TAYLOR: I ask for your full participation in this immersive review. Close your eyes and picture this: It’s a humid midsummer day. You’re swinging through a mile 56 aid station like the ultra-weirdo that you are. Visualize a volunteer handing you a thick slab of watermelon. Bite into it and say “Ahhhh.” Pure satisfaction.
Translate that to your feet. That’s how the Altra Timp 2 feels. Simply refreshing.
Altra gave a complete overhaul of one of its hottest trail shoes of the past couple of years. Seriously, it’s like Xzibit got ahold of it for a comeback season of MTV’s Pimp My Ride. Even though the current Timp fan base would say that it didn’t need it, I believe it made some worthwhile changes. It is now more versatile while maintaining a lot of what was loved.
The main reasons for the redesign were to save weight and give more all-day comfort. A whole ounce was cut by switching to a full-length Quantic midsole, adding flex grooves in the outsole, and changing the upper design slightly from the 1.5 version. What hasn’t changed, and won’t, is the zero-drop platform and a foot-shaped design. For a men’s size 9 you’re getting a truly ultra-quality shoe for 9.8 oz./278g.
ERIN: Boy, I must hate watermelon. So. I’ve been waiting impatiently for the Timp 2.0. The Timp 1.5 is my favorite trail shoe of the past 18 months or so and has seen me through hundreds of miles of some great (and not-so-great) races and trail adventures. I was really excited for this release, hoping it had not fallen prey to the Altra Curse*. So did it? Read on to find out.
*The Altra Curse: when Altra takes a perfect or near-perfect shoe and tweaks it to the extent that only a shadow of its former self remains. *oldmanyellsatcloud.gif*
TAYLOR: For starters, the midsole has been swapped out to be lighter and plusher. I’ve been in the Timp 1.0 enough to know that both are accomplished. It’s the same Quantic midsole that you’ll find in the Altra Torin 4.0. Though I know the Quantic didn’t jive with Erin as much, I really enjoyed the ride. Yes, it’s on the cushy side, but it’s delightful. The midsole is firm enough to give some protection but the real focus here is on all-day comfort. Big check in that box.
Better yet, I feel that the Timp 2 has equivalent protective qualities and cushion to something like a Hoka Evo Mafate 2, but with half of the stack height. Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not. AND WE AIN’T DONE YET!
The Timp 2 fits beautifully secure from a “multidirectional” mesh upper and asymmetric lacing. This shoe is not only ready for all-day pounding, it’s ready for fast action too. The overall fit was more slim-and-trim than expected but not too slim by any means. It kind of fit just perfectly for my foot.
A moderately padded heel counter kept my heel comfortably anchored and a well-fitted midfoot did the same. The wider toe-box was roomy enough to feel my toes splay more than other trail shoes, however, there wasn’t room for much more than that. I was really impressed with the fit. Fears of my foot sloshing around in an overly wide shoe were very quickly rinsed down the drain. Even fast and technical descents were made a whole lot more fun because of how secure the Timp 2 is.
I’ve gotta hand out a few more compliments to the outsole design. Thumbs up to the lug pattern. Altra has strategically placed different styles of lugs around the foot to promote the best traction for toe-off and varied conditions. Even with a moderately deep set of lugs, the Timp ran well on gravel and pavement.
ERIN: I was so looking forward to this shoe, but for me, the improvements reside only in the upper. In my opinion, it’s the only thing Altra should have changed, but unfortunately, midsole changes came as well (which you’ll see below).
Regarding the upper, the previous Timp model (1.5) had a notorious weak spot in the upper, in the vicinity of the midfoot-toebox junction. It also tended to bag out a little bit and required some readjusting/lace cinching during longer runs. I busted holes in both pairs of 1.5 within an average of 75 miles and that was probably my only complaint. Actually I probably complained about the lace length too, which is another thing that Altra seems to have fixed, so good on ‘em, I guess. Oh, and they removed the heel rudder, too!
The MaxTrac outsole is allegedly gripper than prior versions of the Timp, and I’d agree that these do feel more secure on slicker surfaces than past versions.
We can breeze through the “good” section of the midsole changes like Karl Meltzer through an aid station. There aren’t any. There, move on.
One last thing, I do agree with Taylor that the Timp 2.0 is a good-looking shoe, which is especially important since I’ll be wearing it for fashion purposes only.
TAYLOR: TBH you’re not going to get many complaints out of me on this one…. I mean, I had some typical rubbing on the outside of my forefoot from some of the overlays on the upper. It disappeared after a run or two.
Another potentially bad thing was how much wear had already happened on the outsole. The MaxTrac compound used on the outsole sure is grippy in various conditions but even in the first 30 miles of running, I noticed an atypical amount of breakdown on the most-forward lugs.
Many of my runs are pretty rocky with a good amount of vert, but I have not noticed an outsole breaking down quite so soon on other trail shoes. Hopefully, this trend doesn’t persist. Otherwise the Timp 2 will be a 200-mile shoe (maybe). I’ll comment below after 150 or so miles with an update.
ERIN: Midsole material is a controversial subject of late. While other shoe companies are in a race (heh) for distant second to they-who-must-not-be-named, Altra, for some unknown reason, took a decent foam―Abound―and replacing it with Quantic.
A certain major running publication that has a magazine and also a paywall recently called the Quantic “highly responsive.” They should reframe their definition of responsive, because responsive it is not. The good thing is, you don’t have to worry about the midsole compressing and flattening out after a few runs, because it comes that way straight out of the box. For funsies I put on one 2.0 and one 1.5 and went for a short jog and even with a few hundred miles on them, my 1.5s are infinitely more cushioned, while the 2.0 feels like a clompy OG Brooks Cascadia.
For those of you who are fans of Altra for the roomier fit, you’ll probably be disappointed with the noticeably narrower midfoot. The toebox also has less volume, but only slightly. However, anyone who has issues getting the Timp 1.5 secure enough through the midfoot will likely find this to be an improvement. It does make the shoe more secure but feels just a tad narrow (for me).
One more gripe: Altra says that the Timp has shed a full ounce between the 1.5 and the 2.0 but that apparently only applies to the men’s version because the weight is unchanged in the women’s version. I didn’t find either version to be heavy so not that big of a deal but just an FYI.Shop Altra Timp 2.0
TAYLOR: I like it. I like it a lot. The Altra Timp 2 brings a lot to the table for a trail runner looking for one of the best everyday trainers and all-day/ultra shoes available. It has a soft ride, secure and comfortable fit, plenty of protection and grit. The classic Altra components of a balanced zero-drop platform and a wide toe-box provide a great base for going far in comfort. I am hoping the outsole will hold up with the rest of the shoe! Either way, this will be a top choice for any all-day outing in the mountains or a 50-100 mile race in the future.
ERIN: If you are a person who prefers Quantic to Abound, and there are people who do, your love for the Timp 2.0 will probably be in direct proportion to my hate for it. TBH, other than my issue with the midsole material that I can’t get past, the Timp is still solid.
You can pick up the Altra Timp 2.0 for $130 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the link below.Shop Altra Timp 2.0