I've been running in the Altras for just over a month now. Really love them.
First time I've never had any rubbing or irritation around the sides of my toes and feet.
The cushioning is very effective. This model, the Instinct 2.0, is the mid level in terms of cushioning offered by Altra. Thicker than a traditional running shoe, but not their super thick version. I find that this level of cushioning deadens harshness on the road and trail quite adequately. I don't think I'd like to get higher off the ground, so I'm not apt to go for a thicker variant of these soles.
I don't have the feel afforded by the minimalist shoes I've been running in for the past couple of years, but my feet are definitely in a less destructive environment now as well. A decent compromise. In the past, I've wanted to consecutive days but sometimes my feet have been pretty chewed up, so I'd just irritate them further; the net was that I'd skip some run days in order to give my feet time to recover and heal for a day. In these shoes, that problem is a non issue.
I'm going to switch back to the minimalist shoes alternating once or twice a week soon, just to see how it feels.
The Altras are so comfortable, that I wore them to Anaheim for a long weekend recently (was following my kids around at their taekwondo tournament at the convention center). Got a few runs in around Anaheim and Disneyland early each morning, and set a PR in terms of avg speed (7:53/mi) and fastest split (6:45). I don't know if this was due to me being more comfortable in the shoes, or if I was just feeling particularly lively. :)
I also wore them walking around the California Adventure amusement park for hours, and my feet were comfy the whole time. My wife and kids think the shoes look a little silly, but I was happy anyway. :D