Shoe Review: Altra Outroad 2
We all have that one friend—they can’t decide on an entrée at dinner, they can’t decide between spearmint or peppermint gum and they can never decide between running trails or hitting the roads. Maybe you’re that friend, we won’t judge! Luckily, Altra has a solution. No, they haven’t come out with a new hybrid flavor of gum, but they’ve just updated their bestselling road-to-trail shoe, the Altra Outroad.
The second iteration of the Altra Outroad features the same plush EGO midsole and grippy outsole as the first version, now with a redesigned upper for added durability.
Fleet Feet reviewers tested the versatility of the Outroad 2 and, of course, the fit and feel. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest version of the Altra Outroad.
Altra Outroad 2
|Weight||8.7 oz (W), 10.7 oz (M)|
|Heel-to-toe drop||0 mm|
|Stack height||27 mm|
|Surface||Road and trail|
|Comparable to...||HOKA Challenger 7, On Cloudvista|
The Altra Outroad 2 is all about balance
The crux of every road-to-trail shoe is the sole. The midsole has to be soft enough to cushion the impact of harsh pavement, and the outsole must have enough traction to grip soft surfaces with ease. But these features hang on a delicate balance. If the midsole is too soft, it won’t provide enough support on uneven surfaces. And if the lugs on the outsole are too deep, it will feel clunky when running on smooth pavement. Reviewers think Altra did a remarkable job of blending road and trail elements in the Outroad 2.
“The Outroad 2 demonstrates a balance between plush and bouncy while still offering protection from the ground,” Mandy says. “I have plenty of traction on the trail, while also feeling comfortable running on roads, which is a tricky balance to achieve.”
Altra’s signature EGO cushioning, which they claim is more durable than traditional EVA-based foams, provides a soft yet springy underfoot feel, while grippy, multidirectional lugs, which Altra calls their MaxTrac outsole, dig into dirt, sand and more.
The stack height of 27 millimeters is moderate in today’s world, where the amount of cushioning continues to increase with consumer demand, providing a stable, secure platform for trail runs. Altra’s signature balanced cushioning, also known as zero-drop cushioning, leaves your forefoot and heel at the same level to encourage a natural gait cycle and neutral landings.
“The Outroad 2 is very versatile,” Max says. “The profile is like a road shoe, the stack height is like a road shoe, the upper is like a road shoe, but the outsole is of a trail shoe. While the lugging isn’t as aggressive as single-terrain trail shoes, I felt stable on my run. I hit a path that could be considered a trail by Chicago standards and the shoes handled it very nicely.”
While some reviewers yearned for a softer, cushier experience during the road portions of their runs, it’s all about striking a balance in order to function on all terrain.
“With the firm cushioning and added weight from the lugs, the Outroad 2 felt a bit too stiff and heavy on the roads for me,” says Travis. “However, I do tend to prefer shoes that are softer, so if you like a firmer ride then the Outroad 2 is a good option. Plus, with the added traction, I would imagine this is a good option for winter road running when you have to tackle snow and ice.”
Durable upper keeps you dry
While Altra shoes are known for their traditionally wide toe-boxes, the Altra Outroad offers a snugger fit, thanks to Altra’s Slim Footshape last. While this fit isn’t as roomy as Altra’s Standard or Original Footshape lasts, it still offers plenty of breathing room for your toes.
“The materials on the upper feel immediately plush and comfortable,” Mandy says. “I love how they hug my midfoot. I also love the soft heel and pull tab, which comes in handy when I’m changing into my trail shoes in the car or changing shoes during an ultra race.”
Altra revamped the engineered mesh upper in the Outroad 2, making it more durable than last year’s model. While last year’s model felt more akin to a road shoe, the latest version feels totally trail with a protective toe cap and ample ankle. Reviewers noticed that, while it feels a bit thicker and heavier than the previous model, it also feels more durable and functional for mixed terrain use.
“While I wouldn’t call this upper light and breathable, it’s great for wet runs,” Travis says. “I took these shoes through a good amount of puddles and mud and the upper dried out super fast.”
“Since Mischief, my dog, loves to run through creeks, I found out firsthand just how quickly and easily the Altra Outroad 2 drains,” Mandy says.
Altra Outroad 2 vs Altra Outroad
Altra Outroad 2
8.7 oz, 10.7 oz
8.8 oz, 10.7 oz
The Altra Outroad 2 maintains all the features that made the original version so popular with a few tweaks to improve the fit and ride. It still offers the same EGO midsole and MaxTrac outsole from the previous version, with an updated upper to improve durability.
Reviewers noticed that the upper on the previous version of the Outroad felt much more breathable, but appreciated the protection and durability, not to mention the quick-drying capabilities, of the latest model.
How does the Altra Outroad 2 compare?
We took a look at some comparable shoes and how they stack up against the Altra Outroad 2. Here’s what we found.
Altra Outroad 2
HOKA Challenger 7
8.7 oz (W), 10.7 oz (M)
7.3 oz (W), 8.9 oz (M)
8.3 oz (W), 9.9 oz (M)
Stack height (heel/forefoot)
31 mm/26 mm
25 mm/16 mm
Road to trail shoes are a relatively new category in the industry, so when thinking of comparable models to the Outroad 2 our choices were somewhat limited. However, Fleet Feet reviewers immediately thought of the HOKA Challenger 7 and the On Cloudvista, both of which were reviewed in 2022.
Both the Challenger 7 and the Cloudvista are mixed terrain shoes, meaning they offer just enough lugging and protection to tackle the trails without feeling heavy or burdensome on the roads.
“The Outroad 2 definitely feels softer and more plush than the Cloudvista, but less so than the Challenger,” Caroline says. “It’s a great middle-of-the-road shoe for runners who want a balance between soft and cushy and firm and responsive.”
Who is the Altra Outroad 2 best for?
Thanks to its versatility, the Outroad 2 is an excellent choice for runners who just can’t seem to make up their minds. If you have a regular route that covers both road and trail, this shoe is a great option.
“I recommend these shoes for any free spirit who can’t quite decide between the roads or the trails,” Caroline says. “Plus, these are a great option to pack with you if you travel a lot and will be running on varied terrain but want to pack light!”
Because the Outroad 2 offers only the most basic features required to tackle the trails, it’s a great shoe for road runners who want to transition to trail running without feeling overwhelmed by technical features they may not need yet. If you’re just starting out with some entry-level trails, you probably don’t need the gaiter loops, deep lugs and rock plate like that of the Altra Lone Peak 7.
Lastly, the Outroad 2 can be a great introduction to the distinct Altra shape. Runners who aren’t used to having so much space in the toe box may want to start out with a shoe offering Altra’s SlimFit Footshape fit rather than their Standard or Original.