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The North Face Altamesa 500 review

8 expert score
0 user's score
As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples. We purchased this pair at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Review written on 03rd April by Jeremy Yoder Jeremy Yoder lives in Marietta, PA with his wife and 2 kids. In an earlier life, he used running to stay fit for his soccer career, where he was a co
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The North Face Altamesa 500 Verdict

The North Face Altamesa 500 is a max cushion trail shoe that can handle long distances, even ultramarathons. Comfort and durability are just two of the many attributes that you’ll love if you give these shoes a try.

The pros

  • All day comfort
  • Lots of cushion
  • Premium quality
  • Above average durability
  • Adequate on pavement

The cons

  • Heavy
  • Timid tread pattern

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

Rating breakdown

Comfort
9.0
Build quality
8.0
Upper
8.0
Sole unit
8.0
Landing
7.0
Transition
9.0
Toe-off
8.0
Traction
7.0
Durability
8.0
Value / Price
8.0

Facts / Specs

Model
Altamesa 500
Type
Weight
10.4 oz (295 g)
MSRP
$155.00

Heel
38 mm.
Toe
32 mm.
Heel drop
6 mm.
Carbon plate
No plate

Size/Fit

Sizing
True to size
Heel fit
Normal
Midfoot fit
Normal
Toebox fit
Normal

Cushioning & ride

Type of cushioning
Balanced/plush
Amount of cushioning
Highly cushioned
Stability
Very stable
Flexibility
Rigid

Trail specs

Rockplate
Not present
Traction
Average Traction
Water resitance
Adequate

Best for these distances

Road-to-trail
Max cushion  
Trail racing
Technical

Best for these terrains

Moderate trails  
Technical trails
Rocky areas
Muddy areas  
Through creeks and streams  
Through snowy or icy sections  
Dirt trails  
Paved trails  
Through grassy sections  

Who should buy the The North Face Altamesa 500 ?

This shoe is for anyone looking for a road-to-trail option that performs well on both. They should also be in consideration for ultra marathon type distances.

Who should not buy the The North Face Altamesa 500 ?

They are not light weight by any means and won’t provide runners with a close to the ground feel. If you’re looking for either of these things, steer clear.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Introduction

The Altamesa line makes its maiden voyage for The North Face in 2024. Offering two versions; 300 and 500. The Altamesa 300 is a nimble shoe built for racing and technical terrain while the 500 is all about comfort and miles.

More specifically, The North Face touts the Altamesa 500 as a “highly cushioned and stable performance training shoe for trail running.

They use DREAM foam throughout the midsole for a pillowy soft ride. Under the midsole, you’ll find SURFACE CTRL rubber which is the outsole of choice.

Coming in at $155.00, this shoe is a new contender in the high stack, maximum cushion world of trail shoes. Obvious competitors are Brooks Caldera 7, Hoka Stinson 7 and Asics Trabuco Max.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Impressions

Picture of The North Face Altamesa 500

It took a few runs until I really started enjoying these shoes.

Sitting at a height of 30mm in the heel and 24 mm in the toe, the 6mm drop seemed to fit perfectly with the other features in the shoe.

I recently reviewed Brooks Caldera 7 which had an ultra soft ride and so I expected the Altamesa 500’s to be similar.

But after more time in the shoe, I realized the DREAM midsole is quite different. It’s moderately cushioned, yet still responsive. The rocker design in the Altramesa’s allowed for a more firm but still supportive midsole. You roll through your stride more easily which creates less impact and less need for the softer cushion.

The North Face intentionally widened the forefoot which they call the Dynamic stability zone. A wider footprint means you’re less likely to land on the edge of the shoe or step on a rock, root or in a divot resulting in rolled ankles.

I do have occasional issues with rolling ankles and was impressed with the added support and confidence I felt in the Altamesa 500’s.

This shoe really thrives on easy to moderate off road environments and the occasional stretch of pavement.

There’s no question that it could handle marathon and ultra marathon distances. Sure it can handle the occasional rocky section, but there are better options for highly technical terrain.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Protection

Picture of The North Face Altamesa 500


As with most trail shoes, protection is important. There are a few features that contribute to the overall protection of your feet with the Altamesa.

First and foremost, they don’t have a rockplate built into the midsole. All of your underfoot protection is found in the DREAM midsole itself.

The pure cushioning seemed to do a solid job preventing soreness from running over pointed rocks or roots along the trail.

Reinforced and protective toe caps surround the toe box to prevent wear and tear of the mesh upper in high contact areas. Overall the protection seems to be quite adequate for what most runners would need in this shoe.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Durability

Picture of The North Face Altamesa 500


I was quite impressed with the durability of the Altamesa 500’s. The shoe is built with quality materials which results in more miles and a greater value for anyone interested in buying them.

I’ve worn them longer than the testing period just because I like them and also to really see how durable they are. I have yet to find something about the shoe that has not held up to the grind of long trail runs and daily usage.

Of all the shoes I’ve tested recently, these would be my first choice for marathon distances or longer. One of the main reasons is because of their above average durability.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Responsiveness & speed

Picture of The North Face Altamesa 500


Nothing about this shoe screams fast and nimble. They’re an option for trails that you don’t have to think too hard about navigating.

Faster paced running takes quite a bit more effort and feels somewhat unnatural in the Altamesa 500’s. Running faster for short periods of time was possible but speed is not a strength of the shoe.

I mentioned before that the DREAM foam is a lot of cushion, but for all the cushion, they are still quite responsive.

Another reason for the responsiveness is from the rocker design. One step rolls into the next which keeps you moving forward and the impact of each stride feels less significant.

One observation or complaint, depending on how you read this, is that the outsole lug pattern and design might be on the timid side. The SURFACE CTRL rubber does not run the full length of the shoe, missing a section in the midfoot where DREAM foam is exposed.

Take this with a grain of salt because I didn’t have any noticeable traction issues, but I always feel more comfortable and confident in an aggressive, full length lug pattern.

Again, this did not seem to present an issue but it’s just worth noting.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Comfort and fit

Picture of The North Face Altamesa 500

The biggest reason I felt this shoe was so comfortable was due to the comfort focused fit in the toe box. They’re designed with a wider and deeper toe box. They were roomy and allowed for the right type of movement across the common obstacles found on trails.

However due to the larger footprint, they felt much bulkier than fellow maximal competitors. Narrow trail sections required additional focus to ensure my foot placement was where it needed to be. This is something to be mindful of depending on the trails in your area.

The North Face Altamesa 500 Conclusions

Picture of The North Face Altamesa 500

Outside of the testing period, the Altamesa 500’s have been my go to sneaker for family hikes, weekend activities and anything that requires shoes.

They look cool, are super comfortable and can withstand the rigors of ultramarathon distances.

I’d recommend this shoe for anyone looking to add a max cushion trail running trainer to their running shoe lineup.

How does the Altamesa 500 compare?

Brooks Caldera 7
The North Face Altamesa 500
Hoka One One Stinson 7
Expert score
9
8
9
User score
Best price
Retail price
US$149.95
US$154.95
US$169.95
Shoe type
Weight
10.6 oz
10.4 oz
12.7 oz
Heel Drop
6 mm
6 mm
5 mm
Recommended for
Moderate trails, muddy areas, through creeks and streams, through snowy or icy sections, dirt trails, paved trails, through grassy sections
Moderate trails, muddy areas, through creeks and streams, through snowy or icy sections, dirt trails, paved trails, through grassy sections
Moderate trails, through creeks and streams, through snowy or icy sections, dirt trails, paved trails, through grassy sections
Cushioning type
balanced/plush
balanced/plush
plush
Cushioning amount
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Highly cushioned
Flexibility
medium
rigid
rigid
Stability
very stable
very stable
very stable
Sizing
true to size
true to size
true to size

Why you can trust us

As editorial policy, we do not accept free samples from companies.
We purchased this pair of The North Face at Running Warehouse  with our own money.

This page contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about our policy.
Lowest price:

$154

The North Face Altamesa 500 price comparison

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Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

Reviewed by Jeremy

This review was written by Jeremy Yoder on 03rd April.
Jeremy Yoder lives in Marietta, PA with his wife and 2 kids. In an earlier life, he used running to stay fit for his soccer career, where he was a collegiate All American. Jeremy is an avid hunter and now running keeps him prepared for outdoor advendutres. He and his wife Olivia enjoy competing in trail races in the mountains of Pennsylvania. If he could pick, every run would be on a trail run but when life gets busy, the road will do just fine.

User feedback (0)

Lowest price:
$154

Where to buy

Best offers today in United States, all prices in USD

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