Altra Superior 2.0 ReviewJune 28, 2015
- Zero drop platform facilitates agility and foot placement
- Fairly well cushioned for a shoe in the 8-9 oz weight class
- Extremely roomy toe box
- Runs short and wide
- Outsole not grippy gravel, scree, and snow
The Altra Superior 2.0 is a mid-weight, zero drop shoe that can easily handle daily training duties and a variety of terrain. The major caveat with the Superior is the short, wide fit.
The Superior 2 is Altra’s update to its mid to light weight running shoe. Like all Altra shoes, the Superior is built on a zero-drop platform, but what makes this shoe a little different from other Altra models is the reduced weight and overall cushioning. These features might make the Superior 2 less suitable for long runs, but also make it more versatile for both daily training and faster running.
At just under 9 oz (for a mens 9) the Superior actually feels more cushioned and comfortable than others in its weight class. As with most zero-drop shoes, agility and precision foot placement are enhanced because the heel easily stays out of the way. The lighter weight also helps facilitate quick-stepping through technical terrain.
The major drawback with the Superior is the unusual fit. Specifically, this shoe runs both short and wide. This is a difficult combination, and inevitably leads to a loose fit in the forefoot. Getting sufficient lock down to prevent unwanted foot motion was possible, but not without what some would consider excessive lace tightening. Two other minor issues: turnover is a bit more challenging and the outsole lugs don’t grip very well on loose surfaces like gravel, scree, and snow (traction was otherwise not a problem).
The Superior will appeal to runners with wide feet who want a shoe suitable for daily training on a variety of terrain. It also will appeal to Altra brand-loyalists who want something a little lighter for daily training or more up tempo work.
The Superior 2.0 is more comfortable than many shoes in the 8-9 oz range. The upper materials are soft and compliant, and the midsole foam is supportive without being harsh. If anything, the heel cup has a bit too much padding. While this would be appropriate in a heavier shoe designed for a more cushioned ride, it seems a bit much for a shoe that comes in under 9 oz.
Speed & Agility
Like most zero drop shoes, the Superior struggles with turnover. A slight rocker profile and the lighter weight help, but it will never feel as quick as a more aggressively designed platform. On the other hand, the lower stack height enhances agility by keeping the heel out of the way. This makes the Superior very easy to manipulate on technical terrain.
Security of Fit
Getting a good secure fit in the Superior was a bit of a challenge. This is largely due to the overall shape of the shoe. It runs short, which made going up in size necessary to get enough room up front. But it also runs wide, which is exacerbated by having to go up in size to accommodate the length. The result is a fit that is simply too big in the forefoot. Sufficient lock down could be achieved, but only by tightening the laces to the point that the upper material started to bunch up on itself.
Heeluxe, our shoe testing laboratory partner, tests the responsiveness of a shoe by measuring how thick a running shoe is and multiplying it by how much pressure the forefoot foot feels while running. The softer or thicker the midsole, the less responsive a shoe will feel, but the more comfortable the shoe will generally feel. The thinner or firmer a midsole is, the more power you’ll feel at toe-off.
The Superior 2.0 has a fair amount of natural stability due to the low stack height and wider than average ground contact area. This is countered somewhat by the fit problems in the forefoot, but once the forefoot lacing gets dialed this become a non-issue.