Initial Review of Altra Superior Trail Running Shoes
I made the complete switch to Altra a while ago and never looked back. The Instinct 1.0 pretty much eliminated any lower body pains I had from previously ill fitting/improperly designed footwear. And being a gear nerd for a while I tried quite a few options. As I did with road running, I made the full switch to the Altra Lone Peak long ago as well (reviewed here). As much as I love that shoe, they are tanks, literally smashing everything in its path. With that indestructibility, however, comes bulk and weight. I was too excited to learn of the slimmed down, yet still tough, Superior. I couldn’t justify a new purchase at the time they were released though…that’s what birthdays are for! And it helps to rack up a couple hundred miles on the Lone Peaks as well.
Out of the box, I immediately noticed the difference in weight. While the official specs have them fairly close, I simply did not buy it. Indeed, they’re a bit closer than I thought, but a noticeable difference nonetheless. The Superior in at 11.13 oz, and the Lone Peak at 12.88 oz.
The materials are completely different though. The second thing I noticed was the increased flexibility. One of my beefs with the Lone Peak was that they’re stiff. Not the case here. How? Less padding on the upper I’d imagine as well as the removable insoles. Yes, there’s a removable rock plate, which is nothing more than a flexible piece of rugged plastic. Unless you’re running in an industrial construction yard, it’s perfect. Lighter day on gravel or all dirt/mud, remove the plate for more comfort and response. On my everyday limestone rock trail I’ll likely keep the plate in there.
The upper. Less padding, and I’m okay with that. They went with a much lighter, thinner tongue as well, which is nearly fully connected to keep pebbles, sticks and shit on the outside where they belong.
One other much welcomed change are the laces. New laces. If I had another nit-picky problem with Altra it has been their choice of laces. They’re really thick and you have to double lace just to keep them secure, not that I wouldn’t anyhow, just makes for a wonky knot with the laces going everywhere. The laces here are seemingly lighter and more flexible. I know, it’s just the laces… at this point I’m just focussing on differences.
Lastly, the upper is indeed much lighter as well. For the one or two rainy days we get here in San Antonio, I suspect the drainage will be much improved. When I first got the Lone Peaks I was able to actually test them out in nasty weather. While the traction was always amazing, the drainage was lacking. This, of course, came after wearing the Brooks PureGrit, which is the best draining shoe I’ve worn. The style and comfort of the Superior reminds me a lot of the PureGrit, but with the zero drop and toughness I expect from Altra.
A quick 4.5 today on the trails and they’re as awesome as I expected them to be. Much more comfortable than the Lone Peaks and even the Instincts. No break in period required… at least that’s my initial impression; no pain or the usual signs of blistering whatsoever which is generally the case with any new shoes. More to come for sure!
Side note: it’s hard to take a proper picture of your own legs!
Read more at: AltraZeroDrop
Thanks for reading!
Hugs & crap,