|Rating:||8.6 / 10|
|Comfort||1.8 / 2|
|Durability||1.7 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.8 / 2|
|Weight||1.7 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
This is the third version of the Altra Olympus shoe I have worn with the previous two versions being the Olympus 3.5, and Olympus 4. Altra like other footwear manufacturers is always on the lookout for improvements but sometimes these changes don’t add much or are just cosmetic.
In moving from the Altra Olympus 4 to the Olympus 5 cosmetically the changes have been minimal. There is now a larger range of colours which I greatly appreciate, and the heel grip on the shoe has been dramatically beefed up although on the previous version this feature was never a problem. In addition the velcro gaiter trap at the rear of the shoe has been reduced in size but still manages to hold the lycra gaiter quite firmly. The sole of this newest version is very similar to the previous Olympus 4 with some slightly more aggressive patterning to improve the overall grip.
The biggest change on the Olympus 5 is in the rubber compound used in the sole construction. The criticism of the older models was that this material tended to lose its cushioning properties far too early and I’d agree with that. The end result was a loss of support in the mid-foot and this is what shortened the life of the shoe.
On the older models the first thing you noticed when you put them on was that you had a definite bounce in your step. When I put on the Olympus 5 the first thing I noticed was that the rubber compound is much firmer and while the cushioning is still there it doesn’t bounce anymore. This more solid cushioning has also provided a much more durable shoe and with it the mid-foot, even after 300km of use in a variety of conditions, is showing no signs losing support. Still on the footing, the grip on this shoe still works just as well as the previous model. One of the trails I use to test out shoes the 1:4 gradient becomes slippery in the wet as well as in powdery dry conditions but it held up well. The shoe upper still performs well and is just as comfortable as the previous models.
The Altra Olympus 5.0 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.
In the past, I have struggled to find my US size 15 but Altra in the USA this model has prioritised larger sizes in the past 15 months by releasing a GTX (waterproof version). There’s also a mid boot GTX version which is starting to make inroads against the dominant Altra Lone Peak model. The Australian importer of Altra has also increased the availability of the bigger sizes and not only can I now find my size, I actually have a choice of colours, ranging from the conservative to the bright and lairy.
One negative with this shoe is that it is designed to spread the load of the user. While most ultra shoes have good deep cushioning, the sole of the shoe is essentially vertical. In the case of the Olympus, the sole fans out from the base almost a bit like a pyramid. As someone who wears US size 15’s, I sometimes struggle on extremely narrow single tracks but this is an issue I have with almost any brand of shoe; it’s just worse with the Olympus.
One general criticism of this model 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 I still have a good sense of the ground. All the changes with this version of the Olympus add around 40 grams to the previous version.
From my perspective the Olympus 5 is the best version yet in the Altra Olympus and continues to be my go-to shoe for the majority of my hikes.
Yes. The Altra Olympus remains my main option for hiking at the time of this review and are readily available in the larger sizes
You can purchase the Altra Olympus 5.0 Men’s Trail Running Shoe at Wildfire Sports
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AUD $309.90 AUD
Altra Olympus 5 Men’s Shoe – Grey/Teal colour
Altra Olympus 5 heel and toe view
Altra Olympus 5 sole view
Olympus 4 (top) versus Olympus 5 (bottom) sole view. Both shoes are very similar but the newer Olympus 5 sole is marginally more aggressively grippy
Altra Olympus 5 (left) versus Altra Olympus 4 (right). The newer heel pull on Olympus 5 is much larger and the velcro gaiter trap is slightly smaller but still does the job well
Altra Olympus 5 – Orange colour
Altra Olympus 5 – Tan colour
Altra Olympus 5 – Navy colour
Altra Olympus 5 – Brown colour
Olympus 5 – Black/Grey colour
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker