PRODUCT REVIEW: ALTRA OLYMPUS 2.0 TRAIL RUNNING SHOE*
*This review was done by Vo Von Sehlen, a photographer for The Runner’s Edge and a local runner. Enjoy!
Over the past few years, I ran quite a few hundred miles in my Altra Olympus 1.0 shoes. However, for as long as I have been running in them – they were fine on not too technical terrain – I thought of potential design improvements for this particular model.
With great anticipation, I was waiting for an update. Then, a couple months ago, the Olympus 2.0 – the supposedly new-and-improved – was on the shelf. Let me tell you, the initial feel, and I mean the very first second my foot was in this shoe, was a feeling of AHHHHH! So comfortable! Such a great fit! After only a few steps of in-store jogging, I knew, without a doubt, that I WANTED THEM, right then and there!
The next day, I put them to work! Out of the box, 15 miles of all trail; a few thousand vertical feet up and down. Verdict after one run: I LOVE THEM!
For those not familiar with the Missoula terrain and awesome trail system, we can easily access trails right from downtown (or in my case, from my house), gaining 2,000 – 3,000 vertical feet within only a few miles. With that said, on my next trail run, I went up to the Beacon, on University Mountain, here in Missoula, Mont., for an even tougher test: 20-plus miles, a lot of vertical – some of which might be at a 40-percent incline / decline.
Especially during the very steep ups and downs, did I notice some of the much-needed improvements from the first version of the Olympus. In the past, I’ve taken my Olympus 1.0 up there plenty of times, thus had a very good understanding of the shortfalls. The Altra Olympus 2.0, however, performed fantastically, both going up as well as down, and were comfortable even after running for many hours.
One of the excellent upgrades is a drastically-improved outsole, which now is more aggressive and much more gripping!
Another very important upgrade I noticed is the mid-foot wrap, which was pretty loose in the previous version, and now is holding my feet much better in position – without restricting them. This better wrap prevents my feet from sliding around inside the shoe, and especially sliding forward on long downhill sections. Let me tell you, not getting the toes jammed during longer downhill running is a nice feeling!
Speaking of nice feeling, not just the initial feel of the Olympus 2.0, but also during multi-hour, long runs, in my opinion, this shoe is one of the most comfortable I have ever felt in a trail running shoe! The bigger toe box – which is one of the most noticeable differences in all Altra shoes – also adds to the comfort. When toes can spread out, naturally, and are not bunched up and restricted, one will notice a big difference during activities.
If you like a wonderfully cushioned trail running shoe that is performing well on many different surfaces and terrains, seriously, put your feet in a pair of Altra
Olympus 2.0. Take it for a jog around the block (or better yet, up the mountains, where they belong), to see for yourself, why I give them such praise. If you live or find yourself in western Montana, it’s a no brainier where to go to shop for them; head to the The Runner’s Edge in downtown Missoula – it’s one of the best Running Specialty stores in the country – literally!
Granted, every person’s foot is shaped differently, but I would be very surprised if you didn’t like the feel of these shoes, the second you put them on. Also, whether you are familiar with Altra running shoes or not, yes, they are “zero drop”, meaning the heel is at the same level as your forefoot. Some people, who have been wearing more traditional running shoes all of their lives, with up to 12mm of heel-to-toe drop shy away from such a concept. However, running on trails, where the surface is naturally uneven to begin with, and where one frequently goes up, down, steps on rocks and roots, and jumps over obstacles, the zero drop is not as much of a factor to get used to (as opposed to running on mostly flat asphalt, when you might want to give yourself a 6-week transition period). And, as all of this is my opinion, having various shoes and using them in a rotation, is always a good idea, not only for the transition period, but always. Your feet will love you for this!
A little about me, when I don’t run, I am a professional photographer, taking photos at a great many trail races throughout the year, during which I need to cover many miles (not all on actual trails) with lots of vertical, all while carrying a lot of gear. Needless to say, I pay close attention to the shoes I’m wearing for those gigs, as my footing needs to be secure, and my feet need to be comfortable for very long periods of time. I’m oftentimes out there for much longer than most athletes themselves. With that said, not only do I now run most of my trail runs in the Altra Olympus 2.0, I also am wearing them while working (i.e., taking photos)! So, if you also like to hike or take your dog out for longer walks on some trails, this shoe might be a great option for you, even for those activities.
As a disclaimer, I am NOT sponsored by, nor have I received any compensation from Altra for writing this review! The only reason I am writing about the Altra Olympus 2.0, is that I absolutely LOVE RUNNING IN THEM, and enjoy wearing them! Plus, I thought you might like to give them a try, too.
BTW, I also like running in Altra street running shoes. Currently, in the Torin 2.0, and was comfortably pacing an official pace group at the Missoula Marathon in that model a few weeks ago.
Just the other day, I literally ran across the Bob Marshall / Scapegoat Wilderness with a group of local runners. It was not a race, only a “just-because-we-like-to-run” Ultra-Marathon distance, which took us through some of Montana’s most spectacular and wild country. Again, needless to say, footwear was important, as once we got started, we were committed to finish, without the help of aid stations or a possibility of jumping into a sag wagon. As we ran through probably a dozen or more creeks and rivers, my feet were wet for a solid 14 hours, or 40 miles of the run. However, my feet were happy and comfortable. My choice of shoe, the Altra, Olympus 2.0!
Having so many shoe options to choose from, perhaps this review helped you a little, or at least inspired you to give the Altra Olympus 2.0 a consideration.
However, no matter what you decide to run in, have fun out there!