Verdict from 9 experts and +100 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Weight: Most users admire the lightweight construction of the Altra Superior 4.5.
  • Flexibility: Many runners are satisfied with how flexible the shoe is. 
  • Ground contact: Those who prefer minimal cushioning appreciate the Superior 4.5 because it gives them a good feel of the trail.
  • Cushioning: Some testers say that they like the shoe's soft underfoot feel. 
  • Lacing: A few users notice the laces to be significantly shorter than the previous model, which allows them to lace up the shoe easily.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Forefoot fit: Most users find the forefoot too tight and too narrow that some said even sizing up won't solve the problem.
  • Traction: Some trail runners were disappointed because the Superior 4.5 is not grippy enough on wet, crumbly surfaces.
  • Durability: A few mention that the outsole and upper show significant wear after several miles.
  • Heel Fit: Those who tried the shoe mention that they experienced heel slipping and rubbing that cause blisters and discomfort.

Bottom line

With a structure and look almost identical to its predecessor, the Altra Superior 4.5 features minimal changes in its overall design. It still delivers the flexibility, soft cushioning, and good ground feel of the older Superior but medium and wide-footed runners can expect a tight fit in the forefoot section.  

Designed for light and hardpacked trail, the shoe does not offer too much grip on wet and soft surfaces. Those who value durability may want to consider other trail running shoes from brands like Salomon and Merrell

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Video reviews

Altra Superior 4.5: Extremely flexible with great ground feel

The Superior 4.5 is one of the lightest and flexible trail shoes from Altra. The 21mm stack height does not offer too much underfoot protection but the Quantic midsole offers great flexibility and appealing ground contact.

What is it for? The Altra Superior 4.5 is best suited for less technical terrain. Because of the fewer and smaller lugs with 2-3mm deep, the shoe may lack the needed grip on any soft, rocky off-train trail

Dont buy if: This shoe is not for you if you need a well-protected ride. For more protection on the trail, consider other Altra running shoes like the Timp and Lone Peak

Superior 4.5 vs 4.0: Not much has changed

Though the Altra Superior 4.5 is approximately 28g heavier than its predecessor, the old Superior look and feel is still there. Only minor changes were made to the shoe, particularly in its upper. It still uses the seamless wrap-around engineered knit material but it is modified a bit for breathable and durable coverage. It also comes with significantly shorter laces that make it easier to lace up.

The midsole and outsole continue to use the same materials and technologies that were used in the previous version. Runners who love the Superior 4.0 will surely appreciate the unchanged feel and design of the newest version. 

Features of the Superior 4.5

  • Soft, flexible midsole - The midsole, which is equipped with the Quantic technology, delivers a plush underfoot feel and the InnerFlex grooves encourage the foot to flex naturally in every step. 
  • Durable, grippy outsole - The outsole is equipped with the MaxTrac rubber compound that delivers traction and durability for light trail surfaces. The TrailClaw lugs offer grip and stability, especially on uphill and downhill traversals.

How Superior 4.5 compares

This shoe: 89
All shoes average: 82
55 94
This shoe: $110
All shoes average: $130
$60 $250
This shoe: 8.9oz
All shoes average: 10.4oz
5oz 24oz
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.