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.


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.


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.

AJ said...

Slightly off topic, but since Golden Harper is reading the comments, I just want to beg one time for some of the shoes to be made in a wide version. The basic models alone (Instinct and Lone Peak) would do the trick. The additional toe box space is great, but the additional stack height in many of the shoes -- something I fully support and like -- is making them dangerous for those of us with wide feet. My foot spills over the last in both the Lone Peak 1.5 and 2.0, mainly along the midfoot. I have no issue with the 1.5 (though I can see the bulge forming in the sides of the shoe), but I had 2 ankle twists in my first outing in the 2.0 and had to send them back, regrettably. I could feel the instability just walking around in them. I loved everything else about the Lone Peak 2.0 and want badly to own a pair.

Unknown said...

When the Provision 2.0 will be available?

i like tuesday said...

Does the instinct 3.0 have a full rubber outsole? As one of those who was disappointed in the 2.0, I'm really pleased that Altra heard us and have responded with a new update. The 3.0 definitely looks more promising. Look forward to release. Any ideas on timing?

Thanks for the details!

Golden Harper - Altra said...

Ok, here we go:

For Mike: The midsole material will be very similar, but it will just be made firmer. The Last is essentially the same, but a bit more secure through the heel and midfoot.

For AJ: Your comments are on point and We totally want to make true wide's, but have to wait until it is financially feasible.

For Luis: Provision 2 will be available sometime in January.

Tuesday: Instinct 3 has essentially the same outsole as the Instinct 2. However, the midsole is a bit more responsive and a touch thinner.

Wish I could give everyone exactly the answers they were hoping for! Hopefully the updates are for the best for the majority of people out there. Run on!

Mike said...

Thanks for the reply Golden. Sounds like nice tweaks to the Instinct 3, look forward to owning a pair. Also watching for the Superior 2.0, looks like a great show for Florida trail running! Take it easy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam, are they updating the Paradigm as well?


Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of the Altra fit, but as a trail runner haven't found a good all-around shoe. If I could somehow get the Olympus upper with a Lone Peak 2 mid and outsole, I'd be cruising. It will be interesting to see the Olympus 1.5, and I'll almost surely buy a pair, but the rib tread is unstable on anything loose, whereas the Lone Peak 2 lug sole gives confidence with it's ability to prevent lateral movement. Maybe an OlymPeak is in the future? ;-)

Chris M said...

How do the Superior 2.0 compare to the Lone Peak 1.0 and 1.5s? Looks like the Superiors will have tread and stack height close to the earlier Lone Peaks. Thought the original Superiors didn't have enough cushioning for me, but may have to rethink it and make the Superiors my go-to trail shoe.

Ted W said...

I am with you Chris M. I have the Olympus. Torin. Lone Peak 1.5. Dont use the LP much. Like the tread, but they are just stiff I guess. Would like a more minimal show from the Olympus. Superious 2.0 looks good, but I plan for my first 100 in 2015. Not sure if a superior has the cushion to get through

Sam L said...

Golden, if you are still looking, what can you tell me about the weight of the Instinct 3.0? I really want to try Altra's shoes because of the zero drop and wide toe box, but I can't get past the weight of the models that have full outsoles since I currently wear the NB Minimus, which is just over 6oz (I worry the One2 isn't durable enough to be a daily trainer). Any chance Altra would put a more substantial outsole on the One2 or that the Instinct 3.0 will weigh under 8 oz?

Unknown said...

Just ordered a pair of the Olympus 1.5 from Roadrunner for January delivery. Tried the original, but the metal eyelets gave me a wicked blister, so I'm happy to see the revision doesn't have that. Been wearing Hoka Bondis for a few years, but they are changing the last which is not good for someone with a wide forefoot like me. LOVE the cushioning for ultras, but need that wide toe box that Altra offers.

MikeS said...

For Sam L - I own a pair of One2's and after 100 miles they show minimal wear. I really like them as a daily runner and have run one marathon in them with no issues. I previously ran in the Instinct 1.5, which weren't as durable. Looking forward to trying the Instinct 3.

Anonymous said...

I tried the Lone Peak 2.0, but the cutesy retro bowling shoe styling upper did not hold my foot in place over the midsole; on sidehills it partially slid off the edge, no amount of fiddling with the lacing helped. Maybe there is a 2.5 in the works with a more functional upper. I currently use the Hoka Challenger ATR for trails, and it has been excellent in all ways. My Olympus with 450+ miles still have a lot of life in them, and have been retired to pavement runs.

J said...

For AJ: Maybe the lower and firmer Instinct 3.0 will work a little better for you.

I have the Instinct 1.0 and Lone Peak 1.0 and I love the fit of both shoes. The Instinct 1.0 just wasn't flexible enough for me. This is obviously an exaggeration, but it was like a stiff flat board hitting the pavement and it really took the flexion of my feet out of the ball game. It looks like they've fixed that issue though by segmenting the sole. I wasn't interested in the 2.0 because it overlapped too much with their other cushioned models like the Torin, but I'm excited to try the 3.0.

The Lone Peak has been a great hiking shoe for me but felt just a little too clunky and was quickly replaced as my trail running shoe. The new superior and updated lone peak look awesome though and I will probably give them a try. My only concern is with that nylon looking mesh upper material. I can see why it would have some great utilities as a trail upper material, but some other shoes I've tried that use it, have created some discomfort at the dorsal base of my toes where it creases. I'll definitely still give them a try, the material or fit could be different and may not cause any problems at all.

Anonymous said...

How would the Olympus perform as a road shoe? I primarily do road running. I have a serious problem with my 3rd toe getting jammed into the top of the shoe. Latest marathon left me with a huge blood blister. I ran it in a pair of Hoka Clifton's, but have been reading a lot about the Altras.

Sam Winebaum said...

I have not run in the Olympus but have run and reviewed the Paradigm, in many ways the road version of the Olympus. My review here
While Altras have plenty of width they sometimes can be a bit low over the toes as I found the Paradigm to be due to the toe overlays. Also note that Altra's are zero drop and that takes some getting used to. Clitfons are 5mm or so. For me the difference between 4-5mm and zero is significant particularly in relatively soft shoes such as Paradigm. Even Clifton is too soft for me in the heel. You can get an aftermarket insole to add some drop and a bit more stability in the heel. I use SuperFeet Carbon which add about 4mm of heel lift.

Frank said...

Just how firm are we talking? Firmer/less firm than the Merrell Bare Access? I have the BA4's and they are a bit too firm for me without enough cushioning. The Virrata was a perfect shoe for me (and even that, at times, felt a bit on the lighter side, but I was injury free and pain free for 2 years straight running on nothing else). Now that the inventory of remaining Virrata's is gone, I'm looking for a new go-to shoe. The Merrell has broken in nicely but on the long weekend runs I sometimes get pain in the middle/ball of my left foot, nothing like that ever happened in the Virrata, so I'm thinking a little more cushioning while remaining in a zero drop shoe will do the trick, but flexibility might also be the issue.

Sam Winebaum said...

Frank, I have not run the Bare Access or Virrata, The Instinct and my favorite of 2015 the Impulse would give you a more cushioned zero drop ride. The One 2.5 might also be an alternative Finally the Superior while a trail shoe might be closest to the Bare Access. The rock plate is easily removable. Thanks for reading! you can also follow Road Trail Run on Facebook here

Frank said...

Thanks for the response, Sam!

I ordered the Instinct 3. The Impulse is definitely one to watch, but that seems more for stability. I'm not sure how the Virrata rated as a stability shoe, but it definitely had more padding than the Bare Access.

The Bare Access have broken in very well after a rough first week with them, but that is simply too long for me to wait to be breaking in a new set of shoes. The Virratas were always fine out of the box. And while my legs have gotten used to the Merrell's, the longest I've gone is 13.5 miles, and my left foot pain that I experienced when using them on my first run (6 miler) came roaring back toward the end.

Will definitely keep you posted how I do with the Instinct 3's once I get them!