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10.2 oz. (289 g) for a US M9,
8.3 oz. (234 g) for a US W8
28 mm in heel, 28 mm in forefoot (0 mm drop)
Zero-drop miles with a little stability
AltraEGO midsole, FootPod technology, Standard foot shape
AUSTIN: I’m not Believe in the Run’s default Altra reviewer. Honestly, I’m not. My author page suggests otherwise, but I’m just delighted to scrutinize any shoe from any company that arrives via FedEx or UPS. Altra simply came calling more than usual this year. Cheers. In 2023, I’ve assessed the Rivera 3, Torin 7, Paradigm 7, and Experience. I liked two of the four (read all the reviews if you’re really bored or scroll down for spoilers). Also, stay tuned for a full review of the Via Olympus 2, a fantastic update to the puzzling OG that Robbe reviewed last December.
The Solstice, Outroad, and Vanish models notwithstanding, the Provision may be the only Altra road model that I’ve never worn since the company started. Time to check that box and see if it wowed or waned.
ALDREN: I haven’t picked up an Altra shoe to run in since the Viho back in 2020. I’ve had pairs to kick around in or wear all day, but the Altra Provision 8 is my first experience with a stability shoe from the brand.
As the story goes, I typically need a more stable and supportive model, so I find myself in shoes like the Hoka Gaviota 5 and New Balance Vongo v6. Having a more supportive element underneath my feet is nothing new. The big change of pace, especially from Altra, is having that more foot-shaped toe box and running in a zero-drop shoe. To be fair, I’ve run in the full spectrum of 12 mm drops to 4 mm drops, so how much more could a zero drop change the feeling?
AUSTIN: Between the Rivera 3, Torin 7, Paradigm 7, and Provision 8, I’ve noticed three characteristics common to each model: a mesh upper of some kind, a slab of EGO with varying stack heights, and a FootPod outsole. In short, consistency from top to bottom. And who doesn’t like consistency? Stark differences emerge, however, with the FootShape Fit type (Original, Standard, Slim), degree of softness (firm or feathers), and ride (smooth or clunky).
So, what characteristics underscore the Provision 8? There’s the obvious — an engineered mesh upper, FootPod outsole, and EGO midsole. FootShape? Standard, which suggests that the Provision should accommodate a wide range of feet. On the softness scale, I lean towards feathers, but the softness doesn’t sink into the road. No, there’s a noticeable responsiveness that translates into a smooth ride mile after mile.
After reviewing the Torin 7 (meh) and Paradigm 7 (meh), I’m glad the Provision 8 arrived to replace the retired Rivera 3. The Rivera 3 is four-tenths of an ounce lighter than the Provision, but it shares the same stack height (28 mm) and a similar ride (soft but responsive). Yes, there are some notable distinctions between the two, but I loved running in both models. GuideRails provided a hint of stability when I started to tire and form dipped. Nice touch there.
ALDREN: The Provision 8 seems to have gotten a full cosmetic revamp. The upper is still a dual-layered mesh with Altra’s Standard foot shape fit, but the heel is a lot more snug than it previously was. The upper seems to fit shallower as well so I felt like my foot was secure inside. I believe that’s due to the more padding along the inside of the shoe. The collar really sinks your heel into the upper to fully engulf your foot in the shoe.
The EGO midsole felt like it was firmer than I remember, which isn’t an issue at all. Instead of my foot sinking into the midsole, the Provision 8 popped off the ground, kind of like the feeling in the Saucony Guide 15. EGO is a lot more lively underfoot, and it felt effortless rolling off my forefoot in each stride. The best way I could describe it would be buttery. The ride feels so smooth, minus the guide rails (I’ll get to that later). So far, I’m a fan.
I do think a big improvement in the Provision 8 from its predecessors is the outsole. There seems to be a better dispersion of rubber with a smoother and thinner layer so that the midsole can compress and absorb impact once you hit the ground. This model may not be as tacky as previous years but I never dealt with any road slippage.Shop Altra Provision 8 - Men Shop Altra Provision 8 - Women
AUSTIN: Any daily trainer that’s under ten ounces earns additional respect from me. I know that’s probably an arbitrary bias, but in light of the abundance of max cushion shoes in the marketplace, I hone in on the models that deliver amazing rides in a lightweight package. Examples I favor as of late include the Hoka Clifton 9, New Balance 1080v13, and Asics Novablast 4. In summary, I recommend trimming the weight a smidge because the Provision 8 just barely misses the mark.
ALDREN: The guide rails seem like they’re just along for the ride in the Provision 8. I understand the sole purpose of the Provision line is to have a more supportive model, but in a zero-drop shoe, I felt like I was forced to land more forefoot. I’d say I’m typically a more midfoot striker anyway, but due to there being less foam than I’m used to underneath my heel, the back of my foot never really hit the ground.Shop Altra Provision 8 - Men Shop Altra Provision 8 - Women
AUSTIN: Overall, I liked the Altra Provision 8. Between the soft, responsive ride, secure fit, and GuideRails for stability, I foresee regularly reaching for this model until the midsole collapses from lots of miles. It’s fun to run in, and that’s a hard measure to describe. There are no metrics involved. It’s gut, an intuitive awareness that elicits smiles during and after the run.
Thomas said as much about the concept of fun in his recent review of the Novablast 4: “How do I measure that? I guess that the “fun” comes from the shoe being light on the feet, resilient, good-looking, and it doesn’t interfere with the pure joy of running.” The Provision 8 isn’t as studious as the Novablast, but I can check the fun box for sure.
ALDREN: I think it’s smart to have something from Altra or any other zero-drop company in your lineup. It gives the body a sense of balance and somewhat auto-corrects itself when you’re running. Your body also gets the feedback it typically wouldn’t when running in something higher stacked and super foamed. In return (and I don’t know if this works for everyone), I feel like my foot is strengthening itself in the process.
If you’re looking for stability, though, I would probably check out the Paradigm. Like I said, I didn’t really notice the support in the Provision, so you may have better luck with another model.
You can pick up the Altra Provision 8 for $139 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.
Aldren is a tree loving, uncompetitive running, post-workout burrito-munching stability shoe reviewer native to the Sunshine State. He can be found skipping through the streets of Orlando or lost in a trail that he studied two hours prior to the run. If he ever sees you on a run and waves “Hi!”, make sure you say “Hi!” back or he’ll diss you in his Strava caption.
All-time favorite shoes: Nike React Infinity FK 1, Adidas Energy Boost 2, ASICS Metaspeed Edge+.More from Aldren
Austin, who lives north of Atlanta, is a stay-at-home father and running store part-timer (year eleven). Based on his inability to provide a 10K or 5K personal record, he should probably race those distances more. It’s rare to not see a party size bag of peanut M&Ms in his pantry and a pair of Shokz on his ears during a run.
All-time favorite shoes: OG Altra Escalante, Saucony Kinvara 3, Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%More from Austin