Thursday, January 17, 2013

Altra Zero Drop Superior Trail Running Shoes

Life's short...Run Natural!

Altra Zero Drop Superior Trail Running Shoes

ALTRA is a group of passionate individuals committed to reducing injuries & better running technique through biomechanically proper footwear. Over 30 years in running specialty we felt the need in the market for something different. Bringing Zero Drop, Foot Shape, Gender Specific Running Shoes. Zero Drop™ footwear offers runners the world's first fully cushioned, foot-shaped, training shoe without an elevated heel. This unique platform allows for a more natural foot strike and a more efficient, comfortable ride.

I’ve been tinkering with running shoes (or barefoot) for some time right now, and I honestly believe that “minimalist” shoes should be a part of every runner’s training plan. While barefooting it is fun and definitely useful, it’s not going to be comfortable for everyone, nor practical – I’m not going to run sans shoes in mid-winter!

What is Zero Drop? Video

Of the minimalist shoes I’ve tried, the Superiors stand out for several reasons – the shape is clearly anatomical, with no pointy toe and a wide forefoot, which allows the toes to spread out. The Altras also have great cushioning, important for a big guy like me, without sacrificing ground feel. Yet they also felt protective on the trails – we don’t have rocky trails around here, but plenty of ones filled with roots, and I never felt like my feet were exposed to injury like some other shoes (the removable StoneGuard™ rock protection system works!).

The Superiors are really a mystifying shoe. Incredibly lightweight, yet rugged, cushioned, and protective. Plenty of room in the toebox for natural foot movement, but snug around the instep and heel. How does all that happen in a single shoe? The Superiors are also a fun design – I especially liked the footprint on the soles! The one design element that puzzled me was a “tongue” that stuck out at the back of the sole, not sure what its function is.

Altra Zero Drop Superior Trail Running Shoes - CrossFit

Nowadays, my running shoes sometimes do double-duty, as I rotate through my stash to find ones that also work for CrossFit. I would say that the Altras rate at the top – the groundfeel is so helpful during lifts, as the feedback tells me whether my balance and weight placement are correct. The lightweight shoes also don’t weigh me down during box jumps and, of course, are great for the running portion of the WODs. In short, even if you don’t run, the Superiors are a great choice for CrossFit!

The Superiors do run a bit small, so size up a half or full size -- I went to a 14, which was very comfortable, with plenty of room. Judicious lacing meant the shoes remained snug.

More information on the Altra Zero Drop websiteFacebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

These shoes were sent to me at no cost, for review purposes. No further compensation was offered nor received. A positive review was not guaranteed and all opinions expressed are my own.

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5 comments:

  1. Golden Harper, and his shoes, are cool cats. Did you know he ran something like a 2:48 marathon at the age of 12? Wunderkind.

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  2. I have been wanting to try these shoes. I have Scarpas which I love that are 5mm drop and Merrell Trail Gloves which are nice but I need more cushion than those. This looks like the right ones. Local running store that carries them is 20 miles away so next time I'm in that area, I'm going to see. Could you get comfortable in them up to half marathon distance?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't run that far in these Jeff, but they've been nothing but comfortable in every situation. Of course everyone's feet are different.

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  3. So many shoes to try, so little time :-).

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  4. I love the Superiors. I have Vibrams, Merrells and New Balance Minimus, but had to get another pair because the thin soles of those shoes were resulting in bruised feet on rocky trail runs. I got the Superiors because they have amply padding on the bottom. I love them so far. No nearly as minimalist as the brands I earlier mentioned, but that's the payoff for offering a sole that actually protects the bottom of your feet.

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