The ALTRA Olympus 4.0 .... The Ultimate Cruiser?, we give it a test.
Posted on July 01 2020
ALTRA's Olympus has always been positioned in the ALTRA line up as the long distance cruiser. The shoe you would choose for the 50km+ expeditions where comfort and protection take precedence of speed and agility.
FW20 sees the launch of the Olympus 4.0, the latest update of this chunky chappie. We wanted to get an idea how it had changed and how this model. which is so popular in Hong Kong had evolved. Having now but around 40kms into the shoe, admittedly not a lot, but enough to get the feeling of how this baby rolls.
Out of the box of course its a big shoe of course but that is now surprise but what is impressive is the look. ALTRA, or rather VF who now owns them, are investing a lot in improving the looks of the ALTRA range. I love the functionality of the the shoes but sometimes the look has taken a bit of getting used too. The new Olympus 4 changes that. This is a great looking shoe. Especially the ladies version
The bulky, boxy feel of the shoe has gone and what you have is something you could really wear to the coffee shop or the bar.
But functionality is critical and we wanted to see how it feels on the trail. Fortunately we had days where it rained and consequently a much better testing environment.
It weighs in at 311g for the men's size US 9. This is 10 grams lighter than the 3.5 and compares favourably with the HOKA Speedgoat (306g) and the Salomon Speedcross (320g) which you could consider as comparable.
The specific HK conditions of slimy green concrete, forward facing steps, greasy rocks always challenge the grip of any shoe but the Vibram Megagrip on the shoe bodes well.
Of course its a zero drop shoe with a wide toe box as you would expect from ALTRA but the whole heel construction has been redesigned to give you a completely encased feeling.
You can really see that the bulk of the heel construction has been lowered and widened which gives a super solid platform for the heel. Its still sitting on top of 33 mm of stack height all the way along the shoe but the construction wraps up and around your heel for a really locked in feel.
So out on the trail what I really liked was the way the outsole wrapped around whatever you placed your foot on. This is a conscious design element of ALTRA shoes. Each of the independently moving outsole elements have been designed for much more flexibility and you can really feel that working. What I really liked was that while you have 33 mm of stack under you, in the forefoot there was still a remarkable amount of feel for the ground. The wide heel plants your foot solidly, the vibram megagrip grips tighter than a scotsman holds his wallet and what you get is a really fabulous feeling of security.
In the 3.5, i always felt that the toe area was bulky, probably caused by a couple of trips I had, but in the 4.0 it seemed to be much less so. I couldn't find any measurements that were much different but it did seem much more precise.
The one criticism I would have and this is a Hong Kong specific gripe. On the 4, ALTRA have introduced this tail flap which is probably fine for open sandy trails in Utah but this on the steps of Hong Kong is not great. I would recommend cutting this off to prevent it catching the step behind where you place your foot.
Overall though the kms I have put into these shoes have been sublime. This is an awesome shoe and if you are banging out 100kms the feeling of security and
grip and feel will be something you really appreciate. Nice roomy toebox of course, but with your instep held securely so no slipping forward or from side to side.
A significant improvement......definitely in styling but also in functionality... you can check it out here....