Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Altra Superiors 2.0, 2016 model year - initial impressions and comparison

Apparently I missed that Altra was tweaking the Superior 2.0 for model year 2016 to fix the exact problem that plagued both of my original 2.0 pairs. 

Here's the update, per iRunFar.com: 
  • Altra has made an incremental upper update with height added to the toe box as well as a lengthening of the men's shoes by about a half size. The midfoot and forefoot uppers receive some internal reinforcement to lessen mesh blowouts.
The new versions, model 2.1(?) it could be called, hit my local running store today and I tried on a pair. Photo comparison below. Old are black/green, new is green/blue. 

My 2.0's are size 8.5, my 2.1's are 8.0. The new 8.5's were simply too long and my foot badly slid forward. The width at the balls of my feet was a little tight, but it's very similar to my New Balance MT10v3's that I now run in and have in their prior iterations. I imagine this will relax a bit as I run in them. 

The toe box is indeed slightly higher. This was an issue in version 2.0 with the reinforced toe protector on the upper pushing down and putting pressure on the toenails. 

The upper is indeed reinforced. The upper is stiffer throughout, but particularly in the forefoot. There is a large grid-like middle layer (shown in a pale blue in the upper, most noticeable around the heel) to the main parts of the upper, in what appears to be a three-layer construction. The padding around the heel appears to have lessened, something that was annoying and unnecessary in the 2.0s - it made it harder to tighten the shoe down to get a solid heel lock. 

The lacing is also different, as you can see the 2.0's have six eyelets, all in line with the tongue, where as the 2.1's have five eyelets adjacent to the tongue and one angled down and away (that one you never ever use but is useful when you need to lock your heel down). The laces are too short to effectively use the sixth eyelet on the 2.1's, so if you need those plan on getting some different laces. 

The shape of the heel appears to be narrower, and I am pleased on first impression of my ability to lock my heel in. 

The outsoles are the same, and appears to be the same material. If so, this shoe will be great on everything but hard, even ground and wet rocks. 

More later after I've put in some quality runs with them. 

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