Altra Timp 5 Review
All shoes are reviewed by the Fleet Feet tester team, which represents a wide variety of goals, foot shapes, locations and terrains. Reviewers pound the pavement, climb the hills, tackle the trails, then come together to compare notes. Debates ensue over the feel of the cushioning, the purpose of the shoe, and how it compares to last year’s model. While each reviewer has their own individual preferences, we hope that capturing our debates will help you make an informed decision.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of trail running? Maybe it’s the serene sights and sounds of surrounding nature. Maybe it’s the winding, technical terrain you must traverse to reach the finish. Maybe you’re thinking about the ideal pair of trail shoes that will help you navigate that terrain, on your way to victory (or to the trailhead parking lot).
The Altra Timp has been a staple in the trail running world for the last five years, and the latest version promises to be better than ever before. Why? Because it offers the single most important feature for any trail shoe–superior grip. Featuring a new Vibram outsole, we agreed that the Timp 5 was the grippiest version yet. But can it stand up to any terrain? Read on to find out.
Altra Timp 5
|8.6 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)
|Stack height (heel/forefoot)
|HOKA Speedgoat 5, Saucony Peregrine 13
Vibram Megagrip outsole is the talk of the town
For Fleet Feet reviewers, the grippy outsole of the Timp 5 was the gossip around the water cooler. We wore the Timp in all types of conditions, from muddy trails in the Great Smoky Mountains to the freezing roads of Chicago. All of us lauded the shoe’s excellent grip and traction.
“During my first test run, there was an inch or two of snow on the ground and a lot of ice,” says Max, our narrow-footed reviewer and die-hard Chicago Bears fan. “The Vibram MegaGrip outsole held its own on some hard snow packs and even some long patches of ice. I really think my run could have been a terrible experience if I didn’t have the Timp to combat the conditions.”
Ashley, the 2013 Leadville 100-mile champion, agreed, despite admittedly having her reservations. “Despite the fact that the Timp is not meant to be a shoe for overly technical terrain, I was pleasantly surprised. I tested the shoes during dry, wet and snowy conditions on gravel roads and technical, rocky trails. I was impressed with the shoe’s performance all around. I found that it could handle a wide variety of terrain with ease.”
So, what makes a trail shoe good, or not so good, for overly technical terrain? A rock plate, a firm material embedded between the outsole and midsole for underfoot protection, certainly makes a shoe more adept at handling technical trails. While the Timp 5 doesn’t have a rock plate, reviewers agreed that the thick, sturdy midsole helps the shoe feel more protective over moderate terrain.
“The trail I was on was pretty gentle—gravel service roads and dirt trails–but the Timp felt great and gripped the trail with no problem,” says Kate, who trains in the mountains of Western North Carolina. “They also protected me from the feeling of gravel under my feet.”
The midsole features the same EGO MAX compound as the Timp 4, a livelier and bouncier foam than Altra’s EGO compound. We noticed how the cushion, which feels stiff while standing, softens up on the run. “I ran in an earlier version of the Timp a few models ago and recall it feeling a little spongy and clunky,” says Nate, an avid Altra fan who frequently traverses over ice and snow in the winter. “The Timp 5 feels rugged, streamlined and fine-tuned for underfoot protection. I really love the energy of the EGO max foam.”
Roomy upper keeps your dogs dry
Altra is known for their wide toe boxes that accentuate the natural shape of your foot rather than tapering inward towards the toe. This allows your toes to splay naturally, which is especially important when wearing a zero-drop shoe (where there is no difference in height between your heel and forefoot).
Altra running shoes offer one of three different Footshape Fits–Original, Standard and Slim. The Original is the roomiest of all three options, while the Slim is the narrowest. The Timp 5 features a Standard Footshape Fit, which falls in the middle. Nate wished he’d had a touch more room in the forefoot, while Kate found the fit to be perfect.
“The fit is nice and accommodating, as is expected for Altra shoes,” says Kate. “I have plenty of width in the toe box, and a fairly standard amount of volume.”
“The upper wraps nicely my heel, contours my midfoot, and offers some additional space in the forefoot–but not as much as I’m used to having from Altra,” says Nate, who is typically in between medium and wide-width sizing. “To be honest, I wish I had a touch more space.”
Despite reviewers’ discrepancies in the overall fit, we all agreed that the polyester mesh upper kept our feet nice and dry.
“The upper is light and breathable, but also very protective,” says Travis, who holds a special place in his heart for the Timp model after he wore it on his first Appalachain trail section hike. “I ran on a snow-packed trail in the Timp 5 with just some light Feetures socks and my feet were bone dry the entire time.”
Altra Timp 5 vs Altra Timp 4
Altra Timp 5
Altra Timp 4
8.6 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)
9.2 oz (W), 10.9 oz (M)
The biggest change to the Altra Timp 5 is the upgrade to a Vibram Megagrip outsole. As mentioned above, we found the outsole to perform remarkably well over snowy, slushy, muddy and even icy conditions.
“I did a long trail run in the Timp 5 after it had been raining the day before,” says Mandy. “I had zero problems slipping in the mud, although the same can’t be said for my running buddy, who was wearing different shoes and slipped at least five times.”
The Timp has also shaved off quite a bit of weight–over a half ounce in the women’s model and over a full ounce in the men’s. And weight isn’t the only thing that’s been reduced in the Timp 5. The price has dropped from $160 to $155, a tidbit that’s seemingly too good to be true in an era where prices are steadily rising.
How does the Altra Timp 5 compare?
We took a look at some comparable shoes to see how they stack up against the Altra Timp 5. Here’s what we found.
Altra Timp 5
HOKA Speedgoat 5
Saucony Peregrine 13
8.6 oz (W), 9.8 oz (M)
8.5 oz (W), 10.3 oz (M)
8.1 oz (W), 9.2 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot)
29 mm/24 mm (W),
32 mm/28 mm (M)
28 mm/24 mm
While nothing can quite compare to Altra’s unique Footshape Fit and zero-drop platform, we found the ride of the Timp 5 to feel most similar to the HOKA Speedgoat 5 and the Saucony Peregrine 13. All three shoes offer similar weights (with the Peregrine being the lightest) and similar stack heights.
Both the Speedgoat 5 and the Timp 5 feature Vibram Megagrip outsoles, providing an enhanced grip on tricky terrain. The Saucony Peregrine 13 uses a tacky PWRTRAC rubber outsole with a rock plate–something the Speedgoat and Timp lack.
“The HOKA Speedgoat 5 reminds me of the Timp 5 because both shoes are cushioned, balanced and stable trail options that can go the distance,” says Nate. “Granted, the Speedgoat has a slightly different shape, but it’s still good for wide, high-volume feet.”
Who is the Altra Timp 5 best for?
The Altra Timp 5 can be enjoyed by both beginners and experienced trail runners, thanks to its ability to handle various levels of terrain. While Ashley didn’t find the Timp suitable for extremely technical terrain, all of our reviewers found it adept at handling moderate trails. Plus, the Timp 5 is nimble enough to work on mild terrain, where some other trail shoes may feel like overkill.
“When I run with trail shoes on non-technical trails, the ride usually feels sluggish, heavy, and unremarkable,” says Travis. “However, the Timp 5 felt surprisingly light and comfortable. It almost felt like I wasn’t wearing a shoe, in a good way. While I am not breaking these out for speed work any time soon, I think the Timp 5 could definitely be a good shoe to consider for sub-ultra trail races where speed plays a factor.”
Because of the Timp’s wide toe box, it’s well suited for runners and hikers with wide, high-volume feet. If you’re like Nate and you’re in between medium and wide width, it’s best to try the Timp on at your local Fleet Feet to determine which width is best for you. Plus, Fleet Feet outfitters use 3D fit id® foot scanning technology to gather information about your feet and the support they need by taking precise measurements of your foot length, width and arch height.