Altra Lone Peak 7 Review
This week, a hotly anticipated deeper dive into the latest Zero Drop trail shoe from Altra. It’s the Altra Lone Peak 7 review. The Lone Peak was Altra’s original shoe and has gone on to be their most popular trail running shoe. Like all Altra shoes they are Zero Drop and have a rounded toe box trademarked as FootShape.
The Lone Peak 7 is a broad fitting shoe with a good level of volume in the upper, as it is made on Altra’s ‘original’ last. Altra now offers three different lasts. The ‘original’ last is the widest, with the most volume. Then the ‘standard’ last is narrower through the
midfoot and doesn’t have the same volume in the upper and the ‘slim’ last is the narrowest, certainly offering a much snugger fit than the ‘original’.
The fit of the Altra Lone Peak 7 is very similar to the Lone Peak 6, which holds the foot much better in the midfoot than the Lone Peak 5 and earlier models. This is to reduce your foot moving inside the shoe when you are running on rough terrain, or a camber. There is still the same width and volume in the forefoot as there was in the Lone Peak 6.
The midsole is Altra Ego foam, designed to give a good level of energy return and comfort without taking away the feel for the trail. A feel for the trail allows your foot to ‘respond’ to the shape of the terrain and function inside the shoes. The stack height is 25mm. For runners used to very soft road shoes and wanting a highly cushioned road to trail option, they’ll have to look elsewhere in the Altra range. The Lone Peak 7 is, as we say at Northern Runner, an “out and out” trail running shoe. If you like a somewhat firmer, more responsive trail shoe then you’ll be at home.
Saying that, I personally found the Lone Peak 6 fine for a road to trail shoe and even used them for runs that where all on the road a couple of times! The reason being I find that Altra’s ‘original’ last is generally so comfortable. They feel like a pair of slippers to me. When picking shoes for my morning or evening run, I grabbed the Lone Peak 6 too often if anything! The fit of the Lone Peak 7 is equally as comfortable. The upper feels like it is more substantial and has a more protective feel to it on my foot. The size, width and volume feel the same.
The midsole does feel a little firmer and more responsive. The only real reason I am mentioning it is that some runners, like me, might be using their Lone Peak 6 for a broader number of surfaces than they are designed for and the Altra Lone Peak 7 will be slightly less forgiving doing so. All that said, it’s a trail running shoe, not a road shoe!
Reminder about Fit4Her
All women’s Altra running shoes are a slightly different shape aka ‘Fit4Her’ to the men’s, as women’s feet have anatomical differences. We have male and female Lone Peak lovers at Northern Runner, namely Craig (Newcastle shop manager) and Morag, who contributes to our shoe reviews. From both a men’s and women’s perspective, the Lone Peak 7 fits very similar to the 6.
The Lone Peak 6 outsole was made of Altra’s MaxTrac. This is a sticky rubber designed to give good traction on wet rock, wood etc.. The Lone Peak 7 uses the same rubber but compared to the Lone Peak 6 is has more lugs (40 lugs on the Lone Peak 6 and 47 lugs on the Lone Peak 7) which increases the surface area in contact with the ground. This should improve traction further on all surfaces. The lugs of the Lone Peak 7 are also longer than on the Lone Peak 6, now measuring 5mm in length. Although this doesn’t now make the Altra Lone Peak 7 a cross country racing shoe, it does improve the grip in the mud and the snow. One drawback with the Lone Peak in the UK, in general, has always been that the lugging is a little short when you hit the mud. And mud is very common on UK trails! When running in a Zero Drop shoe with good posture you do tend to be lighter on your feet and land midfoot, which reduces the breaking force. You can pick your way over muddy sections without too much trouble, just not the extremist of conditions. However, when running on rough, muddy ground or on a camber, good traction is essential to keep you upright. The slightly longer lugs are very welcome and have made a noticeable difference to traction on the bit of snow that we have had in the North East recently.
The other noticeable change to the outsole is the lugging under the big toe. As you push off from under your big toe this part of the outsole takes a lot of abrasion. Past versions of Lone Peak have lost the studding in this section of the outsole quite quickly. On the Lone Peak 7 there is three lines of thick studs under the big toe, where there was only one on the Lone Peak 6. This is a similar stud design to that used on the heel of a lot of shoes (including the Lone Peaks) to make the studding more durable. A lot of trail shoes have a similar more durable studding configuration under the big toe to increase durability. This is noticeable on the La Sportiva Akasha 2, which is designed for a similar mix of trail terrain.
Upper & Heel
Altra have got rid of the drainage holes that where on the toe of the Lone Peak 6. Unless you are wading through streams, then these won’t be missed. The mesh upper of the Lone Peak 7 doesn’t hold much water and dries quickly. A lot of the stitching has been removed from the upper and replaced with overlays. This makes the upper a little sleeker and gives it more of a durable look. The toe bumper overs the same level of toe protection as previous models. The lacing has also changed. It is slightly wider apart which gives a nicer fit over the top of the foot without having to pull the laces too tight in our experience. The heel cup contains no plastic and is completely soft as it has been since the Lone Peak 4. This allows the heel cup to take the shape of your heel and pull in around your foot when laced. In our experience this means the Lone Peak will fit all shapes and sizes of heel well. The heel cup and tongue are adequately padded to make the shoes comfortable but isn’t excessive. The Lone Peak 7 is slightly heavier than the Lone Peak 6. (men’s UK8 Lone Peak 6 300g, men’s Lone Peak 7 is 314g, women’s Lone Peak 6 248g, women’s Lone Peak 7 is 261g). This isn’t noticeable when running in the shoes.
Some Natural Support
Although not designed to give any anti pronation support, as the Lone Peak is a neutral shoe, the Altra Lone Peak 7 has been made stiffer around the base of the heel cup. Even neutral runners who require no pronation support tend to roll slightly inwards or outwards. After a period of running, the midsole stops going back to its original position due to compression set in the midsole. When this happens, the shoe will push the runner’s foot in the direction of the compression set. This will exacerbate the runners inward or outward role. The small plastic support that stiffens up the heel of the Lone Peak 7 will reduce how much the midsole will twist inwards or outwards and reduce the chance of the shoes getting twisted. Both Morag and Craig where completely unaware of this added stability so it hasn’t added any noticeable stiffness at the heel. The increased rubber on the outsole of the Lone Peak 7 has made them initially slightly stiffer at the toe. However, after the first run I didn’t notice this anymore, so either the shoes quickly became more flexible or the stiffness is so slight that you quickly get used to it! The increased rubber on the outsole makes the Lone Peak more durable and gives more underfoot protection and traction as there is more rubber in contact with the floor.
Like previous versions, the Lone Peak 7 has a built-in stone guard. This with the increased rubber coverage on the outsole should reduce the chance of getting thorns, rocks etc bruising or piecing the feet. The Lone Peak 7 has the same Velcro tab at the heel and lace loop at the toe to attach Altra’s gaiters, should you would want to prevent debris from getting into the shoes.
Altra shoes are all Zero Drop with a rounded toe box. This is to allow your feet to be in a relaxed position so they can spread on impact and absorb the shock. This stabilises and cushions the runner as well as gives them propulsion from their feet, as the planta fascia is stretched on impact and then recoils to spring you into your next step. This encourages the runner to land on their midfoot, which loads the foot correctly and facilitates landing under your centre of gravity. It reduces the impact force. If you aren’t used to running in low drop shoes then it’s a good idea to gradually increase the time you spend in the shoes, alternating with your current shoes. This gives your feet and lower legs the chance to get used to the extra movement and strengthen up without getting overloaded. When running on the trails your foot strike is slightly different with each strike. For this reason runners often find it easier to transition to a low drop trail shoe than a road shoe.
Shoes with a broad rounded toe box like Altra’s reduce how much your feet expand during a long run. This reduces the chance of getting blisters or your shoes rubbering. This is why brands like Altra and Topo that have broad rounded toe boxes have become popular with ultramarathon runners. Paul Giblin, a Scottish International ultramarathon runner, said that he thought that bleeding feet was ‘part of the deal’ when it came to ultramarathon running. That was until he discovered Topo Athletic shoes and ran a 100-mile race with no blisters or sore feet at the end.
ALL-WTHR Weatherproof Versions
As well as a popular running shoe, the Altra Lone Peak has also become a popular trail walking shoe too and is available in a weatherproof shoe version and a weatherproof mid boot. Known as Altra Lone Peak All-Wthr Low and Mid.
The Lone Peak 7 for men comes in wide fit, but rather than a purely increased width, contains a little more volume in the upper.
In summary the Lone Peak 7 builds on the well-established Lone Peak reputation. If you are happily running in a Lone Peak 6, then I’m confident you’ll enjoy the Lone Peak 7. The Lone Peak 7 offers more natural stability and increased traction. They are however a neutral shoe, well-designed to allow your feet to expand, function and the keep the trail runner heading forwards with a natural gait and better posture.
Topo MTN Racer 2: 5mm heel to forefoot with similar grip and room in the toe box. Here is a link to our review for more information: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/topo-athletic-mtn-racer-2-review/
La Sportiva Akasha 2: 6mm heel to forefoot longer lugs and a stickier rubber offer a bit more traction in wet conditions. The heel is a lot stiffer which offers more support but, doesn’t have the same free and natural feel of the Lone Peak 7. The toe box isn’t as roomy but does have a straight big toe to allow for a stronger push off from under the big toe. Here is a link to our review:
Inov-8 Trailfly G270: Zero drop. A firmer more responsive feel. A rounded toe box but, not quite as much volume in the shoes. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/inov-8-terraultra-g-270-graphene-review-cushioned-ultramarathon-running-shoes/
New Balance Hierro: 8mm heel to forefoot. Softer ride and more cushioning so less feel to for the trail. Available in 3 width Men’s and 2 width Women’s. Here is a link to our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/new-balance-hierro-v7-review/
Karhi Ikoni Trail: 5mm heel to forefoot. A softer ride and more cushioning takes away some of the ground feel. Here is our review:
Scarpa Ribelle: 5mm heel to forefoot a narrower fit and snugger toe box with a bit of a rocker. Here is our review:
Hoka Speedgoat: 5mm heel to forefoot. A lot softer cushioning which takes away the feel for the trail. The rocker makes the shoe less natural and more controlling but, also improves cadence and helps maintain a more upright posture as your get tied. The Speedgoat 5 has more room in the toe box than previous version although it doesn’t have the same rounded toe box as a Lone Peak. It is available in two widths Men’s and two widths Women’s. Here is our review: https://www.northernrunner.com/blog/hoka-speedgoat-5-vs-speedgoat-4/
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