes of the past. Other details of note:

  • New Altra EGO™ MAX midsole: gives the shoe a cushion feel and springy energy return, and added durability is another result of the new technology.
  • GuideRail™:  is designed to provide extra medial support only when needed. A great analogy for this is bowling bumper ball.  It balances out your foot only when the roll-in happens.
  • Updated InnovArch™: this encourages better foot placement in each step.
  • INNERFLEX™:  These grid-like grooves in the midsole are designed to improve flexibility and natural movement.

Altra PARADIGM 6

Women’s Shoe Details:

  • Weight: 9.3 oz / 265 g
  • Outsole: FootPod™ Outsole
  • Cushion: Max
  • Stack height: 30mm
  • Upper: Breathable Engineered Mesh

Men’s Shoe Details:

  • Weight: 10.8 oz / 307 g
  • Outsole: FootPod™ Outsole
  • Cushion: Max
  • Stack height: 30mm
  • Upper: Breathable Engineered Mesh
    Altra PARADIGM 6

Testers new to Zero Drop

Christi is very new to Altra.  She’s usually attracted to high cushion lower drop shoes but never had gone as far as zero drop.  Her mileage in the shoes ranged from 5k – 10 miles per run, mainly road miles, but a few stretches of natural path as well.   She has a weak knee and felt the Paradigm’s cushion level was perfect for absorbing the impact of running.  It gave her the confidence to “run without subconsciously baby-ing my right side with each step.  It frees me to stride more naturally and this is better for my running and enjoyment in so many ways! The level drop gently guides me into the midfoot strike that I’ve worked toward for so many years. and it feels great!”.

Zero drop is new to Samantha who normally runs in shoes with a much different structure.   The zero-drop irritated her ‘temperamental’ Achilles when running, but she’s found them to be a terrific all-day shoe.  Samantha is a teacher and doesn’t sit much!  But wearing the Paradigm now multiple times, her feet are comfortable the entire workday.

Paradigm’s signature FootShape™

Paradigm 6 is Noah’s first pair of Altras!   He was excited to test out a shoe outside his usual go-to.  He found the wider toe box a little unorthodox at first.  But after a few runs, he got used to the shape and it wasn’t as odd as with the initial wearings.

We are all so unique and our testers’ feedback attests to that! Christi is developing a bunion and the Paradigm 6 eases off any stress there. She happily reports that “There is NO as in ZERO constraint on the knuckle area of my bunion foot. This is a massive PLUS for me as finding a shoe that does not at least have some negative impact on this problem is very difficult. I usually feel I must ‘settle’ for the shoe giving the least amount of pain on the bunion foot/area. So, the width is a big, big positive for me in that area”.

Another tester new to the brand is Haylen.  He loves the wide toe box and finds it hard to switch back to some of his other shoes!  An interesting detail he experienced focuses on what socks are worn with the shoe.  He says, “I’ve found that the Paradigm is a better fit with a pair of Balegas or Max Cushion Feetures. I wore Ultra Light Feetures with them on the pavement which resulted in lots of pebbles, sticks, and leaves in the shoes. I spend most of my time on pavement or gravel trails and the shoes fair well”.

The Paradigm’s Versatility

Our testers wore it for a varied amount of reasons. For Christi, it’s her new favorite running shoe that takes on all distances with her. Then with Joanna, it is her everyday go-to shoe for all-reasons-shoe.  She loves the Altra brand is an avid wearer of the lighter Escalante which she feels is lighter and less bulky than the Paradigm. But she’s putting on the Paradigm daily for running errands, walking across her college campus, spending all day in the store, or taking her dog for a walk.

Haylen has had a few good runs in the Paradigm but ultimately finds them to be a great walking shoe due to the comfort underfoot as well as on top with a comfortable shoe tongue. And points out that, “Not only are they a comfortable pair of shoes, but I can also wear them casually with jeans as well!”.

Ride and Fit

Altra PARADIGM 6

Noah puts in his miles on asphalt or concrete and therefore, he “appreciates the cushion on them which has made my runs super smooth”.  All our testers noted the cushion level as a huge highlight of the shoe.  They also stated that it’s a responsive cushion, they feel like their foot springs off the ground with the shoe instead of sinks into the shoe like a down pillow.

Matt has put in the most miles – over 60 in the Paradigm!  This is his go-to shoe due to the overall protection and stability this model offers.  He appreciates the dynamic support and as a neutral runner, he does not feel that it is pushing him out unnecessarily.  Previously he has run in the Rivera and Torin, but the new updates in the Paradigm have won him over.

Haylen’s structure works best with a stability shoe.  The Paradigm’s GuideRail™ provides ample over-pronation support making the walking experience for me all the more enjoyable.

Find Altras at Big Peach Running Co. online and in-store

Come into any of our 8 locations to be properly fitted by our Guest Advocates.  Or for your convenience, you can also shop our selection of Paradigm 6 and other Altra models online.