What is it that people have been talking about…
They’ve been talking about a shoe that’s super comfortable, and zero drop. Comfort without the heel striking that will destroy your body.
The talk that I’ve been hearing all around me is about Altra Zero Drop running shoes. It comes from runners and CrossFitters alike.
I’ve had family and friends telling me about how I needed to get my hands on a pair of Altra running shoes for months. And people at my CrossFit gym are wearing them more and more.
I knew I needed to get my hands on some. Or get them on my feet… Right!
The perfect opportunity came when I got myself into a trail adventure that covers 93 miles in 3 days. The adventure is the Wonderland trail that runs the circumference of mount Rainer in WA state.
For this adventure I would need to train, and I would need to train on rugged trails.
I would also need some good shoes to do this.
And having so many people telling me to get a pair of Altra’s, I contacted Mountain Plus Outdoor Gear and asked them if they’d send me a pair to test during my training. Mountain Plus Outdoor Gear is awesome, and they hooked me up with a pair of Altra Superior trail running shoes.
Question: You know when you try a pair of shoes on, and you can immediately tell that you’re going to like them? When I first tried on the Altra Superior’s I knew I’d like them.
The toe box is so nice and big that you can spread out your toes like there intended to do. It felt great!
I could also feel the Superior’s were cushioned in all the right places.
I couldn’t wait to get them into action. And action was set to come soon! Literally on the day I got the Superior’s, I was heading out of town on a 27 mile hike/run adventure to the Enchanted Valley in the Olympic National Forest. It was my first long training session of the season, and I tossed the new Altra’s in my car, and we were off.
Like I mentioned above, the Altra Superior’s fit right in all the right places. They hug your feet, and somehow still feel spacious enough to spread your toes.
The zero drop of the Superior’s gives you the same foot strike as if you were barefoot, and the sole of the shoe is very neutral, so you don’t get any weird pronation or supination. You also get more cushion than a minimal shoe, which is great for trail running. I like to run on very technical terrain, and a minimal shoe leaves my feet beat up for days. The Superior has a good amount of cushion that has kept my feet feeling happy after rugged trail runs.
During that very first day the Superior’s felt amazing for the whole first half of the hike/run.
Unfortunately during the way back (on the out-and-back hike) there was a combination of my socks, and the heel cup that pushed on my Achilles to the point of pain.
I wasn’t sure if my body just wasn’t ready for the 27 miles without much training, or if the shoes weren’t right for me.
Two weekends later I strapped the Altra Superior’s back on for an 18+ mile trail run/hike. This time around I switched out my socks, and made sure to leave the laces looser than the previous trip.
What I found was the adjustments helped tremendously. It was only my right Achilles that was bothering me which brought to my attention that I might have something going on with my Achilles or calf rather than the shoes being the problem.
In order to get to the bottom of my Achilles issue, I contacted a few of my friends who wear the Altra‘s and Altra themselves to see what everyone had to say. The consensus was, no one else had any Achilles issues while wearing the Altra’s (even on long runs). And after doing some work on my Achilles and calf, it became apparent that my whole lower right leg needed some physical therapy to reduce calf tightness.
After working out the issues with my right calf, the pain was gone. This was a great relief to me because I like everything about the shoe, but if they caused me pain, I couldn’t wear them at all.
To Buy, or Not To Buy
I’m going to give the Altra Superior’s a “yes” go buy them… if you’re a trail runner looking for a zero drop shoe. The fit of the wide toe box, and the feel of the zero drop and cushioning of the Superior is zero to none. You should be able to tell the second that you put them on, how great they feel.
Where to buy
Mountain Plus Outdoor Gear – MPGear.com
*there is currently a 15% off sale on Altra shoes, so hurry!