From Altra comes the Intuition 4.5, our new Top Pick for Comfort. The Intuition is the women's version of the men's Instinct, with superior softness, responsiveness, and a lightweight design. The updates that we have seen from Altra in their original road model has been impressive, and the new Intuition 4.5 updates with full rubber outsole and single piece insole add to the overall smooth ride of these kicks. The brand has become known for its innovative designs, featuring a patented zero drop midsole, and foot-shaped toe box that allows for a responsiveness ride and happy toes on any road run.
Altra Intuition 4.5 Review
Cons: High flex and zero drop are not for everyone
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The high flex and zero drop make the Altra Intuition 4.5 an excellent choice for road runners. They are ideal for training, thanks to their nice underfoot and superior ventilation. The Intuition also provided the landing comfort and cushioning that we search for in an award-winning model, earning it our Top Pick for Comfort award.
The medium padding of the Intuition didn't affect the responsiveness of the shoe. In fact, an average to advanced runner would find it provides an adequate amount of comfort. The new insole design material has a nice feel underfoot and gave every landing the right amount of feedback, ensuring our overall comfort. The InnerFlex can be seen in the Intuition's midsole and goes from heel to toe in a line grid design, which improved the flexibility in the sole and helped the movement of the shoe on uneven or slightly inclined terrain.
We loved the InnerFlex grooves that allowed the shoe to flex appropriately, yet still remain flexible and not too rigid on mellow terrain. The 25mm stack height of the 4.5 model is a nice improvement from our earlier tested 3.5 with a height of 24mm; this difference helped with overall landing comfort and made the underfoot feel soft, keeping its responsive feel. The Intuition 4.5 are not as cushioned as the HOKA Bondi which also earned a high score in this metric; and, what sets the Intuition apart from the Bondi is their comfort and balance with flex and feedback. Other models that we also enjoyed for their landing comfort where both the Brooks Glycerin 16 and HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 4.
As a durable, comfy trainer, the Intuition 4.5 had the right amount of spring that gave proper feedback when in a forward motion. The zero drop platform allows for a balanced heel to toe transition onto the wider than average FootShape toe box, lending an extra push off from our toes. The Intuition is a well-balanced road shoe with the right amount of cushion, which doesn't interfere with its responsiveness. The stiffer sole caused our ride to feel clunkier than some of the other models, like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 or Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18.
Besides the stiffer sole, the other aspects of this award winner are softer in nature and take some time to get used to. If the Altra design is something that is attractive to you, we recommend giving your foot the necessary time to adjust to the zero drop and flexible concept of these shoes, as to build strength in the foot and legs to prevent injury. If you are looking for an overly responsive shoe, the Top Pick for Speed Award went to the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus for its light and fast feel.
The Intuition's engineered mesh is breathable, but we felt it was not as soft as the previously tested 3.5 version. Fortunately, the somewhat stiffer upper added to the security of the shoe.
The mesh uppers have an inner sleeve, which provides support to what would otherwise be a minimalist and unsupported shell. The upper has the newer 3D printed pinstripes over the mesh, which is a nice touch that added style and structure to the shoe. We also appreciate that Altra uses a dye-sublimation on the upper which is a way to use heat to transfer dye onto the upper material. As of now, the Intuition 4.5 comes in black, pink, and light blue/gray.
The material of the Intuition is soft on the outer layering and plush inside, making this an excellent go-to shoe when we had to transition straight from work to a lunchtime run. This award winner is wider thanks to its natural foot positioning design and might not work perfectly for every foot. We recommend trying these on before buying. If you are a runner looking for a shoe that will give the immediate upper comfort, look towards the Brooks Adrenaline GTS and Brooks Ghost 10- Women's Shoe, as both will take less adjustment and breaking in for most feet.
We enjoyed the advantages of the zero drop design in the Intuition 4.5, though the overall fit of the shoe was counterbalanced by its soft feel, which allowed a lot of foot movement on longer, more diverse terrain.
The more toes able to splay, the more surface area a foot can cover. In turn, this creates more stability overall; Alta has this figured out with its toebox. The wider nature of the toe box seems to travel throughout the whole shoe, which is great for allowing a natural foot positioning on flat runs or walks. When faced with hills or more dynamic terrain, this shoe was lacking great stability. The Intuition would be a good fit for runners with wider feet; the wideness of the shoe didn't give the same cradling support that we receive from other road running models, such as the Editors' Choice Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18.
It is important to make sure that the laces are appropriately set for your foot; this will add support and security. There was still a lot of heel slip that caused some stability issues when going the distance. The Innerflex provided landing comfort but had some point deduction for how it felt when we transitioned from flat to hill climbing.
With any shoe, there is a balance in how much flex is given during our gait cycle, as too much can be a negative attribute. The Intuition tipped to one side of the scale, and it shows in this metric. We like the HOKA Clifton 4 for those that desire a maximum cushioned and secure shoe.
The light weight (of eight ounces per shoe) made the Intuition an ideal weight, yet still consisted of durable materials. It scores well for its weight and has a light cushion system, which has been wrapped up with a responsive midsole. Weight isn't as important as other metrics we've included, such as responsiveness or landing comfort - and the scoring and percentages of the metrics reflect that.
While the Intuitions were lighter weight, they managed to keep a decent stack height and cushioned feel. The Intuition earned the same score and weight as the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 4; we like the padding that both shoes offered - without the added ounces, of course.
The Intuition 4.5 will best serve traditional runners that want to experiment (or know they are fond of) a zero drop shoe. By integrating a zero drop midsole, traditional runners can increase their foot strength, reducing potential injuries. The durability and comfort make them a great trainer for road running, along with its flexible and underfoot cushioning. Just be aware that the design of all Altras will take some getting used to.
With a price point of $110, our Top Pick for Comfort Award Intuition 4.5 are well priced. With the upgrades that Altra has made to the Intuition 4.5, you get a lot of durability and bang for your buck. The Intuitions are ideal for someone that is looking for a lightweight, well-cushioned trainer that breathes well. They are perfect for short runs, half marathons, and long walks on pavement or human-made concrete trails systems.
The Altra Intuitions has received updates since the last time we tested them. A classic zero drop comfortably cushioned shoe, we would recommend them to runners searching for something with ample comfort, a large toe box, steady feedback, and a stiff platform. The zero drop and wide toe box might be attractive to you if other road models are too tight or you have a wider foot profile. Road running shoes have many different styles, design features, and fits - and not one shoe will be the best for the masses. We recommend you determine what works best for your style of running, particularly with this shoe.
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