We have a special place in our hearts for the Altra Olympus 2.5.
This latest edition Olympus is our all-around favorite, most versatile, most comfortable, zero-drop, max cushion shoe. The shoe features a 36mm stack-height, Footshape toe box, Vibram Mega Grip outsole, an abrasion resistant mesh (huge improvement from previous models), and one of the most natural, actual foot-shaped lasts available in current running shoes.
The Olympus 2.5 keeps the Vibram MegaGrip outsole, foot shape toe box and zero drop platform of the Olympus 2, while reinforcing the mesh upper for durability and breathability. The collar of the shoe is also noticeably more padded and the gaiter trap has been updated to a 4-point system.
These shoes were tested in nearly every trail conditions including steep ascents and descents in rain and slick terrain. The newly reinforced areas around the shoe laces and midsole provided more durability and will hopefully decrease some of the issues with blowing out the side, which testers have reported with the last two editions.
The upper sole mesh was also upgraded so that it doesn’t stretch as much – resolving previous complaints about having to tighten the shoelaces as far as they’d go in order to secure the forefoot and heel.
We were also impressed with the color combinations used on the Olympus when compared to previous models.
The upper of the Olympus 2.5 is not as flimsy as the previous version, it has been reinforced and made to be even more breathable. The extra breathability means, however, that there may be a fair amount of sand/fine dirt in your shoes after a long run. The durability of the shoe has increased and the shoe’s upper has held up well.
The midsole is where the max-cushion presents itself the best. It allows for a comfortable but sturdy ride. The Altra Olympus are a dream to run in. Although proprioception on the trail won’t be as great as in a more minimal shoe, the Olympus maintained some ground feel and felt stable and light.
Like most max cushion shoes, testers reported their feet still move in technical terrain and may create an off balance feeling, especially if you’re not used to it.
The outsole was a hit among testers. The Vibram Mega Grip Rubber and lug size work well for this particular type of shoe. They were just right for non-technical to moderately technical trails and worked surprisingly well on technical terrain. Because the tread is spaced pretty far apart, it is difficult for mud, dirt, and pebbles to get wedged in between them and their spacing allows for good to very good traction on wet and slippery trails.
Some wear and tear was noted on the cushioned area around ankles, probably due to the much thicker collar, but the forefoot held its shape.
- Ideal Uses: Trail Running, Hiking, Fastpacking, Trail Racing
- Cushioning: Cushioned
- Stack Height: 36 mm
- Weight: 9.6 oz. / 272 g
- Platform: Cushioned Zero Drop™ platform and FootShape™ toe box
- Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound™
- Outsole: Vibram® MegaGrip™
- Insole: 5 mm
- Upper: Mesh