Altra is back with their light stability trainer, The Provision. The 6th edition has had a full makeover; redone upper, new outsole pattern, and a different foam compound.
This is part of the ‘small and mighty’ lineup of Altra stability shoes; with the Paradigm being the heavier, bulkier member of the lineup.
I’ve always looked at Altra as a niche brand because of their zero drop shoes. This distinguishes them, but makes it hard to compare to others; not that this is a bad thing!
If I could compare it to anything, I would say Brooks’ Launch GTS is the closest as they’re both light stability shoes with the same type of support.
Altra Provision 6 First Impressions
Right out of the box, the shoe was incredibly flexible. Support shoes tend to be rigid but this was not the case.
These are my first time wearing the Provision, but after looking up pictures of the 5, I could see everything was redone.
The wide toe box and profile made them comfortable immediately. The fit was snug where it needed to be and roomy in the right places.
The blue colorway felt dull and bland to me. The different shades of blue and white just felt boring. I am not looking to be a walking neon highlighter by any means, but it just looked underwhelming. The other colorways look much better thankfully.
I am not a regular user of Altra shoes, so my calves were naturally overworked after my first run. I knew this was going to take a bit of getting used to.
Altra Provision 6 Sole Unit
Altra’s new EGO midsole foam is very light and snappy. It is on the firmer side, but it provided decent energy return on transition from impact to lift off. The firmness is offset by the grooved pattern in the midsole; InnerFlex.
It uses a dynamic approach to stability using GuideRail tech. instead of a plastic posting, the foam extends up on the medial side. It hugs your foot and is only there when you need it. It didn’t correct every step, but if I rolled my feet, the rails kicked in providing support and comfort.
This is something I first saw in Brooks when they overhauled their stability line with the same concept. True stability fans tend to hate it, but I am here for it.
Overall the shoe gave a comfortable, adaptive ride. I found myself mostly midfoot striking and lifting off with my forefoot. It felt flexible and on days that I was tired the GuideRails really shined.
That said, it took me a long time to properly break these in. My calves were on fire and I had to be hyper aware not to run in my usual stride because of the zero drop. If you normally wear Altras, you probably won’t have these kind of issues.
The outsole had a smart pattern, was grippy, and durable. That said, the actual outsole was a huge magnet for debris. It was constantly picking up pebbles and holding onto dirt. This was incredibly frustrating; especially considering I ran solely on the road with these.
Altra Provision 6 Upper Unit
The upper material is a combination of breathable mesh in the midfoot and toe box with a neoprene-esque material in the heel. It felt durable and sturdy throughout my testing. It dried quickly if it got wet from bad weather.
I had more than enough room for my feet to move around and it was plenty wide. I saw no need to size up or out. It was especially roomy in the toe box. This is part of Altra’s schtick of offering a shoe encourages your feet to naturally spread out and not be restricted.
The lacing system was superb. no hot spots or discomfort. The tongue was plenty wide and I never had issues with it riding up and exposing my feet.
The flared heel was comfortable, but it didn’t lock my heel completely in. Using a runner’s loop method of lacing helped combat this.
Altra Provision 6 Conclusion
I was a little anxious when I first started testing these as I had only used Altras on the trail. I always enjoyed how adaptive my Lone Peaks and timps felt when on the trail but I never really saw a purpose for Altra’s concept on the road.
My calves were on fire after almost every run at first. When I went into double-digit mileage, I had to really dial back my pace so I didn’t hurt myself. Speed work also got thrown out pretty early on. It really wasn’t until the tail end of the testing that I found my footing with these.
That said, I still really enjoyed the adaptive stability of these and dialing into a pace once they broke in for me. I have always admired Altra for offering a unique approach to running and these are no different.
If you’re a long time Altra fan, you’re going to love these. If you are new to the zero drop world, just take it slow and rotate it with what you normally wear.
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of Altra Provision 6 at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Altra Provision 6 Price Comparison
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