Monday, July 1, 2013

Altra Lone Peak trail running shoes (600+ mile review)


Altra - Lone Peak trail running shoes after 600+ miles
In past blog posts I've touched on gear that I find extraordinary.  I was surprised how many people read my write-up on the Lowa Mountain Expert ice boots.  I'd like to highlight my favorite " 3-season" shoes, The Altra Lone Peak.  Since purchasing these about a year ago, many of my trail runs have been done wearing the Altra Lone Peak Zero Drops.  What's zero drop?  Zero drop means that there is no height differential between the front and rear of the shoe.  Note that most traditional shoes have a higher heel than toe.  Primarily the higher heel is designed to cushion the hard impact of heel striking runners (those who's heel is the first part to impact the ground during running).  Zero drops are intended to promote forefoot or mid-foot striking by not having a thick heel to get in the way, helping the runner to land mid or fore foot.  Instead of me trying to get all tech-savy on you, simply check out Altra's website for a lot of information about running form, and how their shoes can help make you a stronger, healthier runner.  For the record, I'm not affiliated with Altra in any way.  Nor is this a paid review or did I get free shoes like some reviewers. This is simply a write-up on a pair of shoes that I think are top-notch and that fellow runners might benefit from.  I've read other reviews, but most seemed like blah,blah "out of the box" reviews.  I figured I'd share my thoughts after some lengthy trail use.  For those who don't know me, I'm your average trail runner/climber who happens to spend a great deal of time on the trails and rocks in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I usually run 5 or 6 days a week (not always in the Lone Peak).  I'm 6' tall, weigh about 155lbs, size 12  and normally cover between 50-100 miles per week.  I've primarily used these shoes for trail running on technical single track, but they've also been worn as climbing approach shoes and general hikers on many occasions.  The 600+ mile estimate is most likely very low, but we'll just call it 600.  I decided to take a brush to my shoes, clear away all the trail debris, and show how great they've fared thus far...

Zero drop = no raised heel
My Lone Peaks are the first generation model.  Designed for running many miles, over rough terrain.  I originally read about them shortly before their release.  I was excited by the wide toe box design, lighter weight, some rock protection and zero drop platform.  I guess I liked most everything about them.  Very close to what I would want if I designed my own shoe.  Around that time I was happily running a lot of road miles in the first edition NB Road Minimus.  Pleased with the lower heel and wide toe box on that model, I was in the market for a new pair of trail shoes of similar design.  I purchased the Lone Peaks shortly after their availability.   Fast forward over last season and some months off due to ski injuries.  They've covered a few miles and are holding up very well.  I will admit to being pessimistic about their durability since this was their first release of the Lone Peak model.  So far they're holding up better than any other trail shoes I've used  in the past and I expect that they'll continue.  Here's a photo review with some comments on the current state of my Lone Peaks.
The toe cap material ripped or split, Barge cement holds it in place...Usually
The toe cap failure doesn't seem to impede performance, but requires maintenance every couple of runs ;)
Stitching and the upper are holding great. The Wasatch Range is cool
The heel lining doesn't look so good, but still very comfortable
Not the sticky, climbing rubber of LaSportiva's trail models, but better thanothers I've tried. The center forefoot lugs and midsole are wearing down as expected
I really like the traction of the simplistic lugs, great for the trails of Western PA
Factory insoles, still intact with no comlaints
The trail rudder is awesome for "skiing" down steep, slippery slopes. I also like the minimal heel structure.  somewhat changed in the newer Lone Peak ver 1.5
Overall, these will see many more miles and I look forward to wearing them
Personal Experience:
I'm always excited to put these shoes on and hit the trails.  I will admit that they took some time to get used to.  There is much less cushioning than what is found in most traditional trail running shoes, but a lot more than in a model like a NB Trail Minimus, etc. This means that if you do strike your heel on rocks and other trail obstacles, you will feel it.  Most runners do experience some growing pains converting to this type of shoe.  Worry not... In a short time, your feet and legs will transition into the shock absorbing machines they were designed to be.  In past years, I've always had some type of leg pain that slowed my training.  Since switching my running form and going to flatter shoes (especially Altras) I've been able to keep training without interruption.  Its great to feel sore after a run, not injured.  I'll be looking to get a pair of the new Lone Peaks (when these get a little closer to death).  I'm curious to see how Altra made improvements on a damn fine, trail running shoe!  In a nutshell, I'd HIGHLY recommend giving the Altra Lone Peak's a try.  I'd be surprised if you don't fall in love with them like so many others.  If you have any questions regarding me, my shoes or whatever... feel free to drop me a message or email.  Climb High, Run Far!

5 comments:

  1. Best shoe I actually have bought for trail running, excellent support and durability. I use this on good and weather trail and Smoky Mountain runs because the tread is excellent for rock, leaves and rainy season.

    Thanks
    Barker Marine

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  2. Blog is clearly explained over running shoes. I got more details from this blog. Thank you for this blog.

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  3. They look like they've been well used! Great photos, and information about the running shoes, enjoyed reading your take on them.

    Mens Running Shoes

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