The Altra Samson running shoes are currently my go-to shoe when working out at Push 511 Crossfit studio. They meet just about every need I have during any WOD (Work Out of the Day.) I prefer a shoe that allows my foot to sit flat and offers no artificial support. Thats what you get from the Altra Samson. There is zero cushion and zero heel drop. An exceptionally minimal design with a loose fit that allows your foot to connect naturally on the ground as if you were barefoot. The main function of the Samson is to protect your feet from the ground, offer reliable grip on solid surfaces, and a cover your foot. The upper is made of a slick silvery mesh rip-stop-like material. The sole is solid rubber with various ridges and “toes” laser cut into the rubber that provide that grip. The sole is also very flexible and allows your foot to move as naturally as possible. There is no risk of rolling your ankle or having bad form while working out because of excessive cushioning or an anatomically incorrect shoe construction. The entire shoe is wide, including the toe box which allows your toes to stretch and splay, which I really like because a tight fitting shoe can be uncomfortable and detract from building a strong foundation-especially when digging in to PR deadlifts.
I have logged around 100 miles of road running in the Samsons and you get as much road feel from these shoes as the most minimal shoes on the market. I’ve also been wearing these to Push 511 for over 9 months and they are holding up very well. For me they transition great from the Ergo, to box jumps, to strength work and even out the door for 400 meter sprints. I have trouble with the toe getting in the way in my Vibram 5-Finger while doing double-unders, but that’s not that case with the Samsons. I would avoid wearing these shoes during rope climbs, they just don’t have the protection you need and would get chewed up as you scale the rope. If you already have built up foot and lower leg strength and your feet are accustomed to feeling the ground, these are a great ultra minimal shoe for longer road runs. You will feel rocks and gravel under foot, the sole will smooth out the sharp edges of any city street debris, but even for me it can be uncomfortable at times. There isn’t enough traction to take these on a technical trail, but the super flexible sole does allow for some toe curl, but not enough to grip muddy trails.
The shoe is light, super flexible, highly breathable and built with your foot’s natural physiology in mind. They are a worthy addition if you are looking to build lower leg and foot strength, or toughen up your feet to get the most out of your WOD.
Zero drop, minimal construction, light weight, super flexible, wide foot bed & toe box, works in almost every WOD, unique style, long lasting and very durable, great wet or dry. Similar feel and benefits as Vibram 5-Fingers but no toes.
Not much grip on rough terrain, pricey for a simple shoe, non-Vibram sole, upper material is prone to staining, not built for rope climbs or obstacle races. Style is cool, but not the best looking shoe design out there nor are there color or style variations.
A well built shoe from an up-and-coming shoe maker, designed to let your body and feet do their thing. Extremely light and flexible, the Samsons are an excellent shoe to keep in your gym bag because they are great for almost any WOD you can throw at them.
From the Altra Website:
The Samson™ combines the fit of The Adam™ with a lace-up design and stronger midsole. It features razor-siped soles that grip onto nearly any surface. This shoe can be worn in BareSole™ configuration or with its A-Bound™ energy return insole for extra versatility.
- Running, Road Racing, Camping, Fitness / Cross Training, Water Sports.
- Strengthen Feet, Promote Proper Running Technique.
- Zero Drop™ Platform, Foot-Shaped Design, NRS – Natural Ride System™
- Weight: 6.5 oz.
- Midsole: 3.5 mm EVA
- Outsole: 3.4 mm Razor-Siped Performance Rubber BareSole™
- Insole: A-Bound™ Strengthen
- Upper: Quick-Dry Mesh
- Liner: Super Fabric
- Asymmetrical Lacing
- Other Features: HeelClaw™, A-Wrap, Vegan Friendly
- Stack height = The total thickness of the shoe/the distance between the foot and the ground.
With Strengthen Footbed: 10mm(Heel)/10mm (Forefoot)
Strengthen Configuration (No Footbed): 7mm(Heel)/7mm (Forefoot)
Previous review of the Altra Samson on Believe in the Run
About Bobby G.
A true urban adventurer, spending his entire life living in Philly and Baltimore. Loves life and staying fit, spending time running and crossfitting at Push 511 in Baltimore. Favorite race is the half mary and favorite WOD is Fran. Member of Team Faster Bastards.