A picture of Altra s Superior 3.5 in black and red

Altra Superior 3.5 Review



Trail running is a great way to keep your run interesting, but it also comes with more challenges than road running. Running comfortably and safely on a trail requires shoes with great traction and extra protections. With a variety of trail specific features, Altra’s Superior 3.5 is a great shoe for your next off-road run.

Zero Drop Technology

Altra makes a great running shoe, and the Superior is no exception. Altra is very well known for their zero heel drop shoes. A zero drop shoe is designed to have no drop from the heel to the toe, leaving your foot in a more natural position. This style of shoe has many benefits, including improving foot flexibility and posture. Some people may experience an awkward, sometimes achy, transition from a more traditional shoe to a zero drop style. However, once adjusted, runners report far less pain in their feet, legs, and back.

Altra is also well known for their wider toe boxes. Many shoes boast a wide toe box, but are often found to be more narrow than described. Altra’s toe box is truly designed with your foot in mind. Your toes are given the room they need to naturally spread out, improving stability and minimizing the occurrence of blisters or plantar fasciitis. A wider toe box is also great for runners who experience toe swelling. If you are planning a longer trail run, the Superior 3.5 will keep your feet feeling comfortable for many miles.

Designed for Off-Road

Altra has engineered many unique technologies specific to trail running, and they are all found in the Superior 3.5. This model features a StoneGuard rock protection layer, adding extra protection for your feet. Trails can be hazardous, and this layer will keep your feet cushioned against sharp rocks and debris. Some customers did report the shoe feeling a little stiff with this rock plate, but it is easy to remove if you need more flexibility.

The Superior 3.5 also features a Trail Claw outsole, a small lateral flare for extra stability. The outsole, coupled with the extra stability from the shoe’s zero drop design, will help you maintain your footing on uneven terrain.

Altra’s GaiterTrap technology is another great trail specific feature of the Superior. The Superior offers a great fit already, but with a Trail Gaiter accessory, your shoe is guaranteed to keep out rocks, dirt, snow, or mud. With four points of contact, no trail debris will make it into your shoe, ensuring a more comfortable run.

Comfortable and Durable

The Altra Superior 3.5 was designed with comfort in mind. Offering Altra’s Inner Flex midsole, the Superior has a lightweight feel while maintaining the cushion you need for longer runs. The Inner Flex midsole is also flexible, working well with the zero drop design to allow your foot full freedom of movement. If you love the mechanics of a minimalist shoe, but you want a more cushioned ride, Altra is the brand for you.

The Superior’s upper has been redesigned to be more durable. Made with Quick-dry air mesh, the upper is lightweight and strong, with great breathability. These shoes will perform great on your local trails, whether rain or shine, letting you enjoy the beauty of nature with zero discomfort.

Style and Fit

The Altra Superior 3.5 is a great looking shoe, though some runners may be disappointed in the color options available. Men can choose between black with red or black with white. Women have a few more colorful choices: pink, blue, or gray with purple.

Though the color options are limited, the fit of the Superior is excellent. Women will appreciate Altra’s Fit4Her technology. Fit4Her guarantees that the shoe was made with a woman’s anatomy in mind, ensuring a great fit.

It is important to keep in mind that Altra’s shoes are not designed for someone with wider feet. Though the Altra toe box is wider than most running shoes, the rest of the shoe narrows for a snug fit. If you typically buy shoes in a wide size, it is best to look at another brand.

The Altra Superior 3.5 is an amazing trail shoe. Whether trail running, hiking, or backpacking, this shoe provides all the tech, speed and comfort you will need to reach the top.


Zero drop
Inner Flex midsole
Wide toe box
Removable StoneGuard protective layer
Trail Claw outsole for greater stability
Breathable yet durable upper


Not a good option for wider feet
Few color options
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