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March 30, 2017 Comments (2) Featured, Gear Reviews

Altra King MT – Review

Altra King MT

Price – $140

TAUR Rated – 4.5

The King MT is Altra’s introduction into the world of OCR (Obstacle Course Racing). While not exclusively created for that type of running and racing, it is clear where they were going with this shoe. The King MT offers a light upper that allows for maximum drainage, a solid toe guard, and a velcro strap across the midfoot to lock down the fit when moving through technical terrain. The outsole is from Vibram and boasts 6mm lugs that will grip just about anything. Altra also included a rock plate to the 19mm midsole to reduce overall impact.

Don’t let the aggressive outsole and light upper fool you, however. It would be easy to assume that the King MT is an uncomfortable ride. That is where you’d be wrong. In soft conditions, on technical rocky terrain, or in mud and snow, the shoe is extremely comfortable. While you may not run your next ultra in them, they are a great training shoe. And if OCR is your thing, this could very well be the perfect shoe for you.

Upper – 4.5

Altra claims that the King MT has the most supportive upper in that it is made of TPU overlays, ripstop fabric, and the addition of the velcro strap. Testers were torn between the need for the strap, but overall it didn’t hurt performance and didn’t add much weight to an already light shoe. With a low profile around the ankles, the shoe feels very light on the foot and allows for plenty of ankle movement.

“The upper material felt light, breathable and dries quickly when becomes in contact with water. The side of this shoe has a sort of plastic over layer that sits just over the fabric which in my opinion has prevented the upper fabric from tearing from any wear and tear.” – Susy

“I have worn the shoe from buffed out trails to technical rocky trails to 40 mile trail race. Shoe has been very responsive and light.” – Emir

Midsole – 4.5

The 19mm midsole is not as cushioned as other Altras, but with the rock plate it offers enough protection to keep the bottom of your feet safe. Overall, it rides well on shorter distance runs or runs that offer a softer surface. Testers felt that the shoe would be fine for anything upwards of 20 miles, but beyond that distance, they would likely be uncomfortable.

“When I first put the shoe on I did not feel it was as comfortable as the traditional Altra trail shoes, but when I got them out on the trail they were actually pretty comfortable. The shoe doesn’t have as much cushion as the Lone Peak and even feels slightly more minimal than the Superior, but I never felt like I needed more.” – Scott

“Due to it’s light cushioning, it’s probably not the best shoe for runs/races greater than 50 miles (most testers thought 20 miles), especially for bigger runners. Also, it won’t be the shoe of choice for smooth single track.” – Erik

Outsole – 5.0

Altra worked with Vibram to produce a near perfect outsole. With 6mm lugs that seem to be spaced perfectly, the shoe works well in all conditions. Even in heavy mud, the lugs are spaced far enough apart that they don’t collect a great deal underfoot, allowing mud to fall off.

 “My first run in these shoes were on trails that were half mud and half snow. I never once slipped or felt like I didn’t have control. It was remarkable.”  – Craig

“My first run in the Altra MT was on a steep, technical 4 mile loop of with crusty snow, loose scree and lots of mud about 1 1/2 months ago. It handled it all perfectly, and I haven’t run in another trail shoe since then.” – Erik

“I made sure I put some serious miles on this shoe and I did. The Altras KingMT are made to take them on rough, rocky, muddy, slippery loose gravel terrains. I had several 20 milers and logged nearly 200 miles from the time I got them. I wear them everywhere – gym, work, hikes and of course my runs. The longest I ran was 22 miles which they consisted of rocky technical downhills and I was amazed on how well they performed, I really liked their new Velcro strap over the foot area as I felt it reduced any rocking side to side my foot does when traveling at a faster pace going downhill.” – Susy

Durability – 4.5

The upper is made of Ripstop fabric, which Altra assures will not end up having the same issues as several other models. The King MT shoes have held up very well so far, even in tough conditions. The true test of durability is when a shoe reaches 250+ miles. Overall, feedback was positive and testers pleased with the results.

“The shoe also seemed to be tougher than the traditional Altra trail shoes. This shoe is definitely built to play in the mountains.” – Scott

“I kicked plenty of sticks and rocks and the upper seemed to hold up well. No complaints from me.” – Craig

Fit – 4.25

Altra’s sizing has had a tendency to be kind of all over the place. The King MT, on the other hand, seems to be very true to size. Not only in the length of the shoe, but the heel cup seems to fit better also. Testers were split on whether they felt the Foot Lock strap provided any real advantage, but all agreed it did save time. Testers did agree, however, that if the strap was pulled tight across the foot while moving uphill it tended to cause the foot to fall asleep. Note to buyers, keep the velcro strap loose until you know you really need to lock it down.

“The Foot Lock Strap (that doubles as a lace keeper) allows for a quick adjustment to lock your foot in on steep ascents and descents.” – Erik

“Great Velcro strap addition, the upper sole construction made a huge difference on the durability of the shoe.” – Susy

Performance – 4.75

Between fit and construction, the Altra King MT allow for maximum performance in the poorest of conditions. It’s as simple as that.

“From technical mountain terrain to soft sand and mud in deep, narrow, canyons, the King MT performed phenomenally. This is my go-to mountain shoe from Altra.” – Craig

“This is the closest thing to a true mountain shoe that Altra has. This shoe does very well in the mountains and in technical terrain.” – Scott


Overall Feedback

Testers overwhelming felt this is one of Altra’s finest shoes. If there is one thing it lacks, it’s cushion. Beyond that, all of the testers were extremely pleased with the results and would highly recommend this shoe to anyone interested in OCR, big mountain runs, or for those who just have to run in soft or crappy conditions often.

Quite possibly the perfect shoe out there for less than perfect conditions. Deep lugs and superior draining make this shoe THE choice for soft, sloppy, soggy, sandy, and slushy runs.” – Matt

“It is a great trail shoe but it is not for everyone. It has less cushioning than the Superior so most people will not want to wear this for very long mountain races.” – Emir

“At first, I felt a little clumsy and klompy, but I realized that I needed to put more mountain into it. So I went off the beaten path, and it wasn’t long before the shoes and I were where we needed to be: on the mountain! I was able to traverse flawlessly along the mountainside over rocks, plants and uneven dirt in a run I never wanted to end. These shoes were made for the mountain!” – Arianne

“In my opinion, this is the best all around trail shoe Altra has come up with. If it had a little more cushion, it would be perfect.” – Erik

“I love this shoes, but be aware that they don’t offer much support and you will feel the rocks beneath your feet. This shoe performed better on technical, mountainous terrain than on smooth flat trails. My feet felt naked when I wore them, they are super light, flexible and breathable. I love their awesome King mountains design imprinted on the upper. I will keep using them for as long as l can. They are my favorite training partners.” – Susy

Get more information on the Altra King MT HERE.


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2 Responses to Altra King MT – Review

  1. Dan says:

    Good review of the shoe! I can tell you though, the durability of the shoe is still something to be desired. The Vibram outsole is outstanding and IMO something that Altra finally did right. The ripstop material though, not as durable as they would like you to believe. I have 3 holes forming on the ripstop fabric which is a bit disappointing because for mountain running shoes, a couple unfortunate roots/sticks caught my toe box area and put small holes that are growing a bit larger.

  2. Graham says:

    Absolutely love running in this shoe, if only it would last more than 200 miles before the uppers are torn to pieces.

    I’ve had two pairs, one a replacement for the other after returning it with holes after 170 miles. Covered the replacement in shoe goo and they started to tear at 200 and they virtually fell apart this weekend during race covering 150 miles.

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