Thursday, March 27, 2014

My New Altra Arrivals

I am generally a big fan of Altra shoes, though there are some complaints that I have had in the past 12 months. Despite those complaints, I am super excited to try many of the new shoes they are producing. And I continue to recommend them to my friends and family. (I would guess that at least 2-3 dozen pairs of their shoes have either been purchased by me or as a result of my recommendation.) Now that I am ramping up for 2014 and running injury free, I have restocked my supply after retiring pairs of Instinct 1.0, Superior 1.0, and Torin 1.0. And I currently already rotate pairs of the Lone Peak 1.0 and Instinct 1.5.

My New 2014 Line Up

The shoe I was maybe most excited about is the Instinct 2.0. The Instinct 1.0 was my second favorite shoe ever (other than the unappealing looks). While the Instinct 1.5 are a decent shoe, they seem  to be a bit narrower than the original to me. However, I really like the balance of cushion and road feel in them. Anyway, what appealed most to me about the Instinct 2.0 is the addition of some more cushion and the re-worked upper. It has only been three runs and 20 some miles, but I am very impressed. The mold/last is much more inline with what I hoped and feels closer to the 1.0 to me. The cushion is very pillowy, bordering on Hoka soft. This may push this shoe more into a long run category for me, but that is fine. I like my Instinct 1.5 as a strength and speed shoe. At some point when I have a few hundred miles on them, I'll write a review. But I expect these shoes to get more than their share of love in my rotation.
Instinct 2.0 are pillowy soft right out of the box
The other shoe I was super excited about is the Olympus. Like everyone, I have become enamored with cushion and wanted badly to have a viable alternative to the Hoka. I own a pair of Hoka Mafate because they are the only model that comes close to having enough forefoot room for me. But, the Mafate weigh nearly a pound each!  Yikes!! The Olympus weigh in at close to 11 oz for me, or just a little heavier than my everyday shoes. That extra weight is worth the cushion. Similar to the Instinct 2.0, my initial impressions are very positive on this shoe. Looking at the Altra website, it appears the shoes are built on the same last (SD5-M). And that explains why they both feel like a perfect fit to me -- no issues with width or toebox.

In addition to the weight and last, I am super excited about their rocker technology. The Hokas feel like bricks to me and I doubt I could ever run fast in them because of the rigidness of the outsole. Altra did a great job with the rocker technology and allowing for the shoe to feel like you can toe-off. It is an odd sensation when you first put them on, and they almost don't feel zero drop because of it. I already took these shoes on a 13 mile, 2500K technical trail run and was very pleased. They currently have 50 miles on them. I will write a more thorough review once they have some more miles on them. My only complaint so far: how will I ever wear out my Mafate with these shoes in my closet?!

A good looking shoe for having so much cushion.

The other shoe I recently purchased was a pair of the Lone Peak 1.5. I have yet to log a mile in them because I have a pair of 1.0 that I want to wear out first. I bought them in part because the changes between the 1.0 and this model were minimal. It seems the majority of changes were improving the material and the drainage in the upper, both are welcome changes for me.


  1. Thanx a million 4 the beginner tap. I totally agree & I enjoyed reading. Cheers

  2. I interested in reading your thoughts on the Lone Peak 1.5's and the Olympus. I'm running in the LP 1.5's right now and really like the shoe a lot. It will most likely be what I wear during my first attempt at LT100 this year. I've almost pulled the trigger on the Olympus a couple of times, but I'd really like to try it on first. I'm an 11.5 in the LP1.5 and am curious as to whether or not the size and fit is the same with the Olympus. My other concern is that I've never worn a maximal cushioned shoe before and have nothing to compare it to. When not on the trails I run in a more minimal shoe in the SKORA Phase.

    Big fan of Altra here though, at least with their Lone Peak 1.5.

  3. Mike -
    I am a big fan of the Olympus (55+ miles now). I found they fit true to size with both my Lone Peak and Instinct (all size 12 right now). I suppose if you are concerned about your toes bumping into the front of the shoe on big downhill segments, then maybe consider a half size up.

    I was hesitant to buy the Olympus because I don't like my Hoka Mafate 3.0 at all. But Altra did a much better job of building a shoe that is of reasonable weight (only and ounce or two heavier than the LP) and somewhat responsive (due to the rocker technology) and still got the big cushion. If you like Altra and are at all considering a highly cushioned shoe, then I'd say go for it. I run both roads and trails in my Olympus.

  4. First, I should probably not allow myself to post immediately after a run :)

    Thanks for the response. I think I'm going to give them a shot and see how I like 'em. I need a 2nd pair of trail shoes to alternate with, or change into during a race anyway. Since I run mostly in a much more low profile shoe during my daily runs, the LP1.5 already feels like a max cushioned shoe in comparison. I'm sure the Olympus will take some getting used too. We'll see...

    Thanks again!

  5. Any updates or new thoughts on the Olympus? I picked up a pair and have about 65 miles on them, give or take. They've taken some getting used to, and I'm still not sure if they'll replace my LP 1.5's. Haven't rolled an ankle yet, but the two times I had them on Barr Trail it felt like I was going to.

  6. Wilk5280 -
    Thanks for the gentle reminder! That post is on my radar, so I will try to get to it this week. The short story is that I love them. It is hard not to put them on each time I go out on the trails. But I keep a shoe rotation that relies on me putting miles on all my shoes in order to burn through them all :)