Altra Golden Spike


Finally I got my hands on these epic track spikes. No, I am not a materialist, neither I am sponsored. I have been just looking for a pair of shoes, what are relatively light, grip very well and most importantly do not squeeze my feet. The zero drop profile is an extra, but either ways, most track spikes are dead flat, regardless it was Nike or Saucony.

The review is over ! No, not completely, but there is not much to say about a track shoe. If it fits your feet and runs well, that is nicely done !

 

This is just to show how my feet are and how I would like a shoe to look like. I hate when my big toe is pushed inwards, and hate having black toenails on 2nd to little toe because of chaffing. 99% of all track shoes are made crazy narrow. You cannot even push off with your whole feet, while loosing power ! 

Weight

The shoe weighs 139grams what is a very ideal training weight. For racing, you want a bit lighter around 95 to 110grams, but the purpose of a training shoe outside of performance is durability. The shoe must be holding up to the constant sheer and torque applied. Track running looks smooth and light on their feet runners just glide through the air. Actually it is the opposite. Like F1 car racing. It seams like cars are accelerating and breaking, and shooting out, without much effort. Inspite of this, the teams change tires very often ! The material what is in contact with the ground, is the number one performance factor ! In running, in cycling, in F1 racing ! Make too big, too little, too soft, too grippy, not enough grippy, too heavy, too light and you’re not gonna be performing as previewed.

Cushioning

Well, we can say it is a cushioned shoe. However only in the case, if you used to be running on track spikes, what were basically an insole on top of a plastic plate. I feel a little bit of power loss while running 100s and 200s, but over 400m I really appreciate the very little extra. When edging out a 6 by a mile session, you’ll gonna notice definitely the difference.

Sole Purpose

This is not a purist track shoe at all. If you disregarded the wide toebox and the zero drop platform, you would put it into the beginner’s start-out category, like the Saucony Kilkenny XC for instance.

Thinking it out more wisely it serves the opposite purpose. Instead of a carbon or plastic propulsion plate, the shoe is super flexible, even in the spike area. This makes your feet work how it was intended to. You must be having a strong and developed lower limb !
The rubbery outsole together with the flexibility makes the shoe performing excellently well on all terrains. This includes track and field, golf course type and technical cross country racing, vertical KM races and the popular in France snow-trail races. We have a great tradition of snow-trail series. No it is not run with snow-shoes, but an actual trail running race.

Because of the flexibility and the lack of real hard plate under the forefoot, the shoe can handle road brilliantly too. Without the spikes of course.

I am not sure why, but this is my second pair of Golden Spikes and it arrived with no spikes at all ! I think Altra should follow the example of other brands, by placing at least 2 sets of 2 lengths of spikes like 9 and 12mm, with spike-key. I had some regular wrench-in 9mm spikes, but for instance that Flat-Wrench spike system is better. Should be included.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 09.20.51

There is a glued in removable insole! Don’t take it off and don’t wash the shoe in a machine as it might come off !

Upper

Big problem here. It is a high-end textile/plastic mesh. It breathes extremely well and wicks away moisture, what is epic ! I mean it keeps your feet dry as nothing else. However it has a lot of hotspots on bare feet and feels like, that a lot of rubbing is going on. It is 100% only-with-sock shoe. It doesn’t disturb me, but this is my very first track shoe, that I must wear with socks on. No slipping or performance loss is experienced, but I’d prefer with no socks.

I absolutely love and highly rate the gusseted tongue ! Cannot see this in many track shoes, but it hugely increases comfort, performance and stability !

I did not find any issues of slippage, but as toe off goes, I think a 6th external front spike in the upper line would give a better adherence. Especially on the left shoe ! I run the track in both directions for health reasons, so an asymmetric shoe is not an option for me, like the hoka track spikes, but at least a 6th spike in both left and right shoes would help.

Golden Spike Sizing

Runs true to Altra. I downsized a half from all my regular shoes. Went with the UK11.5 instead of my UK12s. I used to be running in 11s on the track, but now as time goes by, I need more comfort, more toe splay and more natural feeling. Time goes by, I don’t mean necessarily ageing, but more likely experience.

European sizing went crazy however. Do not order these shoes in European size ! Follow your UK or US Guidelines ! Altra UK11.5 is 47 ! For Golden Spikes it is marked 45.5 ! I am not sure where is this confusion coming from !

I did my research, read all the reviews and many people complaining about sizing issues. In my opinion, if your initial shoe size was correct, having 1,5cm of gap between toe-bumper and longest toe, ordering true US/UK size or half under should be very fine. Better get into a store and try it on !

Verdict

Epic shoe from Altra. If you wanted to go more natural with a wider toebox and a flatter platform, while still keeping performance aspects, this is the shoe for you. It needs some adaptation time as flatness and flexibility goes, but once it’s done, you are good to go.

I am a big fan of VFFs, Altra, Trail-Gloves and more, so I am a little biased. Biased towards healthy foot function.

Categories: Gear Review, running, Sports ScienceTags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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