Runners that enjoy or prefer 0 heel drop will find it in the Outroad 2s. Also, if you’re looking for a shoe that can “mix it up” on various terrains, these would be worth considering.
If you’re in the market for a road only or trail only shoe, I’d look elsewhere. The Outroad 2s don’t specialize in either. Also, and this might surprise followers of Altra, but this shoe is not for individuals with wide feet. They run more narrow than other Altra models.
As the name states, this is the 2nd version of the Outroad and the shoe is largely the same as its predecessor. Altra sticks with 27mm stack height which is the same as the original and provides a moderate level of cushion. The weight of the shoe did increase slightly from 10.2 oz to 10.5 oz, likely due to a more durable upper.
Coming in at $140, this shoe is comparable for similar models and I might argue that they provide more value with the ability to use on road and trails.
If you’re looking for a shoe with more cushion and want to stick with Altra, check out the Torin 7. While not made for trails, they utilize a 30mm stack height and the Standard Footshape Fit. In contrast, the Superior 6 are a low cushion, 21 mm stack trail shoe that will provide a more responsive feel.
I had heard good things about the original Outroads so I was excited to give the 2s a try.
Pulling them out of the box, I was immediately drawn to the color choice. The gray/tan upper combined with a light green midsole really looked good together. I researched the other color offerings for the Outroad 2s and was not impressed with the additional choices.
The options of baby blue, red and navy blue do not seem to fit the style of the shoe. Some people might like them but the other 3 options are too bold for me.
One criticism I have with this shoe is that it’s virtually the same as the previous model. The only noticeable differences between the versions are the upper material and the tongue design. This means if you loved the first version, you’ll love the 2s. If you were hoping to see more changes in the 2s, you’ll need to hold out a while longer. This really all comes down to preference. The shoe outperformed my expectations so I think Altra has it right with the Outroad 2s.
Now on to how the Outroads performed on trails. From the get go, I wasn’t expecting this shoe to perform on technical terrain. Many of the trails I ran on were packed dirt, grass or loose gravel. The outsole design includes several different lug patterns to give you some amount of traction. The benefit with the outsole pattern is that the lugs are not noticeable on the road.
There’s grip when you need it without the clunky feeling on hard surfaces. As I’ve stated before, Altra describes this shoe as being versatile enough to use on roads and light trail excursions. Anything more and you’ll be disappointed.
I used this shoe for long days of walking as well as running up to 10 miles and they handled both very well. I suppose you could use this shoe for longer distances but that’s not really what they’re meant for. This shoe is best for 5k to half marathon races on pavement or mild trails. It’s also not a shoe for racing. Altra’s Escalante is a better option if you want a light racing, road shoe.
For a shoe that’s not quite a devoted trail shoe, the Outroads have ample protection. The toe box is wrapped in a thin vinyl overlay. This won’t necessarily project your toes from rocks or roots but it does protect the upper from abrasion.
As far as overall foot protection, the Outroads do not utilize a rock plate. The EGO midsole will cushion your landing a bit, but if you plan to hit technical trails, leave these shoes at home.
Based on what this shoe was designed for, durability has been excellent. Altra changed the material of the upper from a ripstop mesh to engineered mesh. Several internet reviews from the original Outroads noted issues with the upper tearing in areas near the overlays. This was a good decision as I believe that the new upper material will be more resistant to rips.
After 100+ miles in the Outroad 2s, there are very little signs of wear. The upper is in near perfect condition minus some stains from dirt and mud. I like the lighter colorway but if you plan on using these shoes mostly on trails, you may want to pick a color that shows less dirt.
Although I wouldn’t wear these shoes for ultra long races, I’ve worn them for just about everything else. They are comfortable and approachable for first time Altra users or people new to 0 heel drop.
The MaxTrac outsoles were a dream on wet conditions while on fire roads and hard surfaces. Things started to fall apart when I encountered muddy conditions. The lugs are too flat and spaced too closely together for any real grip in mud.
I’d recommend these shoes for dry conditions if you plan to run on trails.
With the higher 27mm stack height, I don’t think runners will be breaking any speed records in the Outroad 2s. They are on the taller side for me and if I were doing a speed workout, I’d want something lower, more close to the ground.
Altra’s Superior 6 is a trail shoe built for speed and designed for a better feel and connection to the ground.
The Outroad 2s are designed with Altra’s SLIM Footshape Fit. This is the narrowest of the Footshape Fit categories but still allows for room for your toes to spread out in the toe box. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the different footprint but quickly became a fan. There’s no feeling cramped or restricted from your midfoot to toes. Everything has the right amount of room to move. That said, my foot is not wide, so for those with wider feet, you may find the Outroads to be a bit narrow. Original or Standard Footshape Altra’s will suit you better.
One very important note is that I typically wear size 11 runner shoes and when I received the Outroads, the 11s were way too tight.
I had to bump up to 11.5. This seems to be a pattern with the Outroads and many reviewers noted this same issue in the original version. If you’re considering the Outroad 2s, DEFINITELY size up by a half size. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
The Altra Outroad 2s really lived up to my expectations. They hold up to Altra’s claim of being a road shoe that can handle light trail adventures. In addition to being a good running shoe, they’re a great shoe to wear for activities outside of running as well.
I look forward to seeing what Altra does with this shoe in the future, but for now, I’ll continue to enjoy these.