Altra’s Superior 3.0 vs Lone Peak 3.0 vs Olympus 2.0
Altra Running has made highly-esteemed, well-awarded trail running shoes that are all of high value. They’re tough, grippy, and stylish – although we all know not to judge a shoe by its upper. The Superior 3.0, Lone Peak 3.0, and Olympus 2.0 are all up for grabs in the trail-running shoe department, but it’s unclear which to buy.
Should I go with the Olympus 2.0 for its ruggedness? Or should I pick the Lone Peak 3.0 for its excellent traction? Better yet, should I opt for the Superior 3.0 due to it’s extreme light-weight as a trail running shoe?
These are all very good questions, but there are more characteristics than just that for these shoes.
We need to break it all down. Let’s get started.
Altra’s Superior 3.0
261g / 9.2oz
Light to Medium Trails
These shoes are built for maximum control. They are the lightest offered trail running shoes in Altra’s lineup, meaning you will barely feel them on your feet when compared other shoes. The cushioning in these shoes is also well done – in combination with the lightness, it makes for the most comfortable shoes you can get from the trail running section of Altra’s options.
The upper on these shoes has been fortified since the last pair, while at the same time made to be more snug. The Superior 3.0 hugs the feet well, while at the same time remaining breathable. Our problem with these shoes, however, is that despite the breathability, these shoes do not pair well when it comes to draining water mid-run.
Also, when they were tackling the durability issues, they added tough material designed to improve strength. However, this can dig into runners with wide feet.
Compared to the other two shoes, these are still the least durable of the lot.
They make for great trail running shoes, however, thanks to the lugs and tread design. The Olympus 2.0 and Superior 3.0 have similar treads. Both are incredibly strong in traction, and last for quite a while. The Superior 3.0 is an ultrarunner’s go-to choice for their distances, as long as it’s relatively dry and isn’t an insanely rugged course. For rougher courses, we recommend the Lone Peak 3.0
All-in-all, the Superior 3.0 is light, comfortable, and has excellent traction. These shoes would perform best on light- to medium- trails (in terms of ruggedness), and so long as you avoid water and manage your wear-and-tear, these shoes will supply you with awesome performance.
Altra’s Lone Peak 3.0
275g / 9.7oz
Medium to Hard Trails
When you compare the Superior 3.0 and Olympus 2.0 to the Lone Peak 3.0, there are cast differences. The most noticeable difference is the tread design. The Lone Peak 3.0 has heavy, large, and ample lugs placed on the bottom of the shoe, with a majority of the outsole being rubber. The Olympus and Superior are more conservative, and with lugs designed for less rugged and varied trails.
The Lone Peak 3.0 is designed purely for trail running. You might be able to get away with using the others for road running, but with the Lone Peak 3.0 that option is just not there. This is something to keep in mind. If you’re running a trail run/race in rugged terrain, where it can go from being gentle grass to gnarled roots and boulders, the Lone Peak 3.0 is your best bet.
However, for very long runs please keep in mind that although it grips exceptionally well, it does a poor job at ventilation. The upper has great durability thanks to its thickness and supports, making it one of the strongest shoes from Altra, but this also means that it has trouble letting air circulate in and out.
The Lone Peak 3.0 is a great shoe for tough trails, but is restricted to trails. No cross-training! We’ve covered this shoe in a full review, which can be read here.
Altra’s Olympus 2.0
312g / 11oz
Light to Medium Trails
This is the heaviest of the shoes offered out of the Superior 3.0, Lone Peak 3.0, and Olympus 2.0 list. The extra weight is due to the stack height – there is 71% more cushioning on the Olympus 2.0 compared to the Superior 3.0.
You’ll have the least foot control out of the lot, at the benefit of improved durability and cushioning with this pair of shoes. Depending on what you’re looking for, this could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Straight out of the box, you can tell that this is a minimalistic pair of shoes. There isn’t much room for fluff, as it already weighs more than others. This isn’t a problem however, as a more minimalistic approach allows for the most efficient ideas to be put forth. Since the upper is so minimalistic, there is no abstract pieces of plastic for “artistic appeal”, which could reduce breathability.
The sidewalls are thin, which reduces weight and durability, but allows for air filtration. Similar to the Superior 3.0 however, there is trouble with water drainage mid-run. Unfortunately, there is no NeoShell variant of the Olympus 2.0 or Superior 3.0, unlike the Lone Peak 3.0. Without the NeoShell, there is little to stop water form entering the shoe.
Despite this issue, the minimalism is still an excellent approach as it reduces the amount of weakspots in the upper.
When manufacturers design airplanes, they have to be careful of any weakspot in the frame. This is because turbulence stresses the frame of an airplane, vibrating and shaking the plane. If there is a critically frail weakspot, the plane with fall apart mid-flight. This is obviously a huge concern.
In fact, many commercial airliners suffer from weakspots – but not critically frail weakspots. Every single window in an airplane reduces the strength of the plane, as each of these is a weakspot. Fortunately for the passengers, they aren’t of huge concern, but still cause the durability of the plane to be weaker.
This idea directly translates over to shoes. Luckily for us, the Olympus 2.0 has a great upper due to the fact that it’s all one piece – there is no stitching that can come apart mid-run, besides the stitching connecting the upper to the rest of the shoe.
Putting This Info Together
Now, this info is great to know, but how do we choose our shoe? We’ve ranked them from best to worst for you in an easy-to-read table.
Check it out:
With this information, we hope you can make the right choice for you! Running brands don’t always direct you to what shoe you should pick, but with this guide everything should be more clear. If you’ve made your choice already, here are some handy-dandy links to head straight to your shoe-of-choice!
Caleb Thompson is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and other Amazon stores worldwide.
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