Altra Outroad 2 Review – What’s changed since 1 vs 2

With the release of the original Outroad almost 2 years ago, Altra entered a new and interesting market. A shoe that can take you from the roads to the trails and perform decently on both. 

In June 2023, Altra released the 2nd version of the Outroad with some minor upgrades and generally building on a relatively solid first attempt. 

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  • Weight: 10.7 oz/ 303 g
  • Stack Height: 27mm
  • Built for trail & road
  • Order 1/2 size larger
  • Narrow for an Altra
  • Minor protection

Amazon.com

Outroad 2

(free returns)

In this review, I’ll break down the fit, feel, and durability of the Altra Outroad 2 and ultimately help you decide if the shoe is for you! And if not, where you should look next. 

So let’s dive straight in with the fit.

Fit

As many of you will know, the Outroad is a “Slim” fit Altra. 

But aren’t all Altras wide?! 

Well, it depends on what part of the shoe you’re looking at. The toe box is still wider than most conventional shoes, but you’ll find a similar midfoot fit on the Outroad compared to other running shoe brands. 

And with that said…

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The toe box is wide enough and nicely squared around the big toe to allow toe splay. It’s not like the toe box you’d find on the OG Lone Peak. But for those who used to swim around in old Altra’s, you finally have an Altra that fits and still frees your toes! 

The midfoot is a smidge narrower than other Altras. I push out the sides with my stupidly chunky midfoot, but it’s not uncomfortable. And I’d be happy running a 20-30km trail race in the Outroad 2. But if you’re looking for that perfect fit and you’re foot is a little wider, maybe look at the other Altra options. 

Altra Outroad 2 Review Upper

Next time I would ½ size up! It is true with the original Outroad, and it still seems true with the second version. I found my size, US9, to be a touch short, and my big toe pushed up against the end. So if it’s anything like the original, a half-size larger will fit just fine. Just remember you want some toe room for the downhills and any swelling that may occur in the heat.

The chunky heel cuff is very similar to version 1, although I had a better lockdown with the new version. I can’t quite say what made it better, maybe I instinctively tied the laces differently, or perhaps it was the ½ difference, but the lockdown was slightly better than version 1. I still prefer a deeper heel pocket, but for those with small/slim heels, the Outroad would be a good choice. 

I don’t often talk about laces, but the ones on the Outroad 2 are amazing! A little thicker, rougher, and long enough, the laces stay in whatever position you put them in. No double knots are required! Please use these laces for all your shoes, Altra!

Amazon.com

Outroad 2

(free returns)

Feel

With this shoe positioned between the trail and the road, you’re right to be skeptical of its performance. 

And they’re not perfect on either surface, but they perform pretty well on both. 

If you’re going to hit super muddy trails, then I’d leave the Outroads at home. Or if you’re only going to hit 1 mile of trail, I’d leave them at home too. 

But if you have a short commute to the trail, the Outroad 2 could be right up your street! 

Altra Outroad 2 Outsole

The standout feature is the grippy outsole, but it only works in some conditions. On smoother gravel trails, the outsole works amazingly! Better than a road shoe and better than most trail shoes! The flattish lugs with the sticky MaxTrac rubber performed amazingly. It even works well for semi-wet roads too. But as soon as you hit the mud, things start to diminish. The lugs aren’t deep enough to grip. It’s just a trade-off that you make. 

The Ego midsole feels firmer than the previous version. It’s firm with some flexibility, but something feels slightly different from the original. In the end, it’s so minor, no one would likely tell the difference, but just know you’ll have to break them in a little to get the squishiness you felt in the original Outroad. 

Altra Outroad 2 Midsole

27mm is the sweet spot for a road/trail combo. Although I’m a little concerned the 27mm is high for trails, and turning ankles is a distinct possibility. The stack height can work well on the road if you’re looking for a recovery shoe. Remember, barefoot shoes can be used as a training tool! You don’t have to be in high-stack shoes all the time. 

The redesigned tongue is soft and comfortable. Although I never had an issue with the oddly designed tongue seen on the original Outroad, the soft cushy tongue on the new Outroad is pretty nice. Simple, semi-gusseted, and it does the job!

Amazon.com

Outroad 2

(free returns)

Durability

After my initial concerns with the original Outroad, my pessimism seemed unfounded. 

From the feedback I’ve seen throughout the internet, the Outroads have held up pretty well. 

Even the softer outsole! 

That makes me optimistic about the Outroad 2 because the design is so similar, and the outsole rubber looks the same.

Altra Outroad 2 vs Outroad

The upper feels slightly more robust than the original, but I wouldn’t choose it for technical rocky trails. There are overlays all the way around the soft to avoid any scuffs from rocks, and the only exposed sections are unlikely to get snagged. But that’s not to say this is an aggressive shoe. It’s like a well-protected road shoe. 

There’s a reinforced toe box, but the reinforcement is only vinyl. That means if you kick a rock, you’ll feel it! Again, this shoe is for those buffed-out gravel/single tracks, not for the big mountains! 

The inner ankle and heel cup are smooth. That’s good and bad. Because the material is soft, it’ll cause very little friction. From a durability aspect, it’s a good thing, and the inner materials are less likely to be part of the shoe that wears out first. 

Altra Outroad 2 ankle

Again, Altra has gone with the lace loops for 4 of the eyelets. This is pure conjecture, but the loops serve no purpose. So the decision to include them only seems like a potential point of manufacturing weakness. If you want something to break, you’d prefer the actual laces to fail and not the eyelets, and because of that, I’d like to see Altra using real eyelets all the way up the shoe. 

The midsole will last as well as any other Ego midsole from Altra. Sadly that’s not mega distances, but I know they can at least get it 400-500 miles and still feel ok. Usually, you can push them past that stage, but they’ll just feel “flat,” at that point, you’ll likely be looking at wear somewhere else in the shoe. It’s not bad, but also not the best in class. 

Amazon.com

Outroad 2

(free returns)

Conclusion

If you’ve got a pair of original Altra Outroads and are considering an upgrade, I’d tell you not to bother. The differences are minimal. 

That also means if you find a deal for the original Outroads, grab them now while they’re cheap! 

If you’re looking for a shoe that can deal with the commute to the trails and perform well on gravel and dry tracks, the Outroads could work well for you! 

You’ll find a great fit if your feet aren’t too wide. Just remember to 1/2 size up!

If you’re looking for a wider option for the roads, I’d suggest the Escalante or the Torin, and for the trail, I’d recommend checking out the Superiors—all great options from Altra. 

And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not check out some minimal shoes? Let your feet feel the ground again!

Amazon.com

Outroad 2

(free returns)

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Nick
Nick

Nick is a UESCA-certified ultramarathon coach and avid barefoot runner, having over 5 years of experience in barefoot training and has competed in multiple ultra marathons wearing barefoot shoes. Starting his journey in the running industry over 10 years ago in New Zealand, Nick evolved from a running shoe salesperson to a passionate advocate for the transformative power of barefoot running. He believes in its potential to enhance running experiences for all and combines his unique insights from both personal achievements and professional coaching to guide and inspire the running community."

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