By Seth G
The Altra Superior 4.0 is more than a significant update to the Superior line. With an extremely comfortable upper and good traction, I would recommend these shoes for trail races less than 50 km. These are worth considering for those who love the zero drop feel and like a lot of room for the toes.
I have been wearing Altra shoes since my first 100 miler, putting thousands of miles in the Olympus, Lone Peak, and Superior lines. While the limited padding eliminates the longer races from the Superior range, I prefer this shoe for running that requires more connection with the trail.
- FootShape™ Toe Box with Fully Cushioned Zero Drop Platform™
- ZERO DROP™ Platform
- Stack Height: 21 mm
- Midsole: Altra Quantic™
- Outsole: MaxTrac™ Rubber with TrailClaw™
- Upper: Seamless wrap-around engineered knit
- Insole: 6 mm Contour Footbed with removable StoneGuard™
- Weight: 7.9 oz. / 224 g
- Cost: £110
Pros: What’s so good about the Altra Superior 4.0?
These shoes are light, comfortable, and spacious in the toe box. I previously ran in my Superior 2.0 shoes because they gave me a great connection with the trail. With the upgraded 4.0 shoe, I am amazed at the comfort they offer in addition to this connection. The upper is similar to that of the Colombia Caldorado III UTMB shoe, just with a wider toe box, which is great for my toes.
Although the padding is limited on the Superior, if you’re running on rocky terrain, they do come with a removable StoneGuard. After about 70 miles I felt like my feet were taking more of a beating, so I put them in. I found that they do protect your feet quite a bit.
This update also fixed the problem in the previous versions where the tongue would slip to the side. I have no problems with that in this shoe.
If you are not already convinced in your own mind about the Zero Drop running experience but would like to check it out, then these are some great shoes to do that in. Just don’t try them for the first time while you are lining up for a race.
I liked the traction on this shoe. It wasn’t overly aggressive, but I had no trouble in wet conditions.
Cons: What’s not so good about the Altra Superior 4.0?
While the Superiors are a great shoe for trail running, there are some times you may opt for a different shoe.
For example, the wide toe box is great, but if you are going to be running tight trails, vertical kilometers, or scary fast downhills, you will want something that grips your foot more. I would recommend the Scarpa Spin for that. In the future I would like to see a little tighter fit around the middle of the foot, even if it sacrifices a bit on the wider toe box. There is a sweet spot, and I think Altra can find it.
I find that after about 20 km of stony paths my feet begin to get a little sore, so I am not sure I would wear these for a 50 km run if it was rough terrain. Undulating hills, or your typical forest single track would be fine, but rough mountain trails probably not.
I think Altra have done a great job at updating the Superior line. I will be reaching for these shoes regularly in the coming year. If you are looking for a light, comfortable shoe that offers plenty of room for your toes, I would recommend you try the Superior 4.0.
Other shoes you may want to consider:
Scarpa Spin RS8
Columbia Caldorado III UTMB
About the writer: You can read more of Seth’s musings on his website. His goal is to keep some “real” in the ultra scene and help provide a stabilising influence for the world through sarcasm.
All images Seth Grotzke.
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