April 29, 2014

Review : Altra Lone Peak 1.5

  • Type : Neutral
  • Use : Trail
  • Price : $115-130
I discovered Altra shoes while having a couple drinks and snacks at my friends the Miller's after a run. We were talking about the excesses of the “maximalist” movement, where shoes get more and more padding to appeal to the tired feet of long distance runners. Someone produced a pair of Altra Lone Peaks to make a point that there were shoes out there which offered significant padding, but followed some of the basic principles of “minimalist” running, too. No need to say, they got my attention.

First test
I had a long run scheduled shortly thereafter and received my Lone Peaks on the day I was leaving, which left no room for second thoughts. If I was going to wear those shoes in my Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim adventure, I had to be dead sure they wouldn't cause issues. The day before our traverse, we went out for a couple-hours hike down the south rim; that was my chance. I tried out the shoes, hiking for several hours, and was very pleased with the comfort, super wide toe box and soft ground feel. I was convinced enough to wear them the next morning.

Long-distance trail test
We started our adventure before daylight, which means some unsure steps along a very steep downhill in the semi-darkness. Immediately, I felt at ease in the Lone Peaks. They are grippy and feel very secure, yet their soft sole leaves all the room you want for foot flexing and ground feel. Being zero-drop, they didn't alter my running form in any way and their low weight, impressive considering the amount of material in the shoe, made me feel as quick-stepped and light as in any other, more minimal shoe I usually wear.

Not too shabby for a test lab :)
But the Lone Peaks started to really shine when the miles piled up. Beyond twenty miles of fast downhills and gruelling climbs, I expected my feet to start getting tired and beat up. Not at all. The cushioning is thick and soft, and my feet felt so fresh that it was hard to believe, considering the terrain we were navigating.

More miles and more fatigue, and still the shoes felt great. I was a little worried that the very wide toe box would cause significant inner friction. On the contrary; the ample room left my toes free to move and I didn't feel any hot spots. I didn't have to lace too hard either, so no blood circulation issues, even when my feet inevitably swelled up from the hours of beating down the dirt paths.

I emerged back on the south rim over sixteen hours after I had started, and couldn't repress a wide smile when I took the Lone Peaks off to find no blisters whatsoever, no hotspots and no bruising. This shoe, I tell you, is an absolute keeper.

Altra has definitely found an equilibrium between comfy cushioning and firm ground feel. The Lone Peak doesn't go over board like the ultra-cushioned extravagant Hoka, yet provides such a smooth ride that you can wear it for hours on end and still feel great, protected and close to the ground all at once. The soles are grippy and firm, never slipping, sliding or rolling. I even tried a couple pretty stupid steps on sketchy scree, wet rocks and other perils and I never lost grip. I felt confident and could focus more on the beautiful nature that surrounded me, instead of wearily scanning the trail to pick my way at every step. I finished a pretty gruelling adventure with fresh feet, and a huge smile on my face.

The Altra Lone Peak is an awesome trail shoe perfectly fit for long distance running on a wide variety of terrains. If you train in lightweight minimal shoes and are looking for a comfier ride for your trail ultras, look no further. The wide toe box lets your toes move freely, while the upper and the lacing fit snugly around your foot. The grip is perfect and actually added to my confidence on the trails. The cushioning is what really sets this shoe aside (and I would say above) the competition for its fantastic comfort while not taking anything away from ground feel and flex, which really made me wonder how I would ever run another ultra wearing anything else.

High points
  • Thick, comfy, excellent cushioning
  • No compromise on flex and ground feel
  • Zero-drop conception doesn't alter your running form
  • Light weight
  • Neat extras, like a built-in velcro attachment for gaiters

Low points
  • Probably too padded for an everyday trainer


  1. Yippie!!!! Thanks for this, Flint! I've been contemplating an alternative to my 5 fingers for when we are hiking the mountains. Will be looking into these!

  2. I think the Altra Lone Peak is a great choice for a hiking shoe and for trail running as well. I hope you like them as much as I do! Run free :)

  3. Excellente analyse, merci. Comme je ne fais pas de trail, j'ai opté pour les Altra the One il y a un an et ce sont mes souliers préférés. La deuxième version est complètement changée avec plus de coussinage. Je suis plus du genre minimaliste mais après avoir lu ton analyse, c'est probablement une bonne amélioration et je vais faire un upgrade. Je viens de courir Boston et comme je voulais plus de semelle, j'ai opté de prende mes Go run Ride. Je me suis ennuyé du large toe box de mes Atra avec 4 vilaines ampoules sur les orteils qui m'ont ralenti dans les derniers km. Jamais eu d'ampoules avec les Altra.

    1. C'est, à mon avis, le plus gros avantage des Altra. Je suis devenu très capricieux sur les autres souliers, parce que moi non plus, je ne fais plus d'ampoules!!!