Thursday, October 19, 2023

Altra Running Via Olympus 2 Review: 4 Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum

Altra Running Via Olympus 2 ($165)


The Via Olympus is Altra’s highest cushion stack road trainer with 37mm at the heel and 37mm at the forefoot, of course we are zero drop. It features Altra’s “Original” fit Foot Shape toe box, so their broadest fit as was the first version which fit my narrow feet just fine and with plenty of comfortable hold The update here is to the EGO Max midsole foam now softer and a “refining” of the rear molded collar.  The first version (RTR Video Review) was decent but quite firm with the rear collars a bit rough in fit so these targeted updates are promising for this shoe that I see as intended for slower paces and longer distances. 


  • Softer and clearly more energetic ride from now softer EGO Max foam

  • Well balanced in weight, no low low heel feel despite softer foam.

  • Effective front geometry given giant front stack, even has some flex 

  • Comfortable secure fit all over even with my narrower feet

  • Improved rear collar comfort. 

  • Excellent introduction to zero drop shoes.

  • Actually drops in price $5


  • At about 10.6 oz / 300g on the heavy side even considering the giant 37 mm forefoot and felt despite the now more energetic midsole foam

  • Some may get upset but such a giant shoe would benefit from some drop as the new Altra FWD Experience and as a bonus at the same heel height would also reduce weight. 


Approx. Weight: men's 10.6 oz  / 300g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s 10.37 oz / 294g US8.5

                    Via Olympus 1: 10.23 oz / 290g

Stack Height: men’s 37 mm heel / 37 mm forefoot

$165.  Available November 1, 2023

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Massive in appearance from its broad and high undercarriage and with its classic fit Altra upper, the Via Olympus makes its presence known and clearly telegraphs it is about max cushion and comfort. The stark white midsole clearly shows how much cushion is underfoot especially at the rear while on the lateral front Altra shades in some gray to reduce the effect and also maybe convey an impression of forward motion.

The mesh is a dense soft engineered mesh with a bit of stretch. Even with the broad broad toe box the front hold for my narrower low volume feet is excellent. 

Roomy and comfortable, the secret to the front hold is the firm (for a road shoe) toe bumper that is more vertical than over the toes wrapping and which also does not extend too far back which would decrease flexibility, important given high stack height. 

There is no gusset to the moderately cushioned tongue and mid foot hold is secure if more on the relaxed side given the broad underfoot platform

Altra highlights a new rear molded heel collar. It is more streamlined with thinner padding but still fine in terms of comfort and hold. 

It is not rigid with the wrap up lower midsole walls providing plenty of rear stability. As always with Altra the ankle collars are low. I think they could be a touch higher to better wrap the top of the ankle given the non rigid heel counter.

The fit is true to size for me if a bit short in length with that stiff if vertical toe bumper a bit more noticed than I would prefer. I would not size up but if you are on the upper edge of half sizes and have a broad foot you might. Fit upfront is otherwise pretty much identical to v1.


The Olympus midsole is Altra’s newer EGO Max foam as the v1 had but now softer in formulation. In my A/B test run with a v1 on the other foot I could clearly feel the difference. The new foam for sure is softer and more energetic while v1 was firmer and a bit quicker in response. For the intended more mellow paces focus here the new foam is a clear improvement.

While the heel at 37/38mm is not quite as high as some recent higher drop max cushion (for example: such as the Superblast at 44.5mm) the forefoot stack height is way up there at 37mm. To give the Olympus some forward flex, particularly important given the zero drop, we have a gentle rocker with cut into the top of the midsole vai a series of tennis racquet string pattern like cuts which Altra calls “Inner Flex”.

In addition, the front underside of the shoe (outsole and midsole grooves) match the bones of the forefoot. The combination is effective here with the foot splay enabled by the broad Foot Shape toe box matching the midsole and outsole allowing this big shoe to never at any pace get hung up at toe off.  That said, don’t come here looking for a snappy quick toe off. As with the entire shoe the focus is on max cushion and anatomical fit more than speed.


Plenty of durable rubber in an identical pattern to v1. The black rubber at the heel and rimming the lateral rest of the shoe and part way down from the toe on the medial side is firmer than the gray rubber. 

The big lateral black heel rubber element not only provides plenty of wear surface but I think along with the rear decoupling groove help keep the heel from compressing too much below zero while its curve up around the heel gives a decently smooth transition of the heel. 

The overall rear outsole and geometry helps make transitioning to zero drop considerably easier with little sense the Olympus is below say a 4mm drop.

As mentioned above the front rubber matches the foot bones allowing smooth transitions to toe off. 

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

The ride is big. Big cushion, broad on the ground, soft and energetic but not “light” in feel given the big stack height and weight. Any softer and I think the shoe would be ponderous and hard to move along, which it is not. If you care more about comfortable copious upper room, lots of cushion, a “low” drop  and care less about fast pace, the ride is excellent. If you are considering the Via Olympus coming from a high drop shoe some adaptation may be required but for me far less than early Altra which were much lower stack and firmer.

As such, I see the Via Olympus as an excellent introduction to the brand and to all that comfortable toe box room if you need it.. or don’t as I tend not to but have really appreciated here. 

Not a “speed” shoe it for me slots as an easier runs shoe and as a shoe to mix in zero drop in a rotation of higher drop shoes and at more mellow paces.  Polished and well executed, the Via Olympus demonstrates that Altra is on the move into the future.

Sam’s Score: 9.15 / 10

(-0.5 Weight  -0.35 Would prefer a lower stack of the same foam to increase versatility).

😊😊😊 1/2

4 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 

Altra Via Olympus 1 (RTR Review)

As described in detail above. While it has a very slight gain in weight, the v2 gets a softer and more energetic ride and a more refined rear fit. I clearly prefer v2.

Altra FWD Experience (RTR Review)

Altra’s first shoe with drop (4mm) the FWD slots in as an uptempo lighter companion to the Via Olympus. The ride of the FWD is firmer and more responsive and its weight considerably higher at 7.7oz  / 218g (US9)  vs 10.6 oz here. Its stack height, white very decent, is  considerably lower at 32 mm heel / 28mm forefoot. Its fit is the Standard and not the original so it is slightly lower volume and also more secure and performance oriented. I found its rear achilles collar a bit to rigid and stiff and could be better padded while the Olympus’s could be a touch more dialed in.

Topo Atmos (RTR Review)

A very close comparison, the main differences being the Topo has a 5mm drop from the same height heel and weighs about 1 oz / 28g less on a similarly broad platform. I did an A/B test one on each foot and while the foams are similar the Topo is a touch firmer with its rocker more pronounced. It is a faster big shoe than the Altra. Its upper, fit, and room is also very similar with the Atmos somewhat more performance oriented. Atmos is also coming November.

New Balance Fresh Foam More v4 (RTR Review)

Heavier at 11.05 / 313g with a lower stack at about 35mm heel and 31mm forefoot stack height but yet broader on the ground platform, the More has a softer foam. It for sure is plush but I found it hard to run and move along, and especially at slower paces, with its heel actually feeling lower than the Altra and the broader platform in the way of moving along. Its upper as with underfoot platform focuses on sheer plush comfort but is not as well held as the Altra’s.

The Via Olympus 2 will be available November 1st, 2023

Tester Profile

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook:  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

1 comment:

TReilly56 said...

A most awkwardly worded review. Frequently reads with great difficulty.