Altra Running has released the newest and highly praised iteration of their versatile, low profile, light-cushioning trail shoe, the Superior 3.0. This Zero Drop™ shoe features Altra’s signature FootShape™ Toe Box, the TrailClaw™ Outsole, and an added flare on the outsole that offers more lateral stability.
In the women’s version, the shoe boasts the Fit4Her™ technology, a gender specific build that features a narrower heel, longer arch and narrower midfoot, higher instep, a last that closely matches the shape an average female foot, and outsoles designed to support those areas of the foot that tend to experience the most pressure from the footfall on an average female runner.
“Nimble. Fast, and sensitive to the trail, but with great protection”
The Superior 3.0 is an excellent all-around shoe. It is a versatile trail shoe suitable for all types of trail running, off-road running, and hiking. Some might even be able to use the shoe for backpacking, depending upon an individual’s general foot strength and ankle stability.
This newest version of the Superior leaves trail runners quite satisfied with the extraordinary stability offered by such a light shoe, weighing in at only 8 oz. The shoe is flexible enough in the toe-box to aid in the natural curvature of the foot at it springs forward and up, but ample sturdiness to protect the forefoot from bumps with rocks and roots. The heel bone is protected by the Heel Claw™, which fits snugly around the heel, offering a stiff-enough but stable and comfortable fit. Although the Superior is built with a narrower last than other Altra models (such as the Olympus) the shoe still manages to maintain space in the toe-box, following the nature profile and shape of the human foot. The Superior 3.0 is true to size, although a bit more snug than other Altra models, due to its narrower last.
“This is a very comfortable minimal trail shoe”
We loved the sticky, grippy, rugged, rubber outsole, lugs that are spaced perfectly to shed the sole of rocks and mud, and designed to enhance the ride on all types of terrain, as well as a removable rock plate (a must for versatility when switching from highly technical to less technical trails). The Superior is light enough to qualify as a minimal shoe but sturdy enough to use for longer runs in a variety of terrain (sandy, rocky, gravelly, muddy, somewhat icy, snowy trails, and road). Comfort rated highly, highlighting their ability to run technical trails comfortably while still being able to “feel the trail” (proprioception).
“I love the light feel of this shoe, low to the ground, quick, and responsive.”
The Superior is a fantastic piece of technology, and while Altra has paid attention to durability feedback – adding elastic overlays and a much larger wrap around from the toe – we’ll still be keeping a close eye on the durability of the upper. Some noted that the upper is perhaps too thin, allowing punctures by sticks and rocks. Fortunately, these small tears and rips do not compromise the performance of the shoe, but they are a nuisance, and one avoidable by paying a bit more attention to the sturdiness of the fabric and materials used to create the upper without losing its signature breathability and flexibility. We also had a reports that the heel tab tended to wear down and/or peel off prematurely.
“The 3.0 is definitely an improvement over previous models”
The Superior is a shoe that our testers recommend unanimously, even with slight issues concerning upper and heel-tab durability. They are comfortable, minimal shoes with the enough cushioning to allow for a supportive but responsive ride that encourages feeling the trail when desired and sufficiently protects feet from most trail hazards.