Shoe Review: Altra Via Olympus
The Altra Via Olympus was created with one goal in mind: bring the luxurious cushioning of the Altra Olympus trail shoe onto the roads.
Thanks to a thick stack of Altra’s signature EGO Max midsole material, a durable foam compound, the Altra Via Olympus delivers a smooth, firm ride. A roomy fit topped off with an engineered mesh upper completes the max-cushioned experience.
Fleet Feet reviewers tested the Altra Via Olympus on long runs, recovery walks and easy-paced miles. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest from Altra.
Altra Via Olympus
8.9 oz (W), 11 oz (M)
Neutral, max cushion
Altra Via Olympus’ Thick Midsole Delivers a Firm Ride
Altra shoes are known for their balanced cushioning platform, which means the shoe has a zero millimeter heel-to-toe drop. A shoe’s heel-to-toe drop is the difference in height between your heel and toes. If a shoe has a heel-to-toe drop of zero, that means your heel and toes are sitting at the same height, as is the case with the Altra Via Olympus.
While the Altra Via Olympus features the standard heel-to-toe drop of all Altra shoes, what makes this shoe special is the high stack height—the height of the cushioning between the ground and your feet. Stack height is a good indicator of how cushioned a shoe is, although it won’t necessarily tell you whether the cushioning is soft or firm.
The Altra Via Olympus features a stack height of 33 millimeters, the highest of any Altra road running shoe. Reviewers enjoyed the thick slab of Altra’s proprietary EGO Max cushioning, although some were surprised by how firm the shoe felt.
“Given the tall slab of foam, I was expecting a softer, more squishy experience,” Kate says. “The Via Olympus has a noticeable stack height, but the cushion is quite firm. There is a little bit of give when I walk and run in the shoe, but it’s a different step-in feel than I expected.”
Despite the noticeable stiffness, the Altra Via Olympus features flex grooves in the forefoot to provide a bit of flexibility during the toe-off phase. That, combined with a gentle rocker shape, results in a smooth ride. A durable rubber outsole provides enough traction and protection to hold up to all of your daily miles.
Plush Upper Provides All-around Comfort
Just because the midsole of the Altra Via Olympus isn’t soft doesn’t mean the upper can’t be. Breathable mesh material wraps comfortably around your foot, offering smooth support while a padded heel collar and tongue add a luxurious feel.
“The upper feels super soft and breathable, and the padded tongue holds my foot in place,” Caroline says. “This shoe has a wider heel that’s designed for runners with rectangular shaped feet, meaning I have to cinch down the fit with the marathon loop to avoid heel slippage. It’s not a problem thanks to the long, thick laces.”
The Altra Via Olympus features Altra’s Original Footshape Fit, the roomiest of Altra’s three footshape options. This means your toes will have room to breathe due to a relatively wide toe box. Altra shoes typically have wider toe boxes than the average running shoe because the zero-drop platform encourages your toes to splay.
While the shoe is roomy in the toe box, it’s snug in the midfoot to provide a locked down fit.
“I have wide feet, which matches well with the shape of Altra shoes,” Alex says. “The Via Olympus offers a wide array of lacing options thanks to extra eyelets around the midfoot. The upper is light and soft, and there’s ample room in the toe box.”
“I’ve got more than enough room for my toes to splay, but not so much that the shoe feels sloppy or unstable,” Kate says.
While the Altra Via Olympus fits perfectly for runners with wide or high-volume feet (feet that take up lots of room inside the shoe), you can still enjoy the shoe if you have narrow feet thanks to the long laces and extra eyelets.
What is the Altra Via Olympus Best For?
With a thick, firm midsole, the Altra Via Olympus is a great option for road runners seeking maximum cushioning on a rigid, stable platform. While it’s not technically categorized as a stability shoe, the shoe’s wide base and sturdy feel provide reliable support for daily training. It’s a solid choice for everyday miles, long runs and recovery days.
“For runners who want the natural feeling that comes from a zero-drop shoe and a wide toe box, but also need protection from the pounding of the road, the Altra Via Olympus is an excellent option,” Kate says. “It’s a good fit for people who prefer a firm underfoot feel with the benefit of extra impact absorption.”