Altra Lone Peak 6 Review | Includes Lone Peak 5 vs. Lone Peak 6
The Lone Peak was Altra’s first trail running shoe and many years of development later, it’s time for the latest version, the Altra Lone Peak 6, to get its review and explore the difference between the Lone Peak 6 and Lone Peak 5. I am pleased to say that although it has changed a lot in the last 12 years, it has retained the brand’s identity. As with all Altra shoes, it is Zero Drop and has a broad, rounded toe box aka Altra’s trademarked FootShape. Altra shoes were designed to allow your feet to function and for you to run with a more midfoot landing. This allows your feet, ankles and lower legs to function as they were intended. As there is no elevated heel, most people naturally land on their midfoot with the foot touching the floor under your centre of gravity. This utilises the shock absorbing and propulsion capabilities of your foot and reduces the breaking force too. It’s no wonder that the Lone Peak 6 and Lone Peak 6 wide are instantly popular, as these pretty revolutionary technologies have made it one of the go-to shoes for trail runners and walkers. As well as the running version, which as a breathable mesh upper, there is a waterproof or all-weather version and a boot version.
Altra make their shoes on three lasts (foot shapes). As you would expect for Altra’s first and most iconic shoe, the Lone Peak 6 is made using Altra’s ‘original’ last. This is the broadest and has the most volume in the toe box of the three lasts. With ultramarathons being such a popular aspect of trail running in the US and Altra being a US brand, the Lone Peak 6 is designed to be the go-to shoe for those classic 100-mile races. Having the space inside the shoes for your feet to function reduces how much they swell, as the lymph is pumped back up the body by your feet functioning. You have a lot less chance of getting blistered or chafed feet. Customers often ask if they still need to have a thumb width of space between the end of their longest toe and the end of the shoes when standing up in the shoes with them laced. The answer is yes, although you may feel that a shoe with this shaped toe box feels initially big. If you wear running shoes too narrow or small, you have reduced the amount your foot can function.
If you have been wearing shoes with a more pointed toe box, then you are likely to find that your feet don’t spread on impact. This function does return over time. Your feet get more flexible and you get gaps between your toes. If you aren’t used to low drop shoes with space for your feet to spread in the shoes, it’s best to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes. This way your feet and lower legs with get used to the extra movement and strengthen up without getting over loaded.
In the latest version, the Lone Peak 6, the midsole is still Altra Ego with a stack height of 25mm. This gives a good level of cushioning for trail use without taking away too much feel for the trail. This plus the flexibility of the shoes allows you to be light and nimble. For some runners there is enough cushioning for road to trail use. However, if you like a soft ride to your shoes then the Timp 4 might be a better option. The outsole is still Altra Maxtrac. This offers a good grip on trails. The studs aren’t long enough to offer a lot of traction in the worst sticky mud but are designed to offer good grip on all other mixed trail terrain.
How well the Lone Peak 6 performs in softer conditions depends on how nimble you are in the shoes. I find that in a Zero Drop shoe that is flexible I am a lot lighter on my feet and my cadence is quicker, so I ‘skip’ over soft, muddy sections with no issues. In a stiffer trail shoe with similar lugs, I would be slipping around a lot more. I find the same with the Altra Superior. They are a very comfortable, responsive trail shoe but are lacking in grip on soft trails. This is less of a problem than it first appears if you are running with a good upright posture and lifting your feet up. If you are having a long day out, then fatigue might set in and leave you less nimble, slipping around a lot more as a result! Also, if you are running on a camber in the mud then you do tend to slip down the hill.
To summarise if you are on predominantly harder packed tracks and trails, like most UK based trails, then the grip of the Lone Peak is certainly adequate. If your usual route takes you over farmers’ fields that are often sticky, sloppy mud and through streams & wet single track then you are looking for a more aggressive shoe, and we’re happy to help.
The comfort of the Lone Peak 6 is often described to us by customers as ‘like an old pair of slippers’. This is a good description! The upper is designed to hold your foot onto the midsole but to still allow it to function. The heel cup has no plastic in it so it can take the shape of your heel. The upper pulls in around the foot to hold you securely at the heel and over the midfoot. Although your foot can function, your foot isn’t turning inside the shoe.
Difference Between Lone Peak 5 & Lone Peak 6
Compared with the Lone Peak 5, the Lone Peak 6 has maintained the width that the 5th version’s upper has but holds the foot onto the midsole better. In my opinion this has changed the feel of the shoes. The Lone Peak 6 now feels more flexible, responsive, and yet more cushioned. The Lone Peak 5 was my trail running shoe for longer runs and the Altra Superior was my trail shoe for shorter, quicker sessions. The Lone Peak 5 didn’t feel particularly nimble and felt a bit firm on tarmac so weren’t great for truly mixed runs. The Lone Peak 6 I now use on runs of all lengths, including mixed runs. Although I still enjoy running in my Altra Superiors, the change in the fit of the Lone Peak 6 has created a lot more cross over in the use of these two shoes.
The Lone Peak 6 still has the Velcro gaiter trap on the heel so you can attach a gaiter to the shoes. The gaiter helps stop debris from getting into the shoes and covers the laces. In the UK the gaiter is a good addition if your runs take you through a lot of undergrowth, where your laces might get untied or you’re on sandy/stony paths that throw up a lot of small stones and grit.
The Altra Lone Peak 6 is available in two widths. In our experience the regular width is like a women’s D width and a men’s 2E width in shoe brands that have a more pointed toe box. If your feet are broad towards the midfoot & toes, then a shoe with a more rounded toe box like Altra is likely to fit the shape of your feet much better. The ‘wide’ width Lone Peak’s aren’t any technially wider than the regular width but have more volume in the upper. These would fit a person with a high-volume foot. This would include customers who wear extra wide aka a women’s 2E or men’s 4E in more traditionally shaped running shoes.
Altra makes their men’s and women’s shoes with different shaped lasts to compliment the anatomical differences in men & women’s feet. The Altra Women’s shoes are narrower at the heel and midfoot. They have a higher instep and a longer arch than the Men’s.
In summary the Altra Lone Peak 6 is an improved version of our most loved trail running shoe, designed for harder packed tracks and trails, great for the UK scene. It offers space for your feet to function inside the shoes and Zero Drop allows a more natural midfoot foot landing and encourages a better posture and form. Your feet get stronger and share the workload of running, which reduces the chance of getting injuries. A perfect cushioned trail running shoe that’s versatile for almost all trail surfaces bar the most muddy the feels really comfortable straight out of the box.
Topo MTN Racer: Topo is the most similar brand to Altra. Not all their shoes are zero drop but, they all have a broad rounded toe box. They are more fitted at the heel and through the midfoot. So, they don’t allow quite as much foot function as an Altra shoe but considerably more than a pointed toe boxed shoe. They have a few shoes that would rival the Lone Peak. The MTN Racer is 5mm from heel to forefoot has better traction and is similarly flexible in the forefoot. Here is our review:
Topo Ultraventure 2: If you are looking for a more cushioned shoe for longer distances that offers some stability for those long plods then these would be an option. Here is a link to our review:
Topo Terraventure 3: If you are looking for a lower drop (3mm) with a rockplate for underfoot protection and less cushion than an Ultra shoe then these are worth considering. Here is a link to our review:
Inov-8 Trailfly G270. These are zero drop with a rounded toe box. Not as broad as a Lone Peak and the shoes are a bit stiffer. Here is our Inov-8 Trailfly G270/ Terraultra G270 review:
Icebug Outrun: These have a broad rounded toe box. Not quite as broad as a Lone Peak but, more room than the Terraultra/Trailfly G270. They are 7mm heel to forefoot. If grip is what you are after than these are ones to consider. The outsole rubber is very grippy even on wet surfaces. The lugging is a similar length to the Lone Peak but bites into the ground more effectively. Here is a link to our review: