Ever since I reviewed the Altra Instinct two months ago, I wanted a slightly lighter version but that wouldn’t be available for a while. However, Altra Zero Drop recently launched the Samson (Delilah for women) – a combination of the fit of The Adam (which we reviewed a year ago) with a lace-up design and stronger midsole.
I have since outgrew my Adam by one full size. The Samson features razor-siped soles just like the Adam – they are identical. They are both 3.4mm performance rubber BareSole.
The lace-up design is a welcomed addition as I had a hard time putting on The Adam when my feet grew but laces would have helped – I would just loosen them more.
The insole is removable in both models but the Samson only comes with the A-Bound Strengthen insole – the Adam had also included a Molded Support insole.
The Samson also has a 3.5mm EVA midsole that the Adam lack. This make the Samson a stronger but stiffer running shoe compared to the Adam.
The Samson weight in at 8.2 ounces (US Size 10.0) and has a stack height of 10mm. If you remove the insole, you only about 7mm from the ground. All Altra shoes are zero drop – 0mm heel-to-toe differential. The Samson weighs about 1.5 ounces more than The Adam. The uppers is made of a quick-dry mesh but it felt rougher but definitely more durable than the Adam stretch fabric.
The lacing system is considered asymmetrical but looks normal. The tongue however does not slide around like other shoes and is also a little thicker but I like the soft padding – the laces does not cut into the top of your feet when I use it for sprint training or doing box jumps.
Since I run in all my running shoes sockless, the Samson felt a little rougher (both with or without the insole) than the Merrell Road Glove or New Balance Minimus Zero Trail or Vibram Spyridon LS. The uppers also had a crease from bending at the forefoot that gave me a hot spot on the top of my right foot. But after one run, the uppers soften and I never had another hot spot again.
Even with a standard US Size 10, the Samson has a super-wide toe box giving my 2E+ feet ample space to splay when running! If you remove the insole, you have an extra 3mm of toe box height and a lot closer to the ground.
My female wear-tester Sophie has been testing the Altra Delilah. She has been running in the Altra Intuition for the past few months as she transitioned away from the more cushioned and heeled Nike Free Run +2.
Her first impression were similar to mine. The outsole felt a little stiffer than the Intuition but has less cushioning (with the removable insole intact). She had no problem running in them and they felt fine (with less stack height) now that she strengthened her arch and feet. With no changes in running gait. But an old nagging stress fracture comes and go when she put in longer runs. This is more prominent on asphalt than on non-technical trails.
For walking, the Intuition scratches her left heel but that is likely a manufacturing issue as it only affects her left. The Delilah did not have this problem and she is delighted with it. So it has replaced her Intuition as her commute shoe as she puts in over a mile walking to and from public transportation.
Comparing the Delilah and Intuition, the Delilah is a lot lighter and great for the upcoming warmer months. It is also the next natural step in her transitioning path to lower and thinner minimal shoes. What’s next after the Delilah? Maybe take out the removable insole? But she felt the top of the midsole is a little rough. Maybe go completely barefoot? Time will tell.
Altra took their most versatile minimalist shoe and made it even better. I love the lacing system as it is easier for me to put the shoes on compared to the Adam. Or if your feet grows, you can loosen the laces and extend the mileage on the Samson.
It may not be as minimal as the Adam with the additional non-removable midsole but I see this as a training shoe versus the Adam which is more of a racing shoe. You can put in longer runs with the Samson if you like a little extra cushioning.
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The Altra Samson for men comes in one colorways: Gray/Orange.
The Altra Delilah for women comes in two colorways: Silver/Purple, Silver/Magenta.
*Product provided by Altra Zero Drop (MSRP $100 each). CMP.LY/1 Review
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