Posted on January 08 2024



Altra's Mont Blanc has been one of my favourite shoes from ALTRA, fast, light, drains superbly well and a perfect trail racing shoe. 

We have tested both the normal Mont Blanc and the Boa version and you can read those tests HERE



We are fortunate that here in Hong Kong we will be one of the first countries to launch the brand new Mont Blanc Carbon shoe. The latest addition to the Mont Blanc family. 

For the last 6 months we have been putting it through its paces and these are our observations from over 200kms in the shoe

SPOILER ALERT -- Its spectacular!

Of course and the name suggests, the most significant upgrade from the Mont Blanc is the addition of a full length Carbitex carbon plate. Opinions differ on the value of a carbon plate for trails but in Hong Kong there are some distinct advantages. 

Firstly, it gives great rock protection. There are other, cheaper ways of doing it but this works well.

More importantly though, HK has a lot of catchwaters and steps and hard packed trails. On this type of terrain the carbon plate does what a carbon plate does on the road provides that extra spring. 

The carbon plate though is not the only major change to the midsole. The midsole has a unique Rim and Core construction which means there is an enclosed upper segment of the midsole above the plate that is ALTRA's super foam EGO Pro. This is used on the Vanish Carbon and on the Vanish Tempos. Super light and super responsive. It retains the 30mm stack height of Mont Blanc

Underneath the plate is a layer of EGO MAX, the same material as on the original Mont Blanc. 

Next up is the modification to the heel cup.

On the original Mont Blanc, some people complained about the lack of a reliable heel lock down. Personally I never had that problem but on the Mont Blanc Carbon the heel cup has been completely redesigned. So this should solve the problem for all the people who had issues previously. 

Of course the VIBRAM Litebase Megagrip has been retained. So no issues there. Vibram Megagrip does what Vibram Megagrip does best, grip!. Perfect for Hong Kong Conditions. 

So how does it run!

One of my first runs in the shoe was in the shoes namesake region. I did the 23k Cross du Mont Blanc in Chamonix. Although only 23k the race does have a pretty challenging uphill aspect to it resulting in you finishing 1000 mtrs higher than the start in the centre of Chamonix. 

If you have run in the Alps you will also know that the technicality of the trails is on a different level to Hong Kong. 

The shoe performed perfectly on the challenging technical ascents and the hair raising descents without the slightest loss of grip. 

The midsole is absolutely wonderful and the extra spring compared to the normal Mont Blanc is immediately noticeable. 

The shoe weight 308g for the men and 249g for the women's. Slightly heavier than the non plated Mont Blanc but you don't feel it. 

The shoe uses the Standard Footshape (the middle setting) and I felt no hot spots, or rubbing. The fit is as good as it was on the original Mont Blanc. 

Round laces on the Mont Blanc (another source of some complaints) have been replaced with more standard flat laces and it was not difficult to get a good lacing tension. 

The upper is fairly lightweight and the trade off is a bit less protection compared to a more heavily built trail shoe but I did whack my toe quite hard into a rock and found the protection to be adequate. 

I imagine the upper drains as well as the original Mont Blanc which is a massive advantage in Hong Kong. 

So having now lived with the shoe for over 6 months I can truly say it is a real favourite of mine and would be my go to shoe for any trail race for any distance. It is just perfect. 

The only strange thing I would say is that the unique midsole construction of the midsole means you are standing directly on the top of the EGO Pro without a Strobel board in between. This resulted in quite a bit of squeaking in my case. More amusing than consequential but it is a little strange!, 

ALTRA will be officially launching the shoe at the Asia Pacific Trail Running Expo on the 17th of January. This will be a global first launch, just in time for the HK100. Come and try the shoe for yourself


 You can also Pre-Order it now on our website HERE





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