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Altra Via Olympus 2 - Women's Review

Featuring an impressive stack and underfoot chunk, this shoe is ideal for leisurely efforts
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Altra Via Olympus 2 - Women's Review (The Olympus was a slow burn for our testers. We were immediately put off by its whole vibe, but grew to enjoy what it...)
The Olympus was a slow burn for our testers. We were immediately put off by its whole vibe, but grew to enjoy what it has to offer.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $165 List
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Manufacturer:   Altra
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 12, 2024
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#21 of 24
  • Cushioning and Landing Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Responsiveness - 25% 4.5
  • Stability - 20% 6.5
  • Upper Comfort - 15% 6.5
  • Weight - 15% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Altra Via Olympus 2 is a distinctive shoe designed for runners who prioritize a high stack height, spacious toe box, and zero-drop profile. With an impressive 34mm stack height, this shoe is not necessarily intended for those seeking agility. It features a strong rolling-style responsive nature, making it ideal for long walks and leisurely jogs. If you're looking for a zero-drop shoe that stands tall, is lightweight, and offers exceptional comfort, the Olympus 2 is worth considering. Its breathable upper and plush tongue enhance the all-day wearability of this 8.52-ounce (women's size 6.5) road running shoe.
REASONS TO BUY
Solid underfoot cushion
More responsive and stable than expected
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks versatility
Somewhat clunky
Heavy

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Bottom Line With an outrageous stack, this shoe is best for long, slow runs and meandering walksThis running shoe offers the performance technology and comfort needed to be your go-to shoe, no matter your running goalsFor epic versatility in a single shoe, we recommend this lightweight superstarWith strong responsive bounce and enough comfort for long runs, this shoe will suit marathon hopefuls and speed demons alikeWhile not a race-focused shoe, this affordable and bouncy option will keep your legs turning over quickly and easily
Rating Categories Altra Via Olympus 2... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Puma Deviate Nitro... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Cushioning and Landing Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.5
Responsiveness (25%)
4.5
7.5
7.0
8.5
7.5
Stability (20%)
6.5
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.5
Upper Comfort (15%)
6.5
8.0
7.5
7.0
6.5
Weight (15%)
6.0
7.4
8.5
7.7
9.5
Specs Altra Via Olympus 2... Asics Novablast 4 -... Hoka Mach 6 - Women's Puma Deviate Nitro... Saucony Kinvara 14...
Sizes Available 5.5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 12 US, regular 5 - 11 US, regular & wide 5.5 - 11 US, regular 5 - 12 US, regular & wide
Style Zero drop Neutral Daily Neutral/race Neutral
Measured Heel Stack Height 34 mm 40 mm 34 mm 34 mm 30 mm
Measured Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm 9 mm 2 mm 8 mm 5 mm
Plate Type None None None Carbon None
Rocker Angle 28.5 deg 22.0 deg 24.5 deg 12.5 deg 26.0 deg
Rocker Apex Location 66.02% 69.48% 65.38% 68.82% 68.15%
Measured Weight 8.52 oz 7.36 oz 6.27 oz 7.02 oz 5.55 oz
Upper Engineered mesh Engineered knit mesh Creel jaqquard Mesh Mesh
Midsole Altra Ego MAX FF Blast Plus Eco Supercritical EVA Nitro/Nitro-Elite PWRRUN, PWRRUN+
Outsole Rubber AHAR outsole Rubber PumaGrip ATR Rubber XT-900 rubber
Heel Tab Type None Finger loop Extended heel pull None Finger loop

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Altra Via Olympus 2 is a high-stack, zero-drop shoe ideal for runners seeking prime comfort and spaciousness for long walks and slow jogs on unforgiving surfaces.

Performance Comparision



altra via olympus 2 for women - we love the cushion and stack of the via olympus for recovery runs.
We love the cushion and stack of the Via Olympus for recovery runs.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Landing Comfort and Cushioning


Looks can be deceiving, and in the case of the Via Olympus, they are. This shoe has a mighty 34mm stack height but is not stuffed with pillowy foam. Instead, the underfoot cushion maintains a bit of rigidity, which helps to make the VIA Olympus a wearable and runnable shoe. Even still, the ride that this shoe offers is a slightly acquired taste. The platform-style stack is great for overall joint protection and, as many of us learned in decades past, stylish. Typically, we expect a shoe with almost 35mm underfoot to feel mushy and pack out easily, but the Via Olympus does neither. Its firm midsole, made of Altra Ego Max textiles, provides a comfortable landing platform and resists buckling on high mileage days. While there is an adjustment period when it comes to wearing a high-stack shoe with a zero-drop differential, if the Via Olympus checks the boxes you require, it is a reliable and comfortable shoe for long-distance excursions.

altra via olympus 2 for women - the thickness of the stack makes the via olympus a joint-protective...
The thickness of the stack makes the Via Olympus a joint-protective comfort shoe that is made for more relaxed efforts.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Responsiveness


While not a standout in the responsiveness metric, the Via Olympus 2 offers more responsiveness than one might think based on its large profile. Because of its slight firmness and comfortably subtle rocker, you can actually get moving in these thick-profiled runners. Is this going to be your go-to race shoe? Absolutely not. Can you lay down some serious training miles in this thick-soled running shoe? You definitely can. The weight alone (8.52 ounces per women's size 6.5 shoe) is enough to inspire longer, slower runs in this shoe. The rocker feels functional but is embedded between layers and layers of underfoot material, which hinders its functionality a bit.

altra via olympus 2 for women - the rocker angle, at 25.8 degrees, makes the via olympus slightly...
The rocker angle, at 25.8 degrees, makes the Via Olympus slightly more responsive than you'd expect from a comfort-focused shoe.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Stability


While a typical platform shoe rides like a recipe for rolled ankles, the VIA Olympus has enough lateral meat to help you feel stable as you run. The lateral edges of the Olympus are thicker than the featherweight shoes that have become popular lately. While they aren't robust enough to correct your gait, you can run in comfort, knowing that your rear foot and heels will be snug and stable. The Olympus offers a somewhat toned-down version of Altra's infamous “foot shape” toebox style. The toebox on the Olympus is wide enough to be comfortable without feeling clownlike. This toebox tapers into a comfortably snug midfoot section, inspiring confidence and stability with each step.

altra via olympus 2 for women - the overall thickness of this shoe helps keep your feet exactly...
The overall thickness of this shoe helps keep your feet exactly where you want them.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Upper Comfort


From a completely tactile perspective, the upper of the Via Olympus is comfortable. The toe box is spacious enough without going overboard, and the midfoot is tapered but not narrow. The engineered mesh is durable and has enough integrity to hold up during the punishing depths of training for that coveted Boston Qualifier. Our only real gripe with the Olympus is that it runs hot. While not a dealbreaker on moderate days, warmer days take the upper from cozy to sweltering. You will likely enjoy the Olympus if your runs are not typically executed on hot days and unforgiving surfaces. But if warmer runs are your thing, we recommend investing in a shoe that won't double as a foot sauna.

altra via olympus 2 for women - though the upper textile is somewhat breathable, the sheer amount of...
Though the upper textile is somewhat breathable, the sheer amount of bulk makes this shoe run hot.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Weight


Well, the Via Olympus is clunky. From its appearance to its 8.52-ounce weight, this is not a minimal or featherweight shoe. The adjustment period needed to adapt to the Olympus is mostly because of how all of this shoe's weight rides in its undercarriage. The platform-style stack offers a unique feeling, as does the weight you'll be toting underfoot. If a light and peppy shoe is what you are after, the Olympus won't be the one for you. If a bit of extra weight doesn't scare you, then the Olympus is worth taking for a spin.

altra via olympus 2 for women - most weight rides in the rear foot, creating a minor adjustment...
Most weight rides in the rear foot, creating a minor adjustment period to learn how to run efficiently in these kicks.
Credit: Natalie Kafader

Should You Buy the Altra Via Olympus 2?


The Olympus is a unique shoe that will not be universally beloved. Its thick stack, hefty weight, and overbuilt body will suit runners seeking a long-lasting running shoe with plenty of joint protection. If you want a lightweight shoe that is primed and ready for race day, we recommend looking elsewhere. While we have loved slow jogs and long walks in the Olympus, its applications outside of these seem few and far between.

altra via olympus 2 for women - while not the most versatile shoe in our line up, if the attributes...
While not the most versatile shoe in our line up, if the attributes of the updated Olympus fit your needs, you'll enjoy what it has to offer.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Road Running Shoes Should You Consider?


If a comfortable underfoot stack is what you are after, Asics makes two options that our testers wholeheartedly recommend. First, the Asics Novablast 4 is a comfortably plush runner that offers more than the Olympus in terms of responsiveness and versatility. The Asics Gel Kayano 30 is another high-scoring road running shoe that provides exceptional underfoot comfort and strong stability.

Ally Arcuri