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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Outdoor Retailer Summer 14: Altra Running-Superior 2.0, Instinct 3.0, Provision 2.0

Golden Harper, founder of Altra Running was kind enough to give me a tour of his latest creations.

First up the Superior 2.0. I had the Superior 1.0 which was one of the most comfortable shoes for kicking around I ever have worn but had a very deconstructed upper and no heel counter.  The midsole and outsole were great and the removable rock plate a very clever innovation but not quite enough shoe for me.  

The Superior 2.0 is still a go fast trail shoe but with a more aggressive outsole, a decently supportive upper, and a heel counter. It is 2.5 oz lighter than the 1.5 and 2 mm thicker. It includes the now standard Altra gaiter trap, a firmed up rear rudder, and of course the removable TPU rock plate. One heck of a fine race shoe for shorter races even if zero drop is not your thing. Retail $109. On sale January 2015.

Altra Superior 2.0
Altra Superior 2.0

Altra Superior

Next up the Provision 2.0,  Altra's stability shoe.   
While the market still asks for "stability" shoes, and so Altra has created one, it seems that in fact very few people  really, really need stability shoes but if you do this is one carefully created creation designed in part to compete with Asics GT 2000. The Provision has a $119 MSRP.

The Provision helps stabilize over pronation with several innovative features:
  • Medial midfoot is 2.5 mm higher than the lateral outside of the shoe.

  • The last and upper are closely matched to the midsole unit with additional upper tension medially to help guide the foot away from over pronation.


  • The white Stabli-Pods below are the only firmer midsole material. There is no huge wedge of firm material on the medial side as many stability shoes have. 


Altra Provision 2.0
Last up the Instinct 3.0, one of Altra original models, and in the 1.0 version a true firm minimal shoe. With the 2.0 Altra made the Instinct considerably more cushioned and there was some outcry from the Instinct faithful. I met with Altra at Winter OR 2014 and covered the Instinct 2.0 here. It had a 26mm stack height. The 3.0 is a move back to the original heritage of Altra as it is 1mm thinner and has a firm midsole material. 

Altra Instinct 3.0

Altra Instinct 3.0

The heavy duty trail ultra ready Olympus is now 1.5 with an upper update.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

I own the original Olympus, and the outsole paint cracked off after only 20 miles. Have they addressed this quality control problem with the Olympus 1.5?

sam winebaum said...

Re: Olympus outsole paint. I did not ask about this but will. Others reporting similar issues with I believe Hoka Clifton as well as other shoes. I am seeing a bit of white through the black paint on my very low miles so far Clifton. My firmer Hoka Huaka with 150 miles no paint problems. I think the softer foams such as in Olympus and Clifton may tend to "crease" more? and thus peel paint more easily. It's cosmetic all around but annoying for sure.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam. Thanks for replying so quickly. I think this paint issue can be solved by using multiple pieces of foam, with each piece dyed instead of painted. Alternatively, they can simply leave the foam all one color. Anything is better than the paint cracking on a +$100 shoe after only 20 miles. It's fine for the pair that I only run with. But for the second pair that I'd like to wear around casually, the cracked paint really looks awful. I love Altra to death, but they definitely need to tighten up their quality control. (the outer mesh on my Instinct 2.0's ripped in 3 places after only 60 miles on flat asphalt)

sam winebaum said...

I agree painted color scheme should last. I know that if foam itself is colored firmness is affected. I believe darker is firmer. For sure uppers shouldn't rip after 60. Also realize smaller brands have a much harder time controlling quality at contracted factories. Literally if your employees aren't there all kinds of bad things can happen.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam,

Just curious if the Olympus 1.5 gets a sole update in terms of traction. The current Olympus seems to have the most non-trail sole of all of the trail models.

Thanks,
John

Anonymous said...

Wondering if the Instinct 3.0 had any other colors? Also noticed that the Instinct 3.0 says 2.5 on the top of the toes. Thanks for the great write up!!!

sam winebaum said...

Thanks for reading! Good catch on Instinct 2.5 marking on sample Instinct 3. Golden Harper founder called it to my attention as an issue with sample he showed me. Not sure on colors will find out.

Golden Harper said...

For those who were asking, the Instinct 3 will also come in a Gray/Red and a Black.

As for the Olympus, the outsole will look essentially the same, but people should notice a definite bump in traction do to slightly raising lugs and recessing others that are currently wiping out traction.

-Golden Harper, Founder

Mike said...

What is changing about the midsole material for the Instinct 3? Will the outsole and last be the same? Thanks.

Mike D said...

Sam, will you be reviewing the Altra Instinct 3?

sam winebaum said...

I just might review the Instinct 3 if I can get a pair ealry but first want to continue to put some miles on all the other goodies I have.