|Rating:||8.5 / 10|
|Comfort||1.8 / 2|
|Durability||1.6 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.7 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
Over the past year I have been testing and using the Altra Olympus 3.5 trail runners and I am a big fan. Altra like other manufactures are always on the lookout for improvements and we are now onto the Altra Olympus 4.0 which is the current model. As is always the case I struggle to find my size 15. Once you go above size 12 you are one of only about 2% of the male population so it took me a few months after release to source the right size.
So why choose the Olympus model and how good are the 4.0’s? The Altra Olympus 4.0 is still a zero drop shoe (your feet don’t slope from back to front) which Altra is well known for. I find that zero drop shoes tend to keep me more upright and I have never had any issue although some hikers do. Many people don’t like the zero drop feature and if you have an issue with Plantar Fasciitis then I wouldn’t recommend them.
As far as the cushioning is concerned the Olympus 4.0 like its predecessors have 33 mm of rubber underfoot so if you haven’t used such a cushioned shoe before, the thing you will notice the first time you wear them is you feel like you are bouncing when you walk because the rubber compresses and uncompresses as you walk. This means these shoes are very, very comfortable.
One general criticism of shoes with this amount of cushioning is that you potentially lose a bit of feel for the ground you are walking on. For me this isn’t an issue and I find that while there is plenty of protection you still have a good sense of the ground you are walking over.
Gripping power is where the Altra 4.0 has really lifted its game with the lugs (Trailclaws) on the sole of the shoes being much more aggressive and providing better grip all round. In addition Altra has put a deliberate split in the rear half of the shoe with the intent of improving flexibility and movement. Overall I enjoyed the new soles which has been one of the biggest changes to the Olympus range since the originals were released.
As far as the upper is concerned the Olympus 4.0 has a new colour range with the main men’s version available in Australia being black/white and blue/yellow. Other colours in the range including black/steel and red are available overseas.
The other main feature of Altra in general is the wide foot shaped toe box. One of the biggest issues I have in finding hiking shoes that suit me is finding a shoe without a narrow toe box and Altra is one of the few manufacturers that provide this. The Olympus 4.0 is slightly broader at the rear than the Olympus 3.5. If you have really skinny feet then this shoe isn’t for you. Having said that if you do much long distance hiking you will know that your feet can increase by a full size throughout the hike and in my case over the past few years I have permanently gone from a size 14 to a size 15 which has made shoe selection even harder.
The overall shoe weight is at around 20 grams lighter from its predecessor and in part this is due to slighter thinner cushioning in the rear sides of the shoe which has also been responsible for the slightly wider feel. One thing about the design of the shoes is the sheer width and cushioning combined with my size 15 requirements have presented issues on a trail that I recently walked where my feet didn’t fit the very narrow trail tread. My wife Gill who has used the female version in the size 9.5 women’s didn’t t have that issue.
Like other trail running models from Altra there is still a gaiter trap system which includes a small hook at the front of the shoe and a velcro closure at the back. To make this work you need to add velcro to your gaiters if you are using the purpose built Altra lycra gaiters which are aimed at keep sand and debris out of the shoes but lycra gaiters aren’t for snake proofing. I have tried heavy duty gaiters with this shoe and while the obvious models coped (just) with heavy gaiters, the more aggressive sole on these shoes isn’t really meant for the heavier grade strap that comes with a snake proof gaiters.
For me the one main negative is that even though the soles have beefed up, the sheer thickness does compress and lose support more quickly than many lesser cushioned shoes. Usually I do reviews of shoes after around 200km and update the review later on but in this case I have now used these shoes for just under 700km and like the Altra 3.5’s I will get around an 800km lifespan out of them. For many hikers that’s at least a year’s worth of use but given I do around 60km a week I’m up for 3-4 pairs a year.
My shoes are heading towards the end of their life but still look brand new but the midsole support is wearing which is a common issue with heavily cushioned shoes. I’ve tried other brands in the past that have lasted around 1000-12ookm but that’s the trade off for shoe that are so comfortable. From my perspective, the comfort these shoes provide outweighs the shorter lifespan. On longer hikes I will start with a brand new pair and if I’m doing really big (1000+km hikes) I will choose another option.
These shoes won’t suit everyone but for me they still remain one of my favourites and one of my two shoes choices for my hiking needs.
Yes. These shoes have now become one of my two go-to options for my hiking needs
You can purchase the Altra Olympus 4.0 Men’s Trail Running Shoe at Wildfire Sports
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If you have used the Altra Olympus 4.0 Men’s Trail Running Shoe or if you have questions, we’d like to hear from you. Post your comment or question below
Altra Olympus 4 Men’s Shoe
Altra Olympus 4 side view
Altra Olympus 4.0 heel and toe view
Gaiter hook at front of shoe Altra Olympus 4
Soles of Olympus 3.5 (bottom) versus 4.0 (top). The newer Altra 4.0’s are much more aggressive and grippier in all situations than the older 3.5 model and for that matter than any previous Olympus model
Close up of lugs of the sole of the Altra Olympus 4.0
Lugs on the sole of the Altra Olympus 4.0 after 700 km of use. The sole will last much longer however its the mid sole that looses cushioning and ultimately what will end the life of this shoe at around 800km of use
Altra Olympus 3.5 (left) versus Altra Olympus 4.0 (right) rear view showing gaiter traps
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker