ALTRA VIA OLYMPUS - First Impressions
Posted on November 04 2022
ALTRA have been super successful with the OLYMPUS trail shoe and v4 and now v5 have really established the model as a real go too, long distance, comfortable trail shoe that you can pretty much do any trail in. Not a racing shoe, but something you can really rely on for your long distance stuff or when you just want something that will not beat up your legs.
Well the thinking with the VIA OLYMPUS (VIA being Italian for street) is to bring the same level of comfort to a road shoe. It's an all new shoe and very important for ALTRA to have a max cushioned, comfortable shoe that also can feel good on your feet, all day, on the road.
We have put a few miles into the first arrivals of this brand new shoe and we now share our first impressions.
First some stats.
- STACK HEIGHT: 33mm and being ALTRA' s "Balanced Cushioning" that is the same in the heel and the forefoot.
- FOOTSHAPE: Like the Olympus trail shoe this is ALTRA's Original Footshape.
- MIDSOLE: EGO MAX, ALTRA's new premium midsole.
- WEIGHT: Men's 312g, Women's 255g
Right out of the box this looks a big shoe!. Positioned similar to HOKA's Bondi this is clearly a max cushioned shoe. (The Bondi looks even bigger incidentally). Lots of padding around the heel which does make for a snug fit for your heel and of course the Original Footshape does mean you have plenty of space for your toes to spread.
It feels snug around the midfoot with a heavily cushioned tongue so your foot is held well. I wonder if the amount of cushioning might absorb a lot of water and sweat in our damp HK climate. We will see how it drains when we get more challenging weather. Hopefully it doesn't result in a much heavier shoe.
With 33mm of cushioning the VIA Olympus joins the ALTRA models with the highest level of cushioning in the ALTRA range. The Vanish family and the Olympus trail family being the other members. However, unlike the Olympus 5, the VIA Olympus has EGO Max cushioning which is a significant upgrade from the EVA in the Olympus 5.
So how does it feel on the run?
Right out of the box it feels like a lot of shoe as you would imagine. Particularly the padding around the heel and in the tongue is soft and generous. I have a long second toe and with all the cushioning I believe my foot is a little further forward than normal so on my left foot it felt a little too close to the end of the shoe. The US 10.5 therefore feels like it runs a little small so I would recommend a half size bigger. It wasn't such a problem and my run wasn't hindered but perhaps on a longer run (my longest was 20km) it might start to feel sore.
That said it is a really comfortable shoe. I really do like the way the wider toebox, even for someone with fairly narrow feet, allows me to spread my toes.
Three fabulous things I really like.
1. The midfoot, forefoot cushioning. If you have run in the Mont Blanc you will have noticed the soft but stable EGO Max midsole under your forefoot. Here there is 3 mm more. 33mm of really soft foam that does not give any feeling of instability. Great energy return ... a super spring.
2. The Rocker Geometry. Zero drop shoes, while feeling natural can lack that forward impulse you feel with a little more drop but with the inflection point on the shoe pulled back from around 70% forward of the heel to 65%, there is a very noticeable roll off through your gait cycle. I am not a big heel sticker but the rounded heel should also make for a smooth roll on. This is a lovely shoe that encourages you to run on your toes.
3. The Wide Toebox. I am a total convert to this. The 20km route I took included uphill road climbs and downhill descents and I just love the feeling of stability, especially downhill, from being able to spread my toes inside the shoe.
None of the bulk I mentioned from the first impression out of the box was noticeable on the run. It feelt light and nimble and the soft midfoot and rocker really made me feel I was eating the kms.
This shoe can actually take its position as the Olympus equivalent for the road.
This is the full Spring 2023 line up from ALTRA showing the position of each of the models with the VIA OLYMPUS on the top of the road tree for those long runs or just the runs when you want your feet and legs to spin along in total comfort.
CHECK OUT THE NEW VIA OLYMPUS HERE:
ALSO OUR FULL ALTRA COLLECTION HERE: https://gone.run/collections/altra