Trail Running Shoe Face Off – Altra TIMP 1.0 vs Altra Olympus 2.5
Its time for another brand face off, this time we pit the all new Altra TIMP 1.0 vs the tried and true Olympus and the new 2.5 model. Both are max cushioned trail runners and come in at very similar weight levels, so our hope is to break down the differences and figure out which to wear in which scenario. The TIMP is an all new shoe for Altra, so this is also a bit of an introduction to the new platform as well.
The upper on these shoes couldn’t be more different both aesthetically and structurally. The TIMP has a 360 degree reflective upper that despite not being marketed as especially durable, does a great job protecting the foot. I struggle with why a full reflective upper on a trail shoe honestly, but it is there.
The Olympus 2.5 on the other hand features a more classic and breathable abrasion resistant mesh. The design of the TIMP upper brings a whole new offset lacing system just like the Altra IQ. The shape itself is more anatomical than the Olympus which definitely feels like a more classic Altra shoe. The TIMP screams aggressiveness, while the Olympus feels a little safer.
The mids on both shoes are also very different. The TIMP skews more aggressive using an ultralight EVA foam to keep the weight down and keeping it more flexible. The Olympus Altra’s dual layer model with varying densities of EVA. Both shoes make use of Altra’s A-bound technology to help with turnover.
With a 36mm stack the Olympus is definitely the more cushioned of the two, but now we are starting to see the TIMP skew a bit more aggressive.
When you get to the outsole on these two things, it becomes a totally different world. The TIMP at first glance is ultra aggressive making use of a DuraTread rubber with Altra’s TrailClaw technology. The lugs on the TIMP are insane and they grip like there is no tomorrow so ideal for mud, wet weather, and climbing/descending.
The Olympus on the other hand also uses a durable rubber, but instead makes use of Vibram MegaGrip. The bi-directional lugs on these are very small and while they do track and hold well, I would not use these in the mud as they just don’t handle it as well.
Style & Aesthetics
The TIMP comes in 4 colorways (gray/blue, red/black, gray/black, olive/black) and as far as an Altra goes feel very future forward. The Olympus 2.5 comes in 3 colorways (blue, gray/red, gray/yellow) and feels visually like the Altra you have seen many times before, it’s tried and true. Both come in male and female specific models.
This one is a real tough one for me, so I’ll take you through my thinking and that may help a bit. When you first try them both on, you will feel it right away. The TIMP 1.0 fits you more snugly, its got some weight on it, but the bottom is really tough and grips hard. The Olympus 2.5 on the other hand has more width, it fits more comfortably/looser even, and is a little stiffer. It feels more like a trail version of the Paradigm to some degree.
In run, both shoes are heavy underfoot… they are clearly not designed for quick pacing and instead for slow and steady. The aggressiveness of the TIMP lugs makes them almost too much for drier and non-aggressive days. As the weather shifts however or if you are doing a lot of vertical climbing. They will actually catch on the trail sometimes which is a little awkward. On the majority of days I would go for the Olympus and here is why, comfort. The TIMP feels like Altra is trying to apply Superior features to a max cushion shoe. At the same weight level, I can get an extra 7mm of cushion for the majority of my runs so you would think of course I am going to lean that way. However, the TIMP is more of a bridge… a sweet spot shoe. Altra had a gap between the Lone Peak and the Olympus and filled it with the TIMP. So if you want slightly more cushion, BUT don’t want that extra 7mm of stack height, then the TIMP will fit really well.
So when did I use what you might be asking yourself, well I found that easy to decide over time. For most normal days with no inclement weather, I would grab the Olympus as I like a little extra cushion and don’t mind the stack height. When the weather turned a little wetter or a little colder (especially snow) or even when the trails were very technical, then I would switch to the TIMP for the extra traction. They became my all-weather shoes to some degree whereas the Olympus were only for dry days.
The Altra TIMP 1.0 and the Olympus 2.5, while weighing similar and having close stack heights, are different beasts. The TIMP is based on a new platform, one that is designed for ultra aggressiveness. It is future forward and uses all the new technology that Altra has planned. The TIMP is the gap filler between the Lone Peak and the Olympus. However, it is heavy and I think if the next version can cut a little weight, then it’s basically carved out a new category.
The Olympus is much more classic in design and if this is about cushion, then you will land here. If Altra could take off about an ounce or more from the TIMP, then it becomes a very very different story. If you run in the mud a lot or like a heavier protected shoe, then the TIMP is for you.
Technical Stats, Pricing & Availability
Altra TIMP 1.0
- Weight: 11.1oz (size 9)
- Drop: 0mm heel/toe
- Stack Height: 29mm
- MSRP: $130.00
- Available: Now
Altra Olympus 2.5
- Weight: 11.5oz (size 9)
- Drop: 0mm heel/toe
- Stack Height: 36mm
- MSRP: $150.00
- Available: Now