I am admittedly a bit of a hoarder when it comes to minimalist shoes. I’ve tried most of them now, from the New Balance Minimalist (both road and trail versions), to the Merrell barefoot line, to Skora, and everything in between. Some have worked for me, some have not. When I spent my weekend in Bethlehem, PA, for the Runner’s World half marathon, one of the title sponsors was Altra Zero Drop. As such, the company outfitted all of my FitFluential friends and me with a free pair of shoes.
We were given the choice between several models, and I chose the Intuition 1.5, a second generation of one of the company’s initial offerings. Altra Zero drop markets this shoe as a neutral, cushioned shoe and it is, as the name implies, zero drop from heel to toe. The company also sticks by the idea that this isn’t just a “pink it and shrink it” shoe, but rather a female-specific design geared toward long distance running.
I was already familiar with the company’s Delilah model (reviewed here) from a pair the company gave me back in April at the Boston expo. I’ve put a lot of miles on this shoe and it’s one of my favorites. The Delilah, however, is a completely different animal from the Intuition. It’s a flexible, lightweight, cushionless shoe–much more along the lines of something a barefoot runner would wear when shoes are necessary.
The Intuition, by contrast, has a good deal of cushion to it. I can see where a real natural running purist would not like this feature. You do sacrifice ground feel and some flexibility by way of the cushioning. And out of the box, I found the shoe to be a bit stiff to run in (the Altra Zero Drop guys told me this would be the case). That’s one of the reasons it has taken me so long to write this review–I wanted time to break this shoe in and see if the flexibility improved a bit. Like the Delilah, however, this shoe has a great, wide toe box that is lacking in many other shoes. This ability to let your feet splay as they would naturally is a great feature, in my opinion.
Now that I’ve had a couple of months in them, I am finding I like the Intuition. Yes, there’s more between my foot and the ground than what I have with the Delilahs and other models. But one thing I have struggled with using zero drop shoes is getting to very high mileage. I think the Intuitions offer that middle ground for someone like me–a zero drop shoe that allows for hitting the ground under your center of gravity, yet a bit of cushioning to go for the longer haul. From a marketing standpoint, I think Altra Zero Drop is pure genius here. Build it and they will come.
I plan to spend a good amount of time in my Intuitions over the winter, so I’ll keep you posted on how I am liking them.
Anyone else try this model or others from Altra Zero Drop? Impressions?
Disclaimer: Altra Zero Drop gave me these shoes for free. All opinions expressed are my own.