I have some very specific needs when it comes to shoes. Cost and durability are high on the list. As a parent and a husband, I am well aware what $110.00 can buy. $110.00 is a trip to the grocery store, a really amazing sushi dinner with my wife, or the cost of my son and daughter’s back to school clothes. If I am going to spend that kind of money, I need to make sure that my shoes are going to last. I don’t have the resources to replace my shoes on a monthly basis when I’m looking out for my family.
Aside from that, my shoes need to be comfortable. I am a middle aged, six foot tall, 190 pound man. My parts aren’t as responsive as they once were and require support. Running distance caught up to me and introduced me to the wonderful world of plantar fasciitis several years back. If you wonder what it feels like, just imagine that someone is putting a cigar out on your arch. I need to make sure that whatever I put on my feet isn’t going to make my situation worse.
Since I cannot make a costly mistake on a pair of shoes that fail to meet my needs, I went to REI because has a tremendous return policy for CO-OP members. On this particular outing, I couldn’t find one of my loyal old brands so I gambled on a pair of Altra Superior 3.5s.
After making my purchase and doing a little research, I found out that Altra offers their own 30 day no risk guarantee.
As I write this review, I have put over 200 miles on this particular pair of shoes. I have been averaging close to six miles a day, both hiking and running, on three different trails: Santiago Oaks, Oak Canyon, and the Hacienda Hills. These trails are all in Southern California and while they are developed, they are demanding. The ground is dry. At its best, it is hard packed. However, when climbing, it has a tendency become stony and slippery. At some of the worst spots, the ground has completely quit and turned to sand. One thing that really impressed me about the Altra Superiors is that they have to be one of the more sure footed shoes that I have worn. I can probably count the number of times I have slipped on one hand. No matter how much the dirt on the trail wants to quit, the Altras find a way to stay put.
While they certainly perform, I don’t feel like I am wearing space boots when I move around in them. They offer protection for the rocks and stones, but I could always feel the trail. Even after the miles I have logged in them, I haven’t had any issues with my plantar fasciitis coming back and haunting me.
After over two hundred miles, they have really held up well. I should note that these shoes have been worn almost exclusively on the trail with a minimal amount of contact with asphalt. With that being said, the bottoms of the shoes are just beginning to show some. They are just starting to lose a few threads around the front, but nothing that causes any concern.
Altra seems to have made an incredibly durable pair of shoes for the money. I intend to push my Superiors for all that they are worth and get as many miles out of them as I can. However, once they earn their retirement, this is a brand that I plan on returning to.