Altra 3-Sum Initial Impressions and Review

Altra 3-Sum

Please Note: The Altra 3-Sums were provided as a free sample from Altra, with no expectation or agreement that I write anything about them. All comments are my own and based on my actually using this product, please be aware that your experiences with this product might be different.

I just got the Altra 3-Sum in tonight and in the short time that I have had them, I have been very impressed.

Although the shoes are designed with tri-athletes in mind – I am not a tri-guy, but I have always liked tongue-less, lighter and brightly colored running shoes, so I really wanted to try the 3-Sum.

Especially when I found out they were built on the same last as the Altra Superiors, which I love.

Appearance – The first thing you notice about these shoes is the color, they are a blended yellow and orange, which are two of my favorite colors. They are definitely what TheWife calls “Harold” shoes. The way that Altra mixed the colorways on this shoe, makes for a very sharp looking shoe and shows how far Altra has come from their original design, while keeping true to the wide toe box.

Here are the Atra 3-Sum’s specifications from the Optimal Run website:

Altra 3-Sum Specifications

  • Heel to toe differential:  Zero
  • Stack height:  18mm
  • Weight:  6.8oz
  • MSRP:  $125.00

Construction – The 3-Sums are a zero drop shoe that has a very minimal design on the uppers. They are seamless, with very few sewn-on overlays. The 3-Sum’s do not have a detached tongue. But do have finger holes in the heel and tongue to make it easy to grab on and pull them on. They are designed to be worn with or without socks, which I will test out to see how they do and feel either way.

The 3-Sum does have a heel counter, but it is very flexible and shouldn’t bother me at all.

The sole unit should wear well and have decent grip on a variety of surfaces, however, they are not for heavy trail use, but on dirt roads or easy trails, I wouldn’t hesitate using them. The 3-Sum is very flexible (not quite Nike Free flexible), but quite flexible. I don’t know what 12 holes are for (maybe drainage? – update – I got confirmation from +Altra Zero Drop Footwear on Twitter that is what they are for), that is something I will research more.

The only two things from my initial look at the design side are the high tab on the heel pull (will it cause any blisters?) and if the heel is wider or if it just feels that way due to my needing to cinch down the shoe a little more.

Speaking of the lacing – the stock elastic lacing is a nice system and very adjustable, but I had a pair of yellow LockLaces that were just crying out to be put on these shoes. I do like the yellow laces better than the black, they just go better with the colors the shoe has.

Fit – The fit is very close to the Superior’s sizing and fits my 7 3/4 foot, better than other shoes I have worn. I like the wide toe box that all Altra’s are known for, but as I said above, I am wondering what the heel fit will be like when I actually start to run in them.

I got them too late to go for a run tonight, but after my 5K race in the morning, I plan to do a few miles while waiting for the finish of the Half marathon. I will give them a good initial run and be able to discuss how they feel actually running in them.

This is one of the first pair of running shoes in a long time, that I can honestly say that I am really excited to run in and see how they perform.

First Trail Run of the Year – 4/5/13

Today was the first real trail run of the year and you know something – I LOVED IT! oops didn’t mean to yell – well yes I did ;-).

After my post this morning – Do Runners Have a Split Personality, I just had to go on a trail run.

Now I knew that most of the trails that I like running on around heah would have plenty of ice, mud and hoarfrost (that stuff that looks solid, but when you step on it you go down 4-6 inches and suddenly stop – loads of fun when you are running and not expecting it).

So I opted for a less technical, without a whole lot of big hills to play around on.

I went over to Oakland’s Messalonskee Stream Trail – one of my favorite trails in the area and started my run. It was also my first real trail run in the Altra Superiors that I bought back in February, so I would get a chance to see how they did under trail conditions.

I warmed up over the first quarter mile and once I got over the first bridge, I decided to open it up a little, everything looked fine ahead.

Okay Houston – we have a problem! Why am I laying on the ground looking up at the sky? hehehehe My first fall of the season

As you can see, it was on a side hill, the trail just gave way and under that inch of slimy mud was frozen ground, so it wouldn’t have mattered what shoes I had on, I was going down. No injuries, not  even to my pride, but I did slow back down to a pace, if I was on the roads, that I would be devastated by going that slow – here on the trails and the conditions I was running on – it was more than fast enough!

It didn’t help that down the trail a bit, a walker was coming out and said “I don’t know how you are staying up, I have fallen down 5-6 times and I am giving up on this trail today!” I probably should have turned around then, but you know something, I was having fun and was outside on my first love of running – trails. The guy just shook his head and muttered something but I did hear the “crazy runner” comment – yep that’s me.

Actually it was rather slippery and nasty in places and I didn’t even try to go faster, was more important to not hurt myself or pull a muscle or something.

Actually my feet got pretty wet and I did get into some mud, but the ground is still frozen once you get down a ways, which meant it was slippery and muddy, but I wasn’t in up to my knees. There was still a lot of snow/ice in many sections of the trail (but I explored some areas that I haven been on before, so that was fun.

How did the Altra Superiors do? They actually did better than I thought they would. The Superiors did well on everything but ice and slimy mud with frozen ground underneath. As long as I was going slow, I didn’t have any big problems. However, they don’t have quite enough tread for a really muddy trail, but they did what I wanted and I can see that they will be a fast trail shoe for trail racing this summer, which things are a bit drier.

Sometimes it is just good to not really worry about time and get out there and really focus on the running. While it was the slowest that I have ever run on this course and you know something I don’t really care, it was more about getting out there, getting muddy, wet, checking out new equipment and enjoying the run.

Overall, I was very happy with this first trail run of the season, I made it all the way through, only fell a couple more times, slipped and slid a bunch, stopped and took lots of pictures and most of all I HAD FUN!

After it was all over, I even stopped in at my Doctor’s Office and setup my annual physical, which is a year overdue, I wonder if he will be surprised at how much weight I have lost and that I am training for a marathon this fall. Should be interesting to see how much progress the lab numbers will say I have made.


Do Runners Have a Split Personality?

I have to laugh at myself.

What’s up Harold?

Well yesterday on my long walk with Bennie and we were walking down-back.

Since it is nasty and mud season up heah, I haven’t been running down-back in quite a while or even walking Bennie down there. It is a nasty rutted, semi frozen, semi muddy mess.

You know the kind of place where your shoes and clothes get muddy, nasty and wet. Those kind of runs where it would be easy to turn your ankle or twist a knee or heaven forbid fall down and get all muddy.

This is what it looks like:

It seems I have been looking at down-back exclusively through my road runner lens lately.

Yet if I came across these sections or much worse (which I have while trail running) especially on some of the power-line connector trails, I wouldn’t hesitate to find a line and go play in the mud.

When I got thinking about it, I had to laugh at myself, about the differences in my attitude toward the same scene, based upon which kind of running I was thinking about doing.

  • The Harold the Road Runner perceptions that down-back was too nasty and dangerous to run there.
  • The Harold the Trail Runner perception that oh let’s go play in the mud and have some fun down-back.

Does anyone else notice that about themselves when it comes to how you look at where you are going to be running? Or is it just a case of me having a split personality? 🙂

What do you see when you look at those pictures? A great place to run or somewhere to avoid?

The Day Got Away From Me, But I Ran 4/4/13

Wow yesterday just got away from me!

I took Bennie for an extra long walk through the mud fields down-back.

When when we got back – the cable and Internet were out (and would be until around 4:00 in the afternoon), so a lot of what I wanted to get done, I had to wait on, because they relied on having an Internet connection.

The biggest thing that I had wanted to work on was my running club’s webpage, because were having our running club meeting early in the evening, so I didn’t get to make the updates that I had really wanted to make. At the meeting I got to go over the new webpage and got ideas on the next steps the club wanted to take with updating the webpage.

After getting home and eating supper, I dove into making the changes to the webpages and was up until nearly midnight, working on them – that I better get them done while still thinking of it mentality. I still have a few things left to do, but if you are interested in looking at the Central Maine Striders’ new webpage here is the link.

All this meant that I didn’t do my blog entry on my run yesterday! Yes I did run, a slow recovery run that I had planned for a 9:30 or so pace and overall was right on target. I did a slightly different course than usual, but it was mostly flat once I got down Philbrick Hill.

I don’t know why, but I was feeling pretty blah, so I decided to do a couple of telephone to telephone pole strides, just to shake things up while I was out there and it seemed to work, it got me out of my doldrums and perked me up little. I guess I just needed to have a little extra speed thrown in. However, I did maintain close to the 9:30 pace for 4 of the 6.0 mile splits, I dogged it coming back up Philbrick Hill and went a little faster on the couple of strides mile, so I was happy with the run.

The weather report might have said 46 degrees, but it felt a lot colder than that, I was very comfortable in the three layers (tech shirt, long sleeve tech shirt and lighter running jacket), shorts, ear muffs, hat and gloves. No I didn’t sweat too much, so I was dressed appropriately for me.

Overall, a nice recovery run after yesterday’s long run. I wonder if I felt a bit out of sorts, because I switched my long run to the middle of the week? I am such a creature of habit, that might be the case.