A year ago, I had the great fortune of testing the Altra King MT trail shoes. At the time, I concluded that the King MT’s were the best trail shoe I had ever worn (check out my review). It appears that Altra responded by making a better pair with the introduction of the King MT 1.5! However, before I give too much away in the first 3 sentences, let’s take a look at this 2nd generation shoe while picking it apart a little.
First, check out those colors!! The foot in the pic is mine, as I prepared to head out for my inaugural run in these beauties. As is my habit, I like to take it easy for the first run in new shoes, not pushing distance or elevation until I get about 20 miles on them (my own methodology). Let’s talk about initial fit:
- Like its predecessor, the 1.5 has Altra’s patented FootShape toe box.
- The Foot Strap got moved and changed ever so slightly for a better fit.
- The neoprene inside the heel is softer and more secure, adding to the comfort.
- Super light weight for trail shoes at 8.5 oz!!
- Altra shoes typically run true to size. Mine are 9.5 and fit perfectly.
Following my initial run, I did find one flaw with the new design, which is that Altra chose to eliminate the lace guide on top of the tongue of the shoe, which resulted in slippage of both tongues after a short run. This is a minor issue but I know it’s a real peeve for some. My solution was to roll the edges of the tongue up. This has allowed me to avoid the slippage on all runs since.
The biggest update for the King MT 1.5 is the new upper, which has reinforced mesh, featuring ripstop nylon. Let me break that down. My first pair began to develop holes, in both shoes, to the outside of my foot, where my toes begin. This is a major stress point for all shoes, because when you step, it is the part of the shoe that must bend and flex with your foot and toes. In the world of trail running, that outside edge takes a lot of abuse and some manufacturers have gone to reinforcing that specific location. By mile 200, I was putting duct tape inside my shoes to prolong their lifespan. While I managed to get 400 miles out of my first pair, I had to get rid of them because the holes had become so large that the shoes were no longer wearing right, even though the tread was still decent.
In the case of the King MT 1.5’s, I remain a little skeptical, knowing what happened with my first pair. However, I have already eclipsed 100 miles with this pair and am happy to report that the ripstop nylon is holding quite nicely. What continues to impress me about the King MT’s is their grip on any and every terrain. The Vibram Megagrip sole is much of the reason and it is very noticeable.
My King’s have already experienced snow, mud and rain, as well as the usual rocky, rooted, tough terrain I adore and I already have another pair in the closet for when these get retired. While not everyone is ready to transition to a zero-drop platform, for those that are, or are already running in zero-drop, take a close look at the King MT 1.5’s; they may be the best trail shoe out there right now.
Thank you to Altra for providing us with a sample pair. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.