The Altra Running brand was first started by a trio of guys who started modifying various types of running shoes in order to come up with a better performing shoe. As one of the creators noted on the Altra website, “For decades, virtually every running shoe has featured pointy toe boxes and heels that were twice as thick and heavy as the forefoot. While shoe companies claimed this design would protect your body from running injuries, the scientific research did not agree.”
With this thinking in mind, creator Golden Harper began to modify shoes in order to give runners an alternative to what was on the market. They melted the outsoles off of traditional running shoes and removed the excess heel elevation. They coined the term “Zero Drop’ to describe how the level cushioning no longer dropped from the heel down to the forefoot. Another change that came to the running shoe industry was their creation of a shoe with a toe-box that mirrored the shape of a healthy foot.
Fast forward nearly a decade later from that starting point and Altra has a good variety in their line-up of shoes. They first started out offering shoes just for the road and trail but soon branched out with lifestyle, outdoor adventure, and gym & training shoes. I was very surprised to learn about their gym shoes and I am glad they offer these. I never thought they would get so popular but public awareness is growing about the benefits of low drop shoes.
As far as trail shoes go Altra offers a couple of trail running shoes for sale. I’ve been running in the Lone Peak model for years and after my last pair of shoes wore out I decided to check out the Lone Peak 4. Here are my thoughts on them. First, I like the generous pull tab on the back heel of the shoe. I can actually slip my finger into it easily and get my shoe on quickly. Some brands have smaller tabs which are very hard to grasp.
I appreciate trail shoes with gaiter straps. Gaiters are great for keeping rocks and other debris out of your shoes when doing vigorous activity on trails. This design allows you to change your shoes and socks without removing the gaiter and the gaiter attaches to all of the Altra trail shoes.
The Lone Peak 4 still features Altra’s zero-drop platform and the shoe is still nicely cushioned. I still recall how the earlier versions had thinner and stiffer cushioning so I was happy the cushioning was softened.
The shoe uses 25mm of their EVA foam which makes the shoe pretty comfortable. The conservancy where I run has far too many stones to make running enjoyable if done in regular road shoes. They made the forefoot fit generous and textured the toe cap for good protection. Also, a good trail shoe not only needs cushioning but it needs lots of springiness too.
The overall sense that I got from running in these shoes is they are pretty good over uneven terrain as you perform shifting movements. The upper of the shoe hugs the foot pretty well and doesn’t bunch up; I do wonder if this is the same for all of their other sizes. I’ve always disliked running in shoes where my foot felt like there was excess material. The material used is very breathable.
I like the color of the shoes because they aren’t loud but I’ve heard that some people feel the color and overall design seems dated. I don’t like brightly colored footwear. The shoes seemed to hold up pretty well but I’ve only had them for 30 days of testing. I took them out to Bull Run in Fairfax to test them a few times. The midsole wasn’t flimsy and felt good on my arch.
Overall I would say this is a good shoe and an improvement over their prior version. You can purchase them here.
- Weight: 10.2 oz / 289 g
- Insole: 5 mm Contour Footbed
- Midsole: Dual Layer EVA / A-Bound™ with StoneGuard™
- Outsole: MaxTrac™ Rubber with TrailClaw™
- Cushion: Moderate
- Stack Height: 25 mm
- Upper: Quick-Dry Air Mesh
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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