Altra Timp 2 Performance Review

Do you love going from zero (couch-potato status) to sixty (flying down a trail through the woods), with maybe just a little bit of road in between?

Altra Timp 2 Performance Review

If so, then the Altra Timp 2 might be just the shoe for you!

The Altra Timp 2 is an excellent shoe for those looking for a door-to-trail shoe that feels a bit more aggressive than many of the cushioned trail shoes on the market. 

Altra’s second-most-cushioned trail shoe, the Timp 2, has a much more similar feel to that of the Lone Peak than to Altra’s maximalist shoe, the Olympus. It is potentially an excellent option for runners looking for quite a bit of cushion but who desire to maintain a bit more ground-feel and control than is possible with other maximalist trail shoes.

There have been considerable updates to the Altra Timp 2 when compared with previous versions of the shoe. If you were a die-hard fan of the Timp 1 or 1.5, you might be surprised at what you find in the new iteration of this shoe. 

While maintaining Altra’s unique Footshape™ toe box, the Timp 2 has a completely revamped Quantic midsole and a streamlined upper design. The secure fit of the Timp 2 makes it an excellent choice for those who want to maintain a bit more control through a race or harder effort run.

Stats:

  • Manufacturer: Altra
  • Official Weight: 9.8oz (Men’s Size 9)/ 8.7oz (Women’s Size 7)
  • Heel and forefoot stack height: 29mm (Zero Drop)
  • Shoe Class: Best Do It All Workhorse

What We Liked vs. What We Didn’t Like

Pros:

Fit – The secure fitting, pared-down feel to the Timp 2 makes it feel a bit more aggressive and competition-ready than its predecessor.

Ride – The decoupling grooves on the outsole of the Timp 2 combined with the revamped midsole make this shoe extremely comfortable for long runs on trails and roads alike.

Midsole – The new Quantic foam midsole protects and cushions your feet and legs over long distances.

Weight – 1oz -1.5oz lighter than the Timp 1.5, the Timp 2 is a well-balanced, comfortable door-to-trail shoe.

No Rudder – Acquiescing to customers’ complaints about the treacherous Trail Rudder, Altra did away with this feature in the Timp 2. No more worrying about tripping over an awkward piece of rubber on technical descents.

Cons:

Fit – While some may love the new, low-profile fit of the Timp 2, others, particularly those with wide or otherwise high-volume feet, may find it restrictive and uncomfortable. Definitely try before you buy!

Durability – With some features of this shoe holding up for a mere 30 miles, the Timp 2, like the 1.5, is not going to be your most durable trail shoe.

Lacing – A complicated lacing system with fabric loops that attach the laces to the shoe’s tongue makes it difficult to adjust the laces as quickly as you might like.

Traction – Moderately-deep lugs of various shapes do well on moderately technical trails but struggle to give that extra grip on wet, muddy, snowy, or icy surfaces.

Identity – Though the Timp 2 retains many of Altra’s defining features, it has drifted pretty far from the 1.5. Some may like the new fit and feel of the shoe, while others may wish that Altra hadn’t changed an already good shoe.

Fit and Comfort (Score 7/10)

Upper

The flexible dual-density mesh upper of the Altra Timp 2 allows for some breathability and air-flow to your feet while keeping dust and debris out, a primary and essential function of any trail shoe.

If you’re trudging through extra-deep muck or snow and really need to keep the elements out, the Timp 2 is equipped with a gaiter trap in the front and back of the shoe, an excellent feature for runners who like to get their feet dirty!

Toe box

Arguably, the most controversial change to the Timp 2 is it’s pared-down toebox. While all of Altra’s shoes are marketed as having a Footshape™ toebox, this one is narrower than the shoe’s previous iteration. The low-profile of this shoe means that there is less room for any up-and-down movement within the toebox.

For some, this isn’t a problem at all and gives the shoe a more secure, performance-oriented feel. For others, especially those runners who intentionally choose Altra shoes for their roomy toe box, this may be a problem. 

The low-profile upper may rub on the tops of your toes, which could lead to hotspots or blisters. I recommend trying these shoes on before you buy them, and possibly purchasing half a size up, or even a full size, depending on the volume of your foot.

If sized correctly, this shoe’s low profile is excellent for runners looking for a well-fitting, aggressive shoe that performs well in races over uneven terrain. Those with a narrow or low-volume foot might really appreciate this update to the Timp 2.

Midfoot

Altra markets a natural, foot-shaped shoe, and the Timp 2 is no different. It has a snug fit with a broader forefoot tapering off into a narrow heel. As mentioned above, be wary of the shoe’s shallow profile if you have a high-volume foot.

The lightly-padded ankle collar and tongue are comfortable and secure. The laces are attached to the fully-gusseted tongue through a fabric tab, locking the laces and the tongue securely in place. 

When attacking climbs and descents on technical trails, you definitely want your feet to stay in place. Your feet won’t move side-to-side or up-and-down in this shoe, significantly reducing the chance that you’ll end up with blisters or abrasions on your skin after a hard effort.

On the other hand, however, the tab holding the laces in place does make it difficult to adjust the shoe’s fit. Say, for example, you’re halfway through a four-hour run. At this point, your feet may be starting to expand or swell. 

Ideally, loosening your laces should be a quick way to relieve some pressure on your feet. However, with this secure (and slightly complicated) system, it might take a few extra moments to do so.

The flat laces and asymmetric lacing system may take a bit more time to dial-in, but once you have figured out what works for you, your foot will stay secure. This is another feature that contributes to the Timp 2’s aggressive, competition-focused feel. In a shorter race or workout where you don’t plan to switch up your shoes or lacing pattern, these shoes may serve you quite well.

Midsole

Another significant change to the Timp 2 is its Quantic foam midsole. Like most shoe companies of late, Altra is attempting to step up its game by incorporating light-weight, low-density foams that cushion your feet and legs to decrease wear and tear over long distances.

Above the Quantic foam lies an Innerflex rubber layer, which adds extra support and bounce to the shoe’s ride. Above that is a uniquely thick (7mm), high-quality insole, which adds to the shoe’s protection and cushion. Unfortunately, both of these layers begin to compress as the miles add up, so you may notice a decrease in responsiveness after as early as 50 miles.  

With the Timp 2, Altra maintains its philosophy of balanced cushion, or zero-drop, shoes. With a stack-height of 29mm, this shoe is incredibly well cushioned from the heel to the forefoot. If you aren’t used to zero-drop shoes, I recommend easing into this type of shoe by incorporating it into a few easy runs per week, rather than jumping in all at once. 

While many runners find zero-drop shoes to feel more efficient and natural, they can be quite demanding on unaccustomed feet and calves. If ignored, these demands could lead to injury.  

Outsole (Score 7.5/10)

Traction

Equipped with a durable and tough, hard-rubber MaxTrac outsole, the Timp 2 does well on minimally technical trails. This shoe is an excellent hybrid door-to-trail shoe, but use caution on wet, muddy, or icy trails as the Timp 2 really does favor gravel and dirt.

A decoupling groove in the heel allows the shoe to bend when you hit the ground. Not sure what a decoupling groove is? I wasn’t either. Basically, there is a groove that runs from the back end of the heel almost to the midfoot.

Imagine stepping on a rock or root on the trail (a common occurrence, I’m sure you can imagine it). Half of the shoe could land on top of the root, while the other half stays on solid ground. This allows for increased control on the trail, protects your feet, and allows for a smooth, complete gait.  

Lug size

The dense lug pattern makes use of different shaped lugs, which allows for a solid grip across varied surfaces. Closely spaced, not-too-deep lugs let you transition smoothly from the trail to the road and back again.

Protection

Due to the thick, protective nature of the Quantic foam midsole, no rock plate is necessary in this shoe. This usually allows for just a touch more ground-feel than a shoe with a rock plate, but don’t expect a ton of that.

A welded-on overlay at the toe cap provides some protection for your toes. Another, arguably protective feature of the new Timp 2, is that Altra has heard the complaints of many runners who have stumbled over its “Trail Rudder” (as seen in the Timp and Timp 1.5) and has removed it entirely. No need to worry about tripping over it when going down stairs or descending technical terrain.

Ride (Score 8/10)

Stability

The stability of the Timp 2 might just be its greatest attribute. Whether you’re using it for training or racing, the secure fit of the upper makes up for the medium amount of traction on the outsole, allowing runners to feel confident on the trail.

Far from sloppy, the spacious toe box remains comfortable on long runs but secure enough to lend confidence on tricky sections of trail or fast descents. The flexible outsole and unique decoupling grooves improve the ride by allowing a smooth heel-to-toe transition and extra protection from rocks and roots.

Quantic foam makes these shoes comfortable on long runs, even those on the road or other hard-packed surfaces, but isn’t incredibly bouncy or responsive and does diminish the shoe’s ground-feel.

Overall, this shoe has a smooth ride and handles well on moderately technical trails. It’s locked-in, securely fitting upper makes it an excellent choice for races or workout days when you’re feeling ready to be a bit more aggressive.

Weight

The Timp 2 weighs in at around 1-1.5oz lighter than its predecessor, depending on the shoe’s size. No doubt that this has to do with the light-weight, low-density Quantic foam. Due to its zero-drop, or balanced cushioned nature, the weight is evenly distributed across the length of the shoe. By no means is this a light-weight running shoe, but for a highly-cushioned trail shoe, it strikes a nice balance.

Value (Score 5/10)

Durability

The durability of the upper seems to be an issue with this shoe, as it was with the Timp 1.5. Different runners will have different results over varied terrain, etc., but multiple reports of the upper lasting only 300-400 miles should make you wary of its durability.

The hard-rubber MaxTrac compound would seem to be quite durable, but the most forward lugs have shown some decay after only 30 miles of running. This may not directly affect the shoe’s performance, but is definitely noteworthy, as some of our readers may be running 30 miles in just one go. It would be a huge bummer to be noticing shoe breakdown after only one run.

Price

$140 for an excellent shoe that lasts at least 500 miles would be a solid value. However, given the durability issues that this shoe seems to have, $140 seems a bit steep. 

If you plan on this being your only shoe (and surely, if you’re reading this review, I’m willing to bet that you have far more than one pair of running shoes), then maybe it would be worth the price. Even then, you might find yourself replacing it more regularly than the bank account would like. Personally, I’d wait until it goes on sale to try this shoe.

Fit and comfort (35%) = 7

Outsole (25%) = 7.5

Ride (20%) = 8

Value (20%) = 5

Overall score (Score 7/10)

Conclusion

More snug and nimble than the Timp 1.5, the Timp 2 is, arguably, better for racing, while the 1.5 may be a better choice for training. The Timp 2.0 is an excellent choice if you want something with a nice cushion but don’t want a truly maximal-feeling shoe like the Olympus. 

Use caution if you gravitate toward Altra to accommodate a wider-than-normal foot or one with a larger volume, as the low profile of this shoe may feel constricting. Overall, the Timp 2 is a nice door-to-trail shoe for moderate to aggressive efforts.

Check out the Timp 2 on Altra’s website here. If you’re intrigued, but looking for something a little different, check out our recommendations below.

Looking for another road-trail cruiser?

Try: Brooks Caldera 2

Like the Timp 2, the Caldera performs best on moderate to smooth trails. It is another highly-cushioned trail shoe, but unlike Altra models, it does have a 4mm drop, which is still reasonably low. An excellent shoe for transitioning from trails to roads, the Caldera is a great choice for runners who like to mix things up.

Looking for a shoe that holds up a bit better on technical trails?

Try: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

The Speedgoat 4 is an excellent choice for those looking for a shoe with a better grip on technical trails than the Timp 2. As well as boasting a nice, snugly fitting upper, the Hoka Speedgoat is well-cushioned and built to keep your feet comfortable while spending hours in the mountains.

Want to stick with Altra but looking for something for even longer distances?

Try: Altra Olympus 4

The Olympus is Altra’s most cushioned trail shoe. It is equipped with a Vibram MegaGrip outsole, making it far grippier and better on trails than the Timp 2. However, it is heavier than the Speedgoat, and the fit is a bit sloppy compared to the snug-fitting Timp 2.