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Altra Olympus

The Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX is our top pick for women’s hiking shoes. Photo: Sarah Parsons

The Inertia

Hiking is rad. Sore, blistered feet are not. If you’re anything like me, you like hitting the trails on the regular but don’t enjoy the achy feet that go along with it. While a good pair of hiking shoes isn’t a cure all, I’ve found that they can make a world of difference for both your feet and the overall experience.

We recently ran a review on the best hiking shoes for women and I had the honor of testing a whole slew of shoes to bring our readers the best of the best. Some were duds, while others were studs. The Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX fell into the later category and was our top pick of all the hiking shoes we tested, so it seemed worth giving them a full-scale review of their own.

Altra hiking shoes

Altra’s shoes feature a wide toe box and a zero-drop design, which promotes healthy, happy feet. Photo: Sarah Parsons

Altra Is Alternative

Altra was founded in 2011 and since day one, the brand has been focused on thinking outside of the box to create alternative style running and hiking shoes. Before Altra’s inception, the majority of running shoes featured a narrow toe box with a 10-12 mm drop from the heel to the forefoot. Altra introduced a shoe that had the same stack height across the entire shoe and claims to have coined the term “zero-drop.” The zero-drop design encourages a natural stride and has been revolutionary for injury prevention. Additionally, Altra did away with the narrow toe box and instead designed their shoes with a wide toe box, allowing the toes to spread out and move naturally.

Although Altra was born as a running brand, they have since expanded their line of shoes to include trail and road running shoes, hiking shoes and boots, gym and training shoes, lifestyle shoes, and walking shoes.

First Impressions

Pros Cons
Wide toe box allows toes to spread out Takes some time to break in
Lots of support Heel area feels a little tight
Zero-drop design helps prevent injuries Snugger fit than other Altra shoes

Out of the box, these shoes look good. I opted for the maroon colorway and the shoes look sleek and sporty. The cushioning underfoot is generous, and I worried it might be too much, but I prefer a lot of support in my running shoes, so I decided to let my feet decide.

Altra hiking shoes

Hitting the trails in Hawaii. Photo: Sarah Parsons

The Fit

I have a narrow foot and shoes like Altra that sport a wide toe box can be a fit challenge for me. Typically, I order a size down with Altra, but I ordered the Altra Olympus 5 in my normal size and they fit perfectly. They actually felt a tad snug at first, so I would definitely recommend ordering a half size to a size up if you have wide feet or prefer a more spacious fit.

It’s worth noting that Altra shoes come in three different fit options: Original, Standard, and Slim. It’s a little confusing and varies from shoe to shoe, but original is the roomiest of the three options, standard is right in the middle, and slim is the slimmest-fitting option. Click here to learn more.

Quick Stats:

Weight 13.2 ounces
Stack Height 33 mm
Drop 0 mm
Midsole Compression Molded EVA
Outsole Vibram Megagrip
Cushion Maximum

The Trail Test

In order to see how these shoes performed in the wild, I hit the trails near my home on Oahu, Hawaii. Oahu is known for its hikes due to their incredible views. But thanks to the rain and the ridges, our hikes are often steep, muddy, and can be slippery, so a reliable pair of hiking shoes is a must.

Out of the gates, these shoes weren’t the most comfortable, but that’s to be expected prior to breaking them in. They fit a little snug and I felt like my heel sat fairly high in the shoe. Although I’ve owned Altras in the past, most of my shoes don’t sport a zero-drop design, so it just took a little getting used to. Also, if you’ve never worn a shoe with a zero-drop design you should start with short walks and hikes because your calves will be sore!

Once I found my grove, I discovered that these shoes were super supportive and their traction was incredible. The outsoles feature Vibram Megagrip coupled with Altra’s Trailclaw, which are canted lugs strategically placed beneath the metatarsals to provide added traction. As I mentioned, the trials here are slippery and Ioved how grippy these shoes felt heading both up and downhill.

Additionally, the Olympus 5 hiking shoes feature Gore-Tex technology, meaning that they’re incredibly waterproof. If you’re familiar with Hawaii, you know that it rains often and unannounced, so having a shoe capable of combating the rain and creek crossings is a hug win.

Altra hiking shoes

The Olympus 5 hiking shoes are great for navigating steep and slippery trails. Photo: Sarah Parsons

Final Thoughts

If you’re in the market for a grippy hiking shoe with lots of support, the Altra Olympus 5 Low GTX is the shoe for you. Although they take some time to break in, the Olympus 5 promotes a healthy stride thanks to their zero-drop design and wide toe box. While most of Altra’s shoes run wide, these are a great pick for someone with narrower feet.

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Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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