Altra is well known for their intuitively designed road and trail shoes—but does that intuition translate into an intense day at the gym, with the Women’s HIIT XT cross-trainer?
- Moderate Cushion
- Stack Height: 24 mm
- Weight: 8.1 oz. / 230 g.
- Rubber Outsole
- Quick-Dry Air Mesh Upper
- Natural Foot Positioning
- Wrap-Around Sticky Mid-Sole
- Retail $99.00 USD
The quality Altra customers have come to expect, is noticeable right away with the Women’s HIIT XT cross-trainer. This sweet-looking shoe is made with a durable, grippy outsole and mesh upper, the cross-trainers provided a sturdy feel for everything from box jumps to dead lifts, and still remained cool and comfortable. As with other styles, the XT offers a natural foot shape design, zero-drop, and moderate cushioning. This was especially noticeable during wind-sprint and plyometric intervals, when the shoes remained secure and allowed my feet to maintain stability naturally. In addition, the sticky rubber sole is extended high into the instep, for rope climbing and lateral stability during exercise. The HIIT XT is ideal for HIIT and plyometric training, light running, court sports, weight-lifting, CrossFit and other cross-training activities.
I own (and love!) a number of Altra styles, and having become accustomed to the soft ride, it did take a few workouts to get used to how stiff they felt. I would consider my feet average in regard to arch-support and width, and they did feel a bit narrow in the beginning as well. I’ve included a side by side photo of another favorite around the gym that we’ve reviewed before, Topo Athletic, so you can get an idea of the difference in footprint. The two brands have very similar ideals when it comes to allowing for natural splay, and you can see how much more narrow the XT looks in comparison. However, I will say that the more I wore them, the more comfortable the cross-trainers became. After about three workouts, I’d completely forgotten I even had them on—a testament to how well they were molding to my feet. I’ve rated the comfort slightly lower than other Altra’s I’ve tested, purely because it took a couple workouts to reach Nirvana–maybe more of a testament to how awesome their other styles are. My current workouts don’t include a rope climb, so I can’t attest to the effectiveness in that regard, I could feel the feature helping with lateral stability as mentioned above. I would like to see a slight softening of the materials, on the ridge of the instep to help with hot spots, but that being said, I didn’t have any issues myself.
What Other People are Saying
Other reviews on the Women’s HIIT XT cross-trainer have been such a dramatically mixed bag, (surprising for a company with such loyal customers) that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a pair and see what’s going on. I’ve heard everything from “I can’t live without them,” to “I absolutely hate them,” and now that I’ve given them a good test, I think I may have figured it out. The majority of complaints appear to be from women, and revolve around the overall stiffness, narrower mid-foot and higher instep rubbing on the foot. Whether they realize it or not, the issues mentioned, seem to be related to features from Altra’s gender-specific Fit4Her system. This means they’re made with a narrower heel, female-specific cushioning, shape and mid-sole, as well as specific metatarsal positioning. The female-specific details have been heaven-sent for a lot of female fans however, customers need to remember that, male or female, all bodies are different and you may not fit into the ‘average’ category on this particular style. As a former bobsledder—proudly built to push, pull and lift all things heavy—I’m not afraid to admit that no one has ever mistaken me for a slight gazelle however, that does put me outside the scale of the occasional product made for the ‘average female.’ The good news? Altra has included a gender-neutral color of the HIIT XT, so if you’re in love with the shoe, and the women’s version feels too narrow, I highly recommend trying a men’s pair. The reviews from those who have, are stellar. I should emphasize that I didn’t have any issues with the women’s version, but if they don’t fit quite right, be sure to check out the men’s—it’s worth the effort for a good cross-trainer.
Simply put, the Altra Women’s HIIT XT cross-trainer is a well thought-out, solid pick for the gym, with the continued quality you’ve come to expect from Altra. The Women’s XT comes three colors, and is available in full, and half sizes 5.5-12.