Monday, June 16, 2014

More Altra Quality Problems

I feel like I've been beating Altra up for a while now, but it is not my intention. In fact, overall, I love their shoes. I pay for all my own shoes and wear Altra almost exclusively these days. And I have (had?) designs on buying two more pair this year. My input has contributed to the purchase of dozens of Altras by my friends, including four pair of Olympus this year alone. However, because I pay for my shoes, I am picky. I expect a shoe I love and a shoe that I can wear as long as I want to (usually 300 - 500 miles). Continuing on the quality issues that have been seen in both the Torin and the Instinct Jr, the Instinct 1.5 and 2.0 are wearing out in the mesh overlay on the upper. What is totally crazy to me is that they are wearing in the exact same spot on both models for me. You'd think Altra would have learned after the 1.5 was given poor reviews on their own website:

"The Instinct 1.5 is a super comfy shoe, and feels just like the Instinct original...buuuuut my Instinct originals have outlived the 1.5's by a long shot. The mesh has torn on both shoes on both sides. And they are barely 2 months old. Other then that, great shoes,"
"Wow, I really had high hopes for this shoe... It looks good and fits better than the original Instinct, but it is a piece of garbage that is holding up very poorly after less than a month of wear."
"I like the shoe, great fit. But it is the only running shoe I have ever had which shows damage so early --- on both shoes the mesh is ripped on the side."
"I  love this shoe, great to run in, very comfortable to wear around casually too. I've been wearing them for about 6 months now, and have noticed the front mesh on the toe box is completely falling apart. It's almost to the point where I can't use them to run in any more.
"Lots of reviews saying it's a great shoe, but after 150 miles, the upper mesh rips and eventually it tears. Read the reviews on other sites and you'll see this is a frequent complaint"
"I have to start out by stating that I love Altra's fit and philosophy. I have have had three pair and love two of them; however the upper mesh on the instinct 1.5 becomes brittle and cracks at flex points"
Here you can see a rip right near the logo and lettering on the lateral side of my left Instinct 1.5 shoe

Identical spot and near identical tear on the Instinct 2.0

A rather large tear in the medial side of my right Instinct 1.5

A new tear developing in the exact same spot on my 2.0
I purchased my Instinct 1.5 at the end of 2013 and have run 185 miles in them. While the tears have not yet advanced to the unusable state, I am concerned about debris -- pebbles namely -- getting in these tears. I am also concerned about them shredding to a point where the toe box is nearly ripped open. Of greater concern to me is the Instinct 2.0. I have owned this shoe for less than three months and have only run about 125 miles in them (about 15 times out). They have spent the majority of those three months in the closet and are already shredding. This is a really poor reflection of Altra, particularly since they ignored the issue from the previous model. I was considering a pair of Lone Peak 2.0 for The Bear 100 in September, but they appear to be built with a similar upper as the Instinct 2.0. A tear in the upper of a trail shoe would be a catastrophic failure and sure to attract debris.

I continue to hope Altra will get past their quality issues. But, the Instinct 2.0 is just another disappointment. I will admit to being totally satisfied with my Olympus, Lone Peak, and Lone Peak 1.5. None of them use this mesh overlay for the upper and all have a sound reputation (so far!) for quality.


  1. I've got issues with my Lone Peak 1.5's in the same area at about 175 miles on them. The 2.0's upper, to me, appears to made similarly to the Olympus, but I could be wrong. I have them pre-ordered right now, but since I picked up the Pure Grit 3's I'm going to cancel and wait on some trust worthy reviews.

  2. I should have read this before I ordered the Instinct 2s. I haven't had much luck with durability lately with my old standby NBs.

    1. Buelligan88 - In fairness to Altra, those tears continued to worsen, but never got to a point where they impacted the function of the shoe. Overall, I managed to get quite a few good miles out of that shoe.

  3. Mine are ripped both feet small toe area 60 day old 10+ hours a day . Very nice shoes but why the failure ?

  4. My The One2 have ripped open on the arch area. Thought I'd maybe caught them but there's early signs of the same thing happening on the other shoe.