Any runner who has been pounding the pavement for some time would have come across Altra, the trusty shoe brand that has made shoes with roomy toe boxes and “zero drop” platforms fashionable. Even though it’s not even close to the big names such as New Balance or Brooks, let alone brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma, Altra has earned itself a following among outdoor runners.

Things might be about to change for Altra now though. In its 7th year, the company will launch its first ever track and cross country spikes this year. The Golden Spike will be unveiled on May 10 is meant to fit like a traditional spike but Altra is making it its own by using a wider toe-box once more, giving you a bit more room than other racing spikes. Technically this should improve your pace a bit, by letting you keep your toe in its proper place.

Further, the Golden Spike uses a zero-drop profile, for no heel lift, and there’s a lightweight mesh upper and thin slab of foam for the midsole. There’s an almost flat-footed design that’s meant to discourage you from heel striking and running on the balls of your feet and therefore on the spikes. Having said that it’s clear that this shoe is meant for racers and racers alone, with no practical use in everyday running.

Altra is also doubling down on apparel now, offering some shirts, shorts, and socks, but has announced a brand new running windbreaker called StashJack.

Altra's new StashJack windbreaker is light and perfect for trail runs
Altra’s new StashJack windbreaker is light and perfect for trail runs

It’s a backless windbreaker that can be easily fit inside a belt or waist pack, living up to its name. This is great for runners expecting some bad weather, but not keen on packing a running backpack. There is no material in the back and the StashJack is held down at your waist belt. It has a rip-stop nylon shell and has a water-repellent (DWR) coating to keep rain drops rolling down.

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