Altra Lone Peak 5 Review
Altra running shoes have now been on the market for 10 years and their very first trail running shoe was the Lone Peak. In 10 years the Lone Peak has developed to become one of the most popular trail running shoes we sell at NorthernRunner.com and in-store. As well as the classic trail running version, there is now a Lone Peak ALL-WHTR (All Weather) and a Waterproof Lone Peak boot popular with hikers and fast packers.
It would be a good idea to a base knowledge of the Lone Peak by reading previous reviews Charlie and other members of the team have done.
The concept behind Altra shoes is simple. They are designed to let your feet function. They are flat aka ‘Zero Drop’, which allows your foot to land under your centre of gravity and on the ball of your foot. This loads the foot correctly so that the planta fascia can spread out to absorb the shock and spring you into your next step. The toe box of Altra shoes is broad and rounded, trademarked ‘FootShape’, to give your foot the space for this to happen. There is no shaping under the arch to stop your arch compressing so your foot can work naturally within the shoes.
The Lone Peak 5 has a few genuine improvements. The midsole material is now Altra Ego, which is the same midsole like Altra road running shoes like the Altra Escalante. This offers more underfoot protection and doesn’t flatten out as quickly as the A-Bound material that was used in the previous versions. It also has a little bit of bounce to it without taking away the feel for the trail. There is still a rockplate so your feet don’t get bruised by sharp stones or thorns coming through the midsole. They are slightly lighter than previous versions despite offering more cushioning. The flexibility has remained.
Fit & Feel
The heel, like the previous versions, has no plastic heel cup so it pulls in around your heel. It is very soft and moulds to the shape of your heel well, which is incredibly comfortable. Even when my Lone Peaks have worn out from a grip point of view, I’ve kept them for a comfy shoe to throw on for less serious runs. The Lone Peak 5 feels like you aren’t wearing a shoe. The upper pulls in around your midfoot but the broad rounded toe box allows your toes to be completely free to spread and wiggle.
The new upper has been made a little tougher than the previous models, with the addition of drainage holes in the overlays at the toes and outside of the midfoot. This is to prevent water from pooling in the shoes when crossing rivers or splashing through puddles.
The lugging on the outsole is 4mm long and well spread out to avoid clogging. The rubber used is ‘Maxtrac’, a soft sticky rubber. The outsole is great on everything from some inevitable time on the tarmac to dry trails, dusty trails hard packed trails. They are not designed for the worst wet, sticky good old British mud. The 4mm studs aren’t quite long enough to plod through the worst mud without a bit of slipping and sliding about. This is true of most trails shoes because longer studded shoes don’t ride so well over harder packed ground. There is always a compromise and one shoe can’t do it all perfectly.
Altra founder Brian Beckstead had never managed to get beyond the 67 mile mark of a 100 mile race due to blisters. That is until he developed the Lone Peak. He finished the 2007 Wasatch 100 with no blisters or rubbing or any foot pain in the Lone Peak prototype. The shape of the shoes allows your feet to spread and function when heating up over longer distances, which reduces the chance of any rubbing. Furthermore, the lymph is pumped around by this function of your feet, which reduces swelling considerably and is why long-distance walkers and through hikers are now fans of the roomy Lone Peak.
As a result, Altra crated a waterproof version of the shoe and an incredibly popular boot, the Lone Peak Mid.
In summary the Lone Peak 5 is a fantastic all round trail running shoe with posture improving features, room to spread out and a slipper like feel to boot. It’s ideal for those wanting a shoe that allows for more natural foot function.
If you aren’t used to shoes with a low heel to forefoot drop then it’s a good idea to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes. This is because a lower heel to forefoot drop allows your ankles and lower legs to function more. So, you need to allow them the chance to get used to the extra movement and strengthen up. During this time it’s a good idea to alternate with your current shoes.
Charlie @ Northern Runner Newcastle
Topo Ultraventure 2: These have a similar broad rounded toe box with a 5mm heel to forefoot drop. They are a snugger fit in the heel and around the midfoot. Here is our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-ultraventure-2-review
Inov-8 Terraultra G270: Zero drop broad rounded toe box but not as broad as a Lone Peak. A bit stiffer and with a bit more grip in the mud: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/inov-8-terraultra-g-270-graphene-review-cushioned-ultramarathon-running-shoes
Saucony Peregrine: Narrower fit. Comes in the ST version which is a good grip in the mud:
Peregrine ST Review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/saucony-peregrine-11-st-review-high-grip-trail-running-shoes
Hoka Speedgoat: Narrower fit with a much more pointed toe box than the Lone Peak. Available in two widths. Here is our review of the Speedgoat Evo: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-one-one-speedgoat-evo-review