The most recent incarnation of the Superior – the 3 – is a very different beast from this one, the 1.5, and in my mind, no match. What’s so good about this earlier model? I explain below..

When Altra first launched their Superior trail shoe, nearly all their shoe models boasted a wide toebox, a zero-drop sole and were both lightly cushioned and flexible. Since then, their range has moved towards bulkier, stiffer midsoles, which in my opinion is a shame (though it’s great to see they’ve maintained a 100% zero-drop stable and kept the roomy toebox).

Upper:

My first run in these was over two hours long, on a mix of trail, fields and lanes, and there was no rubbing or discomfort at all (the ankle collar and tongue are well-padded). Much of the upper is constructed with mesh to prevent water staying trapped inside the shoe once it’s entered and the tongue is stitched-in most of the way along, which helps to keep out debris. A stitched plastic toebox protects toes from roots and rocks, while at the back of the heel, a Velcro tab allows you to attach a gaiter if you’re running on particularly messy or dusty terrain.

Sole:

The midsole, like all Altras, is zero drop. Put it on and you’re immediately aware of the benefits of the low, broad platform: you feel stable, yet close to the ground. The shoe flexes in just the right place: at the ball of the foot, which means your foot doesn’t have to work harder than it should to roll through to toe-off.

The shallow lugs on the outsole are set lengthways, with each row facing an alternating direction to provide multi-directional grip. That said, this isn’t a shoe to take on extreme terrain. Its shallow lugs flailed a little in deeper mud and didn’t inspire confidence on slippery rock. On wet grass and stony trail, however, it behaved beautifully.

The strange-looking protrusion at the rear of the heel is meant to act as a rudder, to aid control on steep descents but I can’t say I’ve been aware of its assistance. There’s also a removable rock plate under the sockliner (which you only really need for sharp rocky terrain and otherwise simply adds weight).

Wear and Tear:

It’s been put through its paces with 150+ miles of mostly trail but also some tarmac with mud, snow and ice featuring heavily. There are no signs of wear-and-tear to report.

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VERDICT:

This is not the lightest or fastest-feeling trail shoe on the block but it’s high on comfort, natural-foot friendly and a great choice for non-technical trails with the flexibility to handle moderate doses of road running too. It’s durable too. 83/100

Stats:

Weight – 308g – (UK size 8, minus rockplate)
Upper – Mesh with stitched plastic toe protector and midsole. Well-padded ankle collar
Lacing – Standard
Midsole – Depth 18mm. Zero-drop
Outsole – Two-directional lugs
Insole – Standard and removable. Removable rock plate
Flexibility – High
Fitting – Wide toebox. Natural foot-shaped last. Comes up small – order half to one size up

Source:

I purchased this shoe.

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