Friday, January 24, 2014

Altra Lone Peak 1.0 Review

I have been wearing Altra shoes for over a year with some ups and down. In general, I really like their shoes, primarily their flag ship shoes -- Instinct and Lone Peak. (My primary complaint is the somewhat regular quality problems with some of their newer makes and 1.5 models.)  But I have wide feet and love me a wide toe box. No one does wide toe boxes like Altra. No one. When I purchased my Lone Peak last Summer, I intended for them to be my ultra length trail shoe.  Due to injury, have not had much of a chance to test them out until the past few months. Out on a run today, I decided I should write up my thoughts on these great shoes.

A little background first, I have been trail running for three years now and have yet to find a shoe I love on the trails. I am a relatively large runner and generate quite a lot of force coming down onto sharp/pointy objects, but I still prefer a shoe with some ground feel and responsiveness. The shoe I first tried was the New Balance MT101. That shoe was a home run and I ran 50 miles pretty much out of the box with them. They completely redesigned it when they made the MT110 and it was never the same (primarily due to the lateral build up that gave my post-tib fits). My next shoe choice was Brooks Pure Grit. I love everything about that shoe -- some cushion, minimal upper, no real features -- but my feet took a pounding during the San Juan Solstice 50 without a rock plate.

Later that same Summer (2012), I began a serious hunt for trail shoe to get me through the Leadville 100. My requirements were that the shoe be minimal enough to give me a feel without unnecessary features and weight while having a beefy enough platform to protect my feet. One of the members of the Leadville 100 User Group board suggested the Lone Peaks. If only I had listened.... Instead, I went with some Saucony Peregrine and wound up with horrible underfoot blisters in two ultras in them.

At long last I got some Lone Peak....

The Positives:
  • The best thing I can say is that they are a very comfortable shoe for hours on end
  • Lugs are responsive for most conditions, including snow and ice
  • A very good "stone guard" and plenty of cushion
  • Weight is 10 oz, but they don't feel heavy or "clunky" me
  • The price is not bad, though I have to love a shoe for $115
  • Maintain some ground feel, primarily sockless and without the footbed
  • With the footbed and the optional Altra Stability Wedge, the shoe suddenly has quite a bit of cushion (25-27 mm) and some stability. This could be beneficial in the late stages of a 100.
  • A responsive and flexible sole for a shoe that is non-minimal and has a rockplate.
The Room for Improvement
  • Not great at draining water (improved in the 1.5 model)
  • I'd like to see the upper streamlined a bit (maybe a seamless upper) to cut a little weight and dry faster (also improved in the 1.5 model)
  • Not sure of the purpose of the mud flap on the back. I am tempted to just cut it off.
  • The laces are a bit long, but I used them to create a runner's loop on the last eye lit and really cinch down the midfoot

Overall, I would call this a Goldilocks shoes.
Lugs still look new after 150 miles

Selling the stability wedge separate for any shoe was a brilliant move by Altra

My only signs of wear is some stitching in coming undone inside. Near as I can tell, this won't impact the viability of the shoe.

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