- Jun 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm #3475397
First post here .. this weekend I picked up a pair of Superior 3.0 as that was only Altra in my size. I’m coming off a pair of Brooks Pure Grit 3. I had a great experience with those shoes. Only down sides were some poor traction on slick rock and mud and the small toe box. My pinky toes are literally boring holes in the shoes. That process wasn’t painful at all .. just wear and tear.
So I was eager to try the Altras with the roomy toe box. Took em on a trial run this morning … 5 miles, some mud, some rock. I had flaming hot spots within the first mile. No matter how I adjusted my foot or the lacings I still had pain. I aborted at 3 miles with the skin torn off my heels. I’ve not had a heel blister in 5+ years, never even a hot spot with my Pure Grits. I wear a PG 3 in size 13. I tried the Superiors in 12 and 13 .. the 13 felt like they had the best room for my toes.
What gives with the heel cup? Bad fit? Arcane knots required? Taking the Superior’s back andJun 26, 2017 at 6:25 am #3475446
Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
Yikes, that sounds painful! :-(
Did you try them with laces very loosely tied?
I have been using Brooks Cascadia (8 & 9, size 11.5) for the past few years and recently got a pair of Altra Lone Peak 3.0 (also 11.5) to try, just for the heck of it — they were on clearance at REI.
Keeping them loosely laced has worked for me. “Loosely” is a subjective term, so I would describe it as being able to put the shoes on and take them off fairly easily without untying the laces. I’ve had zero problems with the heel cup. I thought that perhaps with the laces so loose the big toe box was going to cause problems with toes jamming into the front of the shoe on downhills, but it has not.
I’ve put about 50 trail miles on them while hiking and about 20 miles running my local trail and they have been fine.Jun 27, 2017 at 7:09 am #3475686
I tried loose on both shoes after the initial hotspot started. But no joy. For more than half the aborted hike, it was only one foot. But by the end, the second foot caught up and started blistering. Maybe its my funky heels which have never been the same after my thru-hikes in the 90s.
The upside is that there was no middle ground .. simple decision for me to return em. Maybe Brooks again or Salomon, Hokas ..?Jun 27, 2017 at 10:25 am #3475729
Greg FBPL Member
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
Altras do have a wider heal Cup than other shoes so if you have a narrow heel the last just may not fit you.
If you have been upsizing other shoes to get good forefoot fit you may be in a too large of Altra.Jun 28, 2017 at 1:37 pm #3476046
I’d steer clear of the Altra Superior 3’s. They just don’t hold up.
I bought a gently used pair, and within 200kms (120 miles) the uppers were separating from the soles. Nearly lost the uppers on the Bob Open.
At the same time, I bought two new pairs for my current thru-hike. I started the hike with brand new Superior 3’s on June 1, and now just 4 weeks and 550kms (350 miles) later, they are toast. Same issue. Yeah the hike has had some tough sidehilling, postholing etc, but still, the uppers shouldn’t look like this at 550 kms.
I’ve still got one more new pair, so we’ll see how they hold up now that the snow is mostly gone and it’ll be all gentle miles. I’m still skeptical I can get more than 500 miles out of them.
In terms of sizing, they maybe run a little big but not crazy so. I think the sizing is pretty normal and the footbox is just wide (which is nice).Jun 28, 2017 at 6:15 pm #3476129
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
It is possible that your problem with the Altra shoes is that they are meant for street fashion, not for genuine mountain use. The way the uppers have ripped is simply incompatible with anything off the tarmac.
CheersJun 29, 2017 at 12:41 pm #3476271
I have about 200 miles on my Altra’s so far and they are still going strong – no issues so far other than some wear in the back of the heel cup which I don’t even notice. Love them – best shoes I’ve ever owned – light comfortable, quick drying and grippy! I believe the latest version should be even more durable.
Just out of curiosity, what kind of mileage do ya’ll expect out of a pair of trail runners?Jun 29, 2017 at 1:49 pm #3476283
Peter TreiberBPL Member
My first Altras were a pair of Olympus, and they had loose heels. But I’ve since got Lone Peaks and some style of road shoe (all in the same size) and they’re fine. <shrugs>Jun 30, 2017 at 1:33 am #3476393
At a minimum, I think trail runners should last 500 miles (800 km). I’ve put 1300 miles on a pair of Inov-8 TrailRoc 235’s, but they were super beat at that point.Sep 22, 2017 at 10:59 am #3492563
Just as an update, I returned the Altra Superiors and went with the Hoka Stinson ATR 4’s. So far loving them. The toe box is very comfy and the heel fit is great.Sep 22, 2017 at 6:26 pm #3492638
Another update: My final pair of Superiors lasted just 350km (200 miles) of trail until the upper was starting to seriously separate. Not even rough trail. Super disappointing.Sep 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm #3492639
Hey Dan, how would you compare the TrailRoc 235’s to the Superiors? (besides being way more durable) ;)Sep 22, 2017 at 9:00 pm #3492669
They’re quite similar in a lot of ways (weight, zero drop, minimal cushion, wide toebox). Mostly I’d say the TrailRoc is just a better/higher quality Superior. The TrailRoc’s have a pretty durable upper. After 400-500 miles the front mesh starts coming apart, but pre-treating with seamgrip extends this by several hundred miles.
The Superior might be more resistant to feeling rocks. Even without the rock plate (I’ve never used it), the Superior seemed to insulate from the trail more. Some folks will like this, but I never found the TrailRoc’s to give too much feel. Maybe on super pokey ground it’s not ideal, but for the most part I like the livelier connection to the ground that the TrailRoc seems to have.
The Superior seems to run a bit larger, whereas the TrailRoc’s are more true to size. IIRC, the Superior also lifts you a bit higher off the ground because I think the sole is thicker. The sole also tapers outward to give a wider footprint in the Superior, which I guess might add stability, but might also be a negative in more technical terrain where a wider shoe is a liability.
The rubber on the TrailRoc seems grippier. It’s great. A nice medium aggressive tread so there’s not excess drag, but still enough grip in soft soil. The rubber on the TrailRoc wears at a good rate. It’s pretty worn around 600-800 miles but you can push it much further if you don’t mind it a bit bald. If it wore faster that wouldn’t be good, but if it wore slower they wouldn’t have as good of grip. Overall it feels like a well rounded shoe because the upper and sole wear out at about the same time. I never got to put enough miles on the Superior to see how long the tread lasted, but it seemed (subjectively) less grippy.
Another shoe to check out is the Merrell Bare Access Arc 4. The upper seems extremely similar to the Trail Roc. I’m using them now. After pre-treating with SeamGrip (the open mesh near the front), it seems like the upper will last a good while (at least 500 miles). The sole is less aggressive but a delight on most trails. It has multiple pieces of Vibram rubber tread glued to softer foam. It absorbs rocks really well, while still giving good feel on the trail (kinda like the original GoLite shoes back in the day). Downside is that sliding around on scree/talus/loose trail can cause the sections of tread to start to peel off (this is not the intended use of these shoes). I’ve been pretty hard on mine and the sole is still useable at 500km (300 miles) but probably only has another 150 miles. On good trail (e.g. PCT) the vibram tread might not start to peel, and thus last a good long while. I’ve really been enjoying them and there are some good deals online.Sep 22, 2017 at 11:57 pm #3492696
Thanks for the detailed review Dan!Sep 23, 2017 at 5:26 am #3492711
Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
I find the Superior 3.0 to be excellent without the rock plate, which I have never used, but after only 200 mi or so I am starting to see failure points.
This thread prompted me to examine mine closely and there is a small tear in the right shoe’s arch area where it meets the insole. Going put some patches on both shoes with Seam Grip or Welder contact cement and keep repairing them as necessary to see how many miles I can squeeze out of them.
As far as trail performance and comfort, they really are the best thing I’ve ever used, although I should hasten to add that I don’t have nearly as much experience with different shoes as a lot of folks here.
Dan, thanks for those great reviews of alternate shoes to consider!
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