It is often said that you can’t have too much of a good thing.
When it comes to running shoes, this adage makes complete sense when comparing the Altra Provision and Paradigm.
The two products are largely the same along many important lines.
They are both stability running shoes that use Altra’s GuideRails to protect against overpronation. They both use some type of EGO midsole foam to make them conspicuously more cushioned than typical road running stability products. And they both have a significant amount of outsole tread to enhance traction and durability.
With that said, there are some subtle differences between the max-cushioned Paradigm and the sleeker “little sister” Provision that will stand out to runners seeking a specific feel and fit.
With this in mind, keep reading for a more comprehensive breakdown of the Altra Provision vs Paradigm!
Altra Running Shoes At A Glance
Altra is a footwear company that specializes in running shoes. The company was founded in 2011 by Golden Harper and Brian Beckstead. Altra is headquartered in Logan, Utah.
Altra’s mission is to create running shoes that allow runners to run more naturally and with less stress. The company’s shoes are designed with a number of features that promote natural running, including a zero-drop platform, a wide toe box, and a lightweight design.
Altra offers a wide range of running shoes for both men and women, including road shoes, trail shoes, and racing flats.
In today’s breakdown, we will delve deep into the company’s two popular cushioned stability products: the Provision and the Paradigm.
Altra Provision: What Are You Getting?
The Altra Provision is a support running shoe designed with Altra’s signature GuideRails to help those who overpronate (having feet that roll inward while running).
Like all Altra products, it has a zero-millimeter heel-to-toe offset, meaning that the heel and forefoot are at the same height off the ground. This design helps to promote a more natural running stride.
The Provision features a 28-millimeter stack height and weighs 9.6 ounces (men’s) and 8.2 ounces (women’s). The shoe has a solid amount of EGO cushioning and is designed to be responsive and comfortable. The upper is made of a breathable mesh material, while the outsole is reinforced in high-wear areas to improve the shoe’s durability.
The Provision has the company’s patented FootShape toe box to allow the toes to spread out naturally when running, which can help to improve balance and stability. It also features Altra’s FootPod technology, which maps the bones and tendons of the foot to help it flex and move naturally.
Altra Paradigm: What Are You Getting?
The Altra Paradigm is a max cushioned zero-drop running shoe designed to provide support and stability for runners looking to correct overpronation. It is slightly heavier than the Provision, weighing in at 10.5 oz for men and 8.5 oz for women. Despite its weight, the Paradigm is highly cushioned and responsive, providing a comfortable and supportive ride.
The Paradigm features a 30mm stack height, which provides plenty of cushioning for long runs or high-impact activities. The shoe also features Altra’s GuideRails, which are designed to provide support and prevent overpronation. The GuideRails are made of a firm foam that helps to keep the foot in place and prevent it from rolling inward.
The Paradigm also features a wider (Foot Shape) toe box than traditional running shoes, which allows the toes to spread out and move naturally. This can help to improve comfort and performance.
Overall, the Altra Paradigm is a well-cushioned and supportive running shoe that is ideal for runners looking to correct overpronation. It is a great choice for runners of all levels, from beginners to experienced runners, who need a little extra support without sacrificing comfort.
Altra Provision vs Paradigm Design Comparison
Now that you have a general overview of these two leading Altra products, let’s take a look and see how they compare along some important engineering specs.
The upper design of the Altra Provision and Altra Paradigm are more similar than different. Both shoes feature a breathable mesh upper that is designed to keep your feet cool and dry during your runs.
Both shoes also feature a long tubular lacing system that allows runners to customize their fit.
As mentioned, the Provision and Paradigm are both equipped with Altra’s FootShape toe box. This provides ample space at the front of the shoe for the toes to splay. However, despite the spacious toe box, runners note that the midfoot and heel of both shoes are both securely locked down.
Both uppers come in a variety of colors to help runners find the aesthetic style they seek.
The Altra Paradigm has a 30mm stack height with “max” cushioning, providing a thicker midsole and more cushioning than the Provision. This is thanks in large part to the use of EGO Max midsole foam, which is softer and bouncier than the previous version of EGO.
Inside the Paradigm is the brand’s InnovArch, designed to promote better foot placement and added support. Overall, the Paradigm is a better option for runners seeking a more substantial, cushioned midsole and enhanced arch support.
The Altra Provision has a stack height of 28mm and is classified as “high” cushioned. This means it has a slightly thinner midsole and less cushioning than the Paradigm.
It features Altra’s FootPod technology, a design that follows the natural structure of the foot and helps guide natural movement and landing. While still providing ample cushioning, the Provision may be a better choice for runners who prefer a slightly thinner midsole and a more nimble feel.
All in all, both midsoles are among the best in the industry. In addition to the comfortable EGO foam found in both products, the midsoles of the Provision and Paradigm feature Altra’s Innerflex technology–small grooves in the midsole foam that help promote flexibility.
Both the Provision and Paradigm have surprisingly grippy outsoles for highly cushioned road running shoes. Many similar products will have a large amount of exposed outsole foam to further enhance shock absorption, but this is definitely not the case with the Provision or Paradigm.
The durable outsole rubber with strategically placed lugs keeps the traction high for these shoes on all types of surfaces, dry or wet. It also provides enhanced durability when compared to similar highly cushioned running shoes.
If there is any downside to the outsoles of the Provision and Paradigm, it is that they are slightly less flexible and possibly a little louder than some runners would prefer.
Altra Provision vs Paradigm Feature Comparison
Now that we’ve taken a look at the specific engineering of each shoe, let’s put them side by side and see how they stack up along important purchase consideration points!
As mentioned, both the Provision and Paradigm are surprisingly durable for highly cushioned running shoes. They have ample outsole rubber to help the shoes ward off rocks, twigs, and any other types of sharp edges that typically compromise running shoes.
In addition, while both shoes feature breathable mesh uppers, they are reinforced with enough strategically placed overlays that runners don’t report toes breaking through the fabric prematurely.
For these reasons, expect to get a solid 400-500 miles out of both of these shoes.
If you had to choose, the Paradigm would likely be the slightly more durable shoe, as its max cushioned midsole should be able to withstand a bit more punishment from heavier runners before breaking down than the slightly sleeker Provision.
Both the Provision and Paradigm are known to run true to size.
With that said, they do have a wide toe box, which may not be something runners with narrow feet particularly love.
However, they compensate for the more spacious tow box with solid lockdown throughout the midfoot and a heel counter to prevent slippage in the rearfoot, so the fit typically feels good for all types of foot shapes.
The Paradigm and the Provision are both designed to provide enhanced cushioning for runners who need it and are among the industry leaders in highly cushioned stability road running shoes.
With that said, the Paradigm offers a bit more cushioning than the Provision. It has a stack height of 30mm, while the Provision has a stack height of 28mm. It also uses Altra’s EGO Max midsole foam, which is a bit softer and bouncier than the standard EGO foam found in the Provision.
Both shoes feature Innerflex grooves in the midsole, which allows Altra to stack ample EGO foam without compromising flexibility, providing an even more comfortable midsole experience.
Stability & Support
Both the Altra Paradigm and Altra Provision are designed to provide stability and support for runners who tend to overpronate. Both shoes feature Altra’s GuideRails, which is a slightly firmer chunk of medial foam that prevents the foot from rolling inward during strides.
However, there are also some subtle differences in the stability and support features of these two shoes.
The Paradigm features Altra’s InnovArch technology, which is a design feature that provides added support and encourages proper foot placement. This technology is intended to help runners who need a little extra help maintaining a neutral foot position.
The Provision, on the other hand, uses Altra’s FootPod technology, which is a design feature that mimics the bones and tendons of the foot. This technology is intended to provide a more natural feel while still providing the necessary support to prevent overpronation.
In terms of stability and support, the Paradigm is generally considered to be the more supportive of the two shoes. It is the bigger, bulkier, “big sister” of the Provision, which will make it a better choice for runners seeking hefty support, while the Provision will be the better choice for runners needing subtle support.
As can be expected, the max-cushioned Paradigm is the slightly pricier of the two shoes, coming in at around $30 more per pair on most outlets.
Expect a new pair of Provisions to run between $130 and $150, while a new pair of Paradigms will likely be about $160-180.
FAQ- Altra Provision vs Paradigm
A selection of the most commonly asked questions when comparing the Altra Provision and Paradigm.
What Is the Latest Version of Each of These Shoes?
The latest version of Altra Provision is the Provision 7. This version has seen a decrease in weight from the previous version and offers the same great stability and support that you come to expect from the Provision line of shoes from Altra.
The Paradigm shoe has also gotten an upgrade to the 7 version. The big news about this version over previous iterations is the move to EGO Max midsole cushioning, giving the shoe a soft and springy ride.
Are These Shoes for Casual Wear?
Overall, both the Altra Provision and Altra Paradigm are well-designed shoes that can be worn for casual wear.
However, as highly cushioned shoes, they may appear a bit more bulky than some people prefer for casual wear. In fact, some users feel like the Paradigm, in particular, has a bit of a “Dr. Scholl’s” look to it when choosing the darker color schemes.
Therefore, if you prioritize comfort over style, either the Provision or Paradigm should be fine for casual wear. However, if you want something more stylish, you may consider looking at other Altra models. Some of Altra’s more casual lifestyle shoes include the Altra Cayd, Altra Outroad, and Altra Solstice XT.
Do You Recommend Buying Both of These Shoes?
Both the Provision and the Paradigm are excellent stability shoes. But whether or not you should buy both of them depends on several factors. These factors include your budget, your running style, and your pronation type.
If your budget is limited, you may have to choose only one of these shoes. Simply put, there are too many similarities between these two shoes to justify having both around if money is an issue for you.
However, if money really is not an issue for you and you have significant stability needs, then it may be worthwhile to keep both in your arsenal. The Provision can be a go-to road stability running shoe that moves a bit faster, while the Paradigm can offer the extra cushioning and support on those days when you need it.
Final Thoughts: Altra Provision vs Paradigm
There you have it: everything you ever wanted to know about the Altra Provision vs Paradigm.
Although the differences are rather minute, there are some subtleties that may make one of these highly cushioned road runners better for your needs.
The Provision will be the choice if you need solid cushioning in a stability shoe without over-the-top bulk to weigh you down.
The Paradigm is for those overpronators who need maximum cushioning to keep their feet feeling fresh on unforgiving surfaces.
Whatever your running needs may be, shop the Altra catalog today and take a closer look at either of these industry-leading stability trainers!