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Altra Experience Form Review: Low (but not zero!) Drop Stability
By Bach Pham and Matthew Klein

In 2023, the FWDExperience (now Experience Flow) was introduced as Altra's first non-zero drop trainer, offering a 4mm drop option to the line-up. This was a really important change in philosophy for the brand, marking the beginning of drop diversity in their line-up - something we talk about often at Doctors of Running. Altra expands their selection for 2024 with the Experience Wild - a new 4mm trail option - and today's shoe the Experience Form, their new 4mm drop lightweight stability trainer.

Altra Experience Form
Price: $144.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 9.6 oz, 272 g (men's size 9), 7.8 oz, 221 g (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 30mm heel, 26mm forefoot
Drop: 4mm
Shoe Purpose: Lightweight Medial Stability Trainer

Pros: Smooth, easy-going ride, well-integrated stability elements
Cons: Stability overall is on the light side, volume slightly low


The Altra Experience Form is Altra's first non-zero drop lightweight stability trainer. It features a moderate level of cushioning through a CMEVA sole that feels comparable to a Nike Pegasus or Hoka Kawana - for those familiar with Altra, feeling most similar to the Altra Paradigm or Altra Rivera. There is a rocker that moves the shoe forward well and what Altra calls a Guiderail - which in this case is a mild medial post that sits on the upper portion of the medial side of the shoe acting both as a bit of a denser material underfoot and sidewall to keep the foot centered.

: Topo Ultrafly 5, Hoka Arahi 7
PAST MODEL: New model

(To learn how a shoe should fit, check out our full podcast on fit by Matt Klein.)

Matt: The Altra Experience Form fits me true to size in my normal Men's US size 10. The fit is fairly average for most shoes except a wider, anatomic toe box. The toe box has plenty of room for toe splay but is not as wide as Altra shoes. The volume is normal to slightly higher in the forefoot but average to slightly lower throughout the rest of the shoe. The midfoot features a non-gusseted, moderately thick tongue. I did have some tongue slippage on longer runs but tightening the laces solved this. The heel fits normally with a little extra heel collar padding on the medial and lateral sides. There is (what feels like) a split counter in the rearfoot with one on the medial and lateral sides, leaving the back open. This felt great and did not bother my heel at all so those with sensitivities should do well here. I did have to tighten down the laces to get a secure fit but did not have to lace lock the shoe. I would highly recommend socks with this shoe as the inner part of the forefoot is a bit rough against bare skin. The insole is removable, so those wanting to utilize external orthotics may be fine, although they will need to fit this anatomic shape. 

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Matt well: Saucony Guide 17, ASICS Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, Saucony Endorphin Elite, Nike Ultrafly
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Saucony Kinvara 14
Shoes that have fit large: Salomon S/Lab Phantasm 2, Altra Timp 5

Bach: The Altra Experience Form is labeled as their "standard" fit and I think that is spot on. This usually means for people that have medium sized feet that is neither wide or narrow, but somewhere inbetween. The length and volume feels fairly spot on compared to my experiences in similar medium fit shoes like the Nike Pegasus 40, Saucony Guide 17 and Ride 17. The width is true to Altra, with generous room around the foot. I felt like I could use just a touch more volume as the upper creased a little bit onto my forefoot, but nothing that bothered me even during longer efforts. Those who do have wide feet should aim for the wide fit while those with narrow feet may find this a bit wide. I did find the shoe to run ever so slightly warm. The upper is only modestly breathable, but I also did not have any hotspots.

The heel counter is flexible which is unique for stability shoes, but felt very secure on foot. There is a little bit of a high extension of the heel that also acts as a bit of a pull tab which sort of works. The laces locked down well in general and I found the overall security to be good.

Typical Size: Men's US Size 10
Shoes that have fit Bach well: Nike Pegasus 40, Saucony Guide 17, Mizuno Wave Inspire 19, Saucony Endorphin Speed 3, Nike Structure 25
Shoes that have fit snug: Hoka Arahi 7, Asics Kayano 30, Puma Electrify Nitro, Brooks Hyperion, Hoka Clifton 9 GTX

Shoes that have fit large: Hoka Gaviota 5, Reebok Floatride Energy X

Doctors of Running Checklist

Is This a Good Shoe for Walking: Yes
Is This a Good Shoe for Standing: Yes
Is the Forefoot Flexible: Mild to Moderately
How Flexible is the Shoe: Very little (but more than average stability shoe)
Is This a Good Heel Bevel: Can be better
Recommended for Haglunds: Yes
Recommended for Sockless: No
Durability Expectation: Average


Matt: The Altra Experience Form is a moderate stability shoe for easy runs and mileage. The midsole is slightly firmer and features a moderate stack height. The heel has a centered to medial biased heel bevel, which makes for a slightly clunky rearfoot transition. This moves into a stable midfoot and mild-to-moderately flexible forefoot. The forefoot feels a little stiff at first but breaks in with miles. The stiffness makes the 4 mm drop feel a little lower than listed. As the forefoot breaks in, the mild heel offset becomes more apparent (less stress on my calves compared to other Altra shoes).

The midsole foam is compression molded EVA (CMEVA). I found it to be slightly firmer and not responsive. This made the Experience Form great for easy mileage and some longer efforts. I tried to do faster efforts in this shoe but found it struggled to respond to anything above easy paces. Once at those easier efforts, it feels natural to settle in and knock out miles. Distance-wise I found the Experience Form best for shorter to moderate mileage. The slightly firmer and slightly boring midsole feel made it difficult to enjoy longer runs but moderate mileage felt good. The Experience Form does work great as an all-day work shoe due to the stable ride and consistent feel, so those looking for a stability shoe with an anatomic toe box for non-running activities like walking and standing will have an excellent option.

Surface-wise the Experience Form is meant for road but can handle some tame softer surfaces. The outsole grips decently on smooth dirt but will work best on road. The durability has been slightly above average for many Altra shoes recently. I have 30 miles on my pair and am beginning to see some wear at the lateral heel and midfoot. I do expect an average number of miles out of this shoe though due to those earlier signs but it should be fine for most people.

For those familiar with Altra Provision or Paradigm, I think the Experience Form is a huge improvement on both. The little bit of drop and forefoot rocker adds some much needed roll to the shoe and helps take what otherwise would feel a little plain and gives the shoe some life. The Form feels really solid on the run, with fairly good transitions and a very set-it-and-forget-it ride. I do think the shoe could use a touch more bevel to help really propel the shoe in future iterations, but that is more a nitpick than a complaint because I found the Experience Form to be a good daily trainer to knock out miles. The shoe is also quite light for a stability model and the weight feels really balanced from front-to-back.

The midsole is CMEVA which is also found in the Hoka Kawana. Like the Kawana, this shoe is able to pick up the pace a little bit and has some versatility to it for me. The sole is a moderate stack height that feels similar to the Kawana, the Nike Pegasus 40, and other middle weight shoes. The shoe is good for daily to middle distance runs and for those used to less stack, does fine for longer efforts. The cushioning is on the slightly firmer side, but I found it to be comfortable. I'm typically team moderate cushion, so this was up my alley, but for folks seeking a more cushioned ride (softer is tricky for stability), the Asics Kayano 30, Hoka Gaviota 5, or Brooks Glycerin GTS 21 may be more up your alley comparatively.

The outsole grips fine and I was able to do some slight off-roading on dirt and grass and found it to be about average. It definitely performs best on road and did fine on wet surfaces. I found the durability to be okay so far, but I am typically not hard on outsoles. I found this to be a great walking shoe in general and have done several 45+ minute walks without any issues. The Experience Form is by far my favorite walking shoe out of the three stability shoes from Altra.

(Learn more about stability in our full guide)

Matt: The Altra Experience Form is a mild to moderate-level stability shoe. The GuideRail system works well in the medial heel and midfoot, providing a combination sidewall and well-integrated post. This was not obtrusive and provided a supportive and guided ride. There is also a large sidewall on the lateral heel to keep the rearfoot centered. The forefoot features some mild sole flaring and is wide like most Altra shoes. The midfoot does not narrow compared to the rest of the shoe and the wider shape of the Experience Form creates an inherently stable ride throughout the length of the shoe. This creates mild to moderate stability, especially medially at the heel and midfoot and mild guidance at the forefoot. 

Bach: The Experience Form has all the makings of a stability trainer, but I found the stability to be relatively mild. The Guiderail system is well-integrated to the point that I almost didn't notice it unless I really thought about it. It definitely provides some firmness on the medial side, but the ride transfers well front-to-back. When reviewing the most recent Altra Paradigm and Provision, I remember noting that I had hoped there was some drop to add some guidance forward to the shoe, and this confirms for me that it was a very welcome change. Between the Guiderail, wide base, light sole flare, and forefoot rocker, everything works together well. I do find the integration feeling light overall and should be accommodating to many runners, including flat feet runners like myself. Runners who are looking for a real post or high level of medial stability may not find enough here.

If you have lateral stability needs, you may find the Provision 8 to be a better fit as that doesn't have a specific medial stability component.

Culture Corner: Finding Options for Rotation as a Stability Runner
By Bach Pham

One thing we emphasize at Doctors of Running is having a good shoe rotation, when able. That typically means finding ways to diversify the types of shoes you run in. That can mean having a trainer and a workout/racing shoe, or a heavier trainer and lightweight trainer, or rockered/none rockered shoes. There are many ways to mix up the way your shoes interact with your feet.

That can be difficult with stability shoe users though. This was particularly true when posted shoes were most common, offering very little options in terms of diversity even out of brand. Modern stability design has helped things greatly. Now we have shoes that rely on geometry vs. shoes that rely on guidance, shoes with different midsole combinations, lighter and heavier offerings, and more.

One of the most difficult things can be mixing up stability within a brand. When a brand like Altra only has one drop, that means the variety of shoes a runner can have if they are brand loyal is challenging, even moreso when they are stability runner loyal to the brand as the Provision and Paradigm offer fairly similar rides for runners. Even though it is still fairly low drop, the addition of a 4mm shoe is at least an option for variety when it comes to runners who purely use Altra and enjoy their fit. The Experience Form also joins the Topo Ultrafly and Hoka Arahi and Gaviota as the only low, non-zero drop offerings in the market which is helpful for all stability runners who would like to incorporate a good mix of drops in their lineup but have struggled to find medial stability shoes that meet their needs. I'm excited to see this addition to the stability shoe realm as it provides more much needed options which is a win for all runners.


Matt: The Experience Form is a great step forward for Altra's stability line. The GuideRail system is integrated extremely well and is extremely comfortable for running and walking. My two major suggestions are to improve the heel bevel, gusset the tongue for security and update the foam. The heel bevel is centered to medially biased. This makes the rearfoot a little clunky and I would like to see Altra return to their wonderful rounded heel. The tongue does have to be secured more by the laces and I would love to see it gusseted both to keep it in place as well as to lock the foot down more. Finally, I would like to see Altra use a more responsive foam. I found the EVA midsole to be a bit dead, which was fine for easy miles but left me yearning for more of the snappy, faster-feeling midsole from the Experience FWD. Stability shoes do not need to be boring and a little more responsive midsole would go a long way. 

Bach: Overall I was really pleased with the Experience Form. For a brand new model, it's a great first outing. I think some subtle changes like an improved heel bevel can help make the ride even better. I also am not sure if the big pull tab heel is needed and could be dialed down. Besides that, I would love to see a little more structure in the upper, especially around the forefoot to reduce creasing. I actually feel okay about the midsole for the Experience Form as a daily driver, especially if it keeps costs for the shoe lower, but I would love to see Altra keep moving forward with diversifying their lineup with a workout model in the same vein under a poppier midsole and more stack. Altra Experience More?


Matt: The Altra Experience Form is a mild-to-moderate stability shoe for those who want an anatomic toe box, a lower heel drop and good medial stability in the heel and midfoot. The fit is fairly normal with a slightly lower volume and an anatomic but not sloppily large forefoot. The ride is consistent and slightly firmer, making the Experience Form a great option for easy runs, walking and longer standing. This is great edition to the market that sits alongside the Topo Ultrafly 5 as the rare anatomic, low-drop stability shoe. It differs from the Ultrafly due to the larger Guide Rail on the medial side and a slightly lower volume fit comparatively. Both for runners and walkers, these are great options that I will be suggesting clinically for the right patients and people. 

Bach: The Altra Experience Form is a lightweight stability trainer for those who seek a low drop and wider width toebox. These are all uncommon elements that remain unique to Altra and Topo. The Experience Form features a solid ride and is easily a shoe I would be perfectly happy to have in my arsenal any day of the week. This is also be a great addition for stability runners who typically have only high drop options and want a lower drop but also medial stability.


Fit: B+/A- (Anatomic toe box with width good for most standard width feet. Slightly lower volume and slightly loose tongue. Heel great for those with heel sensitivities while being secure)
B (Consistent ride best for easy miles over medium distances. Not a great option for faster paces)
Stability: A- [Mild to Moderate] (Great medial GuideRail, lateral side wall, filled in midfoot, wider shape and forefoot sole flaring)
Value: B+/A- (Good price for fairly unique product)
Personal: B+ (Extremely comfortable for easy runs, walking and standing. Not versatile enough for any other paces, so may end up being a go-to walking shoe). 
Overall Design: B+/A- 

Fit: B+ (General good fit and good width for standard feet. Just slightly low volume, but didn't bother me personally. Wide feet runners should go wide while narrow foot runners should try in person if possible to see if it is too wide for their needs.)
A- (A pleasant ride for daily training and for those who like less stack, plenty of cushion for medium distances and some workouts)
Stability: B+ (Not a noticeably high level of stability, but good integration in general and the best from Altra so far)
Value: A- (Fairly good price for an all-arounder)
Personal: A- (Definitely a shoe I have enjoyed greatly and one of the best for me this year so far in the stability realm)
Overall Design: B+/A-


Altra Experience Form
Price: $144.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Altra for sending us pairs.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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