Verdict from 13 experts and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The Altra King MT was able to provide a comfortable and relaxed feeling while traversing the trails, a runner commented.
  • The outsole gripped the terrain surely and easily, many testers observed.
  • Consumers were happy that stones and other trail-debris didn’t get lodged between the outsole lugs.
  • A majority of purchasers wrote that this running shoe was able to easily shed off the mud from the upper and the outsole.
  • The protective features that are present—such as the Stone Guard—gained positive feedback for being very useful against debris and other aggressive surfaces.
  • There were good remarks about the Foot Lock Midfoot Strap, because it apparently secured the mid-foot without causing any hot spots.
  • The King MT felt light, according to some testers.
  • Runners generally didn’t experience any blistering while using this running shoe.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The heel felt a bit sloppy, a consumer reported; according to her, it didn’t prevent any accidental shoe removals.
  • A few runners complained of mud accumulation between the outsole lugs.
  • One of the purchasers noted that the mid-foot strap was too long that it caused the shoe to look a bit strange.

Bottom line

Many neutral runners were able to enjoy the Altra King MT and its functionality on the trails. They welcomed its trail-optimized outsole and its protective components. They were also generally happy with its performance. And though there were a number of concerns with the way that it was constructed, it still satisfied most of those who have tried it.

Tip: see the best trail running shoes.

Our reviews

95
/100 by , posted on .

This trail model from Altra presents a usual zero drop at the American brand. If you do not come with such a minimalist shoe, you will need to increase the duration of training gradually and their intensity to accustom the dynamics of the foot and its components.

In fact, slight Achilles tendon pains can hinder the first strides as well as during excessive fatigue. Without further ado, let's discover this model that is off the beaten path with its unusual design!

 

Appearance

At first glance, this model is quite special. It looks like the first sneakers I put in the playground in primary school. A scratch (FootLock Strap)?

 

 

How to justify the presence of this scratch at the level of tarsal bones? Decoration or tip of foot maintenance? Note that another velcro, located at the back of the shoe, allows to hang a gaiter (GaiterTrap).

We will clarify these points further. Available in two colors (red or blue), it has a rather aggressive look that gives an impression of "all-terrain" shoe and robustness foolproof.

Fitting

Surprise! When you slide your foot inside, the feeling of maintaining the foot stops at the bones of the tarsus. The toe-box is very wide and allows the toes to breathe which is known for Altra.

 

 

The tongue is very discreet and the heel is in place. We feel the abrasive fabric that will maintain the heel in place in case the shoes remained fixed on the ground in the mud or other.

The tightening of the Velcro strap (FootLock Strap) is done very fluidly, and the performance is maintained that it is advisable not to overtighten.

Trial

From the first strides, there is a feeling that bothers me - the lack of support in the toe box. It is very wide, and the front of the foot slides at the discretion of the inclinations of the ground.

So I decide to squeeze a little stronger and continue my race. I notice that the lacing relaxes after 5 kilometers. However, the velcro is a great reinforcement at the side and keeps the foot in its axis, which is very significant.

On the flat, the shoes tend to "hit" the ground because of the strength and rigidity of the outsole Vibram® Megagrip which, once in rocky and muddy terrain, turns into a real motocross wheel. And that's the most spectacular thing about using this shoe - the grip!

The crampons are hyper-efficient, and the midsole prevents feeling the sharpest pebbles against the soles of the foot. The Only downside is the accumulation of mud in the same crampons does not necessarily prevent adhesion but considerably increased the shoe.

It will be mandatory to type feet out of muddy areas to find a lightness that certainly makes a lot in the quality of the product (295 grams). Last but not least, the toe cap is very robust and solid and create in this same material that is designed as climbing shoes. After a test of 4 long outings, he had not taken a single claw, and the apparent seam had not moved.

Tip

For better support, I doubled the lacing at the toe box, and it seemed much safer in terms of stability of the foot. I now realize exits of 30 kilometers without any worries, and I am ready to use them during a trail of 50 km with 2500 m D +.

 

 

As explained in the booklet, Altra provided in the box which is very well done and brings a reassuring scientific aspect. A transition must be done to avoid any injury if the user comes from a shoe with a larger drop.

The higher the drop, the longer the transition must be and progressive by performing short (week 1), medium (2-3 weeks) and finally longer (weeks 4-6) outings. Preparation for this kind of shoes seems to me, as a physical trainer, essential to better appreciate the use of it by working closely on the calves and stability of the ankle.

Positive

  • Vibram® Megagrip outsole as tough as it goes with Stone Guard Altra Ego reinforces overall foot support in the effort
  • The Velcro Foot Lock Midfoot Strap has a real need in support of the foot to reinforce the grip in the insole at the level of the toe box wide enough
  • A minimalist shoe that allows great responsiveness in racing formats ranging from short mud race to ultra-trails less than 100 km

Negative

  • The accumulation of mud in the outsole which weighs down the shoe but which in no way alters the overall grip of the shoe, regardless of the terrain
| Level 2 expert Verified
My name is Adrien and I am a physical trainer. My main area of activity is endurance sports such as running, triathlon, trail, and marathon. It is important for me to diversify in my work and to have a critical eye on the market of products related to sports equipment.

Good to know

  • Rough and rocky terrains are the specialty of the Altra King MT. This neutral shoe has been designed to perform well on surfaces that are irregular. Basically, the components that are present in this model are optimized to withstand contact with debris and potentially abrasive surfaces.
  • The midsole of this trail running shoe features a durable foam material that’s meant to withstand shock and contact with the uneven ground. It’s also responsive and springy. A layer of TPU is added inside the platform to act as a shield against the ground and debris.
  • An aggressive outsole is present in the Altra King MT. It protects the rest of the sole unit from wear and tear. It also delivers multi-surface traction. Gripping lugs act as hooks that hold onto any terrain. Such a design makes it easier for runners to handle upward and downward traversals.

The Altra brand has used standard measurements in the making of the King MT. Runners can get the size that they’re comfortable with. The available width for the men and women’s versions is medium. The Natural Foot Design of this shoe follows the actual shape of the human foot, thus providing a more ergonomic fit.


The Vibram® Megagrip is the material that’s used in the Altra King MT’s outsole unit. It is also present in the King MT 1.5. It’s durable, so it’s able to protect the rest of the sole unit from wear and tear. It also delivers traction.

Heightened traction is the responsibility of the aggressive gripping lugs that are all over the face of the outsole. These multidirectional lumps hold onto the surfaces like clamps. They especially make traversing slopes and rough terrains much easier.


The Altra Ego is a full-length foam unit that’s designed to cushion the foot responsibly while also delivering a springy ride. It’s durable, so it’s able to withstand the impact forces and the uneven surfaces of the trails.

The Stone Guard is a TPU layer that serves as a shield against rocks and other debris. It has grooves, so it’s flexible and obedient to the natural movements of the foot.

The typical shape of the human foot is mimicked by the Altra King MT, thanks to the Natural Foot Design. Even the platform has a zero drop, which further encourages the aim of delivering natural foot performance.

A 4mm Contour Foodbed provides additional cushioning to the foot. The curved design of this add-on delivers some comfort to the curves of the underfoot.


The main fabric of the upper unit is the Polyester Ripstop. It’s a durable material that aims to shield the foot from any debris on the trail.

TPU Overlays provide more structure to the upper unit. They are linked to the lacing system, so whenever the laces are tightened or loosened, they follow suit, thus giving a customizable fit.

The forefoot section of the Altra King MT has a stitched-on overlay. It serves as an additional protective measure against rocks and rough surfaces.

A Foot Lock Midfoot Strap is placed on top of the upper unit, right above the lacing system. It further adjusts the fit according to the preference of the wearer. A tighter fit means a more secure lockdown, while a looser fit means more space for the foot to relax and move naturally.

Author
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.

jens@runrepeat.com