Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Altra Instinct 4.0 Review

I started running in Altra shoes about a three years ago.  My first pair were the Instinct 2.0’s.  I instantly fell in love with them.  The Instinct 2.0 is still one of my favorite shoes.  I have written reviews for several Altra shoes in the past.  Click the links to read my past reviews:
The One 2.5

The Instinct 4.0 is a neutral shoe that can handle your road training, whether it’s a long training run, tempo run, or speed intervals.  It weighs in at 10 ounces and has a stack height of 25mm.  The Instinct 4.0 has two features that all Altra shoes have, the foot shaped toe box and the zero heel drop. 

Altra classifies this as a moderately cushioned shoe and I would agree.  It is not super plush and squishy but does have a decent amount of cushion.  The Midsole is made with EVA and Altra’s A-Bound™ material.  The A-Bound™ material is their energy-return compound that help protect your feet from the ground impact and adds a little spring to each step. 

Unlike its predecessors, the Instinct 4.0 has a full rubber outsole.  I actually really like this because it gets rid of the exposed midsole that can get eaten up by rocks.  The outsole utilizes Altra’s Foot Pod Technology that pattern maps the bones and tendons of your feet so the shoes flex where your foot naturally wants to flex.  It provides a more natural gait and I find that it’s more comfortable, plus it looks super cool.

The redesigned upper looks more modern with engineered mesh; it does a great job of locking down your foot while still remaining extremely comfortable.  Altra has come so far when it comes to the look of their shoes.  Their early shoes weren’t the most attractive.  They weren’t terrible when it comes to running shoes, but not something you would wear with jeans around town.  The new shoes look awesome and could easily be work out in your day-to-day activities.

The decoupled heel helps provide a soft landing and really hugs your heel for a great fit.  Here is my only complaint, and it’s with my feet alone.  I have blistered every time I’ve worn these shoes.  It has to do with the shape of my heel and how the heel of the shoe is shaped.  To be completely fair, this happens with tons of shoes for me.  I have combed over reviews from customers and other bloggers to see if anyone had the same issue and they haven’t.  So the complaint is strictly due to my feet.

I have to say that they feel of these shoes on the road is amazing.  I love how the Instinct 4.0 just fits well, probably better than almost any other Altra shoe.  I am a huge advocate for Altra because their shoes put your foot in its natural position with its zero heel drop (that’s how you would walk if you didn’t have shoes on).  The FootShape™ toebox allows your toes to spread out and will eliminate issues of compressing your feet/toes like many shoes out there do.  If you are looking for an awesome shoe that can do it all, this is a great choice. 

Very comfortable
Zero heel drop
Wide toe box.
Lightweight at 10 ounces
Plenty of cushion
Great price ($110 at Altra.com)

Altra’s Social Media Links:

I am once again impressed with another great Altra shoe.  It seems like Altra keeps putting out better shoes every year and I can’t wait to see what comes next.  You can get the Instinct 4.0 for $110 on the Altra website right not (on sale).  Be sure to read the reviews of the Olympus 2.0, Escalante, and Instinct Everyday in the next few days as I continue the “Week of Altra.”  I hope you are excited as I am. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.


  1. Is this a fake picture (photo-shop edited) it has super wide toebox !
    or is it that you have 14+ shoe size?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Idan, it's not photoshopped or edited at all. Altra has a foot shaped toe box that is wider than normal shoes. Those are a size 10. Even though the toe box is wide, it fits good and doesn't feel weird at all. I actually prefer the wider toe box because it lets my feet spread out.

  5. Instinct 4 or Escalante? I've been running in Escalantes since March and love them. I ran in Instinct 3's before and they were not quite as comfortable but the lasted 650 miles where I get about 520 from the Escalantes. The Escalante 3.5's were a huge disappointment for me as they felt like stability shoes instead of neutral shoes.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Bill and thanks for reading my review. I actually would recommend you try the Paradigm 3.0. It is my favorite by far. Plenty of cushion, light weight, and super comfortable. Check out my reviewmokn it and let me know what you think. I like it better than the Instinct and Escalate. Between those two, i would pick the Escalante though.

  6. How is the height of the toe-box compared to other Altras? I have a pair of Escalante and would like more room above my toes. It's just okay because the fabric is so stretchy. I've also tried One 2.5, where the stiff part of the toe press down on my bigtoenails. Torin 2.5, 3.0 and Paradigm 3.0 didn't work for me either because of toe-boxes are too low. Very annoying to have finally found shoes wide enough to fit my littletoes and then they're too low in the toe-box.

    1. Hi Ditte, It is really going to depend on the person. To be honest, after more testing, the Instinct 4 stopped working for me. The back of the heel would cause blisters every run. The height of the toe box was fine for me and is similar to many of Altra's shoes. I actually love the Paradigm 3 and it is probably my favorite pair of Altra shoes. My other favorite is the Lone Peak 3.5, but I am guessing you are looking for a road shoe. I really liked the latest Torin and did not have any problem with the height of the toe box. Unfortunately, it really depends on the person and how your individual feet move inside a shoe throughout your gait cycle. Some of my friends curl their toes down when they run. Other friends lift their toes up. I do agree that the foot shaped toe box is amazing and my feet have been very happy with the extra room. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    2. Thank you for your reply. I'm not a runner, I'm just looking for comfortable shoes for walking and for work where I stand and walk a lot on concrete floors. I have worn safetyshoes for 18 years, but have recently replaced them with the Altra Escalante. Lems Primal 2 fit my feet, but are not cushioned enough for concrete floors and I also have to tighten the laces more than I like to avoid that my toes hit the front of the shoes. I lift my toes when walking. Not something I've ever noticed before and the Altras are so low that it's also a problem, when I'm just standing still. I have tried and returned a lot of shoes the last couple of months. And have also kept some I'll probably never use. Extra wide shoes are still not wide enough in the toearea and are too wide in the middlefoot. Heel blisters can also be a problem for me, but usually not in shoes with thick/soft padding like in runningshoes.

  7. You could look at the Hoka Clifton or Bondi, both come in wide. Also, you can look at Topo Athletic shoes. The Ultrafly is their most cushioned shoe and they have wider toeboxes. I agree that the Lems Primal are too minimal for me, but I did like the fit. Go to a local running store with a large selection and just try on every lushioned shoe they have and see what you can find. The Hoka Challenger ATR3 might be a good choice for you as well, although it is not as wide as some other shoes.

  8. Thank you for the suggestions. Extra wide shoes aren't easy to find in Denmark and ordering from another country is a bit risky, because it's expensive to return them, if they don't fit. The Topo Ultrafly seems to be available, but I don't think they're as wide as Lems or Altra? If I stand on the insoles my toes only just stay inside. And how about sizing? My Lems are size 43, Escalante 9.5 and my old too narrow Asics and new Saucony Echelon 6 2E ( rubs my littletoes and are too wide in the middle) are size 9.


I love to read feedback so feel free to add your comments or questions.