Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First Taste: Altra Samsons

The good people at Altra saw fit to send me a pair of the company's latest minimalist offering in its all zero-drop line of running shoes: The Samson. (It's sister model is called Delilah, designed specifically for women's feet.)

The Samsons are basically a laced version of the Adams, which I've been running in since last September. My biggest beef with the Adams were the cinching straps, but that problem is resolved with the Samsons.
The Samson, MSRP: $99.99

Thoughts Out of the Box
The Samsons weigh slightly more than the Adams at 6.5 ounces and feel a bit sturdier. The upper is a thicker mesh than found on many other shoe brands, but is perfectly breathable. The decor of the upper, the orange logo and silvery patterns, add little heft and, along with the wide toe-box, allow the foot to move freely inside.

The Adams came with three insole options, whereas the Samson have a redesigned "Strengthen" insole and the "BareSole" footliner for two insole options, which is just as well, because I found the "Support" insole to bee too much squishyness underfoot with too little ground feel.

It has become customary now to test a minimalist shoe's flexibility by rolling into a ball. While the Samsons pass the test, they were a bit tougher to roll up than the Adams, and according to the Altra website the midsole is stronger than in its predecessor. This will be the main area of observation as I continue to test these shoes.

Rolled up, but tougher to do so.
First Run
My first run was a short neighborhood route, where I ran over varying surfaces such as pavement, brick, asphalt -- all in varying degrees of decay and strewn with debris. The Samsons allowed good ground feel, but I have yet to try the shoes without the insoles.

Walking About
I've had more opportunity to wear these shoes out and about. They're slipper-like in comfort, and my feet haven't gotten tired trekking around airports, as I am currently on a business trip (ironically, in Salt Lake City, just 40 minutes south of Altra's headquarters in Ogden, Utah).

Testing Points
Over the next month, I'll thoroughly test the Samsons for a more thorough review, as I've done with past shoes. My main observations will center on the my 3F criteria (remember, that's flat, flexible and ground feel). I'll try these on all sorts of terrain and at all sorts of distances.

Altra brothers: comparing the Samson and Adam, with
Strengthen insoles.
My first impressions have me looking forward to putting these through my slow paces. If all tests out, I hope these will be my shoes for the next Akron Marathon. Anybody know of any good running spots in SLC?


Carolina John said...

That sounds like a nice product! Very cool.

Ian said...

SELL OUT!!!!!!

Last time I was in SLC I went and ran at Liberty Park. It's a really nice area and they have a soft mulch trail for runners in addition to the concrete paths.

There seemed to be a lot of runners, rollerbladers, etc. there when I was there so you'll be in good company. It's in the city and is pretty easy to spot on Google Maps.