It is by chance that my second review is from Altra. It’s not in any way an indicator of my preferences towards the brand 😉
The Lone Peak were my introduction to ZeroDrop (in trail running) and I got them by “mistake”. I had ordered a pair of Olympus 2.0 in sales but as they were not available the shop “offered” me the Lone Peaks in replace.
These are the most successful Altra shoes for trail running, being in the Top 5 selling trail shoes in the USA, maybe because they are the most versatile Altra trail shoes . You can do just about anything whit them, from hiking to ultra running, all with the most comfort.
Names, numbers and facts
As usual with the brands, and Altra is no exception, each technology has is own name… (from altrarunning.com)
ZeroDrop – Places your heel and forefoot the same distance from the ground to encourage proper, low-impact form throughout your trail run.
FootShape – Allows your toes to relax and spread out naturally for more comfort and stability in uphill climbs and downhill descents.
A-Bound – Energy-return compound sits directly under the foot to reduce ground impact and add a spring to each step.
StoneGuard – Sandwiched between the A-Bound and EVA midsole, the StoneGuard™ offers flexible protection from rugged terrain by deflecting rocks into the midsole for a smooth, stable ride.
GaiterTrap – Hook-and-loop tab allows strapless gaiter attachment that prevents debris from building up beneath the shoe.
TrailClaw – Canted lugs positioned strategically beneath the metatarsals to provide traction at toe off.
MaxTrac – A perfect combination of grip, traction and durability that will eat up gnarly terrain like a boss.
Stack height – 25mm. Comfort for every situation.
Sizing – As usual with Altra the sizing is a little off (small) so you should buy a full number larger than your usual running shoes, at least from my experience.
Weight – Around 300g size 44 EU (10US).
When you take them out of the box, or even when you open the box, you may up to a visual shock (at least for those who are not used to Altra shoes) especially because of the shape of the front of the shoe, quite square and wide. It takes a while to get used to it, that’s true, but then we find this large form perfectly normal. It also helps that the Lone Peak are not Altra’s widest sneakers. The impact of taking the Paradigm out of the box is much stronger. In fact, the “narrowness” of the Lone Peak 3.0 compared to previous versions has been one of the complaints of the American users.
When we put them on and take the first steps… UAAUUUUUU, so that was it!!!!! The shoes are the most comfortable I have ever worn, ever*. Its like walking on a mattress, or better, inside a mattress, because it is not just the midsole and the sole, the sneaker is all cushioned, from the sole, to the tongue, passing through the sides. It’s like a sofa.
Of course the sensation of standing on a ZeroDrop, for those who are not used to it, its strange. In the first moments, it seems that something is not right, and that we are going to fall on our back, but this perception passes quite fast. I wish that the body’s adaptation was so quick, but not everything is that easy. It takes time to adapt to ZeroDrop, about six weeks according to Altra, starting slowly and with short runs and increasing gradually.
The FootShape may also raise some questions regarding the fit because of the width in the toe zone. Do not worry, the way your foot and heel are secured, and with the strength that we can tighten the laces, which are flat and do not loosen up, always being comfortable because of the thickness of the tongue, the foot does not move or even the front or the sides. Only in extreme lateral supports I felt the foot move, or rather, the midsole gave away an move on a lateral support, because it is so soft.
On the ground…
“Never go to a race with new shoes” – I always heard this, but stubborn as I am decided to take the risk and do the 2017 25Km Porto Moniz Trail with the brand new, just arrived, Lone Peak 3.0. I had already done half a dozen miles with them, on road and easy terrain, so I got courage and there I go. As expected the ascend to Fanal left its marks on the calfs, due to ZeroDrop, which requires more work of the muscles to climb. “Beautiful service” I thought on that endless climb. “Tomorrow you’ll be so sore, yes you will.” Hill top, now comes the descent … That’s the stuff, the ZeroDrop really helps to get down, forcing the foot to land more forward and less with the heel giving more control on the descent. I was loving the feeling, until I decided to stop on a mud slope. Needless to say this was a mistake and then, Alexandre falls on his back looking at the sky. It was not fault of the Lone Peak or its sole, it was my fault. On that situation, not even an anchor would leave me standing up. Where the Lone Peak really stood out was in the steep descent to Ribeira da Janela, the week before I had gotten the my to hurt because of the impacts, that day I was running in the clouds, and I arrived at Porto Moniz still in the clouds, tired, very tired , but the feet could do with one more turn.
Cushioning – One of the best I have ever tried. Very cushioned without giving the feeling that I was completely away from the ground. I could still feel the irregularities of the terrain, and the roots and the rocks under my feet, but it is all milling and comfortable, very comfortable.
Stability – Shoes as soft and with as little structure as the Lone Peak could imply that they were not very stable, but that is not the case. As they adapt well to the terrain it is easy to keep the foot stable, however it does not cost anything to have trained and strong ankles.
Protections – The Lone Peaks 3.0 are well protected on the sole, either by the 25mm in relation to the ground or by the StoneGuard plate, I can walk on just about anything, I can feel the ground, but not to the point of to hurt. At the front, also the protection on the toes is more than enough to prevent black nails. Regarding the sides, the MIS protects the foot relatively well, but it is not advisable to make tangents to very sharp stones, because those you can feel (from the sides), and not in a good way. As I mentioned before, the sneakers are really soft and in the sides you could have a little more protection.
Outer sole – The sole of the Lone Peak 3.0 is quite competent in a variety of terrains and provides excellent traction as long as the ground is dry, both downhill and uphill. When the terrain is wet, it is not bad either, it is not Vibram or Continental, but it stands up well, even in our famous “cerro” that is very slippery, the sole behaviour was right. The problem is in wet rocks, especially in the transition from wet rocks to dry rocks. It’s not that it is too bad on wet rock, but in those first two steps moving from wet to dry rock you have to be very careful because the grip is really bad. In mud the 4mm lugs do not produce miracles, so we slip a bit, but nothing too serious. Afterwards the mud looses with relative ease.
Impermeability and Breathability – these are not very breathable shoes, which means they do not dry fast, nothing too drastic but you notice that they take a little bit more to dry than other trail shoes (the 3.5 comes with holes to facilitate the exit of water – i didn’t test them), in compensation they are not very permeable and water hardly enters. It’s the price to pay for being so padded, more fabric, less breathability. However, I have never felt them warm.
Durability – Excellent. With almost 200 km between running, training, hiking and day-to-day, they are like new. The sole shows no wear. The only sign of use are the “bites” in the midsole of when I passed very close to the obstacles.
If Altra had mounted a Vibram Megagrip sole on the Lone Peak 3.0, I would not use anything else. They are not perfect, but they are so close.
Congratulations Altra !!!!
*since then i have used the Altra Olympus 2.5
Alexandre Vieira – firstname.lastname@example.org