Altra Lone Peak 7 Review: Reaching the Peak
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Weighs 11 oz. (314 g.) for a US M9 / 9.2 oz. (261 g.) for a US W7
Tried and true, the Lone Peak rolls on
25mm of Ego foam from front to back
Dare we say that slimmer is better?
Available now for $150
TAYLOR: I expect it every January. It’s always there. Something so familiar yet incrementally more refined — like a stone being polished. Open the box. It’s the new Altra Lone Peak for the year — one of the few shoes easily traced back to its inception. Not much has changed. And then again, it has.
The Lone Peak series has a massive cult following. It’s ground zero for Altra as a brand. Thankfully, my address isn’t tagged in this review, so I am free to tell my truth. For me, it hasn’t even been a fall-in-love story, but it’s a consistent performer, and that’s what many love about it.
Over the past couple of iterations, we’ve noticed a slight but progressive trend to secure the fit more for those who don’t already have the Lone Peak membership. That’s led to some mixed reviews. This version pretty much gets a wardrobe change and new boots. A new lightweight seamless upper brings fresh air to the series, as does the reconfigured outsole. Aside from that, you can expect the “Classic” foot shape and width, the same ol’ 25 mm of stack, zero drop midsole, and wide toe box.
From my perspective, the classic Altra Lone Peak continues its upward trend.
SAM: I’ve long been effusive in my praise of the Altra Lone Peak. I’ve credited it with getting me into running and have called the Lone Peak 4 the first running shoe I ever truly loved. It’s taken me through several ultramarathon distance days, many backpacking trips, multiple countries and US National Parks, and countless days of daily wear.
The Lone Peak 7 is my fourth edition, and I put in over 450 miles on each of the other pairs. While my running practice and a temperamental Achilles have moved me away from the Lone Peak as my shoe for daily miles, it will always be that shoe. I’m always excited for a new update, and I’ll always recommend it to people who lament the lack of readily available shoes for wider feet.
In reality, the Lone Peak is the Lone Peak, and any updates Altra makes can’t do much without risking the much-loved DNA at the core of this member of trail shoe royalty. It will always be extra roomy, with a foot-shaped toebox (what Altra now calls their Original last), a 25mm zero-drop midsole, and an uncomplicated but secure upper. Within those confines, though, the Lone Peak 7 is just about as different as a new Lone Peak can be. It has new upper material, a new lockdown, and, most significantly, a reworked sole with a new formulation of Altra’s MaxTrac and a new lug pattern.
MICHAEL: The new year has come and gone, and many of us have thought about attempting some pretty drastic resolutions. Some pan out, most don’t, and others are better off not even worth trying and saving ourselves from the inevitable feeling of failure. Like, who am I kidding? There’s no way I will form an actual habit of stretching or doing pre-run yoga every morning when my affectionate cat and comfy couch are beckoning for me to sit and do some wall-staring while I wake up with a cup of coffee.
Altra, on the other hand, has provided us a masterclass in resolution for the new year with its latest refining tweak to the legendary Lone Peak lineage. Unlike an outlandish New Year’s resolution, Altra’s steady refinement to the Lone Peak is measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. This is, of course, nothing new. Over the years, Altra has steadily refined its stalwart do-it-all trail workhorse to appeal to newcomers to the brand without alienating its fanbase. While I’m not new to Altra, I am one of those newcomers to the Lone Peak.
So, suppose you happen to be Altra-curious and are teetering on the edge of clicking that checkout button on the cart you’ve had open on Running Warehouse for a while. In that case, I hope I can provide some helpful decision-making content.
TAYLOR: I could almost copy and paste this from last year’s review. There’s not a lot that has changed. If you’ve been a fan, the fit and feel will be very familiar. The overall shape is the same “classic” foot shape. You get a voluminous rounded toe box which Altra refers to as “foot-shaped.” There’s plenty of wiggle room on all axis. Even the midfoot and heel have more space than the typical running shoe — think mitten rather than glove.
One of the subtle differences this year is a trend of ever-so-slightly slimmed midfoot. Some will stop reading here, dismissing that a little midfoot security is actually a good thing. I’ve increasingly felt it over the last few models. Before, I felt like my foot was swimming, and I would practically slide ride out of the shoe on more technical terrain. Now, I can pick up the pace a little and find some confidence in the fit.
The slimming sensation of the midfoot is probably because of the changes in the upper. There’s simply a lot less mess. The past couple of models have garnered attention for beauty, and the Altra Lone Peak 7 is arguably the hottest yet. It’s a less-is-more case. Rather than relying on thicker stitched overlays, Altra goes with a seamless stitch-less design. Only heat-adhered overlays are used around the midfoot and heel, allowing the upper materials to feel more tucked in around the midfoot.
As for upper materials, Altra took a layered approach. The outer engineered mesh is thicker and almost weather resistant. It sheds light moisture, dirt, snow, etc., really well. The inner part of the upper is a softer mesh for comfort.
Underfoot is where I go back and forth. In some years, I appreciate the consistency; in others, I think Altra should be bold and up the tech. This year, I’m in the first camp. Lone Peak fans are looking for a mix of moderate to low cushion, moderate protection, and a good portion of ground feel. That’s what you get. At 25 mm, there’s nothing flashy about the medium/firm Ego midsole, but that’s the beauty of it.
An updated Maxtrac rubber compound and lug design highlight the design of the Lone Peak 7. For a while, Altra was going down the Nike route, where their proprietary outsoles simply sucked. There wasn’t much for grip or durability. I’m not sure of the exact changes in the compound, but this one is clawing its way back to an industry standard. The lugs dug in rather well on various surfaces, even soft surfaces like mud and snow.
Gaiter traps are part of the package with the Altra Lone Peak 7. It’s a simple velcro system that works.
SAM: Look, Taylor is right, and even with all the updates, this is still the same Lone Peak that devotees know and love. It’s going to run and hike like each other model you’ve put on your feet. If you love it already, you’ll continue to love this one. The new upper and outsole are only going to help your enjoyment. If you aren’t already a member of the Lone Peak cult, the enhanced lockdown and striking colorways will give you some good reasons to sign up.
From the Lone Peak 4.5 on, we were treated to more structure in the form of overlays around the midfoot and toebox. I’m thrilled to see much of that stripped off the Lone Peak 7 — one of the great aspects of those earlier models was how little restriction there was in the flex around the toebox, and that unconfined movement returns here.
Allow me to soapbox for a moment, but I think this freedom of movement in the toebox is an important window into what makes this such a popular and enduring shoe. Altra’s Lone Peak is a trail shoe that offers only comfort beyond what your feet are already capable of. The midsole is protective but limited enough to allow plenty of ground feel and flex and keeps you close enough to the trail that there’s little worry of turned ankles. The upper keeps your feet secure, but there’s so much room that you often don’t even register that there’s anything at all around the toebox. All this results in a shoe that disappears, for better or for worse, on a run or a hike. In a brave new world of high-stack, plated shoes, the Lone Peak offers a refreshing and uncomplicated kind of freedom and connection to the trail.
If this is something for you, the Lone Peak 7 is only improved by the added grip from the new outsole configuration. The lugs are sharper, smaller, and a few more of them, especially in the midfoot. There are also some unique shapes, with a few split chevrons under the arch and several broken triangles spread through the collection. The resulting grip is improved over past models, and cuts behind the forefoot lugs improve the flex through the bend of the foot.
MICHAEL: While this is my first Lone Peak, it only took one step in the shoe to confirm that Altra devotees will be more than happy with this iteration. Voluminous is one word to describe the toebox… cavernous also works. This takes some getting used to for someone who typically prefers a snug-fitting upper throughout the shoe. After a couple of runs, I began understanding why so many love this aspect of the Lone Peak. For long miles (thru-hiking especially), the appeal of not having any material except the sole of the shoe encroaching on your toes is real.
So, if you’re a runner who has stuck with the Peregrines and Cascadias of the world for years in training and are interested in upgrading your toe box from a modest house in the suburbs to a 7,000-square foot mansion, the Lone Peak 7 will not let you down.
The rest of the aspects about the Lone Peak I enjoy boil down to it being a steady workhorse on the trails, just as it has been for years. Improvements to the upper from last year’s model include laces that are the right length, a comfortable and secure midfoot wrap, and a secure heel counter. It has generous coverage of aggressive outsole lugs and that classic 25mm Ego midsole. There’s not much to rant about or discuss.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is refreshingly simple, and even for someone who doesn’t gravitate to the zero drop scene in their shoe rotation, there’s much to love about that. Shoes like the Lone Peak 7 will go unmentioned in discussions about the latest tech, carbon plates, or super foams, but there’s a reason this shoe is a perennial best seller in the trail running and thru-hiking community year after year. It’s a shoe that brings you back to the heart of what draws most to trail running in the first place: simplicity, natural movement, and a love for being outside.
Lastly, some of the colorways Altra has released are especially fire. We dig the Taupe, Navy, and Red/Orange styles. While the mountain skyline on the side of the shoe has become less and less pronounced (something I kind of wish Altra would bring back), the shoe is undeniably getting better looking each year.Shop Altra Lone Peak – Men Shop Altra Lone Peak – Women
TAYLOR: A warmer upper and the lack of character in the midsole have been previously noted as negatives about the Lone Peak series. It doesn’t need to be hashed out too much. Neither is extreme, but both can be worked on for sure.
For what it’s worth, the Altra Lone Peak 7 is not too far off from its original design. Even though the history might seem boring, that’s all I can knock it for. The incremental updates keep this trail shoe in its comfort zone for many. Is it a perfect trail shoe for me? No. But it might be what you’re looking for.
SAM: For the most part, anything negative here will also be the same as the negatives in most other versions of the Lone Peak. We can run the list, but it mainly consists of differences in preference: the midsole is on the thin side, and this medium-density durometer of Ego foam is prone to bottoming out in the heels when slamming downhills. Further, the shoe is seriously roomy and can have some lateral slippage in the balls of your feet, and the lugs don’t quite bite as much as I’d like on leaves and softer ground.
The only real negative I can find in the Lone Peak 7 is that the new outsole formulation, while better, still doesn’t quite shine compared to other outsole compounds on the market. It struggles on wet rocks, and the durability still leaves a bit to be desired. I have serious wear in strike points after my test miles, and the edges of the sharper points of the lugs have rounded out very quickly.
Lastly, I’ve always found the fit on the Lone Peak to be just slightly off. Width-wise, they’re amazing, but I’m usually a standard US M10, and the Lone Peak M10 is a little too long. The US M9.5 (at least in older models) fits my feet almost perfectly but is too short. If you find yourself on the extreme end of a size, it might be worth trying out half a size up or down.
MICHAEL: Since the Lone Peak 7 is such a refined, simple shoe, there aren’t many glaring issues. Most of what I have to gripe about basically comes down to personal issues with fit and preference that will certainly not be the case for every runner.
For starters, the fit did not work for me. While I had fewer issues with bunching in the forefoot of the shoe than in the Timp 4, the Lone Peak 7 still required some significant cinching of the laces to get my heel and midfoot secure, not helped by an overwhelming feeling of sloppiness in the forefoot of the shoe. On fire roads and mellow trails, this was no issue, and I found the space in the forefoot to feel natural and comfortable.
Once the trail turned to something more technical (and especially as the pace picked up), I began to feel very insecure. For the narrow-footed runner, any camber in the trail or uneven footfall on a rock will result in one side of your foot scooting way over to one side of the shoe or the other, a perfect recipe for falls, turned ankles, and an uninspiring lack of control on the trail.
Other than fit, I have only a few minor gripes with the Lone Peak 7. While the upper is durable and much less prone to blowouts than the Timp 4 or previous lone peak models, I found it quite warm on humid days in the south. Additionally, I found the shoe to run a bit long. I’d consider sizing a half size down if you’re on the smaller end of a size range.
Last but not least, I have had a hard time understanding what the little flap of rubber on the heel of the shoe is or does. After some extensive research (basically 10 minutes of looking at the first page of Google), I realized it’d been a feature on almost every version of the Lone Peak and that it was initially marketed as a downhill traction extender. I can’t imagine it really helps much, and I just found it to be flinging extra mud on my calves at faster paces on muddy trails. Maybe they help Altra sell more gaiters? I have no idea.Shop Altra Lone Peak – Men Shop Altra Lone Peak – Women
TAYLOR: I actually found some excitement in the Altra Lone Peak 7. It’s not because of any significant alterations but rather the simplicity. Losing some overlays and adjusting the outsole made the shoe lighter and more dialed. Who can argue with an update that achieves that? This is the most confidence I’ve had in a Lone Peak model. The Altra Lone Peak 7 was tweaked enough to attract new attention while keeping the hardcore peakers happy (enough).
SAM: Are you a card-carrying member of the Lone Peak cult, and your current pair is feeling the wear? The updates to the Lone Peak 7 are good enough that you won’t regret moving up a version (or two). Are you a little Altra-curious and want to see what the commotion is about? This is probably the most accessible Lone Peak you can buy, and its great colorways give plenty of reason to dip your toes into the very voluminous waters.
Me? I’ve pulled my cult card out from the back of my nightstand drawer. It’s more wrinkled and bent than it used to be, but it’s back in my wallet, and the Lone Peak is back in my trail shoe rotation. Here’s to hoping Altra continues to make progress with the outsole.
MICHAEL: While some innate aspects of the Lone Peak 7 will ultimately keep the shoe out of my rotation, I can confidently say those same features will keep the faithful happy again with Altra’s newest iteration. To those considering trying out zero-drop footwear or wondering if their feet may be more accommodated in an ultra-wide upper, I would happily recommend the Lone Peak 7.
The rugged outsole, simple upper and midsole, and natural, roomy feel make this an enjoyable shoe to eat up daily mileage. It feels like it gets back to the heart of what makes trail running so awesome, and if the fit works for you, you’ll probably wind up enjoying this shoe, just like the multitudes of runners (and hikers) who have done the same before.
You can pick up the Altra Lone Peak 7 for $150 at Running Warehouse (featuring free 2-day shipping and 90-day returns) by using the shop link below.Shop Altra Lone Peak – Men Shop Altra Lone Peak – Women
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Taylor Bodin is a trail and ultra runner living in Estes Park, Colo., with his wife and daughters. Trail running is pretty much the only hobby he can manage right now and loves it. Every so often, he will pop off a race or FKT attempt because competition is pure and the original motivator for him getting into running anyways. When not running, Taylor is a 1st grade teacher, running coach (track & field, Cross Country, and Trail/Ultra athletes), and volunteers at his church.
All-time favorite shoes: Hoka Tecton X, Speedland SL:PDX, Merrell MTL Long Sky 2.More from Taylor
Sam lives in Baltimore with his wife and two kids and spends his days fixing espresso machines for Ceremony Coffee Roasters. He runs with the Faster Bastards when he can, races ultras, and has been working on completing the AT section by section. He thinks the best days are made of long miles on nasty trails, but that a good surf session, a really stunning book, or a day of board games are pretty all right too.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Xodus Ultra, Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3, Altra Lone PeakMore from Sam