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Altra Timp 2 Review

Throughout the process of reviewing a shoe, I try to get feedback from trail running and ultrarunning friends, read other reviews, and ask local running-specialty store salespeople what their feedback has been. Of course I also run a ton of testing miles myself. This process culminates when I decide to either review a shoe or not. I have learned over the years, though, that whatever I say about shoes made by certain brands will be polarizing and likely cause many runners to disagree with me.

Altra has been building a die-hard fan base among ultrarunners for years. It is also clear that the fit and design of their shoes, especially the toebox, has influenced most running-shoe brands. However, the downside of having die-hard fans is the inevitable backlash you may face when you tweak a shoe throughout several iterations. With running-shoe-production calendars on a seemingly relentless pace to update every model annually, it is inevitable that updates will happen that the majority of fans of a shoe will not like. And the opposite is also true. In the case of the Altra Timp 2 ($140), I am a big fan of the updates.

The Altra Timp 2. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Altra Timp 2 Upper

Lots of updates are afoot with the new Timp. So much so that runners who have previously run in past versions may not recognize this as the same shoe. The upper of the original Timp made the shoe look fairly massive, and the fit felt just as loose. It was a great shoe for cruising at ultra paces, but the upper material became very bogged down when wet and it overall just ran like a heavier shoe. With the Timp 1.5 update, which I really enjoyed, we saw more open mesh on the upper, dialed-in fit with more midfoot lock, and a much better insole that didn’t slide around on steep downhills or when wet. Forget everything you knew about those two shoes, though, as the Timp 2 is a completely different beast.

The Timp 2 features even more dual-density mesh and less overlays, but the mesh is fairly burly. A simple welded-on overlay at the toecap provides some protection, but most of the structure and lockdown take place because of the fit, which is quite a bit more snug than past versions. If you’re a runner who has found past versions of the Timp or Lone Peak to be a bit sloppy, then the Timp 2 may be your shoe. However, the fit is a very polarizing feature of this new Timp. While features such as the heel collar and tongue feel mostly the same, the width and height of the toebox are quite a bit tighter and more narrow. Don’t get me wrong, this is still an Altra running shoe, but I would place the Timp 2’s upper more on the road-shoe side of the spectrum in their line. There is still room for toe splay, but it isn’t unencumbered toe splay like in past versions of the Timp. You will feel the sidewalls of the upper, but if sized correctly you shouldn’t experience blisters or abrasions. In my opinion, the shallowness of the toebox may be more of a make-or-break feature of the Timp 2, and it’s just something that has to be tried on. Some runners will love the racier locked-down feel, while others will miss the wide openness of the Timp 1.5’s toebox.

The Altra Timp 2 lateral view.

Altra Timp 2 Midsole

In past versions of some Altra shoes using A-Bound foam, I’ve had the displeasure of feeling a midsole feel like it disperses under the middle of my feet and go flat like a cheap mattress. I thought I’d found the answer to this in Altra’s EGO midsole foam, which feels a lot to me like a Nike Zoom midsole and seems to hold up over the life of the shoe. However, Altra’s Quantic midsole, which is used exclusively in the Timp 2 midsole, rides like a more plush version of the EGO foam and it’s also lighter. This midsole is also used in the Superior 4, but at a much lower stack height. The Timp 2 midsole, with 21mm of this plush Quantic foam, seems to be the perfect recipe for comfort with a fast-feeling ride. Altra also uses InnerFlex grooves which help with the heel-to-toe transition of the shoe which gives it a nice amount of flexibility without feeling flimsy. As a midfoot striker, I appreciated the 29mm of protection. This is a shoe I felt comfortable taking on any terrain, but the Timp 2 does seem to perform best on mellow to moderate trails.

The Altra Timp 2 medial view.

Altra Timp 2 Outsole

Altra employs their now standard MaxTrac outsole which gripped just okay in snow, mud, and clay conditions and it seems to favor dry and smoother trails. I did notice that in wetter conditions this outsole suffers from lack of grip, but seemed to wear well and be durable. The flex grooves in the outsole do improve the ride a great deal, and the Timp 2 would make a great hybrid door-to-trail shoe for cost- and waste-conscious runners. Another feature of the outsole that is noticeably missing is the much discussed Trail Rudder, which I’ve consistently cut off the back of my Altras for years. Thank you, Altra! The Timp 2 has a sleeker profile and looks less bulky overall without this feature.

The Altra Timp 2 outsole.

Altra Timp 2 Overall Impressions

I’ve watched the trail running shoe market change over the previous three years and shoes have been erring on the heavy side with fewer models coming in below the 10-ounce barrier. With the Timp 2, Altra managed to shave over an ounce off the previous version, from 11.0 ounces to 9.9 ounces, and the result is a more lively shoe than previous Timps or even the Lone Peak 4.5 which I’m also currently running in. The additional bounce of the Quantic midsole foam over Altra’s traditional A-Bound midsole is very noticeable, and the unfortunate affect of testing both models at the same time is that the Lone Peak 4.5 has essentially been benched. I don’t feel like I’m lacking protection in the Timp 2 even though it doesn’t have a rock plate.

So, in noticing the obvious similarities between the Timp 2 and the Lone Peak 4.5, one may struggle deciding which model to buy. If you’re a runner who can handle the shallower toebox, the Timp 2 will be a winner due to being an ounce lighter with much better and longer-lasting midsole cushioning. However, if you’re someone who craves the toe splay of a traditional Altra toebox, I’d probably stick with the Lone Peak. Either way, besides the fit, these two models are occupying the same space in Altra’s product line so I’m sure we’ll see some differentiation in the near future.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Calling all Altra Timp 2 wearers, what do you think?
  • Overall, what do you think of the changes made in this version?
  • What about the specific features, such as the midsole cushioning, upper’s fit, and outsole? Can you share your thoughts on individual parts of the shoe?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

The Altra Timp 2 top view.

Tom Caughlan: is iRunFar's Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

View Comments (31)

  • I have put thousands of miles in the timp 1.0 and 1.5. The Timp 2.0 look and feel like well-made shoes. However, they are more narrow in the midfoot than predecessors, so I recommend trying a half size up. After trying the 2.0, I returned it after 10 miles when my toes went numb and midfoot felt smashed. I bought 5 pairs of 1.5s. I'm hoping the 2.5s return to a wider midfoot, otherwise I will try the 2.0 in a half size up.

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  • I've been a diehard Timp fan of 1.0 and 1.5 (and Altra in general since their beginning). I wore the Timp 2 once, and returned them (first time in 40 years of running that I've returned a shoe I've worn). They are narrow and very stiff. Not the same shoe at all. I'm really disappointed in Altra, as they are going that direction with all their shoes. If you're looking a for a good replacement, try the Topo Ultraventure--it's what the previous Timps used to be.

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  • I sized up a half size (into men's 11.5, yikes) and these just did not work for me. They felt stiff and unforgiving, and like Eric my toes went numb. I am very disappointed as the Timp 1.0 and 1.5 were perfect for me. I am now in Topos.

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  • The 1.5 was my favorite shoe - by far - that I've ever worn. I returned the Timp 2.0 the day after I received them: felt like the most uncomfortable shoe I'd ever put on. I managed to find a total of five 1.5s online and will work on figuring out what will replace that down the road.

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  • In just under 50 miles, I have found that the "toecap" is already coming loose. It appears to be a very thin sticker-type material and is lifting around the area where the toes would flex. Not a deal breaker unless it goes wild and comes off, but I am really digging the shoes after using Lone Peaks and Norvan LDs in the past.

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  • I have been a long time Lone Peak runner, but switched to the Timp 1.5 after the Lone Peaks changed drastically from the earlier models. I love the soft ride and ample space in the Timp 1.5. I went for one painful run with the Timp 2.0 and my toes were rubbed raw. In addition to being a little narrower, the toe box also seems much lower. I returned them and tracked down a couple of pairs of 1.5's to tide me over while I figure out what comes next.

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  • Had the 1.0 and they were large boats and didn’t hold up well ... the 1.5‘s are a great shoe and my current go to. Bought the 2.0 and wanted to like them as they were the best looking shoe Altra has come out with in a while .. they felt good overall but the long stiff lace and tongue reinforcement rubbed my big toe ... they sloped it in a curve toward the big toe which may be problem. Trying to return now after only 20 miles in them ...

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  • Eric, can't believe you are getting that many miles on TIMP 1.5. Two pairs of mine both tore at the mesh-toe cap junction where the foot flexes at the outside of the base of the big toe, and I know that happened for many others. My theory is that most Altras of late are not made for rocky technical terrain. I would second Kim's suggestion to try on the Topo Ultraventure (I have no connection to Topo at all), they are spot-on for ultrarunning on real technical terrain. Better heel and midfoot lockdown by far, thick ropy laces and a thicker tongue for locking you in. And the midsole just nails the balance between some cush, but not too much, so it's responsive and flexible and feels like natural running. The last few years of quality and durability issues may have been enough to kill this die-hard Altra fan. I have about every Lone Peak ever, every TIMP, and more. Never thought I'd run in any other brand. Seems like when they were bought out they skimmed on the quality and started re-investing less in the product. Hopefully that changes, I still have some love for them. But I fear this small toe box so thanks for these reviews.

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  • Not a fan of the updates at all. The midsole material is an upgrade but thats it. Sent a pair back today after 2 runs. Blah.

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  • Thank you for this shoe review, even if I am unlikely to be a purchaser - I have had unhappy experiences with Altras and rate the Lone Peaks that I had as perhaps my worst running shoe purchase ever (YMMV). But it's good to have a bit of normality in a world that seems to have gone crazy, and gives me hope for a return to normality once all this is over.

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  • I love my Timp 2s. Massive improvement in quality and durability from the 1.5s & the quantic midsole is incredible (I run in Torins on the road). They do run narrower in the mid-foot but this actually works well for me, personally. I think they're dissappointing their base, but opening themselves up to a much wider demo. Perhaps, they'll have it in the budget for an option for a wider last to appease some of the folks complaining...

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  • People that are disappointed by the slimmer fit on the Timp 2 might want to check out the new updates to the Adidas Terrex Two. It has a wide fit last, 31/25 stack height for a 6mm drop. They put it on their new Lightstrike midsole material with slightly updated outsole lugs. A couple colors are even available with a Boa lacing system. I’m excited to try them out soon.

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  • I've been through both the Superior, the Lone Peak, the Timp and the Olympus in several versions, and in my opinion the Timp 2.0 is by far the best af all Altras yet.

    To me it's much better than the Timp 1.5 in every way, and I did not have to size up.

    It's for racing short as well as running ultras. Even in mountains it excells. I did 58K in Spain recently and thought, I would need my stoneguards from previous Superiors, but no, even though terrain was quite technical and rocky.

    Absolutely a favourite!

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  • Have they reinforced the heel sidewall for pronators? That totally affects the life and performance of the shoe for a substantial portion of users. Otherwise, I love the features this brand offers in its products.

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  • Unfortunately, the Timp 2 doesn't work for me. The fit isn't right. I'm a huge fan of the Timp 1.5, but I'm having an issue with a pair I recently put into the rotation... looking for some advice. Both Timps recently starting squeaking with every step. The same thing is happening on one of my Torin 4's! I tried taking the insoles out, as I've found the insoles to be the source of squeaking in the past, but that was not it. I'm about ready to toss them in the trash, I can't listen to squeaking for hours at a time.

    Anyone have any advice??? Is this a thing with Altras??? Thanks!

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    • Joel: I don't have any advice, but I've had the same problem with two different pairs of Timps. I have 5 pairs of Timps in my rotation and two of the pairs (one pair was a Timp 1; one pair was a Timp 1.5) had one shoe per pair that squeaked. It seemed to just go away eventually, and I haven't heard them squeak in awhile.

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      • Kim, thanks for the reply! I'll keep putting miles on them... hopefully the squeaking will go away!

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  • I’m running in the LP 4s and enjoy the midfoot lockdown and traction. I wish there was a tad bit more cushion but it seems like you have to sacrifice traction when choosing the Timp 2. Thoughts on the lockdown in the LP vs the Timp?

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  • Really dislike the new 2. The 1.5 was one of my top three shoes ever. I can’t find it anywhere now. I would pay someone $50 to help me find a Timp 1.5 in size 12.5 or 13. Please email me at Meyers.John.W@gmail.com if you know where I can find a pair and I will paypal or venmo you.

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    • John: there is 12.5, NEW pair on eBay right now. FYI

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  • So what are all of the lovers of the trail timp 1.5 now wearing? I've gone through the 6 pair that I purchased once I learned they were being replaced by the too narrow tt2. Now my neuroma is flaring up and blisters are back. I am so disappointed!! I've had one neuroma surgically removed and really didn't want to have another done. The nice wide tt1 kept me from surgery. Tell me, what are you wearing????

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    • If you haven’t already tried them, have a look at Topo Athletic shoes... my recently purchased MT-3s fit my Hobbit feet quite nicely. Not zero drop like Altras but minimal heel drop. I did have to go up a half size to fit.

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      • I have not tried them but certainly will, you’ve given me hope!

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    • Julie: I really like the Topo Ultraventure. It's what the Timp used to be. And better traction too.

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      • Thank you so much for the response, Kim! Going to look them up now!

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  • Absolutely loved my 2s, just wish the mesh was stronger. Got 432km of hard running on them: mountain, snow, gravel, but it was the wet and mud that destroyed them in 15km. They looked in great condition up to this point, had run them in mud quite a bit before. But wet, technical trails caused a all out failure of the mesh on both sides of the foot for both shoes. Completely separated from the sole for about 2 inches!

    432km isn’t great but it’s not bad either. I also found that the more I ran in them the better they felt. The first 50k was questionable, but every km after they felt more and more comfortable. Width stayed contestant but volume increased.

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  • I understand the toe box is narrower but how is the length of the shoe? How is it compared to a Escalante for instance? Should we get the same size?

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