Altra has updated their first Olympus model with the new Olympus 1.5. We put these on the feet of a variety of testers, including a number that had spent considerable time in the original Olympus. While Altras initial foray into the world of max cushion trail shoes received high marks for the Olympus, the number one complaint was by far the lack of traction for serious trails. Hearing those cries for better traction and more abrasion resistant uppers, they have beefed up the Olympus 1.5 to add a stickier, more durable rubber outsole. They also added 2.5mm of lug depth to a few of the key tread ridges for mid-model attempt at added traction. Silicon printing surrounding the upper across the abrasion points on the upper help protect the material from tears due to brush and sharp rocks. All this does come with a trade-off – the shoe is now an ounce heavier than the previous model (12.2 oz M/10.7 oz W).
The Olympus traction should really probably be considered a road/trail hybrid, and is completely adequate enough for most ultra distance races and training. However, things can get extra slippery in muddy and snowy conditions in the Olympus, as they do any non-lugged shoe. We wouldn’t recommend it for summiting anything that involves nimble feet, scrambling, snow, or navigating extremely technical terrain. It just doesn’t have that bite it needs.
Altra touts a medial ‘guardrail style’ midsole for adding stability when needed, mostly the back portion of your run when the sub-talar joint fatigues out a little. The wider midsole base and rock absorbing cushion helps to try and prevent turning your ankle when off camber and on rocky, uneven terrain – a common problem with high profile shoes.
With their core beliefs of Zero Drop midsoles and roomy toe box implemented in this shoe, this Olympus 1.5 is a great option for those who love zero drop running but also want the added benefit of a whopping 36mm of cushion for long haul comfort and foot protection.
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