The Altra Eve is a customizable minimalist shoe designed specifically for a woman’s foot (It’s the women’s equivalent of the Altra Adam reviewed by Justin here). In the product video on Altra’s website, they mention that it has a narrower heel, longer arch, higher instep, and a wider toebox.
Not much of a fan of the aesthetics here. They have a strappy configuration that has some sort of mummified/bandage look going on. Also, the overall look and feel of these reminds me exactly of a mitten. The shape of the stretchy upper and rounded toe are what gives it the mitten look. So with that, I’ve dubbed them the “mummy mittens.”
Here’s the construction specs:
Foot Shaped Design: Female SD-W Last
3.4mm Siped Performance Rubber BareSole Outsole
NRS: Natural Ride System
Breathable Stretch Upper with SecureCinch Strapping
SeeNoSeam Stitch Free Footbed
HeelClaw and A Wrap for Superior Fit
A-bound Strengthen and Molded Support Insole
*My size 7.5 weighs 11.1oz pair with the thinner strengthen footbed/5.5 oz each
They come with two sets of insoles, one thicker “support” footbed and one thinner “strengthen” footbed. Good for people who want to transition into a zero drop minimalist shoe or want to take it easy on their heels. The stack heights differ as follows:
Stack heights = The total thickness of the shoe/the distance between the foot and the ground.
Without Footbed: 4.4mm heel/4.4mm forefoot
With Support Footbed: 9.4mm heel/9.4mm forefoot
With Strengthen Footbed: 7.4mm heel/7.4mm forefoot
Here’s a photo tour of the Altra Eve:
The overall fit and feel of these leaves a lot to be desired. Not only do they look like mittens, but they feel exactly like I’m wearing some on my feet. My size 7.5 runs small and fit pretty snug on me. I would definitely recommend going up at least a half a size. I wore them all three different ways: with and without the two extra inserts. I tried walking in them with the thicker “support” insert but it took up too much space – so that was out. I also tried running in them without any insert at all, but it made the shoe feel incomplete – so that was a no-go. I ended up with the “support” footbed which fit me the best. The left foot seemed to be okay, but the right one was significantly tighter since it’s my bigger foot. I can definitely tell that the heel cup is built smaller and has more of a form fit to it. When I took them off after my runs, the back of my heel/achilles would be completely red. There’s a rigid part in that area of the shoe that always left marks on the back of my heels…you can see this in the photo. Also, the upper is nice and stretchy, but there’s lots of raised areas, raw seams, and stitching on the inside of it that I constantly felt aware of. It makes the shoe look and feel incomplete to me. Since it’s part of the design, it isn’t something that will just go away by breaking it in.
Taking the Altra Eves to the trails.
I tested them on my usual steep single track trails and also some basic fire road trails. I have to say that I just wasn’t impressed with the Eve for a number of reasons. In addition to the irritating spot on the back of heel, there is also a rigid contact point on the inside of the arch area that caused friction. Also, the top of the shoe has a reinforced area that is meant to guard your toes from debris. My big toes would constantly catch on it when I ran. Not sure if this feature is intentional in the design, but it was more of an annoyance than anything.
Altra mentions that the tread is a “puncture-resistant outsole with a razor-siped BareSole™ that grips onto nearly any surface.” But the tread is not aggressive at all and I didn’t find it suiting for more technical trails. It’s extremely smooth and doesn’t have much going on with it. I consistently slipped every single time I ran down steep hills that had small rocks and some loose dirt and gravel…not a good thing when you’re bombing down a mountain. Also, the outsole felt pretty flimsy to me. Whenever I ran over rocks, I could definitely feel the pain in my arch. The outsole allows for decent ground feel, but it’s important to note that a thicker insole will reduce your connectivity with the ground. The best thing about the Eve was that the form fit kept my foot from shifting around too much inside of the shoe while making sharp turns. Plus, they’re lightweight and the upper is breathable.
The Altra Eve seems to be best suited for women who have smaller feet and are looking for a more form fitting minimalist shoe for everyday activities. They’re also good for women who want to slowly transition into a minimalist shoe since they come with two different footbed options. I wouldn’t wear them on extended hikes or advanced trails due to the lighter tread pattern, but they’re fine for easy to moderate level trails and walking in general. As far the design goes, the Eve’s just aren’t my thing. There’s a lot of room for improvement in the construction and for $79.99 I simply can’t look past the “mummy mitten” look.
Easy to adjust
Rigid areas caused pain on back of heel and inside of arch
Feels incomplete with raw edges and stitching on the inside
I live in southern California and write a [url=http://velokova.com]creative lifestyle blog about adventure, travel, and photography[/url]. I interview inspiring women and feature travel tips such as how to pack a backpack. I can’t live without avocados, standup paddling, mountain biking, and cameras.