Longtime fans of the Altra Superior running shoes will likely take readily to the company’s new King MTs, which feel familiar but crank up the rugged protection and traction a couple notches. Pairing Altra’s classic “foot-shaped” fit (think roomy toeboxes) with an integrated rock plate, cleat-like 6mm lugs and especially robust uppers, the King MTs promise to handle the gnarliest of trail-running endeavors—peak bagging, fell running, obstacle racing, off-trail explorations and FKT (“fastest known time”) attempts.
After a few initial test runs, we feel good about believing the King MT’s ability to deliver on this promise. The Vibram Megagrip rubber outsoles provide virtually slip-proof grip on even the sloppiest of trails. Thanks to Altra’s signature zero-drop platform. In fact, the King MT’s low-to-the-ground feel complements the traction to create a highly nimble ride, even on technical terrain.
It’s hard to say if the shoe’s standout visual feature – its hook-and-loop strap – really adds much in the way of technical performance. The strap connects across the instep and is supposed to help lock your feet into place on steep terrain, while also doubling as a lace keeper. However, the King MT certainly does provide a secure, “locked in” fit—sans pressure points—through the midfoot. This is especially noticeable and appreciated when bombing down singletrack at high speeds.
Altra’s signature “Gaiter Trap” tabs at the heels and D-rings at the laces allow for easy pairing with gaiters (not included) for a more seamless barrier against dirt, sand and other trail debris. This is a nice addition on any trail shoe, particularly if you’re running on trails where loose debris are a common concern.
The Altra King MT is currently available, having debuted in February 2017.
• Stack height: 19mm
• Heel-to-toe drop: 0mm
• Weight: 10.2 oz. (men’s); 8.4 oz. (women’s)
• Price: $140