The Altra Story

It began in 1998. Altra founders, Golden Harper and Brian Beckstead met in high school and have been running and adventuring together ever since. The outdoors and running forming a major part of their lives - even to this day. 

2009, Golden and a Toaster Oven

Golden was raised in his family running store, owned by his two accomplished runner parents. Naturally, he as a running nerd from a young age and was always trying to improve the running experience. Research and curiosity led him to create Zero Drop by heating up existing shoe models in a toaster oven, cutting the midsole out and leveling the cushioning platform so they were equal or had zero drop from heel to toe. Armed with 1000s of positive reviews from their “science experiment” trail running shoes, they knew they had something with incredible potential and set off to create a new kind of running shoe.

2010 Brian at Wasatch 100”

After mortgaging co-founder Brian’s dad’s house and scrounging up all the money they could, Brian took their first trail shoe prototype and ran the Wasatch 100. At mile 94, with zero blisters and several hours under his previous year’s time, Brian broke into tears as it hit him that Altra was going to succeed. They had truly created a product that would change the running world. 

2011 Altra was founded, CORE 3”

After years of tinkering and testing prototypes, our founders were determined to share their innovations and bring a new option to the running world. Altra’s unique 3 Core technologies: FootShapeTM, Zero DropTM, and Fit4HerTM were ready for their debut and their first shoe hit the market in 2011. 

2011 Subaru Road Trip

Brian loaded the first batch of Altra shoes into his trusty, “outdoor adventure” wagon and hit the road for a coast to coast, nationwide tour. He showed the new shoes to every running store that would listen, opening up several doors along the way, setting the foundation for Altra’s impressive future growth.

2011 Awards

Straight out of the gate the Runner’s World Best Debut told us we were on the right track and runners agreed. Multiple awards came after and continue to come in. Altra’s Superior and Escalante received the Editor’s ChoiceAward from Runner’s World and countless other magazines have awarded Altra additional Editor’s Choice awards and everything from best winter trail shoe to comfiest ride.

2011+ Unique Innovation

Altra’s innovation expands far beyond our Core 3 foundation, ranging from rugged trail features, such as GaiterTrapTM, TrailClawTM, MaxTracTM, DuraTreadTM, our unique view on dynamic support features like StabilipodTM and GuideRailTM, as well as midsole foams like Altra EGOTM, Max-LTTM and A-BoundTM.

2011+ Key Events and Athlete Sponsorship

We have partnered with Trail Runners, Marathoners, Triathletes, Thru-hikers and many more who take our beloved Footshape comfort to podiums and records in every discipline. We also support multiple races around the World for those who pin numbers to win or just for fun! Altra has flourished from a couple of running nerds hustling hacked up shoes out the back door of a running store, to a global group of passionate runners, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Our employees live our mantra of #ZEROLIMITS and we practice what we preach and use our products every chance we get!