We might earn income from the merchandise out there on this web page and take part in affiliate applications. Learn More

Backpackers may be fairly fickle—all the time chasing new gear and new developments, in the hunt for the subsequent cottage firm that may shave a couple of ounces off their base weight. However there’s one piece of substances that has been a mainstay for years: the Altra Lone Peak path runner. To say that backpackers like this shoe could be an understatement; they’re obsessive about it. It’s persistently the most well-liked shoe for thru-hikers, and when the Colorado Mountain Membership surveyed their members in regards to the best hiking boot, the one clear winner was the Altra Lone Peak. 

To seek out out whether or not this shoe lives as much as the hype, the OL gear workforce every took a pair out on their day by day rounds. We lined every part from path operating to off-trail mountain climbing to searching in environments starting from the slickrock of the southwest to icy gravel roads within the higher midwest. Would we be transformed? 

  • Males’s Sizes: 8 to fifteen
  • Girls’s Sizes: 5.5 to 12
  • Out there in vast
  • Weight (pair): 22 ounces (males’s), 18.4 ounces (ladies’s
  • Heel-Toe Drop: 0mm 
  • Stack Peak: 25mm
  • Midsole: Altra EGO foam
  • Outsole: MaxTrac rubber
  • Features a rock plate

The Outside Life workforce examined the Altra Lone Peak 6; since then, the Altra Lone Peak 7 has been launched, with some minor modifications to the design. The modifications between the 6 and seven fashions embody an upgraded sole, addition of a heel clip (to assist lock within the heel), and no-sew uppers. 

Zero Drop 

If you happen to’ve by no means heard of the Altra Lone Peak, there are a few essential issues to find out about how this shoe differs from different path runner manufacturers. The primary, and most essential, is that it’s a zero-drop shoe. 

Drop refers back to the distinction within the top between the entrance of the shoe and the again of the shoe. Historically, path runners and mountain climbing boots have had drops of about 10mm (rather less than half an inch), which helps to scale back the absorption of shock whenever you strike along with your heel. 

This will generally result in a rooster and egg downside: Do runners want additional cushion as a result of they’re touchdown on their heels? Or are they touchdown on their heels as a result of there’s additional cushion? The Lone Peak does away with this conundrum by eliminating the heel drop completely. The cushion on the entrance of the shoe is similar as on the heel of the shoe.

The Altra Lone Peak (right) next to Salewa Wildfire, an approach shoe with an unusually narrow toe box.
The Altra Lone Peak (proper) subsequent to Salewa Wildfire, an method shoe with an unusually slender toe field. Laura Lancaster

Vast Toe Field

The subsequent distinction with the Altra Lone Peak is the toe field. Most sneakers—together with, operating, mountain climbing, on a regular basis—widen across the ball of the foot after which slender on the toe field. This helps to advertise a locked-in feeling for some runners, however it additionally prevents your toes from splaying naturally, as they might when you have been operating barefoot. 

If you wish to see this in motion, simply strive operating throughout a grassy discipline with none sneakers or socks on. By widening the toe field, the Altra Lone Peaks offer you a few of the benefits of barefoot-style operating, theoretically growing your stability and lowering the chance of foot-related ache like plantar fasciitis. This design alternative has been choosing up in reputation, and several other manufacturers, together with Hoka and Topo, have both elevated the width of their shoe in more moderen fashions or adopted this model outright for the reason that Altra Lone Peak first arrived on the scene. 

Learn Subsequent: Best Hiking Shoes for Men

Testing the Lone Peaks within the Area 

The 4 Outside Life workers that examined the Lone Peaks reside in several areas with completely different physique varieties in addition to completely different operating gaits and shoe preferences. I’ve damaged the assessment down by operating/mountain climbing model—and included their present shoe of alternative—so that you could discover the particular person you most intently determine with and see what they thought. 

If you happen to determine as a heel striker, then Alex Robinson’s take is price , whereas midfoot and forefoot strikers ought to take a look at Scott Einsmann’s expertise. If you happen to want a supportive shoe, then take a look at Ashley Thess’s take (in addition to her present shoe of alternative), whereas when you want a extra minimalist or barefoot shoe, then begin with Laura Lancaster’s.

Alex Robinson, Editor in Chief

Go-to shoe: HOKA Speedgoat 5

Alex describes his shoe preferences as “maximalist,” and it reveals in his alternative of footwear. Hoka’s path trainers are identified for his or her cushiony midsole—a few of their fashions appear like moon boots to the uninitiated—a distinction with the rock plate-protection of the Altra Lone Peaks. However the stack top of the Speedgoat versus the Lone Peak wasn’t all that completely different: 29mm on the forefoot versus 25mm. 

Alex took the Lone Peaks out for a collection of shoulder-season gravel runs close to his house in Minnesota and was initially impressed by their traction in snowy and icy circumstances, noting that “with extra waterproofing these could be a superb winter operating shoe.” (Excellent news: Altra does certainly make an all-weather version of the Lone Peaks.) However after operating 40 miles over three runs, he was experiencing extra soreness in his legs and knees than he was accustomed to. One possible reason for this was the comparative lack of cushion on the heel of the Lone Peaks. As a result of whereas Alex famous that the zero-drop meant he did strike along with his fore-foot extra within the Lone Peaks than in his typical operating shoe, he was nonetheless primarily hanging along with his heel. If you strike along with your heel, extra of the shock of the affect is absorbed via your knee, versus forefoot hanging, which places extra load in your Achilles. And whereas the stack top on the forefoot of the Speedgoat was similar to the Lone Peak, the Hoka Speedgoat had 8 mm extra cushion on the heel. 

Verdict: The zero-drop model didn’t convert this devoted heel striker, however he nonetheless plans to make use of these sneakers for informal hikes and round camp. 

Laura Lancaster, Workers Author

Go-to shoe: Vivobarefoot Primus FG

If Alex is the maximalist of the group, then I’m the minimalist. I’ve been operating in barefoot sneakers since Born to Run was in hardback. Like most barefoot shoe fans, I’m consistently looking out for the best minimalist shoe for hiking and trail running, partially as a result of there are so few corporations that make them. However learn sufficient posts on r/Barefoot and also you’ll discover the Altra Lone Peaks arising many times as a suggestion (the toe field! the zero drop!) adopted by a string of replies complaining in regards to the stack top, which refers back to the top of the fabric beneath the only of your foot. So I used to be curious to see: Have been the Lone Peaks worthy of being referred to as a minimalist shoe?

I took my pair of Altras with me to Montana for a press journey testing out the brand new OnX Backcountry app. The plan was to check out the app on each current trails and on an off-trail route that our information had scouted out the week prior. 

First up was the prevailing path, a well-maintained rocky path within the Beartooths. My preliminary impression of the Altra Lone Peaks was optimistic. The vast toe field meant I had all the soundness I used to be used to, and the 0 heel drop and almost non-existent arch assist meant my typical mid-foot strike whereas mountain climbing stayed the identical. If something, I ended up spending much less time wanting on the floor than ordinary, for the reason that 25mm stack top and rock plate stored me from feeling any items of sharp rock poking up out of the bottom. To date, so good. 

The Altra Lone Peaks started out as the perfect shoe for rocky trails, but eventually proved to be too tall for this barefoot-style hiker.
The Altra Lone Peaks began out as the right shoe for rocky trails, however ultimately proved to be too tall for this barefoot-style hiker. Laura Lancaster

After we obtained in sight of a lake, the group determined to hoof it off path for 1 / 4 of a mile or so to the shore. That is when issues began to go south for me. As I scrambled over downed timber, stepping on the occasional insecure boulder in between thick grass that hid the bottom, I began to note how a lot the elevated stack top was impacting my spatial consciousness, and my stability consequently. In my typical sneakers—the Vivobarefoot Primus FG—I all the time know the place the underside of my shoe is as a result of, with a stack top of 6.5mm, it’s principally the place the underside of my foot is. The stack top of the Lone Peaks is sort of 4 instances that. With each step I used to be internally calculating the place to step, the way to step, and bracing myself towards shedding my steadiness and rolling an ankle. (It’s virtually inconceivable to roll your ankle in a real minimalist shoe.) I switched again to my common sneakers earlier than the subsequent day’s cross-country rock scramble. 

Verdict: These could be an important shoe for somebody inquisitive about transitioning to minimalist footwear, however barefoot-style runners accustomed to a low stack top ought to steer clear.

Ashley Thess, Assistant Editor

Go-to shoe: Topo Ultraventure 3

At first look, Ashley’s present shoe of alternative, the Topo Ultraventure 3, seems pretty much like the Altra Lone Peaks. Each have vast, roomy toe containers, each have 25mm of drop on the entrance of the shoe (just like the Hoka Speedgoats, these even have an additional 5mm on the heel). However she discovered that the sneakers didn’t present the extent of assist that she wanted for her self-described path operating model of “mountain climbing up after which operating down at variable speeds, often bouncing off the perimeters.”

One distinction between the Altra Lone Peaks and the Topo Ultraventure, in addition to most conventional operating and mountain climbing sneakers, is the extent of arch assist offered by the shoe. The Lone Peaks have pretty minimal arch assist (I barely seen it regardless of completely carrying sneakers with no arch assist), in order that the foot can transfer naturally. Whereas that is what Ashley skilled—she described the barefoot really feel as giving her a way of “wild, child-like abandon” whereas operating—it additionally resulted in shin splints. Additional, Ashley discovered that for her toes, the higher inside quantity of the Altra Lone Peaks ended up being too roomy, and he or she didn’t have the locked-in feeling that she seems for whereas adventuring.  

For Ashley, the Altra Lone Peaks just didn’t provide the support she prefers for southwestern slickrock adventuring.
For Ashley, the Altra Lone Peaks simply didn’t present the assist she prefers for southwestern slickrock adventuring. Ashley Thess

Different particulars of the Altra Lone Peaks additionally ended up being hit and miss for her surroundings. The nice mud and sand of the southwest obtained inside this shoe sooner than others she’s tried. And whereas she echoed Alex’s expertise of the Lone Peaks having sufficient traction to deal with some ice, she discovered that they didn’t present sufficient grip for slickrock. 

Verdict: The roomy, minimalist inside wasn’t a match for Ashley’s foot form or operating model, however their total consolation has made them her go-to choose for day-to-day errands. 

Scott Einsmann, Gear Editor

Earlier go-to shoe: Salomon XA Pro 3D

“These Altras are cash,” Scott advised me the day his Lone Peaks confirmed up. “It seems like I’m not carrying sneakers however have the safety and assist of a shoe.” Of the 4 members of the gear workforce, Scott had by far essentially the most optimistic expertise, finally protecting over 150 miles within the Altra Lone Peaks over 4 months and utilizing them for every part from operating to searching to archery competitions. He ended up liking these sneakers sufficient that he completely switched his go-to shoe from the Salomon XA Professional 3D to the Altra Lone Peak.  

One thing that stood out to Scott whereas operating—coaching for an upcoming elk hunt—was that not solely did his knees damage lower than he was used to, however his posture was additionally higher than when he ran in his Salomon XA Professional 3D. These sneakers have a heel drop of 11mm, loads of additional padding for heel strikes, however it might probably intervene with the pure gait of these inclined towards mid-foot or forefoot hanging. Regardless of this bigger heel drop, Scott was operating with a mid-foot strike within the Salomons—within the Altras, he now tends towards a forefoot strike. He additionally famous, The zero drop is right for archery competitions as a result of it promotes good steadiness.”

For Scott, one other benefit of the Altra Lone Peaks was the vast toe field. Conventional-style trainers, just like the Salomon XA Professional 3D—are likely to slender on the toes, locking them into place when you run. Whereas for some runners, this locked-in really feel interprets as stability, others discover that the power to splay their toes improves their steadiness, and provides them higher stability on uneven floor.

What the Altra Lone Peaks Do Greatest

These are a few of the few true zero-drop sneakers in the marketplace that additionally present a degree of underfoot cushioning. Midfoot and forefoot strikers dissatisfied with their present footwear ought to put the Altra Lone Peaks on their shortlist of sneakers to check out for that purpose alone. Equally the vast toebox helps to enhance stability whereas mountain climbing, particularly over uneven terrain. Lastly, people seeking to ease their manner into true minimalist footwear ought to take into account this as an in-between shoe that may permit their foot (significantly their arch) to strengthen after years of carrying extra historically supportive sneakers. 

What the Altra Lone Peaks Do Worst

Whereas the vast toe field does add stability for many runners and hikers, this isn’t an particularly supportive shoe. The form of the shoe didn’t lock our tester’s toes into place in addition to others they’ve tried, and the shortage of inner construction was seen as a problem by a number of (though including an insole like Superfeet may help to alleviate this problem). It additionally doesn’t preserve out mud or sand in addition to different path runners on the market.

Closing Ideas

If you happen to’re seeking to change up your footwear, whether or not or not it’s for mountain climbing, path operating, or searching, then it’s price placing the Altra Lone Peaks onto your quick checklist. Whereas some heel strikers will discover the comparative lack of cushion and 0 drop a no-go, different runners might uncover that they naturally change their gait in footwear that promotes a mid-foot or forefoot strike, with subsequent advantages of their operating kind, knee ache, or each. One factor to notice is that there’s minimal assist, significantly arch assist on this shoe, so some runners may have so as to add in a customized insole, corresponding to from Superfeet, to compensate. 

Source link