The first of these models is among the brand’s top sellers, blending a comfortable casual look that’s as suitable for everyday wear as it is for road running or gym sessions. The other, on the other hand, has a design more reminiscent of a traditional runner, offering increased midsole support and a snug fit for those who desire more control during their runs. Today, we’ll be conducting a comparison between the Altra Escalante vs Rivera, delving into their key differences, specifications, image comparison, and a more in-depth review below. Let’s dive in!
Altra Escalante vs Rivera
- The Altra Rivera is the heavier of the two shoes. Weighing 9.8 ounces compared to the Escalante at 9.3 ounces.
- Both shoes are listed as neutral running shoes. So they will be a good choice for any one that does not need support running shoes.
- The Altra Rivera has a 4 mm higher stack at 28 mm. Vs 24mm on the Altra Escalante.
- Both shoes are zero drop. Meaning they have a 0mm slope from the front to the back of the shoe.
- Both shoes are listed as “moderate” cushioned. Based on Altra’s rating system.
- The Altra Escalante is made from an engineered knit. While the Rivera is made of engineered mesh.
- Both shoes feature Altra’s foot pod technology. To encourage natural movement of the foot while running.
- The Rivera has Altra’s “Slim FootShape”. Designed for a snugger fit compared to other models.
If you’re a fan of zero-drop running shoes, you’ve probably come across Altra Running (Altra). Founded in Utah in 2009 by self-proclaimed shoe enthusiasts, Altra has emerged as a leader in zero-drop, low-stack-height road and trail running shoes over the past decade. It has firmly established itself among the top 10 selling running shoe brands worldwide. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at two of their moderate-cushion road runners and comparing the Altra Escalante vs. Rivera.
My initial impression of the Altra Escalante was that it doesn’t conform to the typical appearance of road runners, and that’s a good thing. Their style leans toward a more stylish and casual shoe, which is a welcome departure. With ‘moderate’ cushioning and a zero-drop design, sitting on a 24mm stack, they fall into the category of low-profile runners compared to other models. I’ve known a few people who actually use these as their everyday work shoes, particularly those who spend long hours on their feet. Now I understand why.
When worn, they feel true to size. However, if you prefer more room or a wider toe box, you might consider going half a size up. The moderate cushioning was noticeable to me, although I’m accustomed to a bit more cushion. It was refreshing to feel more connected to the road. However, one drawback is the absence of energy return or rebound, a significant omission when running. Another observation is that the upper construction expands to accommodate your foot but lacks breathability, which can be problematic on hot and humid days.
Overall, I found the Altra Escalante to be better suited as a day-to-day walking shoe than a dedicated runner. They are ideal for wearing at the gym when not running and for taking on vacations that involve a lot of walking.
The Altra Rivera stands out as it exudes a more traditional running shoe appearance compared to the Escalante. It features visible added support in the midfoot and arch, and while both models are categorized as having ‘moderate’ cushioning, I found the Rivera to feel slightly more cushioned of the two. With an extra 2mm of stack height and a slight increase in weight, although hardly noticeable. The upper construction of the shoes is remarkably flexible and comfortable.
On the feet, the Rivera feels narrower compared to other Altra models, a feature designed with intent. The shoe boasts the brand’s Slim FootShape, catering to runners who prefer a narrower fit, a departure from Altra’s signature wider fit, which has become well-known over the years (along with the zero-drop design). So, if you’re seeking that broader fit, I’d recommend going half a size up with this model.
My experience running in the Rivera was a mixed one. While they may offer more initial cushioning, this cushioning tends to feel somewhat firm during runs. Coupled with the soft and pliable upper material, it felt like some energy was lost due to slipping when pushing at faster paces. However, when cruising at a more casual tempo, the shoes felt comfortable, and they performed admirably for up-tempo walking.
Below you can see side by side photos of the Altra Escalante vs Rivera. You will see the added support running on the inside and outside of the mid foot of the Rivera. This is Altra’s Slim FootShape.
Altra Escalante Profile
Altra Rivera Profile
From above the two have a similar shape. But you will notice the difference in upper build material.
Escalante Top View
Rivera Top View
Both are the soles of both shoes. There is a bit more flex in the Rivera which used a ore typical design from Altra.
Altra Escalante Soles
Altra Rivera Soles
Conclusion – Altra Escalante vs Rivera
Altra offers a wide array of options when it comes to road running shoes. Given that many of their customers seek low-stack, zero-drop choices, it’s no wonder that a lot of people find themselves considering the Altra Escalante vs. Rivera. However, despite their similarities, there are a couple of significant differences between the two models, and these differences could play a pivotal role in making the right choice. So, which one is the ideal pick for you?
Which road running shoe to buy?
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend running extensive miles in the Altra Escalante. In my view, a little extra cushioning would greatly enhance the experience. However, these shoes are incredibly comfortable and stylish, making them perfect for gym workouts, daily use, weekends, or city walking. So, while I’ll likely keep my other running shoes, I might slip these into my rotation for activities outside of running.
On the other hand, the Rivera is the better choice for running between the two. However, they didn’t stand out enough for me to recommend them for individuals who log daily miles. If you’re specifically seeking zero-drop shoes, Altra offers a few other models that might be better suited to your needs. Nevertheless, the Riveras are exceptionally comfortable for walking and daily wear, particularly if you prefer a snug fit. They may not be as stylish as the Escalante, but for everyday use, they would be my top choice.