Lone Peak and Instinct, and I have also bought the Adam and hear good things about the Samson. Recently, the guys at Altra sent me a pair of their new Provision in a 10.5. These are a unique shoe, taking what works from the well-known and popular Instinct and adding some features that at first may seem counter-intuitive to what Altra is all about, but I have an open mind and I love the look of these very cool shoes.
I am referring to the removable varus wedge found in every box of Provisions. This full-length insert goes under the footbed and tilts the foot slightly out to the side, helping combat pronation. As a company interested in natural running )wide toe box, level, zero-drop platform, etc.) I wonder why they would include such a feature, but some folks may find it comfortable. I especially like that it is optional and isn't built into the midsole, giving the wearer the choice.
The Provision is basically the same shoe as the Instinct when you remove the wedge (which I did). The other difference, though, is the stiffer midsole material used in the Provision. My only complaint about the Instinct is that it is a little stiff, so I was wary of a stiffer version. In the end it felt pretty much the same to me, though. If course, I only spent a little time in them as they were just a little too small for me. So, I called in a favor and lent them to my Dad to test. He wears a half size smaller than me and he also stole my Instincts and still has them, so I know he loves the Altra fit as much as I do. Here is his review:
Average Guy Hits the Road blog asked me to review Altra's new Provision shoes. He gave me a pair of size 10.5, because they came to him and were just a bit too small. They were just right for me and so I was pumped to receive such a cool looking set of running shoes. I really wanted to love these shoes, because I enjoyed the Altra Instincts that Zak gave me after he put in a hundred or so miles in a pair last year. In fact, I have probably worn the Instincts more (on my feet right now) than any of the other dozen pairs of shoes that I have inherited over the last two years (thanks again, Zak). The Instincts still look like new and are very comfy, love them. But, this is supposed to be about the Provisions, so here goes.
The Provisions were roomy in the toe box, yet kept my heel and midfoot secure. No irritation at all and they can be worn all day. I am getting used to zero drop shoes and like them a lot, but I also like shoes with more cushion in the heel. It is a good shoe to begin getting used to the new idea of no drop between the heel and the toe, because they are so comfortable.
Again, I love the look of the shoes, even better than the Instincts. They wear like iron and are well made. They have outstanding workmanship. Everything about them says that there is a high degree of quality control. With some brands that put out mega numbers of shoes, you have to take a left from one box and pair it with a right from another, to get a nice set. These have no flaws in construction. So, with shoes that are comfy to walk in, have high quality that will last and are cool looking, “what’s the deal”?
Well, the issue I have is on the road. Running in them was not as much fun as walking in them. I love my Mizuno Wave Mushas, my Saucony Kinvara 2, and my New Balance RC1400 for my best times running. The Mizuno, Saucony and New Balance shoes help me run quietly. I can tell from the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, or lack of sound with the three mentioned above. I feel so light on my feet, and that is not easy being 5’11” and 193lbs (but hey, I’m 58 years old!) and I can keep up with the younger runners, at least for a while. The Provisions, which I desperately wanted to love, clip-clopped for me. The wear-like-iron rubber sole slapped the pavement as it is much stiffer than my other shoes and does not flex in the forefoot like the others. It is also much heavier and though I am not a fast runner, I appreciate a light running shoe. As a result, my times were slower in the Provisions than other shoes.
I like The Provision for many reasons, except it will not be my go-to shoe for my twice-weekly runs. Sorry, I can give it 4 stars, but the 5th comes while you are out on the Road as The Average Guy’s Dad. Thanks for letting me comment on your blog, son. Keep up the good work.
The Provisions were made available for review free of charge from Altra!