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Altra Lone Peak 8 Review: Almost Natural
By David Salas

The Altra Lone Peak has been a fan favorite for trail running for some time now. The shoe is normally looked at as being a moderately cushioned trail running shoe that can tackle technical terrain. Since the Lone Peak is decently nimble and protective, it has decent range to it in the trail running shoe offerings.

Altra Lone Peak 8
Price: $139.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.7 oz, 303g (men's size 9), oz, g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 25mm heel/ 25mm forefoot
Drop: 0mm drop
Classification: Trail Running Shoe



RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The Altra Lone Peak is a trail running shoe aimed to give you a natural feeling of adventure in the trails. The shoe has a decently durable and rugged ready construction for running/hiking through technical terrain with confidence. The shoe is a 0mm drop platform, meaning the heel and the forefoot are the same height. The result is a decently nimble and flexible trail offering on the foot that does do well as a dual runner/hiker.

SIMILAR SHOES
: Topo Pursuit

FIT


The Altra Lone Peak 8 had a surprisingly dialed-in fit for me. The length was a little long, though the rest of the lockdown was good enough to where I didn't realize it. The upper material is a rip stop mesh and holds its structure really well when placed in sharp turns or situations where it may stretch. From a comfort standpoint it is decent. It may run a tad warm, but not so warm I was blistering or needing to complain about it. The tongue is padded well and lets you lock the laces down without issue. The lacing system itself does have some wider eyelets integrated into the fabric that seem to help secure the laces wider and tighter around the foot, giving it a good hold. There is an internal heel counter that is lightly padded that wraps around the heel and a little towards the midfoot both medially and laterally. There is also an external heel mold present that also helps with keeping that heel structure. I did not have any irritation, but this was definitely noticeable.

My heel was very locked in and did not feel like it had much room to maneuver. If you like good heel lockdowns this will be a plus. The midfoot had a pretty normal feel to it. The lockdown from the laces was really good and I definitely noticed a good wrap on the midfoot without it feeling intrusive. The forefoot is wide, consistent with the Altra running lineup. The fit and dimensions to the forefoot felt good and it did not feel like my foot was swimming or sliding around at all. This has been one of my better fitting trail uppers this year. There is a flexible toe guard present. It seems to do its job ok, though to be fair, I did not jam my foot into any boulders with any appreciable force to test its integrity. The big theme to this upper is that it is really dialed in and locks down almost like a performance shoe would, but with a tad more plushness. 



PERFORMANCE AND STABILITY

The Altra Lone Peak 8 performs really well in a specific category. Those wanting a high stack, rockered, newer foam offering will not find that here. The Lone Peak 8 is in that low-to-moderate cushioning category by today's standard. The overall design is flexible and feels like a pretty good extension of the foot. The Altra EGO midsole is definitely on the firmer end, but still protective enough to knock out some trail miles and adventures. There is not a lot of pop to it, rather a consistent and predictive ride. This is a shoe that wants you to run the way you want to.

In a lot of ways this shoe does not feel like it facilitates your movement in a "speed" or "performance" way, rather a "natural" way. I found this was appreciated in steeper climbs or descents. For me, I tend to struggle with really rockered shoes when climbing steep hills, since I can't get on my toes. The opposite goes on steep descents where it feels like I'm overstriding due to the geometry. I did find in more technical and steep sections I was happy with how natural the shoe felt and I could adjust my own movement patterns without the shoe influencing it too much. There is no rock plate in the Lone Peak 8. I could definitely feel the rocks under my foot, but I would not say it was so much so I would write about it. The MaxTrac outsole traction underfoot was good and held up in the situations I threw at it.

The Altra Lone Peak 8 is certainly a neutral shoe. The whole aim of the shoe is to be a natural extension of the foot and I do feel they pull it off pretty well. With that noted, there are some things they do pretty well from a stability standpoint. The lower stack height, firmer foam, and nice outsole do give a good sense of ground feel. The heel is also very locked in with both an internal and external heel counter. It might even be too locked in for some, but I felt it worked well for me. Upper lockdown and security is also quite good in all regions. With that said, the feel is still similar to that of a traditional flat and does rely on your own mechanics, making this very neutral.

I think the shoe shines most in trails where there are a lot of turns and a real need to be nimble. I did find on flatter runnable sections it was not the most fun and could even be a tad boring. The 0mm drop in this model is definitely noticeable and I did feel my calves and Achilles working more in combination with the flexible design. Despite the flexible design, the heel did feel a tad rigid. The heel construction internally is very sound and makes for a rigid initial contact with how flat the geometry of the shoe is. I do think rounding the heel here a tad could make for a more pleasant initial contact without giving in to a rocker design. If you are looking for a natural extension of the foot and wanting a more flexible design while tackling technical terrain this is definitely an option worth looking into. 



Thoughts as a DPT: The Aim of Naturality
By David Salas

Shoes have so many components to them. Everything from the upper, tongue, laces, foam/midsole, outsole/rubber, and the geometry go into what you are feeling on your foot. It is so easy to get lost in the sauce when it comes to integrating these. The ultimate goal for any shoe is to give the runner the best experience that they can get. For many, that experience may look different. 

The aim of the Altra Lone Peak is to give you a natural experience to go adventure in the trails. I feel that for the most part they do a really good job with this. The shoe has a flatter geometry, relatively flexible forefoot, good traction, and a comfortable yet supportive upper. The only thing that does not feel like it fully adds up is the heel construction. The heel collar is linked up with the lacing system and does a great job of holding the heel in place. On top of this we have an intrinsic heel counter and extrinsic mold that are definitely noticeable in keeping that heel in place. Subjectively speaking this feels secure, but it feels like the combination gets in the way of that natural feeling a tad. I don't notice it in big descents and climbs, but it is very noticeable on the flats. The heel feels like it is almost too built up and separate from the rest of the shoe. The Lone Peak feels like a shoe that is nimble, natural, and flexible in every way outside of the heel. Though we have some data to suggest our foot will do what it wants anyways despite heel structures (Alcantara, Trudeau, & Rohr, 2018), the proprioception and feeling of having it there does change the experience. This is not a knock on Altra at all, rather a passage to spark thought and stay true to the aim of the shoe and its running experience. 

References: 

Alcantara, R. S., Trudeau, M. B., Rohr, E. S. (2018). Calcaneus range of motion underestimated by markers on running shoe heel. Gait & Posture, 63. 68-72.



WHO IS THIS SHOE FOR?

The Altra Lone Peak 8 is for someone that wants a natural feeling shoe and is running a lot of technical or varying terrain. I found this shoe to be most comfortable with steep climbs, descents, and with a lot of turning. The shoe feels fun when it is nimble, but can be a tad flat when in really runnable conditions. One thing to note is that is also at 25mm stack. Those that don't like the high stack offerings may enjoy something lower and more flexible like the Lone Peak 8.

While I really enjoyed my experience in the Altra Lone Peak 8, I do have a couple of recommendations. The first would be to work on the length. The length was definitely long on me. The rest of the lockdown was solid so it helped, but refining that would be nice. The other would be to just round the heel a tad. The heel transition can be a bit slappy because there is not much of a bevel and really built up internal heel construction. It almost feels like they should remove the external heel mold and keep the heel, or keep the internal heel configuration and round the bottom. 


GRADING

David
Fit: A- (Very dialed in fit without sacrificing comfort. Length definitely a bit long.)
Performance: 
A- (Great for large descents, climbs, and turns. The foam and geometry can be a bit slappy and dull in flat and runnable sections.)
Stability: B+ (Flexible and natural feeling throughout, but good traction, base, lockdown.)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (A pretty good design for being a natural feeling trail shoe, though heel could be played with to ease transitions)
Personal: A- (If I find myself running technical terrain this will be in consideration)
Overall: B+/A- 


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

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FURTHER READING: More Trail Shoes

Brooks Divide 3 - A surprisingly solid trail runner at $100
Brooks Divide 4 - A light trail runner on a $100 budget
La Sportiva Cyklon Cross GTX - Winter ready running in every way possible
Reebok Floatride Energy 5 Adventure - A road-to-trail trainer for those who want a narrow fit
Salomon Glide Ride 2  - A solid moderately stacked trainer for the trails
Salomon Sense Ride 5 - A lower cushion, well-riding trail shoe that can do a bit of everything
Saucony Blaze TR - Surprisingly light trail running for $100
Saucony Peregrine 13 (and ST) - The lightest, yet also most cushioned model in the trail line
Topo Athletic Terraventure 4 - An excellent walking, hiking option for runners and hikers alike
Topo Athletic MT-5 - An anatomic fitting, moderate cushion trail runner
Xero Shoes Scrambler Low - A minimalist trail trainer with a generous fit

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Altra for sending us pairs.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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