Altra Superior

If you read my review of the Altra Lone Peak 1.5s, you know that I love them. I am a huge fan of everything Altra. I even ran in, and now chill out in, an original pair of black Instincts. So when I picked up my first pair of Superiors, I was super excited. They were going to be everything I was looking for. Touted as being lighter than the Lone Peaks, closer to the ground than the Lone Peaks, and with a removable stoneguard, they were going to be the Altras I was going to use for my trail races. That is until they didn’t fit.

The Altra website can list all of the differences between the Lone Peak and the Superior. I am here to tell you that all of their claims are 100% correct. Yes, it’s lighter weight (2 ounces less!), it’s lower to the ground (12mms vs 23mms), and the StoneGuard is removable. They even tell you that the Superior has a snug fit that requires you to purchase a half-size larger than you would normally buy. This doesn’t help me and my size 14s.

My first run in them was at Robinette’s Apple Haus, and it didn’t take long before my poor toes noticed that something was different about the Superior. At this time I knew that they were on a different last than the Lone Peaks, but I didn’t know that they ran shorter. I had the StoneGuard in them, but was faced with a decision at the halfway point…try to make these fit better or finish barefoot. I sat down and removed the StoneGuards and immediately felt relief. The guard is less than a millimeter thick, but it’s significant enough that the fit was better, I had more propioception, and the shoe became more flexible. I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of the trail, but my toes had paid the price and the reality of the situation took hold. While the Superiors are an awesome shoe, I personally can’t wear them for anything but daily wear. The hills on any trail just destroy my feet. Despite my fit issues, I still highly suggest them and we have a few regulars who love them. Of course they had the option to buy a half size larger.

Overall, I highly recommend the Superiors. The zero drop design gives you exceptional ground feel on the trails, the wide (but not as wide as the Lone Peak) toe box still lets your toes splay to give you great natural balance, and the crazy checker box outsole gives you great traction. So while they didn’t earn a spot in my regular rotation and my trunk, I still give these an “A”.

Fun fact: there are several fun jokes stashed away on the Altra website. My favorite on the Superior product page…”Designed to Reduce: Running Slow on the Trail”. And I think they are right!

Grades
Upper: 7/10 – Super comfy, but the low toe makes them run short
Cushion: 5/10 – They’re minimal people…cushion isn’t their thing, but the shoe is soft
Traction: 10/10 – Aggressive and ready for everything and anything