Altra Provision 8 Introduction
The Altra Provision has gone through many iterations in its short 8 year life. They have tried different stability methods over the years without many lasting longer than 2 editions.
The 8th edition seems simplified and a return to what works. The Provision is one of two stability trainers Altra offers, the max cushioned Paradigm is the other one.
It goes up against other stability heavyweights like the Brooks Adrenaline, ASICS GT-2000, and the Saucony Guide. It retails for 140 dollars.
Altra Provision 8 First Impressions
While I’ve never been a fan of white running shoes I was curious to see and run in these. Crisp and clean would be how I would describe them while holding them up for the first time. They felt light and fast. The mint green balanced the white because of how light it is.
The maiden voyage of the Provision was a 3.5 mile run. It was stable from the first step due to the guiderail. There was a cradle like fit as well.
It was a bouncier ride than the Paradigm. The heel portion of the Provision was slightly loose.
Overall, a smooth ride that had me looking forward to more miles.
Altra Provision 8 Upper
The upper part of the Provision 8 features a new engineered mesh built with breathability and flexibility in mind. It provides a medium amount of structure. There is a redesigned molded heel counter.
It is similar both in looks and fit to New Balance’s latest ones. It’s slimmed down on cushioning, but the heel cup is still there. This encouraged natural movement of the achilles tendon.
A looser fit is the result. While I appreciate this, a tighter fit in the heel would make the Provision more stable.
ALso, gone are the days of the Innovarch (4 and 5). This edition has one small tab you lace through on both sides. This has minimal effect on the fit of the shoe.
Altra Provision 8 Sole Unit
Let’s start from the ground up, the outsole is covered by a thin rubber. In years past it has shown wear quickly, this isn’t the case anymore; It handles all conditions and surfaces. Footpod technology makes up the outsole.
It is a map or layout that encourages natural stride and foot movement. Inner flex are strategically placed guidance lines on the outsole.
As a result of these two, flexibility is felt from heel to toe. Altra’s Footshape is found in the Provision 8. This is a standard of most of Altra’s offerings. Since my last review of the Provision (6th) the fit was different. The midfoot was narrower. There is also a bigger arch as well. Altra’s Ego foam compound makes up the midsole of the Provision. It’s a balanced cushion with leanings to the bouncy side.
On the medial side you have the guiderails which are toward the heel portion. They do their job which is to provide stability. The drawback is the size of them. You are aware of them when you run in the Provision.
This means they are engaged with every step. This is different from other guiderail systems, ones that engage only when needed. The Provision is still a stable trainer, it is just the guiderails may be overbearing at times.
This also increased the adjustment period for them.
Footshape has been what sets them apart from other brands. It has been a major strength of all the Altras I have reviewed.
Something has seemed to change since my last review of the Provision. The midfoot was tight in the Provision 8. This caused discomfort on and off during the reviewing.
Altra Provision 8 Conclusions
The Altra Provision was a mixed bag for me. This was the first in all the Altra trainers I have reviewed where I found myself disappointed. It’s a trainer with so much potential only to have certain aspects hold it back from reaching that potential.
The Altra Ego foam midsole provides a flexible, comfortable, and balanced ride. There is a welcome hint of bounce to it. Unfortunately, the guiderail system distracts from the ride. The reason is there is too much of it. You are aware of them along with the lack of adaptability. It’s a great idea but poorly executed.
Altra’s core principle of Footshape was one of the things I loved about the brand. It was actually a trainer in the true shape of your foot. The Provision 8 was the first time I struggled with it. There was a tightness in the midfoot along with a prominent arch overshadowing the comfort felt from below.
The simple upper was a strength of the Provision 8. It was breathable and flexible while giving your foot enough room. The updated heel counter isn’t for everyone but I thought it was an improvement.
It has been a while since I’ve run in the Provision. In my review of the 5th edition I said “Altra achieves its goal of having you run as naturally as possible with the Provision 5.” This is not the case for the Provision 8.
It is built with many of Altra’s core principles. It is the execution of those principles that fall flat. Now, it has some things I really liked about it but overall the drawbacks mentioned make it a mediocre trainer at best.