Reviews You Can Rely On

Altra Superior 6 - Women's Review

This sensitive, zero-drop shoe works for short runs, but lacks the comfort necessary for longer training days
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Altra Superior 6 - Women's Review (This low-profile shoe doesn't offer a ton of comfort, but minimalist runners might enjoy the sensation.)
This low-profile shoe doesn't offer a ton of comfort, but minimalist runners might enjoy the sensation.
Credit: Ally Arcuri
Price:  $130 List
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Manufacturer:   Altra
By Ally Arcuri ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 21, 2023
  • Foot Protection - 25% 6.5
  • Traction - 20% 7.0
  • Sensitivity - 15% 8.5
  • Stability - 15% 8.5
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 4.5
  • Weight - 10% 7.5

Our Verdict

The updated Altra Superior offers unique features like a zero-drop differential, a measured 22mm total stack, and no rock plate. It isn't a plush or profoundly comfortable trail running shoe, but it provides enough protection to shield your feet from elements you may encounter. Runners looking for a zero-drop trail runner built with minimalism in mind will enjoy the no-frills approach of the Superior 6. But those who want to settle into long efforts or build mileage across technical terrain might find that it lacks what they need in a trail running shoe.
Lacks comfort
Less suitable for long runs
Less protective

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Superior 6 allows zero-drop fanatics to run in a shoe without a ton of extra cushion. With a total stack that we measured at 22mm, this wide toe-boxed shoe is great for short, quick efforts but might not provide enough tech for runners looking to up the ante.

Performance Comparison

altra superior 6 for women - this zero-drop shoe is built to serve runners who want an intimate...
This zero-drop shoe is built to serve runners who want an intimate trail-feel and minimal style shoe.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Foot Protection

The toe box of the Superior 6 is wide. The width provides an initial barrier of support and is reinforced by a uniquely designed toe cap. The toe cap is dual-layered; the primary layer is somewhat soft and flexible, with bilateral bumpers on either side. The outsole extends up the toe cap just enough for protection so the entire toe side of the shoe is protected but in a mindful, minimalistic way. The upper mesh is tightly woven and breathable.

The amount of smoke released through the upper mesh gives you an idea of how little water and debris can sneak in through the upper of the Superior. Notice, too, the lateral toe box bumper for additional protection.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

In the case of the Superior, these elements marry well to create a line of defense between your socks and trail debris and water. While not truly water-resistant, the upper does a pretty good job at deflecting droplets, provided you don't totally submerge your foot. The heel cup has a laminated coating and a Velcro gaiter trap, both of which provide another level of protection. This minimalistic shoe lacks a rock plate, which is pretty noticeable. It rides close to the ground and offers sensitivity without the dampening effect of a rock plate. While this bodes well for its sensitivity rating, it inhibits some of the protection strength.

altra superior 6 for women - the addition of slight bumpers and a gaiter trap provide protection...
The addition of slight bumpers and a gaiter trap provide protection while maintaining a minimal approach across the body of Superior.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


The outsole of the Superior 6 is made of MaxTrack rubber, which provides ample traction. The lugs are specifically placed, helping to compensate for their smaller sizing. We've noticed over time that outsoles with multidirectional lugs tend to fare far better. This is true in the case of the Superior — its lugs provide extra grip on slick surfaces. Perhaps our favorite traction feature is the fin-like pattern at the heel. The staircase-style protrusions allow for extra control and grip when taking tight corners and pushing for PRs. Overall, the traction of the Superior is alpine-ready, provided you want to tackle the backcountry in a minimally-constructed trail shoe.

altra superior 6 for women - the traction on the superior is top-notch, making it ready to take...
The traction on the Superior is top-notch, making it ready to take on backcountry scrambles.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Since the Superior 6 rides relatively close to the ground and doesn't have a rock plate, it provides serious sensitivity. That said, this sensitivity feels less balanced with protection when compared to other shoes that scored high in this metric. After each long run in the Superior, we felt the soles of our feet aching in ways that aren't typical after running in more protective, balanced trail shoes. That said, the Superior feels as similar to a barefoot running shoe as you're going to get without taking the plunge, so if that appeals to you, so might this shoe.

altra superior 6 for women - the superior is one of our highest-scoring shoes when it comes to...
The Superior is one of our highest-scoring shoes when it comes to sensitivity. Its low-profile allows you to feel almost everything beneath your feet.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


The Superior 6 feels super stable because of how the laces work with the sides of the shoe to lock your foot in place. The heel cup is a bit wide, which could allow some runners to feel their feet shifting around, though this was fairly easy to remedy for our testers. The toe box is extra-large, which allows toes to splay and work as you run. This, combined with its zero-drop differential and lace-locking feel, come together to create a super stable, low-profile trail running shoe.

altra superior 6 for women - an incredibly stable shoe all around, the superior feels like...
An incredibly stable shoe all around, the Superior feels like locking your foot in its natural position to run.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Comfort and Fit

The elements that make up the Superior 6 created polarized opinions for each of our testers. The partially adhered tongue creates a bootie-like fit that this shoe is known and loved for. The tongue and lace bed provide abundant comfort, as does the perfectly cushioned heel cup. The Superior has a small amount of arch support, with its interior providing a comfortable but minimal amount of cushion. But toward the front of the shoe, things start to feel a bit off. The upper is quite flexible, and the lateral seam, where the edging and lace bed meet, is incredibly imposing. Even after 20 miles in the Superior, the thick and bendable seam niggled at us with every step. This shoe has long been beloved for its svelte, glove-like fit. While this holds true for the mid-to-rear foot, the toe box is a bit too wide to fit into the aforementioned description. While having space for toes to splay is a benefit, the internal hook-like shape of the toe box is a bit overdone. The extra toe box space and shape are all too easy to catch on rogue roots and rocks, so be sure to run with caution.

altra superior 6 for women - the hook-like shape and slight bumper make the toe box feel almost...
The hook-like shape and slight bumper make the toe box feel almost clown-like, decreasing its efficacy on rocky trails.
Credit: Ally Arcuri


Each women's size 6.5 Superior 6 weighs 7.75 ounces, which is on the lower side for trail running shoes. Since the Superior lacks some of the tried-and-true protective elements and cushion, this weight is pretty expected. The weight is well-rounded enough to provide a comfortable ride, so if a moderately light shoe without ample protective features sounds right, this might be the shoe for you.

altra superior 6 for women - the superior is relatively lightweight, which is to be expected...
The Superior is relatively lightweight, which is to be expected since it is so minimally built.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

Should You Buy the Altra Superior 6?

The Superior 6 rides like other relatively niche shoes in that it really won't be for everyone, and it isn't right for all runs. While this shoe has plenty of awesome elements, its lack of protection and imbalanced fit won't suit all runners. If you want to prepare your feet for barefoot running, we recommend taking the Superior for a spin, but we certainly would not recommend it to new runners in search of their first pair of trail shoes.

altra superior 6 for women - the superior might not be our all-around recommendation, but for the...
The Superior might not be our all-around recommendation, but for the group of trail enthusiasts who want what the Superior provides, it will likely be a match made in heaven.
Credit: Ally Arcuri

What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?

If you love the idea of a zero-drop shoe, we wholeheartedly recommend the Altra Lone Peak 7. The Lone Peak has a similar fit to the Superior but with a lot more cushion and protection, making it more suitable for long-distance trail running. If a wide toe box appeals to you, but you aren't sure about zero-drop shoes, the Topo Ultraventure 3 offers room for toe splay, great traction, and a 6mm drop for a more traditional feel. If you are motivated by sensitivity, we love the fit and feel of the La Sportiva Bushdio II and the Nnormal Kjerag. Both of these sensitive superstars excel in different ways but offer a bit more overall comfort than the Superior.

Ally Arcuri