The Altra Solstice Is the Chameleon of Lightweight Running Shoes

The Altra Solstice Is the Chameleon of Lightweight Running Shoes

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Altra Solstice

MATT RAINEY

Price: $90
Weight: 7.7 oz (M), 6.4 oz (W)
Type: Road
The Right Shoe For: Runners who want to be fleet on their feet and soar like a gazelle

Whether you’re racing a 10K, doing 400-meter intervals at the track, or strength training at the gym, the Altra Solstice is the chameleon of lightweight running shoes. This form-fitting neutral road shoe is perfect for runners who want to go the minimalist route—heavier than Altra’s Vanish-R, a true racing flat, but still extra light for runners to turn on the speed—or for racers mixing up their training with track workouts and tempo runs.

Tests at the Runner’s World Shoe Lab show the Solstice to be exceptionally thin and firm, but it found favor among weartesters, especially earning a high score for its fit. Testers recognized the shoe’s functionality—a lightweight racer and trainer—and understood the shoe’s sacrifice in cushioning and stability for agility.

Altra Solstice
A firm midsole enhances energy return.

MATT RAINEY

Midsole

The Solstice doesn’t offer much in the way of cushioning, but runners were willing to trade in softness for speed. Testers found the shoe to feel fast and efficient on runs, with great energy return. “Cushioning is for couches and pillows, but in a running shoe I prefer a firm responsive ride,” commented one tester. With that said, runners new to minimal shoes may feel a little extra fatigue in their legs on longer distances.

Our shoe lab found the Solstice to have few, if any, stability features, but then again, as a neutral lightweight road shoe that’s built for speedwork, stability isn’t expected. As one tester simply put it: “They aren’t those kind of shoes.”

Outsole

The Solstice is basically a track shoe without the spikes; the zero-dropplatform and lightweight EVA outsole helps runners move swiftly as they cover ground. But runners should take heed when the roads are slick. “Traction is a bit compromised on wet surfaces,” said a tester.

Altra Solstice
The Solstice has a roomy toe box and friction-free upper.

Upper

Altra’s goal in launching the Solstice was to make a lightweight shoe not confined to the road or track. Like Clark Kent and Superman, the Solstice can transition from racing flat to everyday shoe. Ranked highly for fit by our weartesters, the shoe was reported to have no friction points, and runners favored its roomy toe box. Said one tester: “A perfect all-around sneaker for all occasions, running to casual to gym and everything in between.”

All the Stats You Need!

Men’s

  • Weight: Very Light | 7.7 oz
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Low | 1.2 mm
  • Heel Height: Low | 24.7 mm
  • Heel Cushioning: Very Firm
  • Forefoot Height: Low | 23.5 mm
  • Forefoot Cushioning: Moderate
  • Flexibility: Very Stiff
  • Stability Features: Few
  • Energy Return: Moderate

Women’s

  • Weight: Very Light | 6.4 oz
  • Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Low | 1.5 mm
  • Heel Height: Low | 24.3 mm
  • Heel Cushioning: Very Firm
  • Forefoot Height: Low | 22.9 mm
  • Forefoot Cushioning: Moderate
  • Flexibility: Stiff
  • Stability Features: Few
  • Energy Return: Moderate

We put each shoe through real-world usage and a battery of mechanical tests in our lab to provide you with objective—and exclusive—data. In addition to measuring a shoe’s weight, we measure sole thickness (everything that sits between your foot and the road), how well the foam cushions your stride, and the flexibility of the forefoot. All this is taken into account in our reviews of each shoe.

[“Source-runnersworld”]