Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

With a Grippy Outsole and Durable Upper, Altra’s King MT 2 Is a True Monarch of the Trail

More dogged than it appears and more comfortable than it looks, the King MT can take on any rugged terrain.

Footwear, Shoe, Black, Walking shoe, Yellow, Outdoor shoe, Magenta, Sneakers, Athletic shoe, Sportswear,
Lakota Gambill

The RW Takeaway: The compact, hardwearing King MT 2 has all the features to take on any terrain.

  • A more hardy, durable, and tear-resistant upper
  • New Vibram MegaGrip Litebase outsole
  • A stone guard plate in the midsole

    Price: $140
    9.8 oz (M), 8.1 oz (W)

    Buy Men’s Buy Women’s More Images

    If a climbing shoe and trail shoe had offspring, the King would be it. Sure, the Velcro strap that wraps around the saddle of Altra’s King MT 2 seems a bit excessive, but it’s just one more component that ensures this trail shoe can tackle any terrain—no matter how rugged—while keeping you on your toes.

    When I held the King in my hands, it looked so compact and stiff that I figured I had another sound bubble “clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp” shoe, instead of one that emitted the musicality of a human gallop. But this shoe has more flex during turnover than predicted, and instead of a noisy beat coming from my feet, it was a gentle pit-pat.

    Lakota Gambill
    King MT 2
    $69.83 (50% off)

    • Lightweight and flexible
    • Superior grip and 6mm lugs

    • Slightly firm cushioning

    The King has a snug fit, mostly due to the Velcro strap, but my feet didn’t feel like they were crammed inside, and that wide toe box Altra is known for upped the comfort factor. Testers shared my sentiment: “No hot spots! Plenty of room for the piggies!”

    Considering the rest of the King’s features—which include grippy chevron-shaped 6mm lugs, a protective stone guard in the midsole, and a tear-resistant upper—it’s no surprise why Altra bestowed the shoe its title.

    Pink, Footwear, Magenta, Shoe, Carmine,
    Chevron lugs and an effective drainage pattern are just a couple features that make this shoe a true king on the trail (women’s shown).
    Lakota Gambill

    Brand New Outsole

    The King gets a major update with the Vibram MegaGrip Litebase, a thinner and lighter outsole than that of the previous version’s. Because of this upgrade, the deceivingly rigid-looking shoe is quite flexible when you hit the trail even with the rock plate in the midsole, a feature that tends to make trail shoes stiffer and heavier.

    According to our measurements, both the men’s and women’s models have gained an extra ounce in this iteration (the men’s 1.5 was 8.5 ounces, women’s was 7 ounces). Testers and I weren’t fazed by the added weight, however. In fact, some runners regarded the King as a welcome departure from the heftier shoes they usually wear when hitting the trail. A stone guard, toe guard (to buffer your toes from sharp rocks and gnarly roots), and hardy upper usually add on extra weight. The King succeeds in possessing all these features without being weighed down.

    Footwear, Shoe, Black, Blue, Outdoor shoe, Electric blue, Athletic shoe, Sneakers, Walking shoe, Hiking boot,
    A Velcro strap is an extra measure to keep your foot locked-in and secure (men’s shown).
    Lakota Gambill

    Firm Feel

    If there was one thing some of our testers yearned for, it was just a little more cushioning in the midsole. The 2 has the same Altra Ego midsole as the 1.5, which is favored for its responsiveness. The consensus was that the firmness wasn’t a dealbreaker; one tester even said he could imagine running 50-plus miles wearing the King. However, some testers did desire some more softness in the forefoot, especially on downhills.

    Wear Tester Feedback

    Bryan P., tester since 2013
    Arch: Flat | Gait: Overpronator | Footstrike: Midfoot
    “[This shoe was] one of the best I’ve tested for fit and traction for shorter to mid-range runs. I need a little more cushioning on the forefoot for longer runs. I loved how well my toes felt (no black nails) with the wide toe box, and how [the shoes fit my feet] like nice slippers, even with my very narrow heels.”

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at
    Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
    More From Running Shoes