Altra Paradigm 7 Introduction
Merriam Webster dictionary defines paradigm as an outstanding clear or typical example. Altra’s Paradigm is their unique max cushioned stability. It combines a traditional stability system with Altra’s principles, giving runners an alternative trainer.
The Paradigm is one of two stability options from Altra. The Provision is the mid cushioned option, it shares some features but it is lighter with less cushioning.
The Paradigm competes with the Brooks Glycerin GTS, ASICS Kayano and the Hoka Gaviota.
Altra Paradigm 7 First Impressions
I was excited to receive these because I had reviewed the last two editions. Opening the box my initial reaction was interest. The colorway was subtle but it popped and hey didn’t seem much different from the previous pair I reviewed.
I noticed they had less bounce while on, but other than that they felt comfortable from heel to toe.
The maiden voyage of the Paradigm was a 5k. It was a smooth and comfortable ride, minus a little bit of bounce. The fit allowed me enough space for natural movement and for my toes to splay out.
I also wore these out and about as a daily shoe because of how comfortable they felt.
Altra Paradigm 7 Upper
The Paradigm 7 received a newly engineered mesh upper. This mesh is just as breathable as previous editions. It provides a medium amount of structure while also being quite flexible. It is an effective mesh providing a comfortable fit that moves with you.
Altra’s standard FootShape follows the contours of your foot. In this shoe there is no area of tightness throughout the upper.
A plush tongue and heel collar add to the comfort and fit. It also makes the Paradigm more stable.
The added cushion to the tongue fixes the tongue movement issue from the last edition. The simple lacing system is effective as well.
The upper is a no nonsense simple and effective part of the Paradigm.
Altra Paradigm 7 Sole Unit
Let’s begin from the ground up. A thin layer of rubber covers the outsole, it is durable and handled all the conditions I ran in well.
The outsole is made with Footpod technology, basically built with natural movement in mind, with Innerflex found on the outsole.
There are strategically placed grooves in the midsole to give it more flexibility. This adds to the natural feeling in the midsole.
The midsole is made with AlterEgo Max, a responsive compound with some bounce to it.
The midsole is big but doesn’t feel bulky or heavy.
It follows Altra’s FootShape giving your feet room for natural movements. There is a slight cradle-like fit. The Paradigm has guiderails for stability. A larger one on the medial side and smaller one on the lateral side.
They are adaptive, engaging when you need stability, and they did that.
These aspects worked together to produce a stable and comfortable ride.
The Natural Ride System (NRS) makes up a good portion of the midsole. This consists of three elements, FootShape, zero mm drop from heel to toe, and metatarsal specific shapes in the outsole (Footpod).
These aspects are what sets Altra apart.
The system not only made the Paradigm a good running trainer but also an everyday shoe.
These are my event day shoes for a race company I work for. Now there is a slight adjustment period because of these aspects but they make running in them enjoyable overall.
Altra Paradigm 7 Conclusions
The Altra Paradigm is an example of a trainer making small changes to improve a solid shoe. This is my 3rd Paradigm I’ve reviewed and my favorite.
The NRS (FootShape, 0 mm drop and footpod technology) encouraged natural movement throughout my stride. This system along with EgoMax cushioning made for a comfortable ride. The guiderails excelled at providing adaptive stability.
It is a max cushion trainer but never feels heavy or bulky. From smooth impact through flexible transitions to bouncy toe offs, the midsole delivered a stable and natural ride.
The upper of the Paradigm is simple yet effective in both design and performance. There is a newly engineered mesh. It provided a middle amount of structure while also being flexible. They corrected the tongue movement issue by adding more cushion to the tongue.
The upper’s secure fit added to the stability of the Paradigm. The fit hugged the contours of my feet with no tightness felt.
Both the stability and max cushioning trainer fields are becoming more and more crowded with each passing year. This makes it harder for a trainer to stand out.
With the Paradigm, Altra has managed to stand out in both fields. The Paradigm may not be for everyone but for me it worked. All of the aspects of the Paradigm create a symphony of natural comfort and ride for your feet.
The only drawback was a slightly longer adjustment and break in period.
I reviewed both the Provision and Paradigm this year. I can say without a doubt that the Paradigm is a better trainer. They stand out because of their unique characteristics and move to the front of the pack because of their performance.
The Altra Paradigm 7 is a unique max cushioned stability trainer.
Small changes were made to improve a great trainer to make it one of the leaders in the max stability field.
If you’re ready to step out of your running comfort zone, I suggest you try the Paradigm 7.