2014 seemed to be the year for Altra to radically update many of their shoe lines.
This is the Superior’s update to the 2.0.
My first impressions: Out of the box the first thing I noticed was the laces are different, they are a softer feel and they stay tied! The colors were the next thing. It come in grey/purple or yellow/blue for women and grey/green or a darker blue/yellow for the men. I ordered the yellow/blue and really think they look good. Not so bright that they are obnoxious, but colorful enough that they get noticed! They felt really good on my feet walking around the house, cushioned yet still firm, and a really nice updated tread on the bottom.
Lucky me, it was rainy and muddy and cold this morning-perfect for putting a new shoe through its paces. I ran the 1/4 mile down my street to the trailhead and sloshed my way down the trail to meet a friend. They were solid in the mud, no slipping backwards up hills on the slick wet leaves, and were protective over rocky sections of the trail. I ran 13 miles in them, 10 on the trails and 3 back home on roads. They were comfortable on and off of the trails, not bumpy like some trail shoe tread can be on road. They felt good, fast, flexible and protective. I didn’t even notice that I had run in them with out the stone guard in them until I got home and looked in the box again and saw the stone guards sitting at the bottom of the box. They are also fitted with Altra’s cool gaiter trap on the back of the heel now as well.
The Technical Stuff:
Zero drop, like all Altra shoes have
Weight: Men 8.7oz, Women 7.5 oz (Lighter than the Superior 1.5’s 9.9 oz and 8.8oz respectively)
Stack height: 21mm (which is very close to the Lone Peak 1.5’s 22mm, but is higher than the Superior 1.5’s 18mm)
Upper: Trail Mesh with minimal seems. After my long wet run they seemed to dry out faster than the Lone Peak 1.5s used to.
Outsole: Features canted lugs below the metatarsals for better gripping, their signature sticky rubber TrailClaw, and still has the happy little foot shape on the bottom.
Overall thoughts: Altra has been doing a lot of growing and updating in the last year while still maintaining their roomy toe boxes, zero drop, and good quality. The Superior 2.0 seems to be taking the place of the discontinued Lone Peak 1.5s. While the Lone Peak 2.0 was updated further with more stack height and cushion, this means the Superior 2.0 will fit nicely into that place of lower stack height, more trail feel, but with enough protection and better tread than the Superior 1.5 or the Lone Peak 1.5. You can also make them lighter and more flexible by taking out the rock plate. This makes me happy because the Lone Peak 1.5s have been my ultra go to shoe for the last year, the Superior 2.0 will be my new go to shoe for trail ultras now, I can already tell. So if you loved the Lone Peak 1.5, or even the Superior 1.5 I really think this is your shoe. If you are looking for fast, responsive, flexible, but protective this is also your shoe. In the land of max cushioning shoes, this is definitely bucking the trend giving your feet that trail feel that they have missed so much. I can’t say enough good things about this shoe update, well done ALTRA!
Post Script: Many people are finding that sizing up 1/5 a size from the Superior 1.5 to the 2.0 feels best.
UPDATE: I took them on a true tread test just yesterday on a very rainy, very leaf covered trail. Uwharrie National Forest 20 miler. This is my standard test run to see how my winter fitness is for early 2015 races. I have run this the second week of Dec for the last 3 years, its a relenting rocky, rooty, slippery, wet undulating trail with no real runnable sections. Its one of those trails that you can’t take your eyes or mind off of for a second or you will twist an ankle or slip on a rock. I ran it 3 weeks ago in the old Lone Peak 1.5’s before the aggressive tread update, and I slipped a lot. I was expecting something similar this week, I have run this course at least 10 times and have tried out many different types of shoes on the terrain. I was so happy with the Superior 2.0’s tread and grip, I just kept repeating to my friend over and over, “these shoes just stick so well, they are so grippy, they are so comfortable too….I am SO happy!” This will definitely be a shoe that I spend a lot of miles in! (I have already spent 500+ miles in them, yay!)