Altra Superior 4.5

Review Score
80%
πŸ… Highly Rated
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Pro athlete users
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+5
Frank LaraGolden HarperNikki JohnstoneZach Bitter
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Altra Superior 4.5: Review

β€œA zero-drop trail shoe with a wide toe box.”

Overview


The Altra Superior 4.5 is a trail running shoe designed for those who seek a natural, ground-connected experience on their runs. This shoe is part of the Altra Superior family and is known for its zero-drop platform (a level height from the heel to the toe), which promotes a more natural foot strike.

Key Features:

  • Zero-drop platform: Encourages a natural running gait and foot strike.
  • Wide toe box: Provides ample room for toe splay (the spreading of the toes), enhancing stability and comfort.
  • Quantic foam midsole: Offers a balance of cushioning and ground feel for a responsive ride.
  • Removable StoneGuard: Allows runners to customize the level of underfoot protection.

The Altra Superior 4.5 is an ideal choice for trail runners who prioritize a natural foot position and a close-to-trail feel. Its wide toe box and flexible design offer comfort and freedom of movement, making it suitable for a variety of off-road adventures.

With an average review score of 80%, it's rated just above the median rating of similar running shoes. Based on our monitoring of prices across the internet, it's currently in the most expensive 10% of running shoes today.

Verdict

The consensus on the Altra Superior 4.5


The Altra Superior 4.5 has garnered attention for its comfortable fit and lightweight design, making it a favorite among trail runners who appreciate a minimalist approach. The updates from its predecessor include a more durable upper and a slightly more robust midsole, which enhances the shoe's longevity and performance on rocky terrain. However, the shoe's traction on technical trails and its underfoot protection have been points of contention, with some runners finding it lacking in these areas. Despite these concerns, the Superior 4.5's stability and ground feel are highly praised, offering a natural and connected running experience. Overall, the Altra Superior 4.5 is a solid choice for runners who enjoy short to moderate trail runs and value a shoe that promotes a natural stride.

Updates to Altra Superior 4.5


The Altra Superior 4.5 introduces a more durable upper and additional lacing eyelets for improved fit compared to the Altra Superior 4.0. The midsole retains its 21mm stack height but features a slightly more robust Quantic foam. These updates enhance the shoe's durability and performance without compromising its minimalist ethos.

Comparable Shoes


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The Altra Superior 6 is a successor to the 4.5 and maintains the zero-drop, low-stack design but omits the StoneGuard insert. It's slightly heavier and offers a firmer ride, making it less ideal for those seeking underfoot cushioning for longer distances.

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The Altra Olympus 5 is a zero-drop shoe like the Superior 4.5 but offers more cushioning with a Vibram outsole for added grip. It's a better option for runners who prefer a plush ride and need extra traction for technical trails.

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The Hoka Speedgoat 5 provides a softer ride with more cushioning compared to the Superior 4.5. It's well-suited for runners who desire a low-drop shoe but with a more forgiving midsole for long-distance comfort.

10 Altra Superior 4.5 Pros & Cons


5 Pros

Lightweight and comfortable for short trail runs
Wide toe box allows for natural foot movement
Improved upper durability compared to previous models
Good breathability and water drainage
Affordable price point for a trail running shoe

5 Cons

Limited traction on technical and slippery surfaces
Minimal underfoot protection may not suit all runners
Potential durability issues with the outsole lugs
May not be suitable for long-distance runs due to minimal cushioning
Some runners may find the fit too snug with the StoneGuard insert

In Depth


Upper

The Altra Superior 4.5 features an updated upper with more durable materials, designed to withstand the rigors of trail running. The mesh construction provides excellent breathability and drainage, keeping feet cool and dry. The burrito-style tongue ensures a snug fit without causing irritation, contributing to the shoe's overall comfort.

Midsole

The Quantic foam midsole of the Altra Superior 4.5 strikes a balance between cushioning and sensitivity. This allows runners to feel the trail beneath their feet, which can be both exhilarating and demanding. The inclusion of a removable StoneGuard insert gives runners the option to adjust the level of protection based on the terrain and personal preference.

Outsole

While the Altra Superior 4.5's outsole features MaxTrac rubber with a Trail Claw design, its performance on slippery and muddy surfaces has been noted as suboptimal. The lugs, although strategically placed, may not provide the aggressive grip needed for more challenging trail conditions.

Size/fit

The Altra Superior 4.5 is known for its precise fit, especially around the midfoot, and a wide toe box that accommodates natural foot splay. This combination offers a comfortable and secure fit, reducing the likelihood of 'toe bang' on downhills. However, some runners may find the fit slightly snug, so sizing up may be necessary for those with wider feet or who prefer to use the StoneGuard insert.

Comfort

Comfort is a standout feature of the Altra Superior 4.5, with its wide toe box and zero-drop design contributing to a natural and unrestricted foot movement. The shoe's lightweight cushioning provides enough support for moderate trails, while the updated mesh upper enhances comfort through improved breathability and water drainage.

Cushioning

The Altra Superior 4.5 offers lightly cushioned support, with a 21mm stack height (the amount of shoe material between your foot and the ground) that provides a close-to-trail feel. While the cushioning is adequate for moderate trails, runners seeking plush underfoot comfort for longer distances may need to look elsewhere.

Breathability

The Altra Superior 4.5 boasts excellent breathability, thanks to its open mesh construction on the forefoot. This design choice not only keeps the feet cool but also allows for quick water drainage, making it suitable for runs that involve stream crossings or wet conditions.

Stability

The stability of the Altra Superior 4.5 is one of its strong suits. The zero-drop platform and wide toe box create a stable base that mimics the natural position of the foot, providing balance and control on the trails. The shoe's flexibility further aids in adapting to uneven terrain.

Durability

Durability improvements in the Altra Superior 4.5 are noticeable, particularly in the upper, which is constructed to resist tears and abrasions. However, the outsole's lug durability has been questioned, with some runners experiencing premature wear.

Grip

The grip of the Altra Superior 4.5 is suitable for hardpacked trails but may fall short in muddy or slippery conditions. The Trail Claw outsole design is intended to provide traction, yet it lacks the depth and aggressiveness of lugs found in other trail running shoes.

Who should buy the Altra Superior 4.5?


The Altra Superior 4.5 is well-suited for runners who enjoy the sensation of the trail beneath their feet and prefer a minimalist, zero-drop shoe. It's also a good match for those who appreciate a wide toe box for natural toe movement. The shoe's lightweight design and comfortable fit make it ideal for short to moderate trail runs and day hikes.

Who should not buy the Altra Superior 4.5?


Runners looking for a shoe with substantial underfoot cushioning or a plush ride for long-distance runs may not find the Altra Superior 4.5 to their liking. Those who frequently tackle highly technical or slippery terrain might also want to consider alternatives with more aggressive outsoles and better grip. For a more cushioned zero-drop option, the Altra Olympus 5 could be a better fit, while the Hoka Speedgoat 5 or Saucony Peregrine 13 may offer a softer ride.

Altra Superior 4.5: What's it good for?


Trail running and day hiking are activities where the Altra Superior 4.5 shines. Its design caters to runners who value a natural foot position and ground feel. The shoe is also suitable for 10k events and half marathons on less technical trails, where its lightweight and responsive nature can be advantageous.

4 Altra Superior 4.5 FAQs


Is the Altra Superior 4.5 suitable for long-distance trail running?

The Altra Superior 4.5 is designed for short to moderate distances on the trail. Its minimal cushioning and zero-drop design are ideal for runners who prefer a natural running experience. For longer distances, runners may want to consider shoes with more underfoot cushioning.

Can the Altra Superior 4.5 handle technical and muddy trails?

The Altra Superior 4.5 is best suited for hardpacked and moderate trails. Its outsole may not provide sufficient grip for very technical or muddy conditions. Runners tackling such terrain might look for shoes with deeper lugs and more aggressive tread patterns.

How does the wide toe box of the Altra Superior 4.5 benefit runners?

The wide toe box of the Altra Superior 4.5 allows for natural toe splay, which can enhance stability and comfort during runs. It also accommodates wider feet and provides space for feet to swell on longer runs.

What is the main difference between the Altra Superior 4.5 and its predecessor?

The main difference between the Altra Superior 4.5 and the previous version is the updated upper material for increased durability and the addition of extra lacing eyelets for a more precise fit.

Altra Superior 4.5 alternatives

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Released
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Expert Review Score
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productAthletes
Pro athlete users
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+7
Nikki JohnstoneZach Bitter
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Damian Hall
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Mike PopejoyGolden Harper
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Dan Feeney
Weight
Weight
M: 252 g
W: 198 g
230 g
M: 247 g
W: 207 g
M: 241 g
W: 213 g
326 g
M: 179 g
W: 150 g
Forefoot
Forefoot
21 mm
7 mm
19 mm
18 mm
12 mm
Heel to toe drop
Heel to toe drop
6 mm
6 mm
4 mm
Heel
Heel
21 mm
13 mm
19 mm
24 mm
16 mm
Terrain
Terrain
Trail
TrailTrailTrailMudSnow/iceTrailTrail
Brand
Brand
Altra
Inov-8AltraMerrellNew BalanceLa Sportiva
Pronation Type
Pronation Type
Neutral pronation
Neutral pronationNeutral pronationNeutral pronationNeutral pronationOverpronationSevere overpronationNeutral pronation
Strike Type
Strike Type
Fore/Midfoot strike
Fore/Midfoot strikeHeel strikeFore/Midfoot strikeFore/Midfoot strikeHeel strikeFore/Midfoot strikeHeel strikeFore/Midfoot strike
Arch Type
Arch Type
High arch
High archHigh archHigh archHigh archLow archHigh arch
Shoe Type
Shoe Type
Low dropZero drop
LightweightLightweightLow dropZero dropLightweightBarefootBreathableComfortableLightweightLow dropMaximalistMinimalistZero dropLightweightLow drop
Breathable
Breathable
Carbon fiber plate
Carbon fiber plate
Orthotic friendly
Orthotic friendly
Removable insole
Removable insole
Rocker
Rocker
Techs
Techs
Vibram
BOA
Environmental Characteristics
Environmental Characteristics
Vegan β“‹
0

Altra Superior 4.5: what the experts say (1 review)

Altra Superior 4.5 characteristics and specifications

Characteristics
SportsRunning (+1956)
TerrainTrail (+518)
BrandAltra (+62)
Support TypeNeutral (+1536)
Pronation TypeNeutral pronation (+1547)
Strike TypeFore/Midfoot strike (+1145)
Arch TypeHigh arch (+1494)
Shoe TypeLow drop (+470)Zero drop (+318)
FitWide toe box (+335)
FeaturesRock plate (+422)
Events10k (+706)Half marathon (+706)Marathon (+706)
ColorwaysAl-0180 Capri Breeze, Black / Grey, Black / Red, Blue / Green / Black, Dark blue, Red
Specificationsvs Average
Model
4.5
Released
Oct 2020
Measurements
Weight
M: 252 g
W: 198 g
Heel to toe drop
Heel
21 mm
Forefoot
21 mm

9 pro athletes who've used Altra Superior 4.5

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AuthorTom Green
Tom is the founder of geerly. Based in West London, he found his passion for running in his mid-30s. He’s best at longer distances, and is a regular at the London Marathon, where he's edging closer to sub-2.40. He started geerly because he found it frustrating when shopping for running shoes spending ages trying to find the best deal in his size, and wading through verbose, waffling reviews clearly designed to appeal to search engines rather than be helpful to users. For geerly he's passionate about writing reviews that get straight to the point, and helping runners find the right gear at the best price.
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