This year Altra has accustomed us to improved versions of its models and introduced some extremely interesting new ones. Into the latter category rightfully come the Altra Via Olympus, which we were able to try in every situation and which really give great satisfaction. With a spoiler like that, it’s easy to see that these are shoes that satisfied us, but let’s see why.
Altra Via Olympus look like oversized shoes. Full-bodied, tall, almost plump. These are definitely shoes that stand out because of their generous size, but they are also in line with many other models. The U.S. brand, in this, has always distinguished itself by being able to combine large size with ideal balance, so the feeling underfoot is of an even shoe that continuously allows contact between the foot and the ground, leaving no raised, unsupported spaces. Yet, to look at the specifications of this model, the arch support and compound used are not designed to provide anti-pronation support, so the bandaging sensation is solely due to the adaptability of the midsole, Altra’s EGO Max, which expresses its full potential on this shoe. Of the many Altra tried over the past few months, the Via Olympus were the ones that took the least time to “understand.” Perhaps because of the EGO Max midsole and especially the wide sole, similar to that of its trail cousin, it was possible to identify the best use for these shoes right away, which, as far as we are concerned, turned out to be great for medium-intensity daily workouts of any length.
How they run
As mentioned, the feeling is one of stability and comfort from the first step. All Altra shoes are built on a Balanced Cushioning platform that positions the heel and forefoot equidistant from the ground.
This natural base helps to have optimal alignment, improves form and encourages a low impact landing. Such a feature makes the foot work by continually putting strain on the Achilles tendon, but the slight curvature of the tread on the toe makes the foot rest as if a drop existed, which allows for improved elasticity and stretchability while maintaining proper posture and making the body work on running technique automatically and without making us think too much about what to do. Altra names it rocker mode, and we like to think of it as pushing us to run like rock stars! After a hundred miles of testing, the tread remained at virtually the same level as when the shoes were taken out of the box, so the idea is that they will be usable for a long time. The response to direction changes was always precise and the grip was optimal, both on dry asphalt and in the rain. With these weather conditions, it was also possible to test on light dirt ground made slippery by rain. On the parts where there were no puddles it was possible to make the most of the shoes, while running on water layer needs to pay more attention, especially on changes of direction. A particularly positive note goes to an aspect that is often overlooked in running shoes: lacing. The laces on the Via Olympus are soft (like the whole shoe, for that matter), hold up very well and do not unravel, although they are not tightened with extreme force. For those who are used to running with the lace through even the last eyelet, knowing that they do not need to tie double knots is a very good thing (in the writer’s opinion, of course!).
For whom are recommended
No, really, the Via Olympus are shoes that any runner could use with profit. They are not designed to be race shoes, and you can tell that just by looking at them, but they are definitely the ideal shoes to accompany us on training and long runs, ensuring comfort and stability while also allowing us to improve our running technique.
You can find them on the Altra website in the best running shoe stores, costing 170 €.