Altra Olympus 5 Review (2023): Ideal Zero Drop Pick for Trail?
Published on: 14/02/2023
Good trail shoe offering great comfort for long runs but a bit heavy and not grippy enough for technical terrains.
Don’t have time to read the full review? Here’s what you need to know.
The Altra Olympus 5 is a slightly revised version of the previous model: the outsole and midsole have only been somewhat updated; the real change is in the upper. It’s been reworked to provide more comfort and lockdown. However, this also means the shoe is heavier.
The 33 mm stack height makes the Olympus 5 one of the most cushioned Altra shoes. The underfoot feel includes some stiffness, but the comfortable cushioning amply makes up for it.
Also, the Vibram MegaGrip outsole gives this Altra shoe excellent durability. However, the Altra Olympus 5 was designed for moderately technical trails. Its 4 mm lugs don’t provide the necessary grip in mud or snow.
Overall, the Altra Olympus 5 is ideal for long-distance runners looking for comfy zero-drop trail shoes.
Please look at our full review of the Altra Olympus 5 for more information.
- Very good balance between comfort and stability
- Large toe box
- Reworked upper for better lockdown and comfort
- Perfect to run longer miles
- Heavy shoes
- Limited in difficult conditions like mud
Altra Olympus 5 Complete Review Analysis
After the Altra Olympus 4, which was particularly popular for its cushioning, protection, and durability, the Olympus 5 offers more stability. It achieves this, especially through a reworked upper. Also, its 33mm stack ranks it among the max cushion shoes of the brand.
With its comfortable cushioning and protective desigb, the Altra Olympus 5 are very good shoes for long runs in fundamental endurance.
Grip and durability
The outsole of the Olympus 5 is made with the same technology as the previous version: Vibram MegaGrip. This sticky rubber offers a good balance between grip and durability. The 4mm lugs make it the perfect partner for moderately technical terrain. However, it doesn’t provide enough traction in slippery mud or snowy slopes.
However, the Vibram MegaGrip has the advantage of being particularly resistant to wear. It’s an important highlight for runners who run (very) long miles as part of their training.
At 33 mm, the Altra Olympus 5 is erring on the max cushion side of cushioning. Of course, it still has a zero drop platform, the core feature that Altra has built its identity on by promising a natural position for runner’s feet. Overall, this Compression Molded EVA midsole, while not having a rock plate, offers enough cushioning and comfort to protect your foot, even on rocky terrain.
Testers appreciated the extra comfort on their long runs. Also, they felt the flared heel shape secured their better inside the shoes, especially on downhill runs. However, it lacked responsiveness compared to the Timp 4.
With these few subtle changes from the Olympus 4, the Olympus 5 offers the highest cushioning and protection for longer runs. However, testers regretted the use of standard EVA foam instead of EgoMax considering the premium price of the Altra Olympus 5.
Foot lockdown (upper)
The slipper-like feel of the cushioning is enhanced by a softer, more flexible upper than on the Olympus 4. Plus, the Olympus 5 is deep enough to easily add orthotics. The heel counter also presses higher on the Achilles tendon, improving foot lockdown and comfort.
Finally, the Olympus 5’s upper is more padded than other models in the series. Using durable engineered mesh, the upper is incredibly sturdy and effortlessly withstands the shocks and abrasion on the trails.
The Altra Olympus 5 keeps the same wide and rounded shape for its toe box as the previous version. This is the Original Fit, the widest shape offered by Altra, suitable for high-volume feet. We also find the usual gaiter attachment points for runners looking for more protection.
However, it’s important to note that the few upper changes, while providing more comfort, increase the Olympus 5 from 329 g/11.6 oz to 350 g/12.3 oz for the men’s model (from 272 g/9.6 oz to 295 g/10.4 oz for women’s). This makes it a relatively heavy pair. Comfortable but heavy.
The reviewers particularly appreciated the comfort of the Altra Olympus 5. Especially on long distances. Some testers even pushed it on ultramarathons and it easily passed the test!
The sole of this trail running shoe is particularly thick and quite stiff. But this stiffness does not lead to responsive cushioning on this pair. However, it translates into a protective and comfortable cushioning, ideal for long distances.
One of the weak points of the Olympus 5 is the lacing. The laces are too short, which prevents them from being tied properly. You will have to think about changing the crossing system or the laces to tie them properly.
The Altra Olympus 5 is a trail running shoe designed for moderately technical trails. Runners who like speed or particularly technical trails will be disappointed. However, its comfort and robustness make it a good pick for long trail runs. Last but not least, it’s important to remember that transitioning to zero drop shoes should be done gradually to prevent any risk of injury.
|Heel height||33 mm|
|Forefoot height||33 mm|
|Weight (men)||350 g/12.3 oz|
|Weight (women)||295 g/10.4 oz|
|Midsole||EVA, Balanced Cushioning|
|Upper||Durable Engineered Mesh, FootShape Toe Box|
|Distance||Mid, Long, Ultramarathon|
Comparisons – Altra Olympus 5 vs.:
Altra Olympus 4
As usual, Altra has implemented only minor updates between the Olympus 4 and Olympus 5. The outsole and midsole are almost identical. Only the upper has been slightly modified to provide more comfort and lockdown.