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Altra VIA Olympus 2 Review: Mt. Cozy
By David Salas, Andrea Myers and Matthew Klein

The Altra VIA Olympus 2 continues upon the max cushion offering aimed at bringing improved comfort to each step. The shoe uses EGO MAX midsole and an updated footbed to give a softer step in experience, as well as a little more cushion upon loading the shoe. The shoe uses the ORIGINAL FOOTSHAPE design from Altra and their classic 0mm drop platform.

Altra VIA Olympus 2
Price: $164.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 11.4 oz, 323g (men's size 9), 9.6 oz, 272g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 33mm heel, 33mm forefoot
Drop: 0mm
Classification: Maximum cushioned running shoe


Matt: The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a rare, zero-drop maximal daily training shoe for those want an anatomic fit with as much foam underfoot as possible. The EGO Max midsole provides a surprising amount of bounce that allows the Olympus 2 to ride lighter than its listed weight. An accommodating, relaxed and wide upper sits on top, provide both an anatomic fit as well as extra volume. A great easy/long mileage running shoe and all day highly cushioned walking shoe, the Altra Via Olympus 2 continues as the tallest feeling zero drop, natural shoe on the market. 

David: The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a max cushion daily training shoe that also has some nice carryover into walking as well. The shoe is geared for max comfort for either activity. The shoe uses EGO MAX with an updated footbed to give you a sense of cushion upon step in. The shoe is consistent with the 0mm drop philosophy from Altra and also uses their Original Foot Shape.

The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a max stack height, zero drop shoe that features Altra's Original Footshape fit. I have had the opportunity to test the Escalante 3, Torin 7, and FWD Experience in the past year, and I have to say that the VIA Olympus 2 is my new favorite. With a midsole stack of 33mm, the shoe manages to provide ample cushioning without feeling overly soft. The Original Footshape fit is classic Altra, with ample width and volume in the toe box. The VIA Olympus 2 is ideal for easy miles and is also a great work shoe option for prolonged walking or standing.

: Topo Magnifly 4, Hoka Bondi 8, New Balance Fresh Foam More v4


Matt: The Altra Via Olympus 2 fits true to size with a tiny bit long due to the extra volume in my normal Men's US size 10. This is different from the original Via Olympus, which fit short. The fit is both wide and higher volume, especially in the forefoot. I was able to stretch and spread my toes as much as I wanted in almost all directions without issues during running, walking and standing efforts. The midfoot is normal to slightly wide with a moderately thick tongue. I only had to tighten down the laces slightly to get a secure fit and the non-gusseted tongue stayed mostly in place. The heel fits normal with a moderately padded collar and a highly flexible heel counter. Those sensitive to counters will do extremely well in this shoe. I was surprised with the wider fit that I did not have any major heel slippage. Despite the extra volume I did not feel like my feet were swimming in the shoe. This may also be because I have been running in several shoes with wide toe boxes recently and am used to this. Those who are not may feel like they are swimming up front, while those with higher volume and wider feet (especially forefoot) will do well. The upper is a comfortable mesh material that sits nicely against the foot. I would encourage the use of socks however due to some internal stitching. That said, from an all-day and easy-effort perspective, this is an extremely comfortable upper.  

David: The Altra VIA Olympus 2 fits true to size in my Men's 9.5. The fit is pretty accommodating throughout and those needing a little more volume will probably like this general fit. With that said the heel actually locks down quite good. There is a small heel mold at the base of the calcaneus that acts as a shallow counter, though the heel collar is padded foam above it. The wrap at the top is pulled in well from the lacing system and I definitely feel like my heel is secure. The midfoot has normal to slightly wide fit. The forefoot has the classic wide toe box from Altra. The engineered mesh is decently comfortable. It is on the softer side and does feel nice, but does feel a little less plush throughout than other "premium" trainers. The tongue is very padded and allows you to lock the laces down well without issue. I like the higher volume with the streamlined lockdown because it feels like an option. Those needing more space accommodation will be able to use this and just not lock down the laces quite as much, but those needing that lockdown can do so without their foot swimming in the shoe. The sock liner did need a little break in, as I had a small amount of sliding initially. This has improved though. Length of the shoe is spot on. I am very happy with the fit throughout on the Via Olympus 2, though I do wish they would make the upper a little more plush materials to feel on par with other premium options, as it feels like a pretty normal engineered mesh. 

Andrea: The Altra VIA Olympus 2 fits true to size in my usual women's 9.5. After being disappointed with the "Standard Footshape Fit" of the FWD Experience, I was thrilled to put my feet in the VIA Olympus and feel no restrictions on my toes or the ball of my foot. I have plenty of room for toe splay and do not have any hot spots from the upper. The width of the midfoot and rearfoot are normal and it was very easy to achieve proper lockdown in the shoe. The engineered mesh upper is on the thicker side and has a moderately plush feel. The rearfoot has a flexible heel counter and a moderately padded collar that feels plusher than it visually appears. The non-gusseted tongue is padded and held securely in place by a lace loop. The upper is on the warmer side, which I have appreciated in the 30-40F temps we have had recently. I suspect the upper might be too warm in higher temperatures, but did not have a chance to test it above 50F. I have run in many Altra shoes, and this may be the best fitting model I have tested.


Matt: The Altra Via Olympus 2 is a heavier, highly cushioned shoe for easy and longer miles. Thanks to the surprisingly bouncy EGO Max midsole, the weight is not as noticeable. I have previously found EGO Max to be responsive but stiffer. With the rockered geometry of the Via Olympus 2, I had a ton of this midsole combined with a shoe that seems to maintain forward momentum well. The cushioning is good and moderately compliant throughout the length of the sole. The midsole does not feel mushy but slightly firmer, bouncy and highly cushioned. Compared to the first Via Olympus, it definitely feels softer.

Ride-wise, the Altra Via Olympus 2 is fairly smooth. Although not present on all their shoes, the large, well-placed rounded heel bevel that I expect from Altra is present in the Via Olympus. This transitions you easily into the midfoot and takes a bit of the edge off the zero-drop platform. The zero heel drop is certainly noticeable, but once you get moving it feels more natural. The forefoot transition is rockered, slightly stiff initially, then continues to break in. As expected, there is little flexibility at the forefoot with the tall stack height and the forward transition comes all from the forefoot rocker. After a few miles, it is easy to get into a rhythm and the transitions are smooth throughout the length of the shoe. Part of this is from the rockered geometry but also from the great foam compression.

Purpose-wise, the Altra Via Olympus is clearly best for easy, long and recovery mileage. I have enjoyed this shoe for days I am beat up as well as long days on my feet teaching or doing research. This is not a shoe to pick up the pace in. Rather, it is best for consistent easier paces where you want the miles to casually click by. The outsole traction and durability have been fine after 30 miles, which was surprising for an Altra shoe. I have not made any major dents in the outsole, thus I expect this shoe to last as long as other shoes in the same category 

David:  The Altra Via Olympus 2 performed quite well for me. The shoe maintains a stack height at 33mm throughout the platform. Admittedly this feels higher, though this could have some influence from the sock liner and footbed as well. The shoe uses EGO Max midsole which feels like a slightly more compliant EVA. The shoe has an element of firmness and stiffness throughout the platform but does maintain good cushioning for any mileage use. The shoe has a gradual posterior lateral heel bevel that works really well. The shoe does use a toe spring to give a forefoot rocker as well that is also gradual. The shoe certainly has a rockered ride, though a little more of a balanced option compared to many of the other high stack rockered options. This shoe gives me a lot of resemblance of the HOKA Bondi, though with less dramatic sole flaring and rocker.

I will say the transitions of this shoe felt surprisingly natural and not very slappy. I think the gentle bevel and softer foam do help with easing some of that transition at initial contact through the heel as you begin to load the foot. The platform throughout the shoe maintains a wide base throughout and each step feels very predictable. The forefoot has a gentle and gradual toe spring that gives you a slight rocker feel but a natural toe off as well. The shoe definitely runs as a neutral shoe, though I would say it is knocking on the door of stable neutral. The midsole is not the most responsive, as this is designed more with comfort in mind. I did do some hard strides in these though and will say it didn't do half bad for an 11 oz chunker. Outsole traction is pretty good throughout and I'd trust these in reasonable runnable conditions. Those wanting a high cushion shoe with some gentle rocker elements and a natural feeling ride should give this one a look.

Andrea: I have greatly enjoyed testing the Altra VIA Olympus 2. All of my testing has been done in the tail end of marathon training, so my feet and legs are particularly picky right now. The mildly firm Altra EGO MAX midsole makes the zero drop feel a little less harsh and the comfortable, wide toe box was just what my feet were looking for. The zero drop and wide base make midfoot landings feel very natural, and the later forefoot rocker provides mild guidance into push off without feeling intrusive. I really like the feel of the EGO MAX cushioning. It provides ample protection and just the right amounts of cushion and responsiveness for easy miles. I do not like soft shoes and this is definitely not a soft shoe, but it has just the right amount of give to make it comfortable and highly enjoyable to run in. The shoe reminds me of a less rockered, higher stack Topo Magnifly 4.

The VIA Olympus 2 feels a little lighter than its stated 9.6oz for a women's size 8, although it does not feel like a lightweight shoe. I found it perfect for easy runs, but would not use it for anything faster because it felt a little clunky when I tried to pick up the pace. The flex grooves in the forefoot do help balance out an otherwise stiff sole. Traction in the shoe is decent, but I did not get to test in in the rain at all. There is more exposed midsole in the VIA Olympus as compared to the Escalante 3 or FWD Experience, so durability may be reduced, depending on individual biomechanics. My pair shows mild wear, mainly at the lateral midfoot and under the toes, after 25 miles.


Matt: The Altra Via Olympus 2 is technically a neutral running shoe but does guidance well enough that I am willing to give it a stable neutral label. There are decent-sized side walls on both the medial and lateral sides of the heel and posterior midfoot that do a good job of gently keeping the foot centered. The posterior lateral bevel is in a perfect position with a mildly decoupled heel that eases heel transitions in well. The midfoot is quite wide and inherently stable. This transitions nicely to an even wider forefoot. The width of the forefoot creates a highly stable base up front, which combined with the forefoot rocker (once broken in) makes for easy and stable transitions. This shoe still is zero drop, which means those with limited ankle joint mobility may still compensate to maintain some semblance of a forward progression through either extra pronation or sometimes supination. Thus, there is still a level of mobility, flexibility and stability needed to use this shoe. 

David:  The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a neutral running shoe, but does some things pretty well that help with giving a sense of stability. The first thing they do well is have a well integrated platform with good cross sectional area that blends in with the rest of the shoe. The sole flaring is slight but I would still say it is noticeable in the forefoot and in the heel. The lockdown through the upper is good and I did have any issues with it stretching too much or translation of the foot. There is also a noticeable sidewall in the heel both medially and laterally that feels like it gives the heel additional hold and a small amount of guidance. With these noted the VIA Olympus is still a neutral shoe, though I do think it deserves conversation for that stable neutral category we roll around here at DOR sometimes. 

The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a neutral shoe that borders on stable neutral. The wide base provides some stability regardless of where a person lands. There is some sole flaring that runs the length of the shoe, although it is more pronounced in the rearfoot. The rearfoot also features a medial and lateral sidewall that further secures the rearfoot. The rocker geometry is mild and does not feel like it forces motion, but the forefoot rocker does provide some gentle assistance into push off. The excellent fit of the upper also helps stabilize the foot in the shoe, which is even more important with the wide and high volume toe box. I think the feature that keeps this shoe from being stable neutral is the fact that it is zero drop. The shoe still requires greater calf flexibility, ankle mobility, and intrinsic foot strength as compared to shoes with a higher drop.

Thoughts as a DPT: Minimalist Index
By Andrea Myers

Thanks to brands like Altra, Topo, Xero, and Merrill, runners who prefer zero drop shoes have a huge variety of models to choose from. While zero drop shoes are generally known to require greater calf strength, ankle and toe mobility, and intrinsic foot strength; not all zero drop shoes place the same amount of stress on these tissues. I know my feet and legs feel a different amount of stress running in the 8.5mm stack height Xero HFS and compared to the 33mm stack height Altra VIA Olympus 2.

Researchers at Laval University in Quebec City developed the "Minimalist Index" in an effort to rate shoes based on several characteristics. The shoe characteristics are:

1) Weight
2) Stack height
3) Heel to toe drop
4) Motion control and stability technologies
5) Flexibility (longitudinal and torsional)

A shoe that scores highest on the Minimalist Index will have low weight, low stack height, zero drop, no motion control and stability technologies, and high flexibility. The Altra VIA Olympus is moderately heavy, has a high stack height, zero drop, minimal motion control technologies (medial arch support in the insole and medial sole flare), and minimal longitudinal and torsional flexibility. Based on these characteristics, the Minimalist Index for the shoe is 40%. That score can be compared to that of the Xero HFS, which is 92% thanks to its low weight, very low stack height, zero drop, no motion control elements, and extremely high longitudinal and torsional flexibility. The Altra Escalante 3 has an score of 62%. The researchers who created the Minimalist Index have a website where they have rated many shoe models, and have a calculator where you can calculate a score for other shoes. Runners who are interested in trying low or zero drop shoes may find the Minimalist Index helpful in determining which shoes may be less stressful on their feet and legs than others.

The website and calculator are here:

If you are interested in adding a more minimal shoe to your rotation, I would recommend getting an evaluation by a running-specific physical therapist to identify any strength or mobility issues prior to starting to run in a more minimal shoe. 


Esculier, J., Dubois, B., Dionne, C.E., Leblond, J., & Roy, J.S. (2015). A consensus definition and rating scale for minimalist shoes. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 8.


Matt: My first run in this shoe was slightly awkward and I did not know if I was going to like it. Then, I couldn't stop wearing it for all-day wear and kept grabbing it for all my shorter shake-out runs.  This shoe has been on my feet a great deal but there are still some improvements that could be made. Mostly, I would really like to see the weight go back down to where it was in the original. Granted, I prefer the fit and ride of version two, but it would be great to get back to that 10.7/10.8 oz range to be competitive with shoes like the Hoka Bondi 8. How this is accomplished without sacrificing the progression of this current model remains to be seen. The upper is already on the lighter side for a premium shoe. Thus, either upgrading the EGO Max foam to be lighter or using some geometrical cut outs may be helpful to reduce weight while maintaining the ride. 

David: I actually really enjoyed my time in the VIA Olympus 2. One thing I noticed quickly was that the sock liner was a little slippery for my first couple efforts, so improving that would be recommended. The other would be making a more plush upper that targets comfort. The fit of the shoe is great but the materials feel like they could be more comfortable and comparable with other "premium" trainers on the market. 

Andrea: I think Altra has a great shoe in the VIA Olympus 2. It is one of their best fitting shoes to date and I have really enjoyed it for easy miles. I agree with David that the upper could be improved, but for me it would be to make to more breathable for warmer weather.


Matt: The Altra Via Olympus 2 is a maximum cushion, zero drop, anatomically fitting training shoe for those wanting something for easy miles and all-day comfort. Despite being so cushioned, it still maintains a balanced geometry that works well for easy running and longer walking. It is on the stable neutral side of things, so should work well for a variety of individuals. The upper is where I believe many people will be drawn as an alternative to the Hoka Bondi 8. As popular at the Bondi series is, those with wider/higher volume feet may struggle with the more snug fit. The Altra Via Olympus 2 offers a similar concept with a completely wider, anatomic and higher volume fit that should match the needs of those looking for this shoe type with more room for their feet. 

David: The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a max cushion training shoe for someone that wants a maximal experience and a much more gradual rocker profile. The shoe does not feel overdone anywhere and gives a slightly more grounded and balanced feel to the max cushion category. The shoe has some appeal for standing and walking long periods of time as well due to having a more balanced geometry. This is a neutral offering that does give some elements of stability for those that need it as well.

The Altra VIA Olympus 2 is a high stack, zero drop shoe with Altra's Original Footshape fit. It is best for easy miles and has a largely neutral and mildly stable ride. It is a zero drop shoe, so those who are not accustomed to zero drop should proceed carefully. That being said, its wider base and stiffer sole make it less aggressive compared to lower stack, more flexible zero drop shoes. At $165, I think it is a little overpriced compared to shoes like the Topo Magnifly 4 ($130) and New Balance More v4 ($150), particularly because of the high amount of exposed midsole and the potential for reduced durability. In addition to enjoying running in it, I have also found it to be a comfortable shoe for work due to its firmer cushion and wide base.


Fit: (Extremely comfortable, anatomic fit with extra forefoot volume.)
B+ (Runs lighter than listed weight thanks to midsole. Best for easy/longer road efforts)
Stability: A- [Stable Neutral] (Sidewalls, wide base and good rockered geometry). 
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (Anatomic design with excellent placement of rocker that keeps shoe moving without being mushy. Could still be a little lighter)
Personal: B+/A- (While not the shoe I grab most for easy runs, it is the one I grab most for long days on my feet)
Overall: A- 

Fit: A- (Very good fit and dimensions throughout, I just wish the upper material itself was a little more cozy. Sock liner was a tad slippery at first.)
A (I feel it does exactly what its advertised to do. Transitions are smooth and the experience of the ride is balanced, cushioned, and comfortable.)
Stability: B+/A- (Definitely neutral but nice sidewall in heel, good wide base, slight sole flaring through heel and forefoot)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+/A- (Not a revolutionary design by any means but they did a good job with smaller components and integrating them)
Personal: B+/A- (They're a little heavy for me... but I actually do really like the ride and feel that the shoe is really comfortable. I'd like the upper material to match the rest of the experience, but I'm a fan. )
Overall: B+/A- 

Fit: (Love the wide and high volume tox box, easy lockdown. One of Altra's best fitting shoes to date.)
Performance: A 
(Comfortable and protective for easy miles, even on tired marathon training legs.)
Stability: B+ (neutral) (Wide base, sidewalls, and sole flare help center the foot in the shoe regardless of landing style)
DPT/Footwear Science: B+ (For a higher stack shoe, Altra did a nice job making the midsole feel protective without feeling soft)
Personal: A (One of my favorite Altras to date. Great easy day shoe and work shoe.)
Overall: A


Altra VIA Olympus 2
Price: $164.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Altra for sending us pairs.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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