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Awesome Altra Shoes : Womens Provision 2.5 Review

Altra Running Shoes

Altra Provision 2.5 Womens Courtesy of

I suspected that I’d love Altra shoes and I was right. I first wrote about them in July, introducing them to readers who need extra cushioning for bad feet, knees or back. As I researched the brand, the phrase FootShape™ toe box caught my attention. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want a shoe is shaped like an actual foot? Granted, our feet differ one from another like snowflakes, but most are wider at the forefoot and narrower at the heel. Mine sure are with bunions at the front and plantar fasciitis at the back. Good times.

Once I laced up my new Altra shoes (the Provision 2.5 model), the FootShape™ toe box introduced itself immediately to my toes by promising, “I’ll protect you but I won’t be clingy. I’ll hover around you, but you won’t really know I’m there.” Just what my arthritis-compromised toes needed to hear. Previous fitness shoes had started to get too friendly causing discomfort in exercise-induced situations. The toes felt cramped and suffocated. Not so in their new Altra Provision 2.5 shoes as they spread out and relax during long walks (that’s right, I wear these as walking shoes because running is a no-no for my RA knees).

Do they look like clown shoes? I was totally expecting to look like Bozo, but find they’re not as wide and clunky looking as I thought they’d be. Read more about Altra’s FootShape™ toe box here. For those of you with Morton’s Neuroma, you need to look into this brand!

Altra Shoes

The Altra Provision 2.5 is a Stability Shoe

What about my arches? I was worried that the Altra Provision 2.5 couldn’t possibly match my Asics in the arch support department. But this particular style is billed as a stability shoe.  The Provision 2.5 is made to support fallen arches and prevent over-pronation. The technical feature that promotes this stability is called Stabilipod Stability System™ which is best described as enhanced pillars on the midsole and outsole that create a tripod of stability at the metatarsal joints and heel to prevent excessive pronation. So far, so good. Even on my long walks, my feet feel aligned and arches supported.

Altra shoes feature a fully cushioned Zero Drop™ platform which means my heel and forefoot are on the same level–no one gets elevated to a superior position, everyone is the same distance from the ground. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a runner, but Altra believes that “this natural balance aligns the feet, back and body posture for less impact. It also strengthens the Achilles and lower calf muscles that have been weakened over a lifetime of running on elevated heels.” It didn’t take long for my feet to get used to the zero drop platform. In fact, I hardly noticed the difference until I but my Asics on this morning and felt like I was walking in wedges! I guess my feet had already adjusted to their new level walking experience.

Yes, Altra specializes in running shoes, but if you’re a walker like me due to bad knees, ankles or feet, this shoe might be just what you need. The cushioning in the ball-of-foot area and heel help alleviate the pain of metatarsalgia, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma.

A few more features I’ve noticed when wearing my Provisions: they’re incredibly lightweight for a stability shoe, they breathe well, there aren’t any annoying seams to irritate bunions, AND the laces are awesome–I don’t even have to double-tie them to get them to stay put.

A word on sizing: I’m usually a 10 medium, but sometimes take a 9.5. I requested the Altra Provision 2.5 in a 10 and it fits well. If you’re a half size, you may want to order up to the next whole size. While it’s wide in the toe box, it narrows at the midfoot and heel which for me works perfectly. I don’t experience any heel slippage.

The Altra Provision 2.5 is available in whole and half sizes 5.5-11, 12 for $120 at with free shipping and a 30 day guarantee (read more here for specifics). Prefer to try a pair on before buying? See Altra’s store locator to find a retailer near you. Even if you don’t need stability shoes, Altra offers neutral, trail and everyday footwear too–see them all! The Provision 2.5 and other Altra models are also available at Zappos, Amazon and

Do you have a pair of Altra shoes? Do you wear them for running or walking? Which style do you have? Leave us a comment and provide feedback; it’s greatly appreciated by the Barking Dog community.

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31 Responses to Awesome Altra Shoes : Womens Provision 2.5 Review

  1. Mandy says:

    I love Altras. I wear the Intuition but for my next pair, I might check out the Provisions. I have MN & struggled to find comfortable hiking shoes. I ended up buying the Lone Peak (Neoprene version) which is one of their trailing running shoes. I’m hoping they will also double as running shoes for snowy/icy conditions. Glad you found Altra–they are a great brand!

  2. Lynn says:

    I bought a pair of Intuition on clearance after you brought this brand to my attention. I normally buy a wide shoe for my forefoot, but then the heels slip. These fit perfectly. The zero drop has improved my running form and the cushioning has improved my running comfort. They do look a little odd, but I like them so much I couldn’t care less.

  3. Christine says:

    I agree completely with your review of these shoes, they are awesome! I have the Altra Olympus model (still zero drop) and use them as walking shoes also. I have two Morton’s Neuromas in my right foot and these give me plenty of room and no pressure on the forefoot. I replace the insole with a sports insole Sole sport insoles from REI, to give me a bit more structured support. I will maybe try the Provision 2.5 as I need a new pair soon, and I love the pink! I wear a size 11 and have often had to buy men’s sized shoes, so when there’s girly colors available, I love it!!

  4. Amanda says:

    My feet felt really good despite not sizing up for my orthotic. But I notice after two months of walking in my Altra intuitions the fabric on the back of the heels is wearing thin. I figure this is because my orthotics lift my heel up slightly. So my heels isn’t where the manufacturers intend for it to be. No blisters though. I think I’ll try the provisions next and see if I’m fine without the orthotics. I still really love these sneakers. The toe box shape is such a keeper!!!

    • Alison says:

      I have this same problem with all of the Altras I’ve had (4 so far). This happens with and without my insoles.

    • Marie says:

      I found when I switched to Altra that I no longer needed my orthodics–the shoes got rid of all my foot issues. You may want to try going without.

  5. M Pamela Garton says:

    Hi Kristin! I just bought my first pair of Altra’s and got the Provision 2.5 after reading your reviews on them. I found a store, Running Zone, that carries these so I was able to go and try them out…I usually wear 9 to 9.5 depending on the shoe itself and found that size 9 fit me better than 9.5 and let me tell you! I thought I was walking on air with these! I have severe arthritis in my feet with Hallux Limitus(spelling) and love to walk so I am very very excited to get going on these! The indentation near the mid to top of shoe is weird but heck! I don’t care! If my feet are happy, the rest of me is too!! Thank you for this feet saving blog!!

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      Thank you for leaving this comment! I’m glad you found a store near you that sells Altra. It does help to try them before buying. They truly are wonderful shoes for problem feet. So they don’t aggravate your hallux limitus? Must be that nice thick outsole that keeps toe joint from over-flexing.

  6. Barbara Hoffman says:

    Do you have a catalog? If so, I would be happy to get one.

  7. cedar says:

    Kirsten, since this model is a stability shoe, not a neutral shoe, is the stabilizing design quite pronounced, or slight? I usually go with neutral, but for a little bit of over pronation, I could give them a try. (but not if they’re for under pronation)
    Thank you!

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      Cedar, I don’t it doesn’t feel like a typical motion control shoe. Do you have a pair of Vionics? The arches are so aggressive, they can actually cause pain. Not so in Altras.

      • cedar says:

        Yes, I totally agree about Vionics! Thank you so much for your reply. Happy Labor Day.
        I’m looking forward to your next boot review…..feeling Fall-ish……

  8. CC says:

    I absolutely love the Altas! The Torin 2.0 were introduced to my feet after spending the whole summer looking for walking shoes that would not kill my hammertoe. Box after box from zappos was returned. I tried so many sneakers and most hurt and rubbed against my toe. The Altas are not only comfortable but because of the wide toe box and flexible top they feel great on my feet. I have been walking this past week around a big city totally enjoying the vacation without worrying about my feet. Many thanks for the review! And hope you will do more reviews on dressier and/or shoes for work that can accommodate hammertoes and bunions!

    • Pm Weizenbaum says:

      I totally agree with CC: Please, please point us to dressier/work shoes! I’ve got Morton’s toe, and my left (larger) foot is starting to really scream at me.

      • Meg says:

        Lems have wide toe boxes and leather options like their 9 to 5’s and Mariners depending on what you’re looking for.

  9. M Pamela says:

    Hi Kristin I wore the Altra’s sneakers today and have to tell you that I was sort of disappointed…while walking with these, the ball of my foot began to bother me and I never had problems with the ball of my foot. My Hallux Limitus wasn’t bothered as much, I tolerated it…my toes were all in heaven though with the comfort of room and cushion!
    I wore my Hoka one one and loved those so much better for walking especially long distance walking. I will keep my Altra’s for working out in the gym and walking in town and Hoka for long distance walking.

  10. Erica says:

    I am beyond grateful to you for introducing me to this brand this summer. I have been able to start walking again, which my feet haven’t been to handle in a really long time. The limitations that go along with the severe RA progression can be so frustrating so it feels amazing to have found a way to feel less pain and increase my exercise. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  11. Carol Saxton says:

    Looking for shoes with deep toe box for hammer toes.
    Have been wearing Mephisto sandals,wonderful.
    Now need some for fall/ winter.I am 78yrs age,need them for stability,no heels.
    Thank you for your time

  12. Alison says:

    I’ve written here about Altras before, just wanted to say I’m glad you found them. The Olympus 2.0 are my favorite, as they have a more durable, Vibram sole. I wear them for running, long walks, and hikes (done up to 7 miles, at a time, no issues). My PF is not eradicated, but these shoes do not make it flame up.

    One negative thing about Altras I have found, which Amanda mentioned above — the material inside, at the ankle, wears out quickly. For all the Altras I’ve had (4 total) this was the case — less than 3 months after using them (and not everyday!) I found the material had broken down. It doesn’t seem to cause much irritation to my ankle, but it seems that Altra needs to improve its quality in some of the components of its shoes.

  13. Lucia Hicks says:

    Mine arrived today and I agree that the tope box is great! I am trying them out walking around my bedroom. I am concerned because I feel a bit knock-kneed in them. Am hoping this is something I won’t notice after a while because I need these shoes. Narrow in heel, wide in fron, cushioned, etc.

  14. Angela says:

    Does anyone know if these shoes can worsen knee pain? I love my Torins because they relieved my Morton’s neuroma. A couple of months after my knees started giving me more problems. Just wondering if you had any reports on this subject! Thanks

  15. Angela says:

    Thank you for the link and thank you for the blog!

  16. Sandy Nickerson says:

    I see that Altra has moved on to the Women’s Provision 3.0. Have you had a chance to look at them, yet? I know some changes are not necessarily better, and want to make sure they are still really good.

    I have the Torin 2.5, which are so comfortable! I just wish they had a better arch.
    I have the Intuition Everyday, which I love. I wanted that toebox in a shoe that I could wear around in Winter. SO comfortable. The only thing with them is the back of the shoe doesn’t come up as far as most. I wasn’t sure haw they would work, but I found they were fine. I also would love a bit more arch, but not everyone’s fall.

  17. Gail McNamara says:

    I have trouble finding a walking/hiking shoe because the second toe on my right foot is longer than my big toe. I am so frustrated trying to find a shoe that will take care of this problem. I would appreciate any suggestions. I am leaving on a trip to Ireland soon and need something to accommodate my problem toe. Thank you.

  18. Joan says:

    I recently went from Brooks Dyad 8 to the new 9 which was not as wide in toe box so found Altra Torins but I need a carbon graphite plate with Mortons Extension for Hallux Rigidus under a Aetrex innersole for some arch support as Altras not great in arch. After only 2 mo found the plate had completely worn through fabric on side of shoe as there is nothing much there being a zero drop shoe. Actually it took a few weeks to even fit the innersole on top of plate as there is not a lot of room. Maybe another model works better for HR plus a dorsal bunion(that is bump at base of big toe with bone spurs) but the toe box is great just too expensive a shoe to only last a couple months. Any suggestions? JJ

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      Joan–I’ve heard from more than a few people about durability issues with Altra. Disappointing. What about the Mizuno Wave Inspire 13? From what I read the toe box is wide and roomy and could hopefully accommodate the mortons extension–more arch support than Altra too.

  19. laura says:

    Thank you for your informative about Altra’s Provision 2.5. I am diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma on the left foot & plantar fasciitis on the right foot. I read your article & decided to purchase the Provision 2.5….WOW! What a wonderful shoe & relief for my aching feet. I jog two to three times a week and these shoes are a miracle for my MN. I currently wearing a size 12 in women’s shoe and find it difficult to find my size. I also noticed that Altra changed to a 3.0 Provision, I decided to purchase them, but noticed they are not as comfortable as the 2.5. Do you think that writing to Altra to bring back or produce more 2.5 shoes???

  20. Colleen says:

    I switched from Hoka’s to Altra a couple of years ago and loved the comfort. The wide toe box was recommended due to foot issues. But I noticed intense hamstring and severe knee pain after about 1 1/2 years. I don’t know if it is due to shoes or not. I am back to Hoka’s now for about 2 months and pain seems to be lessening. Hoka’s are not nearly as comfortable. Has anyone else experienced this?

  21. Donna says:

    Hi Kirsten,
    Thank fir the info on the Altra! In the past, you also mentioned another brand of sneaker that has a longer footbed. I think it started with an “M.” Do you remember which one that was? And, do you have a list of footwear with longer footbeds? I am a women’s size 12 but they sometimes run too small. Right now I’m mainly wearing men’s 11’s since they seem to have a longer footbed, they’re just too long.

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