The All New ALTRA Rivera - 120km Review

Posted on January 23 2021

The All New ALTRA Rivera - 120km Review


The launch this month of the Rivera by ALTRA is the first release of a completely new model since the company was acquired by VF. 

The new owners have already started to show their influence with some great upgrades on the Olympus and the iconic Lone Peak. Both models are now firmly established a excellent trail shoes. 

ALTRA however also has its sights set on becoming a major road shoe brand and the Rivera is an important step forward for the company. There is also a lot more in the pipeline in this regard, but this is a big step. 

For those familiar with the Altra range, the Escalante, Escalante Racer and the Torin Plush will all be well recognised road models and the Rivera is a combination of these models. 

I have now put 120km+ into these shoes and happy to share the experience.

The RIvera is positioned as your everyday trainer, something you can pull on, get out and just do your miles. 

I have enjoyed the Torin Plush for the same reason clocking over 1800 km in two pairs todate!. 

The Rivera has the improved EGO midsole material of the Escalante, compared to the Quantic on the Torin Plush and although it has a couple of mms less cushioning (26mm v 28mm) the energy return is better in the Rivera. 

Of course, being ALTRA it has zero drop which I have become a total convert too. I find running in Zero Drop puts me into a very comfortable running shape and even when I am tired I feel I can maintain my shape much better. Consequently I believe it has contributed to a relatively injury free last couple of years.

The Rivera has slightly less of a sculptured foot-bed, meaning I miss the specific feeling of arch support from the Torin but on the plus side, the extra energy return does give a better rocker effect to ease me into the next stride. 

The shoe is also light at 258g, almost exactly the same as the Torin Plush and has a nice breathable upper.

Personally I would prefer a little less cushioning on the tongue and around the heel as I feel this will hold a lot of moisture in our damp HK summer which tends to add to the weight. The Torin Plush has the same issue but I guess a lot of people like that cossetted feeling when they step into the shoe. 

What I found with the Torin is the outer sole was pretty hard wearing and it's one of the reasons I have managed to get so many miles out of the shoe. The Rivera seems to be wearing more of less in the same way so you will get your value for money out of these shoes. 

One final point is for newcomers to the ALTRA brand. We do have people coming to the shop who are put off by the look of the wide toe-box. Personally, even though I have narrow feet I like having the opportunity to spread my toes. 

What ALTRA has done with the Rivera is firstly make a whole range of stunning colourways that really pop on the shelf but they have also narrowed the toe-box slightly and this looks a lot more like a regular shoe. It does still have a foot-shaped toebox but the overall aesthetic will make it easier for people who find the wide toe box a challenge. 

We also had the opportunity to get a gang of our running buddies out at the track to give them a spin.... you can watch that video HERE

OVERALL CONCLUSION is the Rivera is a very capable shoe, one that you will put on and forget you have them on. nice and neutral, plenty of energy return and lots of comfort. If you are crushing the miles in your weekly training routine the last thing you need is a pair of shoes that fight back. A great high mileage trainer. 

Check out the range HERE.



  • Peter Hopper: August 13, 2021

    Ken, both the Rivera and the Torin are road shoes but will work well on trails in the dry. Of the two, the Torin 5 has a EGO Max midsole which is one step up from the EGO used in the Rivera so of the two I would try that. You could consider the Lone Peak 5 as an actual trail shoe or go the whole hog and get some Olympus 4 which has Vibram. You won’t be disappointed

  • Ken: July 21, 2021

    Which would you recommend for HK trails – the Rivera or Torin 5? With so much concrete and laid rocks, trail shoes wear out pretty fast! I currently use my Rincon when the trails are dry and want to try Altras next.

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