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Trail Running Shoes • February 28, 2024

Altra Timp 5 Review: Actually, Call it a Comeback

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What You Need To Know


9.8 oz. (277 g) for a US M9,

8.6 oz. (243 g) for a US W7

Stack Height / Drop

29 mm in heel, 29 mm in forefoot (0 mm drop)

Best For

Long, slow days on the trails

Key Features

Updated EGO Max midsole, Vibram Megagrip outsole, Standard footshape

On The Run
Vibram Megagrip makes all the difference Altra's revamped EGO Max foam actually gives energy back The toe box might be narrow for classic Altra fans
Price / Availability

Available now for $155

Introduction to the Altra Timp 5

JOHN: We’ve all seen a beloved character get put down, be it in a movie or a TV show. Think of Niño Brown yelling that he is his brother’s keeper in New Jack City and then shooting him, or the infamous “look at the flowers” line from The Walking Dead. Even Tony Soprano had to put down his cousin, which was necessary but tough to watch — at least in mobster terms.

My personal example is the Altra Timp. It was an all-time favorite of mine until the previous version, and then I had to tell it about the rabbits. I was shocked and sad. I loved the Timp, but, like those characters, I did what had to be done.

Now, on paper, Altra has fully fixed what I didn’t like about that shoe. Where the Timp 4 was heavy, and the foam was unforgiving, the Timp 5 offered new life. To fully test those hopes, I took this one out to my homeland, the Massanutten Mountains, for 32 miles. Let’s see how it did!

ALEX: I’m with John. I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with the various renditions of Altra’s Timp. In 2019, for example, I wore nothing but the Timp 1.5. I was excited to find a sweet spot between the Altra Superior, Lone Peak, and Olympus. While it wasn’t perfect, it was a great shoe for about 700 miles split between training and thru-hiking the rooty, rocky Superior Hiking Trail.

Then came the Timp 2.0, which was a trimmed-down version of its predecessor, with a better fit and more secure lockdown. The Timp 3.0 was a little weird, and the Timp 4.0 was a bit heavier with some durability concerns, but the overall design was solid (obviously, John disagrees as he had to put it down, literally and figuratively). This brings us to the present day.

While John tried to insist I find a way to test the Timp on the actual Mt. Timp in the middle of January to add intrigue to the review, I’m sad to say that it was not possible. Maybe next time…

What we like about the Altra Timp 5

JOHN: Massanutten was a rocky, sloppy, wet, and snowy mess — perfect for testing the update. As advertised, the Vibram Megagrip offered excellent grip on slick rocks, extreme technical downhills, and snowy, icy areas. The EGO Max midsole offers a comfortable experience even when pounding rocks for hours, but my favorite part of this update was the reduction in weight from the Timp 4.

I’ll admit that I questioned the fit when first putting on the Timp 5. It felt narrow, but as I used the shoe, it adapted, almost tailoring to my foot. I ran in it for over nine hours straight and had no foot problems at all. I love the lime colorway, too — it’s definitely eye-catching and a good-looking shoe.

I was very impressed with how durable this shoe is. There were hardly any signs of wear after using it for 32 miles on rocky terrain. Unfortunately, some shoes don’t last long doing these kinds of runs, but the Timp 5 is tough. Also, this shoe actually dropped in price, a true rarity.

ALEX: Straight out of the box, the Altra Timp 5 feels comfortable and familiar. While the Standard toe box, the hallmark of the Altra brand, is definitely notable, I’ve noticed that it also feels a lot more dialed in than it used to. There’s plenty of space for the toes to spread out without feeling sloppy or excessive. The toe box on this one also feels way less voluminous from top to bottom and side to side. Think of the way the Superior fits. I found the fit to be stable and comfortable, especially on longer runs. The balanced cushioning platform is also a big difference-maker for long days and for when you get tired. It encourages a more natural form and reduces impact.

The 29 mm stack height strikes a harmonious balance between plush cushioning and ground feel. I like to feel the ground, just not too much. The EGO Max foam is firm and responsive but maintains some bounce to it, and some energy return during long outings is always welcome. Sometimes, it feels like all we do is give and give and give the energy with no return, but not this time. The stack height and cushioning lends itself to a comfortable ride without sacrificing responsiveness or agility on technical terrain.

Durability is something we all need to consider when thinking about a trail shoe — the very trails we run on depend on it. The engineered mesh upper feels a lot more reinforced than previous Altras, and the overall design feels super solid. I’m a big fan of the robust toe bumper, like one big helmet for my toes (I get sloppy real quick).

The outsole is awesome. I mean, it’s Megagrip, how could it not be? The Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole and the trail-specific lug pattern offer reliable traction across varied terrain, which is a big improvement over the Timp 4’s Maxtrac outsole. Also, that slight rocker lends itself to a smooth ride.

This one achieves a better heel collar than the Timp 4 by just doing a standard heel rather than that flimsy, bolstered, overly designed, unsupportive mess… trust me, it’s simple and good. The thicker design works even if you have a chubby Achilles like mine.

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What we don’t like about the Altra Timp 5

JOHN: I had very low expectations going in but found there’s really not much at all I dislike about this shoe. I was delighted to put in a day in the mountains in this shoe. I will say this: though I personally find it a great shoe for ultras in rough terrain, it’s a one-dimensional shoe — I wouldn’t use it to go fast. But it’s tough and durable, which I always need in my rotation to use in the mountains.

ALEX: I agree with John. This is not going to be your go-to race shoe, although it never claimed to be. My only complaint is the gendered colorways. I know, I know, this is always my complaint. When I stop getting pastel-colored shoes, always with some pink, I will stop complaining. I don’t even hate pink. I just hate that shoe companies designate pink to female shoes. The future is unisex colorways. Say it with me.

Also, if you rely on Altra for a super wide, voluminous toe box, you might not like the Timp 5.

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Final thoughts on the Altra Timp 5

JOHN: This shoe deserves a Comeback Player of the Year award. Congratulations to Altra. I was totally shocked by how great this update is, and now I’m very excited to try other new shoes they have coming out. For anyone disappointed with the previous Timp, I highly recommend this one. It fixes just about everything.

ALEX: The Altra Timp 5 stays true to the brand’s balanced cushioning and foot-shaped toe box. Its predecessor, the Timp 4, was well-received, and the Timp 5 continues to build on a solid foundation with notable improvements, including some weight savings.

All in all, the Timp 5 is a commendable update to the Altra family. It shines in comfort, stability, and protection, making for a super protective shoe with great energy return from that responsive EGO Max foam and slight rocker. The traction is also one of the best that I’ve tested recently.

The one thing Altra-lovers need to be aware of is that smaller toe box. Other than that, I highly recommend this one with no reservations.

You can pick up the Altra Timp 5 for $155 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) using the buttons below.

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Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Sean Harcar says:

    These look absolutely amazing this makes me want to grab a pair or two! My wife will be jealous when she sees these!

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photo of man in yellow shirt
John Calabrese
Habitual Ultrarunner
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An obsessed runner, John has run in most ultra races in the Mid-Atlantic area. Since he’s an ultra runner, it’s no surprise he’s also a lover of food. He’s also a dedicated father, caregiver, and veteran.

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Alex Elizabeth
Lead Trail Reviewer
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Alex is a trail and ultra runner from the upper midwest who loves Minnesota’s long winters and logging miles on the rooty, rocky, steep trails of Lake Superior’s North Shore. She was the first female to set a supported FKT on the 310 mile Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) and enjoys multi-day events and races, especially if they involve snow and -20 degree temps. 

All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Speedgoat Evo, Hoka Tecton X, Altra Timp.

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