New Shoe Alert: Altra HIIT XT
Now that CrossFit is a household name, shoe companies are paying attention to what the sport demands. Altra Running is one of those companies. Full disclosure, I had never heard of Altra until my buddy Ralph from Classic City Running in Buford, GA asked me to test the new HIIT XT. Ralph knows I’m a faithful Inov-8 lover and have been for 7 years, and that every time I veer from my beloved brand I come right back to it. (And yes, I’ve tried several different Nanos and Metcons.) So here’s my thorough review of the Altra HIIT XT:
Design and Feel:
My favorite feature is the wider toe box – it’s sculpted like a foot and the sole is firm and tough. A sole like that needs wiggle room in the toe box or else your foot starts to be annoyed by the shoe. My toes were happy inside because they had plenty of room. This is a feature I didn’t even realize I needed. There’s no fatigue at the widest part of the foot from a harder sole in the Altra HIIT XT – and that’s because of the roomy toe box.
The shoe itself is zero drop. It doesn’t necessarily look that way from the outside, but when you put them on you feel it. It’s got good arch support, but if you don’t want or need that you can take out the removable sole and the stack height will drop from 24mm to 18mm. The biggest difference in feeling here is that your foot is deeper in the shoe.
Durability and Performance:
These babies stood up to rope climbs no problem and I get the impression they’ll last a long time. I was intentionally rough on them. Two weeks later and there’s no sign of wear and tear.
Performance wise I have a ton of pros. I felt extremely stable in the Olympic lifts. The heel is solid and there was no fluctuation in the sole on cleans, snatches, and all the accessory work between. My jerks and overhead squats felt solid. Powerlifts? No brainer. They’re flat and firm. Sled drags and pushes? Solid. Weighted lunges and box jumps? Felt stable. I even did a kickboxing class in them and left happy.
They are fantastic when it comes to lifting, assuming you have the proper ankle mobility to squat at depth. If you’re having a hard core lift session and you struggle with ankle mobility, break out those lifters because as I mentioned before, zero drop.
So how are they for running? Here’s my only con – and it’s not even really a con, more like an observation. Short distances like we do in CrossFit? Great! But if you are going out and running a 5k you’ll probably want a running shoe that has a more forgiving sole. However, for CrossFit, where we switch from running to lifting possibly a couple hundred pounds at a time and require sole stability, this shoe holds it’s own.
Is the Altra HIIT XT a top pick?
Yes! If you’re in the market for a new CrossFit shoe definitely put these on your consideration list. They are priced at $99.99, making them a great value when compared to some of the bigger brands.
And go see Ralph at Classic City! They’re located in the Toys ‘R Us shopping center near the Mall of Georgia. Tell him Amanda Greaver from CrossFit Goat sent you.