ALTRA OLYMPUS SHOE REVIEW
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Mar
26
james wilie
ALTRA OLYMPUS SHOE REVIEW
Gear Reviews, Shoes
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The Altra Olympus is another entrant into the 2014 “maximal” shoes, that is, lots of cushioning with a minimal offset (for Altra shoes, it is a zero offset).  Altra trail running shoes are categorized by Maximum cushioning (Olympus); Moderate cushioning (Lone Peak 1.5); and Light cushioning (The Superior 1.5).  All are zero drop.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Altra suggests to go up half a size from your normal running shoe size.  For me, the 9.5 size worked perfectly. There is plenty of room in the toebox. The Olympus came in at 11.70 oz (332 g) (Size 9.5). For comparison, the Hoka Stinson Evo comes in at 11.25 oz (319 g) (Size 9).  Some additional comparisons to the Hoka:

Altra Olympus (Men’s Size 9.5)

  • Stack Height: 36 mm
  • Offset: 0 mm
  • Heel Width: 94 mm
  • Midfoot Width: 120 mm
  • MSRP: $130
  • Gender Specific
Hoka Stinson Evo (Men’s Size 9)

  • Midfoot: 26 mm & Heel: 32 mm
  • Offset: 6 mm
  • Heel Width: 108 mm
  • Midfoot Width: 120 mm
  • MSRP: $160

The feeling on the foot is very cushioned compared to the Hoka (which is slightly stiffer).

I like how the tongue does not have any extra material near the top.

view tongue

The upper is well constructed and durable.

view 3

You will also notice the gaiter trap on the heel (Velcro connection) to keep any shoe gaiter in place (nice touch).

view heel

Altra recommends a unique lacing system to avoid “lace creep”.  The lacing up top is similar to how I laced my wrestling shoes and my running shoes when I need them to be secure.

lacing

See additional pictures of the Olympus below.

view 1

 

view 2

 

view toe view outsole

TRAIL TESTING

No worries about any rocks or obstacles.  The cushioned midsole eats them up without compromising stability.  The Olympus felt more stable (less ankle rolling) versus the Hoka.  They performed okay when wet (there is a lot of material in the upper).  The traction is sufficient on most terrain except in the muddiest conditions.  They held up to downhills, uphills, rocky terrain, scree, and roads.  Performance wise (and cushioning), I am impressed with the Olympus.

After 40 miles, I did notice on the midsole “paint” coming off, that is, sections of the midsole are painted versus having the midsole EVA molded to the color.  Although cosmetic, this could be improved by not painting the midsole. The flaking paint makes the shoe appear “cheap”.

paint flakes

Weight Table

weight table

Tech Specs

  • Stack: 36 mm
  • Offset: 0 mm
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Neutral  Shoe
  • No Rock Plate (well cushioned)
  • Midsole – EVA
  • Upper – Synthetic
  • Made In – China
  • Women’ Version  

CONCLUSION

The Altra Olympus is a maximal cushioned shoe without sacrificing a minimal drop (zero to be exact). It eats up obstacles on the trails with plenty of room in the toe box in a very comfortable package.  Watch out Hoka!  One thing I would change (although cosmetic) is to not paint the midsole.



  1. I just got a pair and they are my first marshmallow trail running shoes. I wear zero or minimal drop shoes all-day long and love them (Pearl Izumi Trail N1, Vasque Pendulum, Merrell AllOut Fuse). They feel fast and I don’t feel the need for extra marshmallow cushioning.

    So, my first run in the Olympus was… well… like running on the beach. The midsoles rob so much energy! I felt very slow and at the end of the run, my muscles were really beat up. I was ready to go back to regular shoes.

    What am I doing wrong? I’m a mid/forefoot striker. Maybe I need to shorten up my stride even more? I’m a little unimpressed so far. Thanks for your opinion here.

    • Hey Jason,

      I’m not sure what is happening with your run in the Olympus. My first run in them was a 20 miler, and they felt good. I was concerned about how “cushioned” they felt – meaning mainly stability. I must say, I had no issues with stability. I took them out for another 20+ miler – up and down hills, over rocks, through river crossings – basically as much varied terrain as possible. They performed well. Again, I had no issues with feeling “beat up” – this was even my high mileage week. I’m not sure what you are experiencing – maybe trying to hit the ground “harder” to compensated for all that cushioning (?). Let me know how your other runs go. I’ll take the Olympus out again this weekend for another 20+ miler.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • I felt the same way. I just got back from my first 8 mile run in them and they are just to much squish for me. That might be because I am used to running in either more minimalist shoes or stability shoes.

  2. I wore Torins all last year and decided to try the Olympus because of all the hype I was hearing about them. After wearing them 27 days and about 35 miles of my 120 mile month, I returned them for more Torins. In the Torin I feel like I have more control and stability in my landing and take off and did not appreciate the squishy feel. The Olympus seemed to give a little more “kick” in take off, but the seeming loss of stability in landing wasn’t worth the trade off. I started getting shin pain, something that had gone away with the switch from Brooks Adrenaline to the Altra Torin.

    • Hi “L”,

      I love the Torin 1.5 myself (review to be posted). Although a road shoe, they definitely provide a more stable feel vs. the Olympus. The Olympus may not be for everyone, but I like that Altra is providing a “maximal” shoe with the zero offset. Thanks for your comments.

      Best,
      James

  3. Miki said on May 18, 2014

    Do you also have measurements for the forefoot width? By the way- you wrote that Altra recommend going up 1 size, but when I checked with Shoefitr, they recommended I go down half a size. What’s your take?

    • Hey Miki,

      The width measurement is approximately 11.5 cm. I do state “Altra suggests to go up half a size from your normal running shoe size.” and not one-full size. Sorry about any confusion.

      I hope this helps.

      James

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