It’s smart to stick with what works. Altra’s Superior 2.0 is a longstanding customer favorite that further proved its worth in the Sierra Nevada Mountains this summer.

Altra Superior 2.0 Features:

  • Stack Height: 21mm
  • Heel-toe drop: 0mm
  • Insole: 5 mm Contour Footbed with Removable StoneGuard™ Rock Protection
  • Upper: Quick-Dry Air Mesh
  • Natural Foot Positioning platform
  • FootShape Toe Box
  • Midsole: EVA/A-Bound blend with InnerFlex
  • TrailClaw Sticky Rubber Outsole
  • GaiterTrap Velcro at heels
  • Three color options
  • Weight: 8.7 oz/247 g
  • MSRP $110

altra superior 2.0 trail

Superior 2.0’s vs. Castle Peak 100K

It’s unusual that we review a shoe that’s been on the market for more than 18 months – but that’s exactly what we’re doing with the Altra Superior 2.0, for a couple of compelling reasons:

  • This model has remained intact for an extended period of time – which is a testament both to customer loyalty towards the Superior 2.0, and Altra’s good sense to not mess with a good thing. Also …
  • We had an opportunity to test a pair at a 100K in the Sierra Nevadas, which seemed like the perfect test lab to see what all the fuss over this shoe is about.

We put the Superior 2.0 through the paces at the Castle Peak 100K, a demanding point to point course above Truckee, CA that features extensive sections of rocky granite trails, as well as a significant amount of peak bagging and ridgeline scrambling, and even a short stretch of rappelling. In short, it provided virtually every circumstance to test the comfort and durability of trail running shoes.

altra superior 2.0 dirty

Superior 2.0 on trail at approximately mile 50

The Superior 2.0 was particularly suited for the job for a couple of key reasons: the aggressive TrailClaw outsole provided outstanding grip on fire roads, single track, and hard granite, even after stream crossings where the ground was sketchy underfoot.

Rugged TrailClaw outsole provides excellent grip

Rugged TrailClaw outsole provides excellent grip

The other reason was the thin, flexible StoneGuard rock plate to ease the sting of jagged granite over high mileage.  The rock plate is removable if you want a bit of additional ground feel, but it’s so thin and light that you hardly notice the increased weight or height with it in place.

Thin, flexible, removable rock plate

Thin, flexible, removable rock plate

Around the ankle, the Superior 2.0 sits rather low, which allows great freedom of movement but may feel unsupportive if you’re unaccustomed to low-cut collars. The upper has been tweaked since the initial version of the 2.0, with a rugged breathable mesh and an increased amount of sidewall reinforcement.  Altra’s hallmark FootShape toe box allows plenty of room for foot splay, and the lace system keeps the foot locked nicely in place on steep downhills.  Our 100K effort ended with no hot spots or chafing in the forefoot – or anywhere else for that matter.

altra superior 2.0 side

In the midsole, Altra’s A-Bound EVA foam has good initial responsiveness and cushioning, and the InnerFlex grooves help your foot flex naturally for a smooth transition from rearfoot to forefoot. The 21mm stack height provides a solid amount of cushioning for the light weight of the Superior 2.0, but over the course of 100K the comfort diminished towards the final miles. (We’ll be testing the higher cushioned Lone Peak 3.0 in a 100-miler this fall – stay tuned.) The midsole also feels a bit dull on roads, but allows a ground feel similar to shoes that are far more minimal.

Rounded toe box with protective rim

Rounded toe box with protective rim

The Good

  • Outstanding grip and traction from outsole
  • Thin flexible rock plate allows more aggressive running
  • Anatomic last provides secure fit without chafing

The Bad

  • Midsole responsiveness tapers off with high mileage
  • Low ankle collar may feel insecure for some users

The Bottom Line: Altra Superior 2.0

The Altra Superior 2.0 is a durable and comfortable trail runner that can handle any off-road terrain, and it exceeded our expectations in one of the most challenging scenarios we could subject it to.  Its light weight and great underfoot protection make it an ideal shoe for training or racing distances up to 100K.

Buy Now: Visit AltraRunning.com

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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