Who doesn't love to root for the underdog? On the strength of their accomplishments and my conversation with an Altra rep where I gave them my word, that I would check out the brand-I picked up a pair Paradigm's earlier in the week.
My first run in the shoes where an easy 3miles that included some hills. My second and final run in the Paradigm's was a 10mi run on the track. Now is that enough time to give a review? Yes or No? Where ever you land on this issue, I think we can all agree that some features will remain constant. What I discovered about myself during this review is, I'm a plug and play runner, I want to take a pair of kicks out of the box lace them up and go period.
I applaud Altra for the shape and concept of a wider toe box for those runners who need extra space for their toes to splay and play. With somewhat of a narrow foot my feet spent more time playing in the shoe instead of assisting me on the run.
The Paradigm offers a ton of cushioning in the mid sole with a zero drop. I found the shoe stiff and laborious to run in. The strategic high abrasion rubber on the sole will certainly add to the longevity of the shoe.
There's a ton of shoe underfoot and it felt clunky by the end of my runs my feet were hurting because the shoe wasn't flexible despite the flex grooves in the sole. Perhaps a heavier runner will have more success in persuading the Paradigm to cooperate on the their runs.
Wear testers at Runner's World found the shoe stiff and wished it was more flexible, they felt it would be best suited for bigger runners who prefer lots of cushioning.
I liked the feel of the heel counter and tongue. The lacing system was missing that extra eyelet, which would have been helpful to keep my feet from inching forward especially on the down hills.
The absence of the additional eyelet forced me to tighten the forefoot more than I typically would just to lock my foot in place and when I did there was ton fabric bunching in the front.
I like the colors of the Paradigm but couldn't stop thinking about bozo the clown when I looked down at my feet. Definitely not eye shoe candy.
So is Paradigm the Hoka Killer? Not in my opinion. Should Hoka be concerned? Absolutely! With some tweaks to the mid sole and upper I may make the Paradigm shift to Altra. The chefs in the Hoka kitchen are brewing some delicious soles these days leaving you craving for more miles.