For trail runners, few things are more important (and more debated) than having the right footwear. Recently I was given the opportunity to give the Altra Lone Peaks a try, and I jumped at the opportunity. The Altra brand has been gaining some traction in South Africa lately, so I decided to see exactly why these are being so well received.
At first glance it is apparent that the Lone Peak is a bit different from most trail shoes. The shoe offers some great lines running along the side, the heel and toe sections rise as expected, and everything on the sole in-between is completely flat. The shoe is zero-drop, which I am a big fan of, and the look and feel of the shoe leans towards minimalism and natural running.
One of the most noticeable areas is the toe box. Simply put – it is very wide and very flat. This took a bit of getting used to visually, but after five minutes of having these guys on I stopped noticing. Altra have added a nice touch, as they do with their shoes, with the sole showing what the outlines of a human foot. It’s a great touch and looks good on the trails.
With all running shoes, it is generally recommended to go one size up from “perfect fit”. As has become apparent with other shoes I’ve owned, “perfect fit” and trail running equals lots of black toes. I requested one size up, the size I currently run trails in, and was surprised at how big they felt. This is largely due to the toe box area being as generous as it is. I suggest going in store and trying these on before assuming that your size in Salomon/Inov-8/Nike will be the same.
After a few minutes of wearing the Lone Peak’s, you start to enjoy the extra gap in the toe box, and your foot sits super comfortably. These are hands down one of the most comfortable pairs of trail shoes I have worn, and zero drop with decent padding is a new thing to me, and I love it.
The Lone Peaks are made with some really durable material, specifically for trail running. The toe cap looks like it will last for a decent amount of tough miles, and the stitching is solid. All too often the stitching is where it all falls apart, but Altra seemed to sort this out by having as little stitching as possible. The mesh adds a great breathable layer with fantastic comfort, and the inner sole pads your foot just enough. You won’t be getting any large degree of proprioception through this sole, but the trade off is running on what feels like a cloud.
The sole has great feel, and the grip should last for a while before being worn out. I haven’t been able to get any massive distance in these guys yet, but the sole shows absolutely minimal wear.
I took the Lone Peaks on a trial run through Klipriviersberg to see how it would handle a route I knew well. The biggest thing to notice is the comfort, I could see myself running 4 hours plus in these and coming out without a single blister. The shoes are quite light and the zero drop makes for a comfortable stride.
On the ascents, the shoes gripped really well, only slipping on occasion but more than adequate for any trail shoe. The ground was a mixture of loose gravel and rocks, so grip was pushed to the max. On the descents, the shoes seemed to fair quite well. My biggest concern came from my feet being too spaced, leading me to believe I had got a size too big. Outside of too much play, the shoes handled really well.
After an hour and half’s run, the shoes had barely taken any damage even under some harsh Gauteng terrain. My feet were comfortable and there were no aches and pains anywhere, it felt like my feet hadn’t been on a run at all.
The Lone Peaks are a fantastic shoe. The biggest draw would be the comfort factor. You could easily run ultras in these and your feet not feel any worse than running a 5km. The extra space in the toe box takes a little getting used to but quickly becomes a big part of the comfort. At a price placing it smack bang in the middle of most trail shoes, I would highly recommend you give these a try.