Altra Superior – 50 Mile Review

Altra Superior

How do I write a 50 mile review about a pair of running shoes that are listed in the trail shoe category, when I have only run 2 short snowmobile trail runs int them?

Very easy – they are the best fitting pair of running shoes that I have run in, in a long time! Although they might be considered a trail shoe, I have put mostly treadmill miles and road miles on them so far and I love them.

Disclosure: I purchased the Altra Superior with my own money from Optimal Run, so I can say whatever I want to about them and it isn’t advertising.

Here are the technical specs from the Altra website:

  • Ideal Uses: Trail Running, Hiking, Fastpacking
  • Designed to Reduce: Running Slow on the Trail
  • Platform: Zero Drop™ Platform
  • Weight: 7.9oz
  • Midsole: Two-Layer EVA / A-Bound™
  • Outsole: CheckerTrail Outsole
  • Insole: Contoured
  • Upper: Quick Dry Trail Mesh
  • Lacing Structure: Asymmetric
  • Other Features: Removable StoneGuard Rock Protection, Foot-Shaped Design

I did make one modification to the shoe, I got rid of the long stock laces and used LockLaces, I have them in all of my shoes, that I run regularly in and love how they help make my shoes fit my feet better.

Altra Superior

While Altra designed and lists the Superior as a trail shoe, to me it is more than that. In my mind the Superior is an outstanding Hybrid shoe that works well for me on a variety of surfaces. I have run in so far:

  • My first run in them was a 10 mile treadmill run, without any issues
  • I have used them to do fast-paced treadmill workouts interval (a few sub 6:30 paced quarters) and longer tempos (at 7:30 pace or faster), each totaling 10 miles
  • short snowmobile trail runs

  • easy recovery a couple tempo runs on the roads

The Superiors are the shoe that I am choosing to do most of my running in and yes I have plenty of others to choose from.

Why?

Simple – they work for me.

I run quietly in them, no slapping the pavement, which means my form is better.

Where I live out in the country, I run a lot on tar, dirt road shoulders, ditches (to avoid traffic), dirt roads, for a little longer – snow, slush, and as spring gets here mud, (sometimes all on the same run), so the road conditions are constantly changing and a true road shoe, doesn’t quite do it and a heavy duty trail shoe is too much shoe.


The Superiors are light, fairly nimble (as much as an old plodder like me can be), let me run on a multiple surfaces in the same run without missing a beat, very comfortable and due to the zero drop make me focus on how I am running, which is what I want/need right now.

As a trail shoe I will use them for 80% of the trails that I run on, but if I know there is a lot of rugged single-track, mud or sand, where I will be running, while I could use the Superiors to get through those areas, I would probably want a little more aggressive tread and beefier shoe.

As a road shoe they are the same weight as many light-weight trainers and have worked well on the roads for me. I plan to run my long run (14+ scheduled) tomorrow and a 5K race in them this weekend, simply because I think they will do well. I am very interested in seeing how these trail shoes perform in those two very different types of road running activities.

Update:

I ran 15.0 miles on Friday in the Superiors and they did FANTASTIC! No issues related my running shoes at all and my usual problem with my little toes hurting didn’t happen at all. I was very happy with how they performed on this long run and it has me really thinking about getting another pair to alternate as my daily training shoes and going with the 3-Sum/The One for racing shoes. Decisions, Decisions.

I like the ability to make the shoe lighter by simply removing the rock plate and then if I am going to run on single-track trails, just put it back in. It is a feature that helps makes the shoe flexible enough to meet the different styles of running that I really do.

Cons

I am still not sure if I like the way the tongue is made, I have to take a couple of extra seconds to get them just so, but when I am running there are no issues with it. The other thing is I don’t know what the strings are really for on the sides of the shoe, they seem loose all of the time, so I will see how long they last before I decide to see what the shoe is like without them.

The other thing is the rear rudder, while it doesn’t bother any, but it does fling up stuff on the backs of my legs when it is wet or muddy, I could do like a few other writers have done and take a Xacto knife to them, but I kind of like the way they make the shoe look. They do help me get the shoe off a little more easily, so I will keep them.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Altra Superior, they have become my go-to running shoe for almost all of my running lately and have performed very well. I have a feeling that this weekend will help me decide if my next pair of Altra running shoes will be the 3-Sum (which has the same last), Torin (a slightly different last, but more cushioning) or who knows, maybe, just maybe another pair of Superior’s – I mean why change if what I am using works.


Doing that would make my life a lot easier, staying with a hybrid shoe that does a lot in different conditions, instead of a lot of specialty shoes for each condition.

I do not have any affiliations with Altra Zero Drop at this time, other than a free pair of Altra Instinct 1.5’s that I got along with other #RWHalf Fitfluential bloggers.

2 thoughts on “Altra Superior – 50 Mile Review

  1. i'm approaching 400 miles in my superiors, and i have to say that i've gotten use to the fit. the toe box area does seem as roomy, but it feels like the midfoot area is a bit tighter than my original instincts. I tried using the rockplate as added insulation, but i've found that it takes up too much room in the shoe. So far i've liked the insole in, but i sure like taking it out when it's been super cold and wearing wool socks without any issues. I've already worn off all the lugs on the one shoe under the ball of my foot. My original instincts lasted just about 1,000 miles before the ball went all the way through to the EVA. I hoping for the same kinda mileage outta these.

    I'm with you on the tongue. bad design. i could handle the rubbery/neoprene feel of it if it would've been gusseted, but where it sits seems to have no use other than to bother the top of my foot. Plus it stays wet WAAAAY longer than the rest of the shoe. i've worn them enough too “break it in,” but i still wish it was gusseted, or softer, or something.

  2. I hit the 100 mile mark this week, I find that 13-15 miles on the roads is my limit in the Superior, my legs do feel a little more tired in them than the Instincts on the longer runs.

    I am not a big fan of the tongue, but it isn't the only manufacturer who is using this design, but I don't believe that I will buy another pair of shoes that has it, unless I get another pair of Superiors, which I might just do. Hopefully they re-design the tongue, but doubt they do.

    I am not sure how many miles I will get out of them, but looking at the wear after almost 100 miles should be a lot! Especially since I have a bunch of other shoes that I wear too. 😉

    Let me know how you keep doing in your Superiors, interested in your experiences in them.

    Harold

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