Altra Superior 2.0 Review
Shoes provided by Altra for the review.
Jenny: Altra continues to hang in there with the big dawgs. Because they are one of the only brands that offers a 0mm offset, along with a super cush midsole, Altra is a growing company. The run specialty store where I work carries all the big brands, but Altra consistently gets asked for on a daily basis (thankfully we stock a few styles).
Thomas: Altra has really stepped up it’s product line this year. They offer some really good options that look and feel better than their previous models. That is huge considering they have a solid fan base built on Altra’s zero drop platform already. The zero drop isn’t that important to me. I only care if the shoe feels good to run in. Their new line up achieves that goal.
Jenny: What a huge improvement from the last version (1.5). Out of the box, I felt like the 1.5 was a brick–felt heavier than my other trail shoes. Not only is the 2.0 softer, it’s significantly lighter as well (more than 2oz). The upper is completely seamless, save for the one stitch holding on the heel counter. This has a lot to do with the decrease in weight but the upper is also much less complicated, too. It’s now a simple reinforced mesh that breathes well but looks hearty. This newer version still maintains the GaiterTrap with hook & eye to secure gaiters–cool feature for trail runners.
The stack height jumped from 18 to 21mm, which adds to the underfoot protection, yet cut down on the weight?! I’m pretty sure that had to do with the cut-outs on the outsole. Instead of it being completely solid, this 2.0 version has 5 geometric cutouts that allow for some flexibility–one of my other beefs with the 1.5. Along with the increased outsole, there is a removable rock guard for each shoe. I ran with those in and was glad–the trails I hit weren’t super gnarly but enough rocks and roots where I felt like without it, I’d have felt way too much. I initially thought the plush collar would bother me but it ended up being comfortable with no hot spots. They’ve added a loop on the heel to aid in easy slip on. I love that feature, as I don’t always untie my shoes when I take them off and on (*gasp*!).
Thomas: So much better than the original version of the Altra Superior. The first Superior felt clunky and stiff where the the Superior 2.0 is flexible, well cushioned, and nimble on the trails. Less overlays than the original, but somehow the Superior 2.0 fits better on the foot. I ran with the removable “rockplate” insole and I like the ride better with it in. The cushion of the midsole is enough to keep your feet comfortable on technical trails and still light enough you can connect with the trail. These feel like a trail version of the Altra One2. That is a good thing. The outsole gripped the technical terrain providing a secure feeling on slippery rocks and roots. I was surprised how well they handled paved sections of the run. The Superior 2.0 has great features like the removable rockplate, well protected toe bumper, GaiterTrap, and upper material that keeps debris out yet still breathes and drains well.
Jenny: Completely superficial but these are still not my favorite looking shoe…in fact, may be in my bottom 10% but hey, when you’re serious about comfort, this is secondary. I must say that they’ve improved so much aesthetically since their first versions and I’m not sure there’s a lot you can do with that wide toebox. I’m unsure of the color options for this new round but the 1.5 had a great turquoise that made me weak in the knees.
Thomas: The Superior 2.0 has a very puffy collar around the ankle. While it did not cause any irritation, it just seems like overkill. The toe bumper came unwelded (see picture) which was odd since there wasn’t that much wear on the shoe. About 30 miles on them when I noticed the defect. I contacted Altra and got this response, “These are SMS samples, meaning they don’t get the same treatment that production models get. They are really designed for us to put on feet and make sure they fit and function the way we need them to, not necessarily run the traditional life of the shoe in. The toe cap peeling isn’t something that is unusual when the pieces are hand glued with a lesser quality adhesive for show model shoes. Production models will receive a much higher quality adhesive and also me machined on for consistency and for better production/durability.” – Zac Marion, Producer of Products, ALTRA FOOTWEAR
Jenny: Solid update from Altra. With the added cush (not too soft) and the decrease in weight, I’d say they’re on the right track. They performed well on rough terrain and left me feeling well protected. I know it’s winter and dark shoes are in but I need a lil more splash-o-color to make my heart happy.
Thomas: There are three manufactures that I feel really took their products to another level this year. Altra is one of them. The shoes I reviewed from Altra this year (Paradigm, One2, Superior 2.0) are all really good running shoes, zero drop or not. The versatility of this trail shoe makes it a fun shoe to run single track and more technical terrain. I recommend these for any distance. The cushioning is just enough to keep your feet happy for a long haul. The overall fit of the shoe is on point, the only thing I would work on for the 2.5 is making the collar of the shoe less puffy.
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Thanks for the review guys. I’m really looking forward to getting some miles in these.
Have either of you run in the Lone Peak 2.0? If so, how would you compare the cushion/protection?
I love the Lone Peaks but at times they just feel a little too heavy.
I have not run in the Lone Peak, sorry I can’t comment on a comparison. These feel a lot like One2 with rubber on the outsole and a little more aggressive upper. Maybe tougher upper is a better way to put it.
How it fit?
I have Instinct 1.5 and Lone Peak 1.5 in same size. LP runs (at least) half size bigger.
superior seemed to fit normal, 1/2 size up from casual shoes.
I recently received my latest edition of Trail Runner magazine and saw an ad for the new Superior 2.0. I have had two pairs of the Superior and one pair of the Lone Peak. I went through four other brands of minimalist shoes before I found the Altra. I am sold on Altra and will be purchasing the 2.0 soon. Thanks for the review.
If you liked the originals I think you will Love the update. Enjoy the miles.
How is the breathability compared to the 1.5? Can you see light passing through the mesh? I had Altra Instinct 1 which had open mesh but the Instinct 1.5 was much less breathable.
The weather was really ideal when we ran in these. The breathability seemed a non-issue. You can not see light through the upper. It was designed to keep debris out, so no holes.