The Altra Timp 5 has had a revamp – here's our review

a person holding a shoe
Altra Timp 5: Tried and testedRick Pearson
  • Weight: 278g

  • Stack height: 29mm (heel), 29mm (forefoot)

  • Heel-to-toe drop: 0mm

  • Type: Trail

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The shoe

For anyone unfamiliar with Altra, the US shoe brand has made a name for itself creating shoes that adhere to certain principles: they are ‘zero drop’ – in other words, the heel and forefoot are the same height from the ground – and they have roomy toe boxes that allow toes to splay naturally.

These tenets are shared by ‘barefoot’ brands, such as Vivobarefoot and Vibram Fivefingers, but Altra distinguishes itself by offering a considerable amount of cushioning underfoot in most of its models. That’s one of the reasons you’ll see Altra on the feet of a lot of ultrarunners.

The Timp is one of Altra’s best-loved trail shoes, the other two being the Lone Peak and Olympus. In the simplest terms, the Lone Peak is the least cushioned, the Olympus is the most cushioned, and the Timp falls somewhere in the middle.

What is the Timp 5 like to run in?

As is the case with most Altras I’ve tried, the Timp 5 is comfortable straight out of the box. The lacing system is plush with some generous cushioning around the tongue. As a runner with relatively thin ankles, I laced the shoes through the extra eyelet, as shown in this video. This gave the shoe a great, locked-down feel.

However, the shoe did rub slightly round the ankle. This is an individual things, as everyone's ankles are different, but at the very least I'd counsel you to wear crew-length running socks while wearing the Timp.

On the run, the Ego Max midsole struck an impressive balance of comfort and responsiveness, making the Timp 5 more than just a shoe for all-day plodding. You could also wear it for shorter, quicker trail outings and, at a push, even some tempo running. Another reason for this is the reduction in weight: at 278g in a UK men’s 8.5, it’s 40g lighter than the Timp 4. That’s a big reduction.

What is the outsole like on the Timp 5?

The Timp 4 Maxtrac outsole lacked a little in the grip department, and its relatively shallow lugs struggled on anything muddy or slippery – an issue if, like us, you’re doing most of your running on a north Atlantic island.

The Timp 5 has slightly more spaced out lugs that held up well across grass, hard trails and sand. That’s thanks, in part, to the Vibram Megagrip material, which is renowned for its grip. However, when RW took the Timp on the truly muddy stuff, it came up short. It just doesn't have the lug length for the slippy, boggy stuff.

If you're chiefly looking for a shoe for muddy trails, something like the Inov-8 Mudtalon is likely to serve you better than the Timp.

How does the Timp 5 fit?

By normal shoe standards, the Timp 5 offers ample width and wriggle room. By Altra’s standards, it’s possibly slightly on the narrower side. My sense is that most people will welcome this – I did – but if you are used to wearing Altra and have particularly wide feet, the Timp 5 may feel slightly narrow for your tastes.

RW verdict

The Timp 5 is a plush, well built, versatile trail shoe likely to be enjoyed by a wide variety of runners. Of course, if you’re new to zero-drop shoes, you’re likely to need a period of adjustment. But in terms of comfort and cushioning, the Timp 5 is a very accessible and beginner-friendly option. It's at home on the majority of off-road surfaces, but it does struggle in the mud and, as such, can't be classified as a year-round trail option – at least not in the UK.

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