The Altra Trail King MT 1.5 is built to take on terrain anywhere your mind wanders. This Top Pick for Versatility offers a unique blend of lightweight protection with an outsole that does well on both hard and soft surfaces. While it doesn't shed as mud well as the ultra aggressive Salomon Speedcross 5, its a little more versatile, performing with high marks over all surfaces. Unique in comparison to other Altra products, it has a more narrow fit through the arch and heel, making it a possible option for those with a narrow foot that don't like other Altra models. It almost won our Editors' Choice award, but the Inov-8 TerraUltra G260 has better traction and durability. This product is best for those seeking a zero-drop heel-to-profile with a minimal amount of cushioning. It'll perform all year round with the most versatile utility we've seen with any other shoe.
Altra King MT 1.5 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Aggressive and versatile outsole, breathable upper, protective, light cushioning, zero-drop, wide forefoot
Cons: Durability issues, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This Top Pick for Versatility can take you from the trailhead to the tops of mountains to the beaches of the coast. It offers an unbeatable balance of protection and sensitivity with an aggressive outsole that'll perform on all types of trails. It stands out for its zero-drop profile, minimal cushioning and super wide toe box. It's stable, protective, and aggressive — a medley of features that will take you anywhere you'd like to go.
The Altra King Mt 1.5 is surprisingly protective for its lack of cushioning and lightweight design. The continuous woven mesh that overlays the entire shoe keeps out nasty particulates while the midsole protects from underfoot hazards.
The outsole features a 19mm stack height throughout that is loaded with Altra's "Altra Ego" cushioning. This midsole feels relatively soft and is quite responsive while running. Integrated into the midsole is a protective and flexible StoneGuard that prevents super sharp rocks from stabbing the bottom of your feet. The outsole in conjunction with the midsole also helps with its thicker Vibram material.
The overlay mesh has a continuous design, running from the heel to the toe. When running in the desert, no sediment was able to enter this continuous overlay through the mesh. In wet weather, it is not waterproof. The overlay, however, is not very absorbent and does an excellent job wicking away water and shedding mud that's not too sticky. If you find yourself in a rainstorm, know that your feet will get wet. In dry snow, it stayed relatively dry on well-packed trails, which is pretty impressive.
A strap of protective material covers the toe cap to help with stubbed toes. The toe cap is moderately protective and won't protect from big accidental rock kicks on the trail. It's excellent for the random stub that most trail runners deal with regularly. This shoe offers excellent foot protection for its lightweight design. It has utility on the most technical trails because of it.
Looking to get intimate with the trails around you? Wearing the King MT is a great way to start. Far from a barefoot shoe, it has a stone guard and 19mm of protection that will protect from a hazard that could stop your progress; it's just enough protection for longer runs and offers great sensitivity so you can get to know the trail you're on.
The midsole and outsole are thin enough to feel the natural contours of the trail underfoot, allowing you to correct positioning as needed. You'll feel rocks and other litter, but this shoe's protective elements will keep your feet healthy and safe. It'll keep you on your toes, dancing around natural hazards.
Altra integrated one of its most aggressive outsoles to add tremendous versatility in its design. It's this outsole that gives it so many applications. From the mountains to the deserts it has an application, earning a Top Pick.
Composed of Vibram Rubber, the outsole is relatively sticky, grabbing dry rocks without effort. The deep lugs are bi-directional which means that they dig into the trail to prevent slippage while going up and down.
While running on a snowy day in the Spring in Colorado, we were tackling a well-packed down trail and didn't notice a ton of slippage either laterally or back or forward. While charging downhill, we felt confident, amping up the speed while turning corners.
What's more, is that the outsole also works as a cross-over shoe. While we wouldn't recommend it for super long runs on the pavement, it provides a smooth transition, especially on dirt and country roads. The lugs aren't so long that they hinder performance on these less technical surfaces.
On loose dirt, it does great but isn't the best on super sloppy stuff like mud. Unfortunately, the lugs aren't long enough to get great traction on this variety of surface, and if it's silty or clay, it just sticks. Unlike the Salomon Speedcross 5 that has super widely spaced lugs, the lugs are close together, holding mud on the outsole.
The Altra Trail King MT 1.5 really is a jack of all trades with a plethora of applications. The outsole is fantastic for everything from the easiest to the hardest trails out there. It's a 'no wonder' we gave it a Top Pick!
Simply put, stability is magical and amazing. Even with a 19mm stack height, it has design elements that make you feel like you have no shoes on at all. Balance is the key to stability, and this shoe allows you to balance in all directions while nimbly picking your way through obstacles.
A low stack height in combination with a zero heel-to-toe drop makes you feel light and free. The huge toe box adds to this stability, allowing you to spread out your toes for optimal lateral balance when the trail becomes off-camber. Of all the Altra shoes it offers the most precise fit. It's quite flexible and moves where ever you move with ease.
The overlay provides a skeletal structure to the shoe that keeps the upper form-fitted and in place. This clear overlay tap meets with the lacing system that pulls the entire shoe together, maintaining its structure while you move.
Comfort & Fit
Comfort comes in the form of a well-fitted heel cup and a nice, wide toe box that allows toes to spread out completely. It's lightweight and minimal, but high performance cushioning makes long days on the trail easy.
The cushioning underfoot feels soft, but is not as springy or soft as the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 5, our Top Pick for Comfort. The heel cup is nice and deep, setting your Achilles comfortably against a softer material for enhanced comfort. The tongue is ergonomic, attaching at the base of the lacing system. It holds into place while tackling trails and is soft against the skin.
The lacing system is pretty standard, offering enough play to either loosen or tighten for those with wide or narrow feet. Like all Altra Trail shoes, it has two gaiter adaptability points that work with a variety of gaiter options. Using these in wet or super sandy environments can help improve protection and ultimately enhance comfort.
Like all Altra Shoes, it features a zero-drop profile with 19mm of cushioning from heel to forefoot. In comparison to other Altra shoes, this is one of the narrowest options we've experienced with the shoe feeling like it's a bit smaller right out of the box. Given the lack of cushion in the heel, this shoe is best for mid to forefoot strikers. Heel strikers beware.
While it's narrow in comparison to the "wide class" shoe, it's a great option for those with a narrow arch looking for a wider forefoot. The velcro strap also allows you to lock down your foot to ensure you don't get "toe bump" on the downhill.
The Altra King MT 1.5 weighs in at 9.6 oz for one size nine shoe. In the world of shoes, it's lightweight and feels nice and streamlined on foot. While it's not as like as its cousin, the Altra Peregrine, it provides amenable functionality for racing and lightweight performance.
You can use the Altra King 1.5 for anything! It's finely tuned protective elements keep you safe on technical terrain while burly outsole will have you sticking to ridges and smooth singletrack. It is best for the forefoot or midfoot striker, and we don't recommend it if you are heel-striker. It's great for those who appreciate zero-drop profiles. Steeps, flats, roads, technical trails, obstacle courses--this shoe suits it all. Its lightweight yet aggressive construction will have you flying up and down any trail.
$140 is a lot of money to invest in a trail shoe. If you do, it should last. Sadly, this model does not have a great track record. After speaking with many ultrarunner friends (and seeing posts online), the King MT 1.5 tends to blow out pretty consistently after just a couple hundred miles. Its area of weakness where the overlay meets the hard textile that functions as a toe cap. Not only do blow-outs occur, but this shoe has also been known to pack out after just a few runs. Now, our friends still buy them, despite the blow-outs, because of their deep love for its niche performance; according to them, it is worth it. We, on the other hand, think the price is steep, but it's up to decide if these features offered are truly worth the investment.
The Altra King MT 1.5 is the trail runner we've been searching for! Almost winning our Editors' Choice award, this aggressive yet lightweight runner can go anywhere you an image. It's built to take on steep trails with its aggressive outsole and impervious upper. Fit is best for those seeking a neutral fit with no additional cushioning in the heel. Like all Altra products, it has a zero-drop profile and offers a wide toe box for added stability on the trail. We also love the more specific fit that we haven't seen with any Altra product thus far.
— Amber King