Thursday, November 13, 2014

First impressions of the Altra Olympus

I’m using quite different shoes from various brands. I’m following the trend to having more minimalistic shoes and zero-drop. Not because this is a popular trend, but because it seems to make sense.
At the same time, I acknowledge, that running frequently long distances in the urban environment, could have a negative impact on my body. Up to now there are no issues, but with increasing the mileage this could easily changes.

The first time I saw some Hooka shoes, which come with extreme cushioning, in real life I was amused. Thinking process started and yes this extra cushioning made sense to me.

So zero drop is fine, but I want to have some good cushioning for longer distances as well.
As of today I was running minimalistic shoes (Five Fingers Komodo Sport LS, Asics Lyte)  for shorter distances and form drills, while I have found a good fit into Mizuno Wave Rider for longer distances. The latter are wide enough for my Hallux valgus and provide some good level of cushioning. At the same time those are not zero drop (14mm).

Before I actually get hands on a Hooka shoe, my attention has been drawn by a different brand - altra shoes. Besides having shoes with just extreme cushioning, they also embrace zero drop and advertise a wide toe box, which should come in handy for my feed. I got exited. Then I got frustrated,  as it seemed to be impossible to obtain those shoes in Europe/Germany, without ordering them directly from the US. This got solved in the meantime. I got in touch with Altra and eventually I got hold of the list of first shops, which should be selling Altra shoes in Germany:
As Wat Läuft shop is located close to my hometown, I went there. Nice shop and I got very good sales advise. I ended up with buying the Altra Olympus, which is an extreme cushioned trail shoe.

On my first run, I needed a little while to get used to the high stack - fear of twisting my ankle- , but after a few km I already forgotten this and had no issue anymore. The cushioning is impressive and releases my legs quite a lot. Again on the first kilometers I felt a little detached from the ground, but this is no issue anymore - even not, if I'm switching between different shoes, which I do a lot.

Overall I was so convinced of the shoe, that I decided after only 60 km of running in them, to actually use them for my very first 50km run - My first - little - ultra experience. The race went well and no issues with the shoes.

While trying the shoes in the shop, I recognized that the tongue of the shoes is a little short. I feared that this would become an issue, but it hasn't so far. The tongue is locked properly once the laces are closed.

Only little drawback of the shoes so far is the grip of the soles. Perfectly sufficient for running easy path in forest, but if it gets wet, one can already experience the limits of the grip (e.g. wet wooden planks). I think this will be not sufficient for more technical trails. Looking forward to try the Altra Lone Peak 2.0, which seems to have a more aggressive sole.

To summarize - and take it with care as I only run like 140 km in this shoes: The Altra Olympus is right now my go-to shoes for long distance runs - both on easy trails and on the street. I love them and my feet even more!