Originally posted on: March 14, 2013
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
Midsole: Two-Layer EVA / A-Bound™
Outsole: CheckerTrail Outsole
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.