Altra Timp 3.0 Review [Updated]

A thorough review of the new Altra Timp 3 trail running shoes, from first impressions through to 100kms in and more.
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After continued disappointing experiences with Altra shoes in the last two years (the last pair I loved was the Altra Lone Peak 3.5's), I decided to give the new Altra Timp 3.0's a go. New midsole, new upper, new version number - surely they've got it right (again?).

Here goes.

The trusty old Lone Peak 3.5's. Not what this review is about. Had to stick 'em in though.

First Run Impressions

Trying on, the standard wide toe box fit applies - as with all Altra's. I'm still surprised more shoe companies don't do this. Am I the only one who prefers all that room?

NB: The first run I took them on was perhaps not the most friendly. Super technical trail, rocky, lots of vert - and it was wet. But it was an easy day, so I figured what the heck.

These bad boyz got treated to some viewzzz on their first outing.

Stack Height

The midsole padding (stack height) seems reduced. It's not (at least from the predecessor, the Timp 2.0's). They both sit at a slightly-above-normal of 29mm.

On the first few runs, they feel like new shoes. They're cushy, with good rebound. There is a little bit of ground-feel though - if you concentrate hard enough.

The stack height does mean they're not quite as nimble as the Lone Peak's or Superior's. I found particularly on sharp direction changes and rocky trails, my foot doesn't feel super 'set' in them. Slightly 'topply' is how I'd describe it.

Despite the stack height, though, you do get the odd spiky rock that makes it's way through to your forefoot. I've never had a situation where it's been painful enough for me to squeal, but if you do catch a sharp edge hard enough - you'll know it's there. I guess that's down to the lack of a rock plate. Not complaining, I think I prefer the added flexibility you get out of them, because of the lack of one.

Durability

Two words: Not good. (NB: See end of review for comments from Altra)

Literally ten kay's in and the rubber 'webbing' overlay on the side of the shoes has started to separate from the upper. It is cosmetic for now, as I can't see that rubber having much functional value, but I'll keep an eye on it.

We'll see how far this degrades. Stay tuned.

See the rubber separating. This happened on both sides.

Outer Sole

Super grippy. Seems durable. Not too sticky for tar running. So far, I'm a fan.

If you look close enough, you might be able to spot two pairs of Altra Timp's in this photo.

Upper

A change from the last pair of Timp's (1.5's) I owned, and a change from the last version too (my friend has them). It looks good. Durable but with a bit of breathability. Time will tell on the durability part. I know from my own experience and friends' that the Timp upper does not have a great track record. They tend to rip around the arch of the foot area where the upper meets the midsole.

We shall see!

One other notable is the toe protector. That shit's solid. Ain't gonna hurt kicking any rocks around with that on your team. It even looks gnarly, like they've mixed tiny pieces of stone with the rubber compound to make it look even more bad-ass.

Midsole

I'm excited to see how the new midsole that's featuring in this model and the new Lone Peak 5.0's performs. After a few years of being disappointed with the Altra midsole, I'm hoping that this one brings back some of the Lone Peak 3.5's boogie!

Price

Steep. At R3000.00 landed here in South Africa, thats $200 for a pair of shoes.

Getting on the pricey side there Altra. I think it may also have something to do with the current ZAR-USD exchange rate (but we'll leave that for another discussion).

If they do a 1000km's, that's aound $0.2 every km. (I'm good at maths, I know). So your weekend 30km long run is costing you as much as a good restaurant meal, basically. Though it's way more fun.

100 Kay's In

Here are my impressions after 100 kay's of running in 'em.

First Race

It wasn't really the race for them. 25k, quite technical, mostly trail. I wore 'em anyway. The alternative was a pair of (700km+) Altra Lone Peak 4.5's which have quite a worn outer, and I didn't want to take the chance.

They did well, besides the issue I had with the inner sole, described below.

It was 💦

Wet Conditions

And they were pretty wet.

Grip-wise the shoe performed like a dream. I'm a big fan of the outer. Plenty of grip, and gives you ton's of confidence going downhill.... when you're going in a straight line.

Because I run on a lot of rocky trails, with an outer that is that grippy and a stack height that is slightly higher than normal, if you change direction too quickly the shoe can feel a bit unstable.

One thing I was very disappointed with was the inner sole scrunching up into the front of the shoe after a short amount of descending. Granted, it was quite steep and jarring, and the shoes (by this stage) were soaked through and through. The descent was only +- 200m of elevation drop though. Once the inner had scrunched, there was no way to set them back without taking the shoe off completely.

And then it happened again, on another run in wet conditions. Not stoked. Not sure if it's to be expected or not but I have run in wet conditions in other shoes and other Altra's even and never experienced this before.

I suspect it may be because the interface between the bottom of the inner sole and the bottom of the shoe are both quite slippery foam/rubbery surfaces so when they get wet, it's easy to slide.

Drainage

They drained well, even after some proper river crossings.

Snow

Yup. Took 'em in the snow.

The South African Chamonix...

Okay, okay pipe down all you American's and Europeans and everyone else who always get's snow. We very seldom do down here in sunny South Africa, so it's always worth a mention.

So, how'd they do? Well, okay... I think?

Not much of a reference point there. They were grippy and felt stable. I only slipped and landed on my butt once, but I don't think that was the shoes' fault.

Durability

Not good news on this front. The rubber part on the inside of the upper has gotten worse.

The issue seems to have extended down to where the upper is sewn into the midsole. I am not sure how long these shoes will last.

Important to note that I do run in a rocky area, with lots of up and down. The Timp's are not my chosen weapon for technical trail running (most of the time).

I suspect they would really shine if you are doing a lot of gravel track running. The kind I imagine Jim trains on around Flagstaff.

The Timp's bogey seems to be the upper.

[Update] I got hold of Altra about this. They confirmed that it was a factory defect with this pair, and something they were aware of. Apparently the issue is fairly isolated, and doesn't warrant a recall of the model. They have very kindly agreed to swap 'em out.

Which leads me to my next point...

Customer Service

I reached out to my local Altra agent with this issue. He was super apologetic and helpful.

It is much easier to stomach any durability concerns when you know the company is producing products that are meant to work, but sometimes don't. They'll acknowledge their mistakes, and rectify them where possible.

Midsole

One of my gripe's with my last few pairs of Altra's has been how the midsole basically collapsed and lost any sort of energy-return capabilities beyond the 250km/300km mark.

Although I'm not there yet, I haven't noticed any drop in rebound or that distinct, sinking feeling of 'flatness'.

The Plan

I'll keep running in this pair until I have to send them back to Altra. I'll keep most of it as non-technical as possible and see how they hold up. Hopefully I can get to the 'half-life' mark of about 400km before I send them back. That's generally a good indicator of how they're going to perform beyond that mark too.

300km's In

I just ticked over the 300km-run mark in these Timp's yesterday. I figured it was about time I updated all of yah on how the shoes are holding up.

Frankly - I didn't expect them to hold up this long, given the durability issues I faced early on.

PS: Altra have confirmed that this pair is defective and they have given me a replacement, so bare that in mind whenever I make any comments about durability.

First Real Long Run

My first long run in them was more of a hike/run than a pure run. It was a good mix though. It started with 21km (1100m+ elevation gain) in about 2 hours. It included hiking, fast jeep track, and technical single track downhill.

I was impressed. I never once found the shoes lacking.

But, the real test on any shoes' long-run ability comes after you hit the 3hr+ mark.

The next section of the long run was with someone who was 70km into their adventure and needed some support for the next 30km. It was pretty slow going.

The overall length was about 50km, and took just over 7 hours. The total climbing was 2760m elevation gain.

The last 12km of run was an interesting test for shoes that have 5hrs+ in them. It's a 3km climb over about 800m+ elevation gain. The last 1.5km of that is steep, loose and rocky. The descent comes back down the same path, and then onto a tar road for the last 6km. Very runnable.

The first time I noticed any soreness/pain in my feet was when we hit the tar. This was 6 hours into the run, with lots of technical, rocky running and climbing. The soreness was dull, and almost certainly just down to the fact that I hadn't spent that much time on my feet in a while.

Overall - the shoes held up super well. They handled literally every running condition possible, and I finished the run with my legs feeling relatively chipper. I think that extra midsole padding really does the trick when things start getting lengthy.

I was impressed with how they kept their rebound, too. I actually noted on the road section how springy they still felt.

Flat Running

There was about a 100km period where I did a lot of running on some relatively flat and non-technical trails.

The shoes felt really at home on this type of terrain. It's quite sandy and a bit loose at times, but I felt they were super grippy, and super comfy.

Anyone looking to run these shoes on hard-pack jeep or gravel track, I think they would excel.

Construction Comments

Durability

Surprisingly, things haven't actually deteriorated much from the initial rubber-separation that I mentioned above.

I can see signs that the upper material is starting to deteriorate where the rubber has pulled away. I am not sure whether that is because the rubber overlay is not there to protect it from any rock-gashes, or whether it's from the rubber overlay pulling away and the glue actually ripping/tearing the material.

Other than what I've mentioned here, though, the shoes have held up well.

Midsole

It was at about the 300km mark on my last pair of Lone Peak 4.5's that the midsole of the shoe started to go super flat and get that dreaded 'dead pancake' feeling.

These have not gone flat at all, and if anything they're more comfortable than when I first bought them, after being worn in a bit.

Outer Sole

The outer is showing no signs of lacking any grip. I think the rubber compound is quite hard, so rock-hopping when they're wet is sometimes a bit tricky.

On the hard-pack - absolutely perfect.

General Fit

One of my previous bug-bears with Altra's have been how you have to constantly tighten them up as they get older and the upper stretches.

So far, none of that. Good news.

Summary

Here it is, in a much shorter format.

PS: This will keep getting updated as I run in them more.

Would I Buy?

In truth, I made the mistake of buying this model of shoes, knowing what the next few months of running held for me.

I think if I was running majority on this type of surface:

  • Hard pack,
  • Gravel,
  • Not super technical,
  • Long distances, then...

I would buy them.

If you're doing more technical running, they're probably not your best bet.

In 3 Sentences

Great over long distances.

Midsole held up well, which is refreshing.

Not for technical running.

Rating

⭐️ 3/5 [100km's in]

⭐️ 3.8/5 [300km's in]

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