|The Altra Adams right out of the box.|
My pair of Altra Adams arrived at the beginning of September, and my first impressions were very positive. In the past month, I've logged 87 miles in the shoes, including the Akron Marathon. I've run long and short distances, and in dry and wet conditions. I've run on roads, multi-purpose paths, and rough trails. The only thing I haven't dealt with (yet) is snow.
The fit of the Adams is similar to a water shoe, slipper-like and flexible. The extra wide toe box feels a bit loose, but is unnoticeable after a few miles of adjustment. My first run in these shoes was on the Buckeye Trail, and I kicked more than a few tree roots.
However, now I've completely acclimated to running in the Adams and enjoy how comfortable my toes feel without being constricted and allowed to fully splay. (I can stretch my toes as wide as possible and just barely touch the edges of the toe box.)
Traction is solid, but can get a bit dicey on muddy terrain. Take it slow on wet trails.
What I Love
The ride of the Adams is exactly what I've been looking for in a minimalist shoe. The shoes are light weight, thin and comfortable. They meet my 3F criteria of flat, flexible and providing lots of ground feel. The Adams are quite comfortable without socks, but I've worn them comfortably with wool socks (and no insole) in the recent cold weather.
The philosophy of Altra is refreshing. This company isn't just placating the "minimalist/barefoot" crowd with a couple products to cash in on the trend. They promote learning to run with good form, and all their products reflect that message. They get it.
What I Hate
The cinching straps work fine in securing the Adams to my feet, but the placement of the lower strap caused a blister during rainy run prior to the marathon. I would much prefer laces.
I knew from the get-go that I wouldn't use the "Support" insole much. However, in the interest of a thorough review, I ran four miles last night with the insole. It's just too springy. I noticed a tendency to stomp more, as my foot seemed to seek the ground feel it has grown used to receiving. While this insole is not for me, it may be beneficial to runners who are new to minimalist shoes. (The "Strengthen" insoles have proven to be a nice blend of cushioning and ground feel.)
Who Should Buy
The Altra Adams are a good choice for any runners seeking a minimal shoe. With the two insole options, these shoes would be helpful to new converts to the minimalist movement. Barefooters who run in cold climates might find the Adams a good tool when some protection from the elements is necessary. And finally, runners interested in the Vibram Five Fingers but unsure about the individual toe sockets will find the Adams a worthy alternative.
A New Hope
If you dislike the notion of Velcro straps instead of laces, worry not. Altra is releasing a laced version, to be called the Samson and Delilah, in early 2012, according to Minimalist Running Shoes. In case Altra is curious, no, I wouldn't mind a free pair to review, kthanksbye.
[Drunkard's note: The Altra Adams were purchased by me with a 40-percent discount coupon provided by Altra. Listed price is $99.99. I was not asked or paid to write this review. The opinions expressed in this blog post are mine.]