Altra Olympus 2.5 is named after the mountain where the Greek God of the sky lives. Now, if you're looking for a zero-drop shoe with wide toe box, then no need to look elsewhere, Olympus 2.5 is the answer.
From the brand Altra, they created a zero-drop, foot-shaped toe box, and gender-specific. This helps runners to improve stability, strengthen the muscles of the feet, and helps the toes to splay which increases the power generated with each stride.
I am using Altra shoes for more than three years now. I started with the superior model which I normally use for shorter distances and then I also use the Lone peaks when I joined ultramarathon races.
I experience the transitioning process for a few weeks because I came from 8 mm drop shoes before. I felt pain on my calves and shin when running with zero-drop but I eventually became used to it.
That is why it is important to transition and to gradually increase your mileage when switching to new shoes, especially when it comes from a regular drop to zero-drop.
Looks & upper materials
Altra Olympus 2.5 is one of the latest shoes in the Olympus family. The looks are different from the previous model Olympus. 2.0 and in my point of view, 2.5 looks bulkier.
The upper mesh is improved which is more breathable and fast drying. I also noticed additional support on the side where the shoe bends during running. The gaiter also was improved, from 2 points gaiter trap to 4 points. This means the gaiters will be more secure compared to the previous model.
When it comes to its grip and outsole, I can say that Olympus 2.5 is the best. With its Megagrip outsole made by Vibram, you can expect very good traction whether running downhill or even uphills. No wasted energy going up because the grip is superb.
Weight & midsole
I can say that it is lighter than it looks but it's heavier than the previous version. The shoe weighs 326 grams for men’s (size 9 US) and 272 grams for women’s of the same shoe size.
Given that the shoe is maximalist, we can expect that this is heavier compared to other shoes. With its 36 mm heel and forefoot stack height, you can expect a very comfortable ride.
The midsole has A-bound material for shock absorption, and it has an insole for additional comfort as well. This shoe is perfect for ultramarathon or training for longer mileage.
To fully test the performance of Olympus 2.5, I used it during the TMBT 2018 in Malaysia for 50km which is the second half of the race. I haven't even break in the shoes yet for a run, but it performed well. The race is a combination of road, forest trail, rice fields, and river crossings.
With that kind of terrain, I can say that I really tested the shoes to its full potential. During the road part, the shoe is very responsive, and it feels like I am running in a road shoe.
The hard part is going uphill because the stack height is high, but going downhill feels like riding on a cloud without slipping at all. Thanks to its Megagrip and Vibram outsole.
The shoe also dried fast after I crossed the river. As a result, I finished the race without blisters, no injuries and I felt that my legs are not pounded very much after running 100km.
I think the shoe is a bit heavy and bulky. Also, the shoelace is slipping and gets untied easily especially when it gets wet. I have to retie it many times.
The Altra Olympus 2.5 is the perfect shoe for ultramarathon races and even your long slow distance days. The shoe can be considered as a road to trail shoe.
I have a total mileage of more than 200 km in Altra Olympus 2.5 before I wrote this review.
Good to know
- The Olympus 2.5 by Altra features a few minor updates. The most obvious one was made to its upper. Compared to its predecessor, the upper of the Olympus 2.5 is more reinforced, with a different mesh material that offers better durability. This type of mesh material doesn’t expand as much compared to the mesh material on the previous version of this shoe.
- The overall style has also been revamped to give the shoe a more contemporary feel in terms of design. There is still the expression of colors found on the overlays and on the midsole. However, the color accents have been slightly muted, so the design of the shoe feels more cohesive.
- Altra retained the maximum thickness of its sole unit to maintain the reputation of the Olympus series as Altra's most cushioned footwear. This level of cushioning still does the job of protecting the foot and when running on the trail.
The Olympus 2.5 comes in standard shoe sizes. Runners will be able to enjoy the shoe in their regular size preferences. Despite this, some retailers suggest purchasing half-a-size larger than usual to get the best fit.
In terms of width, runners will be able to get the shoe in standard width measurements. Males can avail of the shoe in D – Medium width, while females can get the shoe in B – Medium width.
The shoe has a very similar outsole material like the other Altra Olympus shoes. Like the Altra Olympus 3, the 2.5 version retains its durable lugged Vibram MegaGrip Outsole. This robust component is suitable for trail running and other outdoor activities that need a shoe that offers reliable traction on both dry and wet terrain. Durability is also a key feature of the outsole, as it is made up of a high-performance rubber compound.
The shape of the outsole is more foot-like. The tread pattern found on the upper portion of the outsole mimics the shape of the toes, while the lower portion’s tread pattern gives way to proper foot mechanics and natural movement.
The midsole is made up of a special blend of materials – first is the A-Bound technology and next is the dual-layer EVA. The environmentally friendly A-Bound was developed by recycling various materials, making the compound more resilient to wear and tear. This gives enough protection to the underfoot of the shoe. On the other hand, the dual EVA layer adds more cushioning to the shoe to deliver comfort and a more efficient ride to runners.
The midsole follows the natural foot-shaped scheme of the platform, enhancing the runner’s experience with every stride. This type of design works together with the rest of the elements of the shoe to enhance comfort and movement.
The upper sports an abrasion-resistant mesh with minimal seams. Despite the upper material being anti-wear and tear, it still maintains its breathability, allowing air to pass through the tiny holes in the mesh. This reduces hot spots and makes the inside of the shoe cooler during runs.
Various overlays found on the lateral sides of the shoe, the toe tip, and the heel help retain the shoe’s shape, giving the shoe some lightweight support and protection. The overlay on the toe tip protects this part of the shoe from tearing as this is one area which is prone to abrasion when running on the trail.
Altra made sure the trail running gaiters incorporate seamlessly into the shoe’s system. To make this happen, the 4-Point Gaiter Trap Technology was introduced. This design is basically a set of add-ons – the Velcro strap on the heel, the loop at the base of the lacing system, and the two laces that show up on the collar portion of the shoe. They allow trail running gaiters to be securely fastened.