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Altra Superior 1.5 Review

Altra Superior 1.5Altra Superior 1.5 Trail Running Shoe Review

The Good

gaiterlockThomas: The Altra Superior 1.5 is packed with cool well thought out features. Some of my favorites are the “Gaiter Trap” and the removable rock plate. The Gaiter Trap is a patch of velcro that you can attach the back of your Gaiter to. I already had a pair of Dirty Girl gaiters, so I tried out the feature and it worked great. This is a feature I would like to see on more trail shoes. The removeable rock plate is a pretty neat concept, a few tweaks to it would make it even better. It could use a little tougher material under the balls of your feet. The standard Altra features like the foot shaped design of the shoe and zero drop make for a comfortable shoe to run in. Running behind someone wearing the Superior is fun because the foot print on the bottom will make you smile.

run-mMeaghan: This is a comfy shoe. Right out of the box they felt great on my feet; so much so that I took them out for 22 miles on my first run in them. I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or irritation. The foot shape lasts and nice wide toebox are perfect for my wide feet. They had nice ground feel but enough outsole that I felt protected from the elements (18mm stack height).The shoes come with two insoles, a 5mm footbed and a rock plate. I left both layers in place, but I’d be interested to see how different they feel without the StoneGuard. They’re a little heavier than I’ve become accustomed to, but it didn’t bother me out on the trails.

JJ Altra SuperiorStein: These shoes fit great. I am a big fan of a wide toe box and Altra’s is probably the widest! Despite ample room for my piggies, the midfoot is snug and the heel does not slip. The shoes breathe and drain well, and the removable rockplate protected my feet on some fairly technical trails. I also enjoyed running on some soft singletrack and even ran a couple ten milers on the road. For the back-to-back “big city miles” I crammed another pair of insoles in them to see if the additional padding would protect my feet from the sidewalk. Although this experiment was a little wacky, it worked and there was still enough room for my forefoot after loosening the laces a little. I have found myself wearing these shoes around town and to the kids’ soccer practice because they’re just so comfy.

Jenny: Altras make such a unique shoe that it’s tough to really compare them to anything else.  If you’ve got a fat foot.  Oh, pardon me…wide foot, Altras just may be the cure to your bunions.   With enough room in the toebox to splay your toes, those piggies have plenty of room.  Not only do they have an anatomical shape but they are ALL zero drop.  Pretty sure it’s all the rage and now you have several options on the market.  The brand has really come a long with aesthetically.  I remember the first round of shoes that they released and all I could think was “hot dog”.  They looked like a big ol’ beef frank with no contour or personality.  They must’ve gotten new product designers because this around has a lil sass!  This Superior 1.5 has incorporated one of my fave aqua colors and even has a fun footprint shape on the outsole.  I love the idea of the tread–alternating directions for the angled “lugs”, which give plenty of traction on the trails.  I’m sure the design contributes to its function, as the outsole seemed super flexie for a trail shoe.   It’s super responsive but very little cushion–the kind where you can really feel the ground.

The Bad

run-tThomas: While the Superior 1.5 is good on packed dirt trails the traction  wasn’t great in mud and snow. The Maryland trails I frequent border on the more technical side with roots, rocks, and lots of twists and turns. I prefer a trail shoe built to handle those conditions a little more daftly. Basically, I need shoes that bite the ground a little more. I would guess the Altra Superior 1.5 would be better on the trails out west. That makes sense since the shoe is developed in Utah. While I really like the way Altra fit I am still getting used to the way they look when you are staring straight down on them. They look wide at the toe and not sleek. With that said, I ran in a new Altra model the One2 and it looks pretty good from all angles. I am looking forward to reviewing them soon.

Meaghan: My first run in the Altra Superior was in some of the worst conditions I’ve seen out on the trails. The ice and snow made it nearly impossible to run with any sort of speed. I was slipping all over the place and I’m not sure these shoes helped me out any. They’re great for packed mud and gravel, but I don’t feel very confident taking these out on super technical terrain or slippery conditions.

Stein: The tread was tough, and near ideal on dry conditions, fire roads and even pavement, but it provided very little lateral grip when the trail got slippery. I almost wore them for a 50K race but decided there just wasn’t enough padding underfoot for the sections of road and putting extra insoles in for the trail portions seemed risky. Regardless, I did see a bunch of runners in Altras during that race. While it would certainly change the shoe’s fast feel a bit, I’d like to have a little more lug-action in the sole. Other than the tread pattern, I’m a fan.

Jenny: I don’t have a wide foot–nowhere near narrow but I can’t seem to fill in the toebox.  The length was great and ran true to size for me (always a solid 8) but it didn’t feel snug enough around the ankle??  There is a good midfoot fit but once it got around the ankle, the cushion impeded the fit for some reason.  I don’t know if this is just an issue on the women’s side because I hear men rave about these shoes.   It just seemed to feel sloppy and lacing wasn’t the issue.  The outsole, while great on softer surfaces felt hard on the road.  I could even feel the tread through the sockliner–inserting the removable rock plate did help but again, it was only comfortable on the trails or softer surfaces.


mens-weightThomas: The Altra Superior 1.5 is a solid trail shoe packed with unique features. The shoe performs best for packed trails. It is a little on the heavier side 9.9 oz is the listed weight of a size 9 shoe, but the 10.5  weighed in at 12.7 oz (see image.) I ran a 22 miler in these shoes and my feet held up well with no hot spots or blisters. I believe you could get a lot of miles out of the Superior. It is a sturdy well built shoe.

Meaghan: The Altra Superior 1.5 is a good trail shoe. I don’t have any major complaints (other than wanting a little more traction) but I also wasn’t “wowed” by any features of the shoe. They do have a pretty cool Gaiter Trap built into the heel, but I didn’t take advantage of it. I would not recommend these shoes for super technical terrain, but they are definitely a good option for your every day trail running.

womens-weightStein: I really groove on zero drop shoes and Altra has done a good job offering a trail shoe that sticks to their unique design philosophy and shoe aesthetic. Despite the Superior 1.5’s unconventional appearance Altra has once again won me over and I feel comfortable recommending them.

Jenny: While I love the concept of Altras, I haven’t quite found one that fits my foot like a glove.   Working in the running industry, I see these things fly off the shelves.   We can’t seem to keep them stocked, so that’s gotta say something for the shoes!


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  1. Blu Robinson says:

    I live in mine, bloody love Altra!

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