Shoe Review: Altra Rivera 2
For runners who like to fly freely through the streets feeling the ground beneath their feet, the Altra Rivera 2 is the perfect companion.
The Altra Rivera 2 is a minimally cushioned shoe with a zero-drop platform, offering a natural and simple feel underfoot.
Featuring an updated fit and improved upper, the Altra Rivera 2 is more snug, supportive and breathable than its predecessor.
Our team of intrepid Fleet Feet reviewers tested the Altra Rivera 2 on recovery runs, walks and gym sessions. Here’s what you can expect from the latest version of the Altra Rivera, launching March 1.
Altra Rivera 2
6.9 oz (W), 8.8 oz (M)
Flexible, Lightweight Materials Offer Smooth Ride
The Altra Rivera 2 sits on a bed of Altra’s signature EGO foam, designed to provide maximum energy return on a soft, responsive platform.
Although the Rivera 2 isn’t a max cushioned shoe, it uses every bit of it’s 26 millimeter stack height to provide a smooth ride.
“I like the feel of the Rivera 2 underfoot. Although it’s a zero drop shoe, it doesn’t have a flat feeling. It feels as though there’s just a touch of lift and support under my arches,” one reviewer says.
Reviewers also noticed the enhanced ground contact that’s typical of many Altra models. While this feeling might not suit everyone, it’s perfect for those who like to be “one with the road”.
“They don’t have enough cushion for my preference, but they would be perfect for those who like more ground contact,” one reviewer says.
“I found myself wanting more cushion and more springiness for my recovery runs. I felt a bit dull and tired in these,” says another reviewer who’s been racking up the miles lately.
The Altra Rivera 2 uses Innerflex grooves in the outsole to increase flexibility and movement in the forefoot, allowing for smoother transitions. Reviewers noticed how well the shoes moved with their feet.
“The Rivera 2 is lightweight and highly flexible. I tested them on a paved flat greenway path for training runs and recovery days. They have a smooth, natural-feeling ride with excellent traction,” one reviewer says.
What’s a midsole? Learn more about the parts that make up a running shoe here.
Breathable Upper Moves With Your Feet
The latest version of the Altra Rivera features a brand new upper and a slimmer fit.
Altra slimmed down the profile of the Rivera 2 so it hugs your midfoot and heel. But don’t worry, your toes still have room to wiggle around despite the snugger fit. The shoe still features the wide toe box that’s typical of Altra.
Reviewers found the fit to be overall more accommodating than the previous model.
“The fit of the Rivera 2 is just right for me. I have plenty of width and not too much height in the toe box. The midfoot is snug, and the heel is secure,” one reviewer says.
“This shoe fits true to size in the classic Altra fashion, with a very roomy toe box and a snugger fit in the midfoot and heel,” says another reviewer.
A brand new mesh upper tops off the Altra Rivera 2, offering more breathability and flexibility than the previous model. A soft, plush tongue, smooth laces and a padded heel collar wrap around your foot, providing comfort and support.
“I really like how soft and light these materials feel on my feet. When I was walking around in them, it almost felt like I was wearing slippers. They feel barely there in the best way.” says one reviewer.
The Altra Rivera 2 also features reflective strips on the toe box and heel for added visibility during low-light runs.
Running in the dark? Check out our favorite products to increase visibility here.
Altra Rivera 2 vs Altra Rivera
Altra Rivera 2
6.9 oz (W), 8.8 oz (M)
6.9 oz (W), 9.1 oz (M)
Reviewers noticed that the latest version of the Altra Rivera felt strikingly similar to the original. If you liked the original Rivera, you can rest assured that Altra did not mess too much with the original design and feel of the shoe.
“I was excited to try out the latest version. When I got them on my feet, they felt exactly the same. If you liked the original, good news - this one feels identical to me,” one reviewer says.
The two major updates are a new and improved upper and a slimmer fit that hugs your heel and midfoot.
“My foot was appropriately supported through the midfoot but my toes thoroughly enjoyed the space and ability to splay, while having just enough security throughout the midfoot,” says one reviewer.
A breathable engineered mesh upper is thinner and softer than the upper in the previous version, and a slimmer fit provides better support throughout your midfoot and heel.
“The light support and structure of these shoes makes me feel like I can comfortably push the pace for a few miles,” says one reviewer.
Added reflective strips on the toe box and heel increase visibility for early morning or late night jaunts.
The Altra Rivera 2 is a soft, lightweight daily trainer that’s versatile enough for a variety of different runs. They’re light enough to wear during speedwork, and soft enough to wear for easy runs.
But if you’re someone who enjoys a plush, overly cushioned ride, these won’t be the shoes for you. The Altra Rivera 2 seems to be designed specifically for runners who enjoy feeling the ground beneath their feet without being weighed down.
“The Rivera 2 has a minimal feel altogether. Those who like to keep their footwear pure and simple will love this shoe,” says one reviewer.