Altra King MT
Let me preface this very unorganized, non-professional review of this shoe by stating that I have been an Altra Running fan for years. I've had my fair share of their shoes fall apart after light use but I keep coming back. This shoe is miles beyond anything other Altra I've worn.
My initial impressions when I opened the box for the first time: the shoe 'looks' heavy, armored and almost unnecessarily rugged. I work at Vertical Runner and I had been reading about this new shoe being released for the past several months, but now it was here in my hands. The King MT looks badass, big lugs made from Vibram rubber on the outsole, a reinforced upper complete with graphics, and a giant Velcro foot strap. So, like any avid trailrunner would do, I broke them in by running the Wicked Root 50k and now I'm going to tell you all about them.
The Wicked Root 50k is a technical trail race that was made more challenging by the addition of mud thanks to mother nature. I unboxed my King MTs, laced up, and trotted over to the start. They felt great enough bouncing across the paved parking lot, they have the same EGO midsole as the Altra Escalante road shoe and I get the same feel from them. The race started, and I spent the next 5 hours climbing and descending roots, rocks, and much. The shoes delivered! I fell only once in a really slick spot. The Velcro foot strap made it quick and easy to tighten up before big descents. My feet felt great, even after 31 miles.
My overall impression is that Altra has made a great shoe for technical trail running. If the trails you're headed to are rolling, dry, and not all that gnarly, you might be better off in one of their other offerings. But if you're planning to climb/descend over technical terrain, this shoe is awesome. The shoe isn't as heavy as it looks, about 12oz. It doesn't feel heavy at all on my feet, and I feel the small amount of extra weight is a fair trade off for all of the foot protection and grip the King MT's provide. Obstacle course racing is not my cup of tea, but I could see these shoes really shining in that sport as well.