Altra is a relatively new company out of Salt Lake City
making some very innovative
running footwear and the Lone Peak 1.5 is no exception. This is a sweet trail
running shoe for a variety of reasons.
When I first put a pair on I thought there was no way I
could wear it without going down at least ½ size from what I typically wear.
The shoe felt way too roomy in the heel and especially in the toebox where my
forefoot felt like it was swimming. Once out on the trail though I found the
fit to be excellent. I did have to use the heel-lock lacing technique (also
known as the “rabbit ears”) to adequately secure my heel in the fairly roomy
heel cup but that did the trick.
I have not been much more than a casual convert to zero drop
footwear (for short, easy runs on mellow terrain), finding that more often than
not, zero drop is generally accompanied by minimal cushioning and underfoot
protection. The Lone Peak 1.5 may soon have me going long in the mountains in
zero drop for the first time as it is very well cushioned (with a 23mm stack
height) and provides just enough stiffness and protection in the outsole to
enhance stability and minimize the uncomfortable pounding of a rough, rocky
trail without totally eliminating ground feel.
I had a chance to wear test the shoe in late April on the Paiute Pass trail in the Sierra Nevada
west of Bishop
where I live and work at Sage To Summit
. Normally, you would still be strapping
on skis instead of shoes this time of year at that elevation but the range was
already going through its transition to early summer conditions with a rapidly
melting snowpack. This made for a great opportunity to test the shoe in a wide
variety of conditions in one 10 mile trail run, everything from dry, sandy, and
rocky trail, to wet, muddy and very slick water-covered rock trail to a very
soft, slushy snow surface. The shoe performed great in all of these conditions.
What impressed me most was the grip of the outsole as I was running hard
downhill at the end of the run, taking tight switchbacks quickly and with
complete control. Although the shoe was soaking wet from post-holing in
“suspended water” snow conditions and the outsole was covered in a layer of
gritty, decomposed granite (sand) I never slipped or lost my footing once even
when landing on a flat, cambered rock surface.
|The Lone Peak 1.5 has an extremely aggressive outsole|
As far as specific shoe features go, as I have already
mentioned, and as is the case with all Altra models, the Lone Peak 1.5
drop (with 23mm stack height) and has an exceptionally roomy toebox. The shoes
are built on what Altra calls a natural or foot-shaped platform. They recommend
that there be a 1/2” gap between the end of your longest toe and the front of
the shoe. This will feel overly roomy to a lot of people but as long as your
heel is secure and the midfoot feels comfortably snug this abundant forefoot
room allows your toes to fully splay out as they would when barefoot which
enhances the stability of the ride and allows for extra force, or propulsion,
as you push off into your next stride. The heel cup is very soft and
comfortable due to a minimally stiff heel counter. The lateral and medial sides
of the midfoot are reinforced with a more durable material which gives the
shoes a slightly more stable and supportive feeling than it otherwise would
have. The outsole is well-lugged and super-grippy, giving you confidence on
even the most technical descents.
One very unique feature of the Lone Peak 1.5 is the built-in
Velcro tab on the outside of the heel counter. If you use lightweight trail
gaiters (such as the Running Funky
or Dirty Girl lines) this feature will be
Finally, the outsole extends slightly out from the heel
creating what Altra calls a “trail rudder” for enhanced balance and stability,
say when making tight turns running downhill; whether this benefit is really
accomplished or not, I’m not really sure, but it certainly does not take away
from the shoe’s overall performance. It is very similar to the feature on the
Adidas Trail Response, one of the original trail shoe options from the mid-90s.
I would highly recommend the Lone Peak 1.5 to anyone who
wants to experiment with zero drop footwear but is unwilling or
biomechanically-incapable of running without either cushioning or underfoot
protection. If stiff heel counters aggravate your Achilles/ankle area or if you
have a very wide forefoot, this shoe would be a great option.
The shoe weighs in a 10oz, making it more of a mid-weight
than a featherweight option, but still plenty light enough for a racing shoe. I
would consider using this shoe for short runs, long runs, flat and smooth,
steep and technical terrain, and everything in between. Also, because of its
zero drop stability and adequate cushioning and protection, it could be a solid
choice for a multi-day fastpacking trip, when you might have a 15-25 lb pack on
your back. And, when your feet start swelling from the duration of your outing
you’ll have plenty of shoe volume to accommodate it comfortably.
Labels: Altra Lone Peak 1.5, Fastpacking, Fellrunning, minimalist footwear, Mountain Running, sage to summit, zero drop footwear