Verdict from 7.1 hours of research from the internet

1903 users: 4.6 / 5
20 experts: 88 / 100

6 reasons to buy

  • Some consumers claimed that the upper unit had a stretchy and accommodating build which allowed the foot to relax while feeling secure.
  • The breathability of the upper was lauded, with people commenting that they didn’t feel stuffiness taking over their runs.
  • Several purchasers noted that they didn’t need to break-in the Altra Superior 4.0 as it felt comfortable and responsive from the start.
  • The underfoot platform was considered by testers to be bouncy and reactive to the natural movement of the foot.
  • People were happy that the Superior 4.0 had a lightweight construction. They didn’t feel their movements being tarnished.
  • Most runners considered this product to have accurate measurements for width and length.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some users feel that the sole unit is too thin and gives limited protection.
  • A couple of testers didn’t like that the shoelaces are a bit too long.

Bottom line

The Altra Superior 4.0 was able to capture the appreciation and trust of a majority of those who have tried it. This neutral running shoe had praised showered over it because of its secure yet breathable façade, the highly reactive midsole foam, and the true-to-size-and-width configuration. On the other hand, several trail runners expressed disappointment over some structural elements.

This product aims to cater to people who enjoy running on trails and experiencing enhanced steadiness on unpredictable ground. Its light and flexible build welcome the natural biomechanical capacities of the foot.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

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Video reviews

Our reviews

/100 by Rachela Lack, posted on .

I am new to trail running as this was my second trail distance. I choose a 50-miler in the "Desert," but it was more like the Antelope Canyon Ultra in Page, Arizona! This 50-mile course promised us 40 miles of sand, rock climbing, slot canyons, and slick rock. Plus the last loop of 10 miles of runnable trail. 

So how do you pick a shoe to perform? I always have that one call, or I read reviews. I choose the Altra Superior 4 straight out of the box. I know it is a risk but here is how the shoe performed.



   Insole    5mm contour footbed
   Toe box     FootShape™ with Fully-Cushioned Zero Drop Platform™
   Stack height    21 mm
   Outsole    MaxTrac™ Rubber with TrailClaw™
   Upper    Seamless wrap-around engineered knit
   Insole    6mm contour footbed with removable StoneGuard™
   Stack height    21mm
   Midsole    Quantic ™ with InnerFlex™
   Weight    6.6 oz/187 g

Test miles

I took these shoes on a test run for my first 50 milers. The terrain included sand, lots of sand. About 40 miles of it! Another terrain during this 50 miler was slick rock, slot canyons, and rock climbing.

I was very impressed with the grip these shoes had on the slick rock - I never slipped. The grip was almost like glue. I easily could run up them, down them, and climbing was confident. 



The sand was an issue. Who trains in the sand anyway? The shoe has built-in spots for Gaiters, which I wore. With both the shoe and the Gaiters I had almost little sand at the end.  

At no point did I feel I needed to stop to change socks or dump sand out, which a ton of people did this at Aid Stations.  

Fit, feel & the ride

This shoe fit loose in the toe box. Which I knew this brand is known for. However, I felt the rest of the shoe felt good and snug. It did not slip back and forth. I wear an 8 for most running shoes, and the pair I wore was an 8. 

It is a zero drop shoe, and my cadence is normally high, so I did not affect me too much. I tried these specifically to handle the sand. Having the zero drop helped with the sand. I really did not sink much, and turning over was less work and helped save energy.

When the trail switched to the slick rock, and the rock climbing, I felt the same confident ride. On close-knit ledges, I felt happy with the feel of the shoe.  It gave me the confidence of no slippage. I was able to switch easily to a slow and steady pace to a faster pace.



Regarding the weight, these shoes are light to the touch. Very flexible, and felt like they could mold to my feet and terrain. The shoe comes with a Stone Guard Insole, which prevents rocks and other debris from entering.


Toe box

The toe box is going to take some to get used to it. It is part of the brand, so it’s unique. I can handle the process, and like the feel and confidence, it gave me right out of the box. So I hope it will be a top favorite in my Trail Running adventures.


$110.00 - I was extremely pleased with this price. I believe these shoes will easily run for 300-400 miles.


This shoe performs. I also believe I will fall more in love with it with more miles, and various terrain. I will have to give it some time due to the zero drop, but I am used to shoe rotation, so it did not bother me as much.  

Also for the price point, I believe it is an affordable option if you are looking for a lightweight trail shoe that almost feels like you are barefoot. Trails can be unpredictable, and so far, I believe this shoe can handle a variation.

I would use this shoe on any terrain. I would use this shoe for probably max a 50 miler because you may want more cushion for a 100 miler.  

Rachela Lack | Level 3 expert Verified
My name is Rachela, 43. I have ran 23 Marathons in 20 different States. I run to stay healthy with an average of 40-45 miles a week.

  • The Superior 4.0 is footwear that’s designed for the trails. This product is also a part of the Altra line of running shoes. The façade is similar to its predecessor, the Superior 3.5, save for an upper that now features more stitch-reinforcements and a wraparound overlay that covers the sides and the heel. The now-popular seamless construction is still used for this shoe.
  • Altra Quantic™, a midsole foam, is used for this trail running shoe. This full-length piece is meant to provide impact mitigation and energized steps in a lightweight package. A foot-shaped platform works with midsole flex grooves to enable the natural movement capacity of the foot.
  • MaxTrac™ rubber is used for the outsole unit of the Altra Superior 4.0. This compound is long-lasting, and it has the necessary firmness that counters the harsh nature of the trails. The slanted TrailClaw™ lug configuration doles out traction over the irregular surfaces.

Standard measurements were used in the making of the Altra Superior 4.0. Runners can use their usual choices when it comes to size. Widthwise, the available options are D – Medium and B – Medium for men and women, respectively. The semi-curved and foot-shaped construction of the façade and the midsole are meant to welcome the outline and bending capability of the human foot.

The outsole unit of the Altra Superior 4.0 is composed of a rubber compound called MaxTrac™. This layer covers the entire midsole foam, protecting it from the abrasive nature of the outdoor terrains. It has a grippy character that allows it to naturally deliver traction. Many trail shoes from Altra utilize this technology, including the well-known Lone Peak 4.0.

Heightened surface adhesion is provided by the TrailClaw™, a set of extended gripping lugs that have a skewed construction. These protrusions act like claws that ensure surface stability and control, especially when handling upward and downward traversals.

The midsole unit of the Superior 4.0 is composed of the Altra Quantic™ foam, a full-length foam that’s designed to provide responsive underfoot performance and impact mitigation. It has a lightweight build that aims to free the foot from feeling encumbered.

The InnerFlex™ is a system of grooves in the midsole that encourages natural foot flexibility. Such a mechanism heightens the quality of the step.

Improved impact attenuation and anatomical equilibrium are afforded by the Zero Drop platform. This even heel-to-toe differential is also designed to enable the instinctive performance of the foot, accommodating slight biomechanical adjustments to accentuate speed and foot-to-ground steadiness.

A removable StoneGuard layer is placed above the primary cushioning system. It is responsible for protecting the foot from sharp trail debris and rough surfaces.

A wraparound textile is used for the upper unit of the Altra Superior 4.0. This material has a light and breathable construction that allows the runner to experience cool and dry coverage. It is also smooth and form-fitting, traits that embody a supposedly comfortable in-shoe feel.

Stitched-on overlays reinforce the sides and the heel. These add-ons don’t have a substantial thickness yet they serve the purpose of securing the foot and keeping it in place.

The forefoot has printed overlays that protect against surface impact and exposure to debris.

The padded tongue and collar of this trail shoe are meant to cushion the topmost portions of the foot. Moreover, they help in the prevention of in-shoe wobbling and accidental shoe removals.

The FootShape™ toe box is a spacious forefoot design that allows the toes to splay naturally when standing idly or when gearing towards the liftoff.

Size and fit

True to size based on 487 user votes
Small (5%)
True to size (83%)
Large (11%)
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Same sizing as Altra Superior 3.5.

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Forefoot fit
Narrow Wide
Heel fit
Narrow Wide
Tight Roomy

How Superior 4.0 compares

This shoe: 94
All shoes average: 85
59 99
This shoe: $110
All shoes average: $130
$60 $250
This shoe: 7.9oz
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.