Altra Olympus 4: Trail Running with Ultra Cushion & Style


The redesigned Olympus 4.0 is Altra’s most max-cushioned trail running shoe, created for runners looking for more support under their foot or going the distance on their next ultra marathon.


SPECS

Weight: 11.6 oz / 329 g

Stack Height: 33 mm

Heel to Toe Drop: 0mm

Colors: 5 Men & 4 Women Options (Men: Black/White/Red, Black/Steel Blue, Red/Black, Blue/Yellow, Green/Orange.) (Women: Navy/Light Blue/Mint Green, Navy/Coral, Black/White/Red, Black/Light Blue/Grey)

Retail Price: $170 (Check here for Amazon prices: Men's & Women's)

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

This shoe is solidly built, great traction and comfortable. It is built more for going the distance than for extremely rugged terrain.


Prior to this version of the Altra Olympus 4.0, I never even considered a max cushioned trail running shoe. I like to feel the ground under my feet, with just the right balance of cushion. Not to mention that fact that most max cushioned shoes (trail and road) look plain stupid, haha!


So, imagine my surprise when the white, black and red version of this shoe caught my attention. Personally, I think this particular color scheme of the Olympus 4.0 is Altra’s best looking trail running shoe to date, with several other good color choices.


A bit shallow, I know, but when you spend so much money on a shoe, you want them to look as good as they feel and last even longer. Not to mention the fact that the updated look finally made me want to test a shoe that I previously refused to even try on--and they have not disappointed!


FIT & FEEL

The Olympus 4.0 is everything that you would expect from a max-cushioned shoe--comfortable. You glide over rocks and rough terrain without much worry or thought. At the time of this review, I put 100 miles on the shoe and have not experienced any rubbing or annoyances. They also felt great right out of the box.


The shoe fits true to size and the wide toe box gives your foot plenty of room, but doesn’t feel sloppy. There was no need to go a half-size up, as is often recommended for trail shoes, to give your feet room so they don’t rub the toes when running downhill.


As someone who is used to trail running shoes with much less cushion, the only funny thing I noticed was that I needed to lift my knees just a bit higher than what I am sub-consciously used to, and I needed to pay a bit more attention to not rolling my ankle, due to the higher stack on the sole. Not a deal breaker, but definitely something to keep in mind.

Since this shoe has such a thick stack height, Altra did not include a rock plate, which is fairly common for max cushioned shoes. This allows the shoe to be more responsive to feel the ground a bit better when the sole is so thick. A rock plate combined with a thick sole can cause the shoe to be too stiff.


However, the traction on this shoe only provides foam under the arch of the foot. This is the only part of my foot where I DO NOT want to feel the ground. So, it makes me hesitant to come down hard on a rock when I am jumping and trying to go a bit more hard-core, parkour on downhill trail runs.


I have definitely felt large rocks hit the arch of my foot on more aggressive terrain, but nothing on moderate to light terrain, and nothing painful. I personally wouldn’t mind a rock plate or rubber on the outsole just under the arch of the foot.


BUILD

The upper has a durable mesh that breathes well. The front of the shoe has a nice firm material that protects your toes from stubbing on rocks, roots and other obstacles on the trail, but with little drains for water. It also has great heel-lock and the laces cinch tight. The tongue is shaped to the groves of your leg, which is a nice touch to prevent rubbing.


As is the case with all Altra trail running shoes, the Olympus 4.0 has a hook-loop to attached gaiters in the front and Velcro in the back. The Olympus does not have the side loops for gaiters to hook in to like the Altra Lone Peaks.


TRACTION

The outsole of these shoes use the Vibram® MegaGrip™, which has great traction in loose dirt, wet rocks and in the mud. The lugs underneath are mid-sized. Not too aggressive and not too light.


The Vibram rubber lugs are primarily located on the forefoot of the shoe, along the sides and in the back. I love the way the lugs stick out the back a bit for the extra confidence and grip going downhill.


Under the middle of the outsole the lugs are only foam, starting from the arch of the foot to the back in a small area. So far, I have not seen an issue with traction, but the foam already seems to be wearing down, while the rubber portions still seem like-new. So, I wonder about the long-term durability and traction on the foam portion of the outsole.

PROS & CONS

Pros

  • Comfortable

  • True to size & great fit

  • Durable build & practical design

  • Awesome aesthetic design

Cons

  • Only foam under the arch of the foot

Neutral

  • Max cushioned

  • Moderate sized outsole lugs

  • No rock plate

WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY

Runner's World,