The Altra Paradigm 3.0 is a shoe that I would have never tried/purchased on my own because I definitely prefer a lower profile shoe that allows me to really “feel” the ground while running.
Seeing as the Paradigm 3.0 is a max cushioned shoe, I had never considered this a show that I would wear. That said, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this shoe worked for me.
Is it going to be me my new go-to shoe? Probably not. But will the Paradigm 3.0s be a part of my rotation going forward? Yes.
Altra Paradigm 3.0 General Info
The Altra Paradigm 3.0 is the newest iteration of the Altra Paradigm line, which is Altra’s maximally cushioned road shoe.
Previous iterations of this show were classified as a neutral shoe, but the Paradigm 3.0 is now classified as a dynamic stability shoe.
If you have a problem with over-pronating or notice that your form really breaks down in longer runs/races, the Paradigm 3.0 is a shoe that you may want to consider.
Fresh out of the box, the Paradigm 3.0s are pretty much good to go. The shoe comfortably fits to size, and there really isn’t a need to break the shoes in at all.
My first run in the Paradigm 3.0s was a tempo run on the hills, and I had zero foot issues after 6+ miles of going up and down a series of hills. Also, I was surprised at how light the shoe is, 10.3 ounces, for a max cushioned shoe.
Altra Paradigm 3.0 Sole Unit
The sole of the Altra Paradigm 3.0 provides 32 mm of cushioning with Altra’s new GuardRail feature to help steer your foot as needed. And as with all Altra shoe models, the Paradigm 3.0 features a zero heel-to-drop.
The FootPod outsole features a sturdy rubber that provides good traction on the road and is showing little, if any, wear after 75+ miles.
The mid-sole of the Paradigm 3.0 is made with EVA/A-Bound foam, which provides a good level of cushioning with weighing the shoe down.
While the Paradigm 3.0 does have a lot of cushion in the sole, I have never felt like my foot has sunk into the shoe.
This creates a very smooth ride and provides a decent ground feel while running. Both of these feelings were pleasant surprises for me while wearing the shoe.
The GuardRail feature that Altra has developed is unique in that it provides a measure of stability for your foot without overriding what the body naturally does if a correction is unnecessary.
When I got the Altra Paradigm 3.0s I didn’t even realize that this was a stability shoe. As mentioned earlier in this review, previous iterations of Paradigms were neutral shoes.
So I was surprised, and a little worried, when I realized that I’d be running in a stability shoe when I didn’t need any additional stabilization.
The GuardRail technology provides an extra level of support where the sole meets the upper that limits the amount of pronation during the stride.
If you don’t need the extra support, which I don’t, you won’t notice any change in your gait. But some support is needed, the Paradigm 3.0s do provide that extra level of foot support/stabilization with every stride.
Altra Paradigm 3.0 Upper Info
The upper of the Paradigm 3.0 is made primarily of quick dry mesh, which makes the shoe quite comfortable. The shoe breathes quite well due to the mesh upper, but if you wear the shoe through any wet grass you are going to have wet feet.
The upper of the Paradigm 3.0 is comfortable and I had no issues with rubbing or chafing of any sort.
Since this is an Altra shoe, the foot-shaped toe box provides plenty of space for the toes to spread out and the bones of the feet to splay with each stride. The look of the upper is a bit boxy/square, as is often the case with the Altras.
My biggest problem with the upper of this shoe is that the height of the upper feels really shallow. With the shoe on and laced tightly, I still feel like my foot/ankle area isn’t securely in place.
I haven’t noticed my foot slipping or sliding in the shoe, it just feels a bit different than just about every other running shoe I’ve ever worn.
The sides of the upper feature cutouts (see photo) along the sides of the opening, and I think that is the issue that makes the upper feel “more shallow” than other shoes.
Altra Paradigm 3.0 Conclusions
Overall, the Paradigm 3.0 is a fine shoe. It’s not great. It’s not terrible.
The concerns I had over running in a maximally cushioned shoe proved to be unfounded, which was a good thing. Does this shoe provide the same ground feel of a lesser cushioned shoe? No. But that is ok with me.
If you want a shoe that will give you the feeling of “running on clouds” the Paradigm 3.0 is not your shoe.
However, if you want a maximally cushioned shoe that offers some extra stability/support when needed, the Paradigm 3.0 is a shoe you should consider.
We purchased a pair of Altra Paradigm 3.0 from runningwarehouse using our own money. This did not influence the outcome of this review, written after running more than 50 miles in them.