Using a generous coupon code, I bought a pair of Altra Adams the week they were released. I looked forward to them on paper, being the correct weight and flexibility that I was looking for in a road shoe (or at least a training shoe).
When I unboxed the Adams, the first thing I did was roll them up. This might be a useful figure of merit in terms of minimalism “how small can I roll them up?”. These are about 2.75” in diameter when rolled up - VERY flexibile. (see pics below)
- The soles are very similar to the original Vibram five fingers. They have the ‘micro slits’ in them that increase the contact surface when the sole is flexed. This provides great wet surface performance and is acceptable dirt and large rock surfaces, but is not suitable for muddy trails. The Adams could be worn on less technical trails, but bear in mind that they are not “trail shoes” in the common use of the term, given their slipperiness when wet and the fact that they have no no rock or sole protection.
- The upper is a thin mesh, which is elastic, breathable, not insulating, and allows water to pass right through. These shoes dry out very quickly.
- The Adams lace with two Velcro straps. The top strap is around the shoe opening which works very well at pulling the heel/achilles part of the shoe snugly to your heel. There is a second strap in the form of a “v” over the metatarsal heads. This strap is pretty useless for me. If i cinch it down, it hurts my foot. The “pulley” on this strap is hard plastic and digs into my little toe’s knuckle - not good. That plastic piece also digs into my foot when using a rowing machine - which is important in Crossfitting and endurance training on nasty weather days.
- The elasticized upper and the top Velcro strap gave me the fit I wanted. The shoe will slide a little laterally when doing warm ups that include running sideways, or shuttle runs - but it’s not bad, they normally self-correct in one to two steps.
- The toe box is nice and wide. Toes splay on foot landing and are not limited by the shoe.
- My first run was seven miles and I had no issues with hot spots or blistering. The Adam is a good shoe that engages my foot muscles.
- There are complaints that one’s toenails will catch on the upper’s seam between rubber and mesh. I do not have this problem, I think size choice is crucial to mitigate this.
- Footprint: you’ll notice that if you step in water your footprints look like a bare foot - this is a good indicator of the ground feel you’ll experience.
- Ground feel? You’ll be able to tell the difference between a nickel and a quarter.
- Got webbed toes or don’t like looking like a muppet? Get these instead of the basic Vibram Five Fingers.
- New to minimalistic footwear? The Adams could be a great running/walking shoe for you - don’t make the mistake of getting transition shoes, go for this puppy right away.
- Uncomfy second strap, may have fit issues for some
- Excellent ground feel.