The new smart shoes from Altra


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Altra (a relatively new manufacturer on the market, operating since 2009) has introduced an even more special model than we are used to, the Altra IQBut for those of you who don't know the brand, I think it would be best if you first knew what they do and how they came to be on the market, so that you could learn a little more about their philosophy and how they understand the shoes.

Altra Running

Altra was born from a small store in the United States. There, Golden Harper, the founder of Altra, used to modify the shoes he sold in his father's store. He separated the sole of the shoe by putting it in a toaster and eliminated the heel elevation to lower the shoe's drop. Thus was born the concept of "Zero Drop"The heel and forefoot are at the same height with respect to the ground.

Golden tried to sell the idea to numerous brands (Nike among others), receiving the refusal of all those brands to which the idea was presented. Finally, after two years of in-house development, they managed to create the first non-drop and cushioned sneakers in history.

How can the absence of drop benefit us? As there is no different elevation between the heel and forefoot, it makes the movements more natural, just as if we were running barefoot. It also makes it possible to reduce the force of the initial impact. Basically, it promotes the ability to adopt a better running technique.

In addition to this important detail, the front of the shoe is also different from the others, as the toe area is wider, allowing more freedom and comfort.

Altra IQ, the first intelligent and connected shoe

The Altra IQ has sensors built into the midsole of the shoe that allow you to obtain data on how you are running; such as which part of the foot you are landing on when running, if the impact is stronger on one leg than on another or if one foot lands more in the middle than the other, decompensating your running. In short, the different sensors inside the shoe are capable of detecting a series of biomechanics of the race, information that is sent in real time via Bluetooth, facilitating analysis and suggestions for possible improvements instantly.

This constant feedback will allow you to alter the way you run to find a better running efficiency, being able to carry higher rhythms or keep up with the pace but for longer, simply because your energy consumption will be lower.

But this is not the only thing he records, there are other metrics he is also able to identify:

  • Career timing
  • Ground contact time
  • Initial zone of contact with the ground (heel, half foot or toe)
  • Left-right stride balance
  • Specific pressure of each foot
  • Rhythm
  • Weather
  • Distance

All this information is sent to the mobile application (Android or iOS) or to a specific iFit clock, where we will have all the details of how we are running, along with suggestions for improving our running technique.

Altra IQ Mobile


The Altra IQ has a replaceable CR2032 button cell. The sensors, transmitters and battery only add about 13 grams per shoe, so lightness is still a very important factor in their design. As for the durability of the sensors, they have been tested in the laboratory to withstand a minimum of 600 miles (about 1,000 km) which, I don't know in your case, but in mine and with my weight is the approximate duration of a pair of shoes, being optimistic.

The end result is that the Altra IQ acts as a coach who can give you advice on your running while you're training or after you've trained, and you'll have details beyond traditional metrics as, for example, with the IQ you'll know if you land harder on one foot than the other (and that's why you have knee discomfort).

Altra IQ, availability and price

Altra hopes to bring the IQ to market in spring 2016, at a recommended price of $199 in the U.S. So we can think of a similar equivalency for Spain, at 199. You can buy through its website or in specialized shops, since Altra has officially arrived in Spain.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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