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Altra has long been known as a brand that focuses on foot health and a more natural run with their products. As the ‘Super Shoe’ era began with shoes that look less like feet, Altra continued to make shoes that fit in with their belief on foot function and health. In an industry of copycat tactics, Altra felt it was important to honor their heritage.
After many years and much anticipation, Altra is finally entering the carbon plate game with the debut of the Vanish Carbon. Altra had over 18 prototypes that they put through rigorous testing with differing foams, stack heights and multiple sized carbon fiber plates.
It was essential that Altra could bring a super shoe to market that represented their core values. Altra's challenge was to take their squishy yet resilient Ego Pro midsole and balance it with an inherent amount of stability with a unique carbon fiber plate that allows for your foot to strike naturally. Another uniquely Altra feature is that while some ‘super shoes’ offer benefits to few, the Vanish Carbon distributes benefit to a wider audience of users.
Check out what our wear testers thought of the Altra Vanish Carbon.
HEEL TO TOE OFFSET: 0mm
WEIGHT: 6.2 oz / 176 g women's, 7.3 oz / 206 g men's
USE: Road Running, Racing
SURFACE: Road, track
*PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE SAMPLES AND NOT PRODUCTION PAIRS*
This shoe epitomizes comfort. A very light and thin upper, a protective yet unobtrusive tongue, plenty of room in the toebox and a significantly wide platform. The upper has plenty of coverage but with extreme breathability (probably the best I've ever felt), and a stretchy consistency which aids the "hug your foot" feeling.
The cushioning on the Altra Vanish Carbon is divine. Striking a perfect balance between responsive and soft. This is definitely a shoe that will preserve the legs and feet, but isn't mushy. It has that signature dynamic feel letting you know you're in a super shoe as soon as you start your run.
As aforementioned, this shoe is on the shorter side. If you're on the end of a size, I'd recommend going a half-size up. (recommendation could change in production)
I was initially worried because the toebox is baggy on top for me, but I ended up having no problems as the midfoot is very secure so I didn't notice the toebox at all while running. The heel cup has just a small amount of cushioning, subtly providing comfort. The heel real forms around your foot so I had no problems with the heel slipping or rubbing. I typically wear size 7.5 to 8 (although I have never worn altras), but the 8.5 fit me perfectly in terms of length. The tongue is very thin and stays in place well.
These shoe provide plenty of cushioning and make my steps feel springy. I would say the cushioning is medium firm.
I typically wear a size 7.5 to 8 and the 8.5 in these fit perfectly. I possibly could have worn size 8, but had not problems with the 8.5.
Given the wider platform and toebox, this shoe has an inherent stability. I do tend to pronate a little bit, and I didn't have any issues in this shoe.
This shoe felt quite stable to me. Despite the baggy toebox, the midfoot and heal locked down my foot well and made it feel secure.
I'd recommend the Altra Vanish Carbon to anyone for up to a FAST half-marathon. This thing can 100% tackle a marathon, but if you're running your first I might take something a LITTLE softer. But if you're a seasoned runner, you can easily take this to a marathon and be fine. I've even taken this shoe out for longer, slower miles and felt totally fine. If you don't mind wearing a super-shoe down with daily miles this sucker will be calling to you.
I would mainly recommend the vanish carbon for tempo runs and racing. I wore these for a half-marathon time trial and they felt great. I think they would work well for a 5k or 10k race as well. They are very responsive and make every step feel lighter.
In comparison to other super-shoes, this shoe has kind of landed in a spot of it's own. If anything I'd say it feels like a wider Endorphin Pro 2. A tad bit softer. Another comparable shoe would be the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite, but with a slightly higher stack. The stack is not as soft as the RC Elite 2, but I'd say it's damn near even with the Vaporfly Next%.
This is the first super shoe I have tried, but in terms of lockdown and from fit they felt similar to Saucony Kinvara 12 (of course they Vanish Carbon's have much more bounce and are softer).
I took these bad boys up to 13-16 miles multiple times. Running in this shoe is a pleasant experience to say the least. Even feeling a tad short, I had no issues with hotspots or anything of the like. The miles tick by, the feet stay dry and the engine stays cool.
I would absolutely recommend this shoe. The Altra Vanish Carbon does NOT disappoint. It's definitely a new competitor on the market and did not fall short of the mark. This shoe is a winner. Formula 1 meets Cadillac in this Altra super shoe.
I ran multiple long runs (ranging from 10 miles to 13.1) in these and they kept me feeling light. They were fine for lower mileage days, but did not particularly stand out. They definitely made a notable difference in faster runs as they added a bounce and felt very smooth. These really made me feel energized, especially on faster runs.
I really enjoyed the Altra Vanish Carbon and would recommend them to anyone planning on racing from a 5k to half-marathon. These are great for anyone looking for a more neutral carbon racing shoe. These felt very versatile and reliable at different distances and speeds.
Following up on my initial review, I have now logged just over 100 miles in the Altra Vanish Carbon. Smooth and sleek, lightweight and ultra-breathable, these shoes have not failed me over the miles in both short and long runs. I still hold true to my initial sentiment that these are a good "any distance" shoe, but I personally would recommend these for strong half-marathon efforts. Whether that be during training for a race or for race day itself the incredibly agile Altra Vanish Carbon will cease to hold you back.
These have made my list of the most breathable shoe I have ever put on, and I'd go as far as to say that's more of a fact than an opinion. Although they run a little short, I never seemed to notice it out on my runs and would not recommend you go up from your regular size.
The only caveat I would add to an almost completely glaringly positive review, is that these shoes are as fragile as they are special. I would not expect to get more than 200-250 raceable miles out of them. Maybe 300-400 training miles if you're lucky. After 100 miles I am starting to see some fair wear on the outsole but nothing that jumps out as abnormal longevity for the average super shoe of this standard.
After 100 miles I would still happily recommend these to a runner of any skill-level who wants to lace, race, and/or pace with these luxurious speed demons.
Don't cheat yourself, treat yourself.
29 year old
Wears men's size 11
My name is Matt Leftwich, I’m 29 and I have been running since 2017. I have come to love it more and more everyday, and although it started out as a hobby, it has grown to become a strong passion in my life. I run anywhere from 30-50 miles a week on average, all varying paces. I have a sub 6 minute 5k PR, and I have my first official marathon scheduled for December 12, 2021 being the 50th anniversary of the Dallas Marathon. Running helps me to manage the general stresses and anxieties of the day, and adds a sense of structure to my schedule and overall being. Running takes the mundane away, and gives full control for as long as is manageable. It’s not always easy, but running favors courage and callouses pain amidst it’s own hurt. To have the ability to lace some shoes up, and go run 5 miles, or 10 miles, or 20 miles, is one of the most liberating and primal feelings available to us as humans. And that freedom is literally in our hands, on our feet, and right outside our doors.
22 years old
Wears women's size 8.5
I ran my first 5k in Girls On the Run in 2008 and continued to run through college. I'm currently transitioning away from the 6k and into half-marathons. In every stage of my life, running has helped me find a tight-knit community and allowed me to meet many of my best friends. Nothing is better than the feeling of a good long run when you feel like you could just keep running. I love exploring on finding new places on runs.