ALTRA Provision 6 - First Impressions
Posted on December 20 2021
Having put around 40km into the new ALTRA Provision 6 it is clear this is a significant upgrade on the Provision 5.
This season, ALTRA are making significant improvements to many of their shoes and it their suite of road shoes is opening up the brand to a much wider audience.
The Provision is positioned as the lightest and fastest support shoe. ALTRA approach to providing support to runners who need some additional structure of the shoe to prevent overpronation has always been a little different to the rest of the brands.
The typical way is to push in a harder block of midsole material into the medial post to act as additional support to prevent the foot rolling in. This has a couple of disadvantages. Firstly, that higher density material is heavy and support shoes have often been seen as somewhat clunky and heavy. Secondly, you get that lump of hard midsole pushing on your arch whether you want it or not. Many people need only light support and most noticeably when fatigue sets in.
ALTRA has two technologies that avoid the need for the medial post. They use GuideRails which act like crash barriers on a motorway which guides the foot back to a more neutral position. The second innovation is the INNOVarch. This is an independent support strap that wraps around the arch of the foot and is connected to the lacing. As the laces tighten the INNOarch tightens around the arch providing support.
The benefit of this is lightness in the shoe with support as and when you need it.
So how does all of this work on the road?
I have done two quite different runs in the shoe. The first a mixed trail and country path run and the second a longer 26km effort which was 99% road.
In Hong Kong, in the dry weather, road shoes are often perfectly adequate for the trail so I wasn't much concerned about that aspect of it.
The first thing I noticed was just how nice this shoe looked coming out of the box. In this Blue and Yellow colourway it really shows how far ALTRA have advanced in making their shoes look really great.
It also has a very similar silhouette to the Torin 5 and the Paradigm 6. You can tell they come from the same stable.
The Provision 6 is the lighter brother of the Paradigm 6 and it immediately feels less over-built around the heel collar. It has an EGO midsole where the Paradigm has the EGO Max which has a better rebound characteristic. Nevertheless the Provision feels nicely plush under the forefoot with the 28mm of cushioning (v the 30mm in the Paradigm)
I am a massive convert to zero drop shoes and therefore I love the way this and all the ALTRA range just makes me feel so much more comfortable. I notice this the most when I am tired, at the end of a long run for instance. The Provision 6 was no disappointment. Lovely easy running in a super comfortable shoe despite being such a new shoe.
As far as support is concerned this is definitely on the lighter side so if you are a heavy overpronator this might not be enough for you but for a lot of people this will be satisfactory.
I also like a wide toe-box even though I don't have particularly wide feet. I can feel my toes spreading which again feels very natural.
The heel was totally locked down and secure.
The outsole seems really quite thick but follows the usual ALTRA tread pattern. The "cheese-grater" look actually made quite a gripping noise on the ground and strangely left an echo behind me that sounded like somebody was running right there. Not such a problem, but weird. The thickness of the outsole should bode well for longevity. We will see in later tests.
The Paradigm 6 does feel like it provides more support that the Provision 6 but then it is 20g heavier. So if you have some mild overpronation, or just want a great everyday training shoe with a little more structure, this is definitely something we would recommend.
And the on top of that .....just how cool does it look ?
MORE UPDATES AS THE MILES INCREASE!
Pre-Order the Provision 6 (arriving 23rd December) HERE .