Altra Olympus 4 Review Analysis (2021)
Last update: January 2022
The Altra Olympus 4 is a very good trail running shoe that’s ideal for long runs with its maximum cushioning and wide platform.
- Great comfort
- Maximalist and springy cushioning
- Comfortable upper with ample lockdown and spacious toe box
- Sturdy model
- Effective traction on intermediate level trails
- Still on the heavy side
- High price
- May be insufficient on very technical trails
- First, the Vibram MegaGrip is in the outsole of the Altra Olympus 4. It’s a sturdy, naturally sticky rubber designed specifically for trail running with a reputation for excellent grip. This system provides a perfect traction on rough trail trails, which leads to a safe ride even on treacherous descents.
- The midsole uses the A-Bound cushioning technology, a flexible foam made from recycled materials. It ensures good shock absorption on impact during trail running for optimal comfort. Also, this configuration should ensure optimal energy return for a responsive ride.
- Then there’s the Inner Flex technology which translates into a system of flex grooves whose purpose is to increase the flexibility of the sole. This way the shoe can follow the movement of the foot while running for more comfort. This configuration also helps reduce the weight of the shoe.
- Next, FOOTSHAPE is a platform that adapts to the anatomy of the foot, particularly to the metatarsals, to ensure a more natural run. Like the rest of the Altra range, the Olympus is zero drop, i.e. there is no offset between the heel and the toes.
- Finally, Balanced Cushioning adjusts the cushioning of the shoe for a more natural movement and a more efficient stride, according to Altra. This technology goes hand in hand with the brand’s zero drop approach.
- The upper of the Altra Olympus 4 features an engineered mesh. It pleasantly envelops the foot and increases airflow during training, especially when it’s warm outside.
- Besides, Premium Tongue is a padded tongue that locks-in the foot more comfortably.
- Finally, the gaiter attachment system makes it easy to add gaiters for even more advanced foot protection on the trails. Note that gaiters are usually sold separately.
|Heel stack height||33 mm|
|Forefoot stack height||33 mm|
|Features||Gaiter attachment point, Toe cap, Zero drop|
|Weight (men)||318 g/11.2 oz|
|Weight (women)||289 g/10.2 oz|
|Softness (1-5)||4 – Soft|
|Bounce (1-5)||4 – Bouncy|
|Midsole||A-Bound, Inner Flex, FOOTSHAPE, Balanced Cushioning|
|Upper||Engineered mesh, Premium Tongue, gaiter attachment system|
|Workout||Daily runs, recovery|
Reference: Altra’s official site
Comparisons – Altra Olympus 4 vs.:
Altra Olympus 3.5
The Olympus 4 marks a slight improvement in the series with more comfortable cushioning and slightly lighter build. The upper is also more breathable with the new open mesh texture. However, at $170 (base price), this new model is frankly not cheap. If you can find the 3.5 for much less, go for it!
Hoka Speedgoat 4
Both shoes have a maximalist (i.e., high stack height) sole, but the cushioning of the Speedgoat 4 is firmer. Also, the Hoka offers tighter foot lockdown and deeper lugs, which is reassuring on difficult trails. The choice of one or the other depends on your goals, however. If you have a race in mind, the SG4 seems more appropriate. If you are above all looking for comfort, the Olympus 4 is for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This trail shoe follows a standard sizing system. Athletes who have tried the shoe confirm that it fits without surprise. Therefore, you can choose your regular size for trail shoes. However, if this is your first Altra model, a visit to the store is advisable.
To our knowledge, only one scientific research study to date has investigated the relationship between weight, risk of injury, and stack height. According to the results of this study, shoes with skinny soles (minimalists) may increase the risk of injury for athletes who weigh more than 71 kilograms (157 pounds). The Olympus 4 offers a generous stack height with 33 mm and should, therefore, suit you regardless of your weight.
This Altra trail shoe is versatile enough to suit different types of training and distances. However, with its ample foot lockdown and medium lugs, it’s a shoe that can lack effectiveness on very technical terrains. For ultra-trail, it depends above all on your experience and preferences. If you have trained with this shoe throughout your preparation, then there is no reason not to choose it for your race.
This trail shoe does not feature Gore-Tex (or any other waterproof technology). However, without being 100% waterproof, the shoe effectively repels small amounts of water, such as fine rain and splashes, and dries quickly. This configuration has the advantage of increasing airflow during effort and being lighter. Also, its gaiter attachment system makes it easy to add gaiters for better protection of the foot against water and debris.
Kevin is the founder and editor of Runner’s Lab. He started running in 2015 and completed his first marathon in Rotterdam in 2016. He’s also worked for Under Armour from 2016 to 2018 and helped launch their running collection in Europe (in particular the HOVR shoes). In addition, Kevin is a 300-hour certified yoga teacher (Sivananda) and uses this experience to run more mindfully with a focus on well-being over performance.