A Breakdown of The Altra Superior 4 Shoe

I have been reviewing lots of Altra shoes lately because the brand is interesting and they always know how to create a great shoe that performs.

ALTRA Men's Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe

The Altra Superior 4 is another shoe I want to talk about today and see what they have to offer.

There are lots of things that make it stand out, but I would like to do all necessary research before coming to my own conclusion.

Without further ado, lets get right into this review.

Altra Superior 4 Review

Product name: Altra Superior 4

Type of Shoe: Trail Running

Best for: Hiking, walking and running trails

Bad for: Road running, pavement running, cross country

Price: $80 – $120

My Rating: 4.22/5

The Altra Superior 4 has outstanding traction, speed and trail running abilities. It can also be used for walking trails and hiking. It is specially designed for minimalism so it lacks cushioning, however, it is still comfortable and allows the runner to properly respond to rocks and debris. In my opinion, it’s high value for money and a great trail running shoe.

What is Altra Superior 4?

The Altra Superior 4 is an upgrade of the previous Superior shoe and makes it lighter and faster.

It’s made strictly for trail running and weighs a mere 7.9 ounces.

The upper features a wrap-around design for extra security and support, and the midsole consists of Altra’s Quantic foam for comfort.

The outsole is made from a high-abrasion MaxTrac rubber which promotes lockdown and lots of traction on different terrain.

The rounded heel and lug pattern ensures speed and ease as you run up and down hills.

The TrailClaw feature promotes traction at toe off and the GaiterTrap stops debris, rock, and dirt from building up underneath the shoe.

Other features include: Natural Ride System, ZeroDrop, FootShape.

The Claims

ALTRA Men's Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe 2

The claims of this shoe aren’t overly outrageous but I know brands that exaggerate the capability of their shoes.

I want to find out whether some of the claims they make are legit or an exaggeration.

The claims are:

  • Security and Support
  • Speed and Stability
  • Traction

Since this shoe is made strictly for running on trails and rough terrain, it needs many things normal road running shoes don’t have.

If you use a road running shoe on rough terrain, you will slip in the first 60 seconds and probably cause an injury.

That’s why I’m here to see if this trail running shoe is up to the challenge or if it’s going to flop under the first ounce of pressure.

Does it Have Security and Support?

The Altra Superior 4 has extended laces which looks like a manufacturing fault from the get-go.

However, the extra long laces allow the wearer to create a “heel lock” when tying their shoes.

The “heel lock” lacing system locks the foot in place to stop the heel, ankle and foot moving during rides.

As for arch support, there is certainly enough support for neutral and high arch.

The shoe actually comes with stone guard inserts which is good to use for people with high arches.

Others also use their own arch inserts and find them extremely comfortable.

So yes, these shoes offer lots of security and lockdown during intense walking/running sessions, and there is support for neutral and high arch feet.

What’s the Speed and Stability Like?

The manufacturers claim that it’s built for speed and stability.

I set out to find whether or not these claims are true.

The good news is that they are extremely lightweight and have the ZeroDrop technology implemented into them.

The ZeroDrop system keeps the heel and forefoot at the same distance to the ground which actually keeps runners striking properly off of their heels.

A lightweight shoe combined with ZeroDrop technology allows for an extremely fast shoe.

Users seem to love how fast it is for both uphill and downhill, and even flat surfaces.

So the claims of this shoe being fast is 100% correct.

The stability is also up there.

People love it because it offers stability all around and keeps runners upright when they run on rocks and debris.

Does it Have Good Traction?

Oh man, where do I start.

The traction is incredible as people have mentioned over and over again.

It really is made for the trail as the strategically designed rubber outsole ensures debris doesn’t get stuck in the traction.

People have commented that they don’t even slip on loose rocks.

Also it’s highly-abrasive thanks to the MaxTrac rubber outsole, which is bound to last a long time and increase durability.

So yes, the traction is up there as it can stick to some of earths roughest terrain.

Important Notes

  • The shoe is comfortable but firm enough to respond to rocks, roots and ridges
  • The toe box is wide and very comfortable, but not overly too big
  • The extra shoe lace length is for tying a “heel lock” knot rather than traditional
  • It’s a minimalist shoe, so design is subpar but features make up for it
  • It is very lightweight and fast
  • Running uphill and downhill is a breeze

Does the Altra Superior 4 Work as Designed to?

I think this is the only shoe I have reviewed that performs EXACTLY as it says.

It’s made for minimalism, lightweight, comfort, and has lots of traction and support.

What more could you ask for in a trail running shoe?

The features are strategically put together to make the shoe perform at peak performance every time, and everyone that buys it loves their purchase.

It’s designed for running trails and performs flawlessly in that field.

But others also use it for hiking because of the traction and comfort.

The Price & Where to Buy

The price of this shoe is around $80 – $120, but changes often.

The best price I could find was on Amazon.com.

The sizes range from size 7 to 15 and come in men and women sizes.

I like Amazon for their 30-day return policy, fast shipping and free deliveries, and it’s my recommended place of purchase.

Check the Price & Availability on Amazon

Pros & Cons


  • Extremely comfortable
  • High traction abilities
  • High value for money
  • Lightweight
  • Wide toe box but still comfortable for normal feet
  • Lots of security and support
  • Running uphill and downhill is a breeze
  • Speed and agility


  • Laces are long (which is a con for those that don’t know it’s for the heel lock)
  • A lack of cushioning

The Altra Superior 4 Alternative

Altra Lone Peak 4.0 Running Shoe

If you’re worried about the Altra Superior 4 not having enough cushioning or that the lacing is going to be too much of a big deal for you, there’s another trail running shoe from Altra that I would like to show you.

It’s called the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 and performs well for people with low arch, medium and high arch.

They are also lightweight and have good traction. They’re a little more expensive as they’re stronger and last longer.

So if you’re worried about durability in the Superior, the Lone Peak cost more but will last longer, and also has shorter laces.

They also have more cushioning which is a huge deal for some people that don’t want to feel the rocks and debris under their foot as they run.

Final Verdict

So here’s my conclusion.

The Altra Supeior 4 is absolutely amazing.

There are few cons and the pros far outweigh them.

The extra long laces are made for a secure fit by using the heel lock procedure, however, that is not stated anywhere on the box or instructions.

So those that don’t know about this thinks they are way too long and end up giving the shoe 1-star ratings.

This literally has nothing to do with the performance of the shoe.

Also they are a minimalist shoe so the cushioning is not going to be perfect.

They are made to feel like nothings on the foot and it does that incredibly well. Those that read the description would know that before buying.

So that is the buyers fault, not the seller.

Other than those 2 things I wanted to get off my chest, I think the Altra Superior 4 is a great trail running shoe and well worth it.

There is little-to-nothing wrong with it, and for the price, you can’t go wrong.

Well that concludes my review.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day!

Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


Check it Out On Amazon

10 thoughts on “A Breakdown of The Altra Superior 4 Shoe”

  1. Thanks again for a typically thorough review of what looks to be a really great product. What would you say are the competitors for this shoe at this price point? I am really convinced by the features that you have described and it does look like really good value for what it it is but I always like to do 1 or 2 comparisons to be sure before I leap.

    Can you recommenced what else I might look at.


    • A good comparison is the alternative Lone Peak 4.0 which I mentioned in the article. That’s a good competitor but both have their differences.

      I recommend you check out the Lone Peak before making your final decision.


  2. Looking for another shoe for tracking and this seems like a really good recommendation, and the traction is definitely a plus point for me since people mentioned it over and over! It’s definitely worth it for the price and definitely within my budget for such a shoe. Quick question though, Is it also ok to use this for regular day to day jogging on grounds like pavement?

    • Absolutely not.

      The traction is not made for roads and pavements, so it’s only going to destroy the bottoms of the shoe incredibly fast and also pose a slipping hazard.

      Hope this answers your question, Terence.

  3. Hey thanks for the detailed review. I like a lightweight shoe that I don’t notice I am wearing (if that is possible). This is definitely making my shortlist of shoes for walking/hiking. In Australia, we stayed at a place called Halls Gap, Grampians National Park. These shoes would be perfect for hiking the mountains there (more like hills, but felt like mountains to me). Thanks

    • Of course that’s possible. There are lots of shoes that feel like there’s nothing there and the Superior 4 is that shoe.

      If you do decide to purchase, let us know how it goes 🙂

  4. The Altra shoes look very nice, they have a pretty design, and the price is good too. I had never heard of a “heel lock”, so that was interesting to learn 😉 I will keep it in mind from now on. Since I live in the middle of nowhere and the terrain is rough, good traction in shoes is important to me, and I can see that the Altra shoes do have that, so that’s definitely a plus point. I am going to need new shoes soon, so I will get some asap.

  5. I have been a fan of the Altra superior shoes. I basically have the altra superior 3 shoe, I must confess it’s really nice and durable. I so much love the light weight construction of the shoe, making it ideal for racing. I think the Altra superior 4 will be more amazing and I’m surely going to get this upgraded Altra superior shoe. Thanks for sharing this article with us.


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