Over the past 7-8 years, I have had the pleasure of running in way too many pair of running shoes, but at the same time there are still a few pair out there that I really want to run in and haven’t.
Ever since Sam Winebaum did this review of the Altra Impulse, I have wanted a pair, but due to my difficulties with zero drop shoes since 2014, I couldn’t justify getting them.
When Altra running shoes first came out I was a huge fan and they were a regular part of my rotation, until I partially tore my Achilles (in a different brand). Since then running in zero drop shoes has not been something that I have been able to do without it bothering that Achilles more than I am willing to deal with.
Well until recently.
I have been working on strengthening and stretching my lower legs and have had a good experience lately with a pair of Altra Torin 3.5s.
So when I saw a pair of the Altra Impulse on eBay, in the colorway I wanted and my size, I put them on my watch list. I hemmed and hawed, thought about how much I really did not need them, but I kept looking at different reviews of the Impulse, kept thinking about how much I had wanted them when they came out and they were a pair of shoes that were on “that” want list.
Yes, the price was a bit higher than than I wanted to pay, but I haven’t seen this shoe in this condition for quite a while, so after about four days on my watch list I finally got around to ordering them.
Do I need them? No.
Will I run all that much in them? Probably not…well unless they are a fabulous shoe that I love.
Okay, so I got them and today went out for the first run in them.
They fit nicely, look great and I ran 5.0 miles on a mixture of dirt road and tar. While the Impulse were not the quietest shoe I have run in recently, but with the amount of rubber on the outsole, I would expect them to last quite a while.
Even though they are supposed to be “go faster” shoes, at 8.4-8.6 ounces the Impulse are not light-weights. Nowadays my daily trainers are lighter than that. So they are a bit heavier that I would like for running faster, but weight is not always the true test of whether shoes are fast or not, but it can be a damn important consideration.
Today was a recovery day for me, so I ran slower in them than what I would normally use them for. Also it is first time in a long time that I have run in zero drop shoes two days in a row, which did concern me a little, since I have been battling some issues with my left calf since last Thursday. However, the leg held up fine, so all that work I have done, seems to be paying off.
Sometimes running slowly tells me as much or even more than a hard run in this type of shoe.
Right off the bat, they reminded me a great deal of the New Balance 1400s as far as how firm they felt. Go faster shoes until recently typically were firmer, even when they were higher stack height – a least in my experience. So this was not unexpected and the Torin 3.5 were had a much more cushioned feel.
My Tailor’s Bunionette loved the wider forefoot and the Impulse were comfortable on the entire run. They do provide a bit more road feel and the zero drop does require a slightly different stride, especially when running downhill. Pounding your heel into the ground is not a great idea in zero drop, it just feels awkward. I find that I have to lean forward a bit more and land more towards the midfoot, otherwise my heels take a beating.
Conversely the Impulse climbed the bumps today as good or better than most shoes I currently have in my rotation. I want to take them down on my test course down to Pepin and back, to get a better picture of how they perform.
The reality is that
I had zero issues with the Altra Impulse on my run this morning, but at the same time I will have a difficult time figuring out exactly where they might fit into my rotation. They are for me a pair of those dreaded “tweener” shoes where I have better shoes for running faster and better shoes to run slower.
I have a feeling that the Altra Impulse are more a running shoe that I just need to have in my collection, much like the Brooks Green Silence and something that I will bring out for specific reasons.
Overall, I was very happy with how well a pair of running shoes from around 3-4 years ago, performed for me today. They were comfortable, ran nicely and when I wanted to step on the gas a little, I had no problems picking up the speed in these shoes.
I can see me experimenting with the Impulse some more to see if my initial impressions are valid or if I need to update my thoughts on these shoes.