Ever wonder what to wear when you run 100 miles across snow covered mountains, through mud, water and ice, and down into the suffocating heat of desert canyons? Find out what shoes and gear Pro-Altra athletes chose for their journey from Squaw to Auburn.
This year, at the 44th running of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, 6 Altra athletes (4 men, 2 women) earned a top ten finish and an invitation to the 2018 race. Members of Altra’s Elite Endurance Team all enjoy the FootShape, Zero Drop, and Fit4Her female specific design that sets Altra apart. Luckily, they can choose from a variety of models to fit their taste. When it comes to elite ultra running or any running for that matter, your shoes are by far the most important item in your wardrobe and can literally make or break your race.
Besides being in the race where ultrarunning was born, the historic Western States course poses specific and varied challenges, many of which proved even tougher than usual this year. Out on the course, racers encountered snow, ice, mud, water, and scorching heat. So, you can imagine that this made the shoe choice very difficult. We caught up with our top ten Team Altra finishers after the race to see what shoes and gear they chose to tackle this course and why. We trust their expert opinion and are excited to share it with you. And if you’re in the market for trail shoes, gear or apparel, and need a little help, it does not get better than this.
Altra Endurance Team Gear Picks For Western States 2017
Nicole Kalogeropoulos: Nicole wore the King MT for the entire race and said: “They were excellent for gripping the snowy and wet terrain in the high country.” She also wore her Altra Fit4Her Team Trucker Hat and a yet-to-be-released Altra Running Singlet she is testing. She reported that the “Lightweight consistency of the shirt proved perfect for the hot weather.”
Meghan Laws (Arbogast): Laws wore the Altra Superior for the whole race. She reports “Superior from start to finish. They are light, nimble, and fit my feet perfectly. They have just the right amount of traction for the varied surfaces we ran on.” Meghan also wore the new Altra Trail Short, a versatile style with lots of pockets, including one zipper. Laws said, “The best part about them is they stayed wet, which kept me cool.”
Jeff Browning: Browning started in the soon-to-be released Altra Timp, a shoe that fits like a Superior and fills the cushioning sweet spot between the Lone Peak and Olympus. He finished the race in the Altra Lone Peak 3.0.
Ian Sharman: Sharman wore the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 for the duration of the race. He says, “I wore the Lone Peak 3.0 the whole way and my feet are completely blister-free at the end, which is something I can only say since switching to Altra.”
Jesse Haynes: Haynes ran the first half of his race in the, soon-to-be released, Altra Timp. He says their durable tread did great on the snow then around mile 56, he switched over to the Altra Olympus to get a tad more cushion and ran in those to the end. Haynes took it a step further and “also wore the Altra Buff to keep the head moist (very important to stay wet in the heat) and the Altra Trail Gaiter, which I am a big fan of to keep the junk and little stones out.”
Kyle Pietari: Pietari ran the whole race in the Altra Superior. He puts it, “I’m a Superior purist. The Superiors have enough tread to do great in snow and mud, and the rubber is really grippy on slick surfaces. Most importantly, they’re speedy, light, and stable. There’s no other shoe I trust more for a serious race.”
Kyle had three pairs of Superiors ready for the race, but only ended up needing two. He switched half way through when he noticed that he had some rocks and dirt in his socks from sinking into the snow during the early miles. He also wore the Altra Racing Hat and he wrote this rave review: “It is the only hat I have ever run in that I would recommend for Western States. It’s featherlight, cooling, and completely stable with no flopping. I filled it with ice at most aid stations and used it to splash water on myself at every stream crossing. Other than that, it kept the sun out of my eyes and I largely forgot it was on my head. It’s so light that I could hardly feel it.”
Sabrina Stanley is not an official Altra athlete, but she finished 3rd female, 21st overall, and rocked the Altra Olympus for the entire race! We are stoked for her and so happy that she loves running in Altra.