If you only want one trail running shoe in your quiver of running shoes, the Altra Lone Peak 5 is an ideal do-it-all candidate. It’s a comfortably appointed and very reliable jack-of-all-trails without any major shortfalls.
Read on to learn more about the latest updates to the Lone Peak 5 from reviewer Brian Metzler.
Now in its 10th year, the Lone Peak is Altra’s most popular and versatile trail running shoe. It excels wherever the pavement ends.
The newest edition is lightweight and has a low-to-the-trail sensation like its predecessors. But, some dramatic updates have make this the best version yet.
The new edition on the Lone Peak serves up comfort, protection and performance on all types of terrain. It’s perfect from gravel roads, to dirt single-track trails to rocky, technical mountain routes.
The Altra Lone Peak has undergone a major overhaul since last season. The midsole has been updated with a new layer of resilient AltraEGO foam. This new layer results in a considerably more responsive ride. The low-profile outsole is less aggressive than in the past and has been tweaked to provide better grip and durability. The upper has been upgraded with a more pliable feel, drainage holes and a better overall fit.
The internal rock plate embedded in the midsole has been upgraded to be provide better push-through protection and to be more pliable. This contributes to the smoother, springier and more flexible ride. The new stone guard was developed based on a pressure map of the foot with open perforations (almost like a mesh material), resulting in less material and a lighter weight without sacrificing protection.
Altra’s MaxTrac Outsoleuses direction sticky rubber lugs that prioritize grip and durability on uneven terrain. The outsole lugs are still toothy and grippy, but they don’t seem quite as aggressive and overbearing. This makes the new Lone Peak more versatile for a wider range of trails without sacrificing the reliable traction for which this shoe has always been known. The outsole rubber extends to the toe bumper, which is now stitched to the upper for greater durability.
FIT, FEEL, RIDE
The refinements to the upper have upgraded the mid-foot fit of the Lone Peak 5, but it still has a high-volume interior. It has a medium/narrow heel and a wide forefoot. This allows the toes to splay as the foot rolls forward through the toe-off phase. (The Lone Peak 5 is available in two widths for men’s and women’s.)
This new edition has a bit of a softer feel when you step in and lace it up. This is thanks to the soft footbed and new midsole foam configuration. The ride is decidedly soft, flexible, lively and smooth — much more so than the previous edition — and that makes it conducive both slow and fast-paced running over a wide range of trails.
One of the keys to the great ride is the more flexible stone guard that offers protection from sharp rocks, roots and other objects on the trail without inhibiting the natural flex of your foot.
The Lone Peak 5 is much more nimble and agile than previous versions. In part, this is because the protection and outsole traction have been taken down a notch.
Additionally, Altra’s women’s models are built with Fit4Her Technology. This is a design system that caters to the specific anatomical differences of female feet. They feature specifically a narrower heel and mid-foot, a higher instep, a longer arch and unique metatarsal spacing.
Of note is all Altra shoes are built with a “Footshape” toe box that is wider and more rounded than most other shoes. This allows a runner’s toes and the transverse arch to splay and flatten to allow for more effective muscular output when a foot lifts off the ground at the toe-off phase of a new stride. It also helps alleviate your toes getting smashed
WHO IT’S BEST FOR
A wide range of trail runners will appreciate the Lone Peak 5, including those who are new to trail running and seasoned ultra-runners who log copious amounts of miles in the mountains.
The Altra Lone Peak 5 is soft and flexible enough to run on smooth dirt trails and has more than enough traction and protection to tackle gnarly terrain. It’s light and fast enough for racing any distance and durable and comfortable enough for training runs of any distance.
PROS: Altra Lone Peak 5
The new layer of bouncy and durable AltraEGO foam is a significant upgrade to the Lone Peak, and it puts a noticeable spring in every step. Even though the 25mm stack height and 0mm offset remain the same, the revamped midsole adds to the overall cushioning of the shoe and helps supply the comfort and flow similar to your favorite road running shoes.
The reason Altra makes its shoes with a balanced, level platform is to allow the heels and forefoot of a runner’s foot to always be an equal distance from the ground. Unlike shoes with lifted heels and sloping profiles, Altra’s shoes create what the brand calls an optimal alignment and that cultivates better running form and encourages a low-impact foot strikes.
CONS: Altra Lone Peak 5
There’s no inherent stability mechanism contained within the structure of the Lone Peak 5.
It’s not a clunky or tippy shoe, but runners who are prone to wobbly ankles or off-center foot strike patterns might find the soft, squishy midsole to be less stable as some other models.
SHOP ALTRA LONE PEAK 5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles. He has wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher. He occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He’s the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times. He was and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine.
As an author, he has penned “Kicksology“, “Running Colorado’s Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner.”