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Mel Aitken - Doing the Duo - Hapalua and the Southern Lakes Half

Mel Aitken has taken out the Southern Lakes Half Marathon in Wanaka and more recently the Woman's Hapalua Half marathon in Hawaii with an amazing 8th overall in a field of 9000 competitors. She shares her thoughts on her new kicks, the Altra Duos-

I was fortunate enough to pick up a new pair of Altra Duos in March and eager to try them out in race mode.  Until the Duos arrived, I have been an avid fan of the Altra One which is the lightest shoe in the Altra range and my go-to shoe for any race up to the marathon distance.

Mel on her way to winning the Womans Hapalua Half Marathon in Hawaii

As soon as I laced up the Duo, I felt the magic.  I felt like the ‘running Cinderella’ wearing the golden (well blue is the new gold) slipper! The Duo is quite deceptive. It looks like a heavier bulkier shoe but honestly, its a featherweight, with so much cushioning, it feels like running on clouds.

The Duos have everything you could want – ultra light weight, maximum cushioning and zero drop with a wide toe box, so your foot fits naturally to the shoe. The upper is made of a really light and flexible fabric which makes it feel still like a minimalist shoe despite the extra support you get from it, and makes for running in hot or humid conditions that much nicer as there is good air flow!

Mel at the Southern Lakes Half Marathon in Wanaka

Mel at the Southern Lakes Half Marathon in Wanaka

I recently ran two half marathons in the Duos – the Southern Lakes Half, (winning in a time of 1.18.52) and more recently, the Hapalua Half Marathon in Hawaii, where I took the female win and was 8th home overall (and first kiwi!). With over 9000 entrants in the race, I was pretty stoked with this result and absolutely contribute my success to the shoes I now run in. The Duos were outstanding and I can honestly say are my new go-to racing shoe. 

My next big gig is an ultra distance race in Spain in May.  I am yet to decide what shoe I will wear for this but will be a toss up between my new Duos or my reliable Altra Olympus.  Watch this space!


If you want a pair of Duos get in touch with Shoe Science Albany, Shoe Science Mt Eden, Frontrunner Timaru, Frontrunner Dunedin or Outside Sport Wanaka.

To learn more about Altra, our team of Altra Ambassadors and the ZERODROP and FOOTSHAPE TOE BOX advantages, please visit


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