Altra Lone Peak 5 | Best All-Purpose Trail Shoe
A versatile zero-drop and wide-fit shoe that offers speed and stability on any terrain
Ready to Run
The Lone Peak 5 is the perfect shoe for a varied and active lifestyle; its versatility is unmatched in any other hiking shoe I’ve tried. Altra’s updates to their most popular Lone Peak series bring this shoe to a whole new level. With an added high energy return foam in the midsole, this shoe can transition from speedy pavement pounding to snowy trails. Furthermore, this midsole makes the shoe insanely comfortable, right out of the box you’ll feel like you can put in a solid day of training.
One of the biggest complaints of Altra’s most recent of the Lone Peaks (4.5s) was their lack of comfort. The updated midsole completely eliminates this problem, and elevates the design to the class of high energy return shoes. Also, durability issues had been cited in previous models with the stitching between the rubber outsole and the mesh upper. The rubber outsole and toe bumper are now connected and both stitched to the outsole, which will eliminate this problem. The AltraEgo technology they use in the midsole is a 2016 technology used in their speedy road running models. So, it’s not as ground-breaking as The North Face Flight Vectivs or the CloudUltra technology, but it still offers similar benefits.
The Competition including new Hi-Tech, Energy Return Hiking Shoes
Full Video | Altra Lone Peak 5
If a picture is worth a 1,000 words what is a comprehensive video of the Altra Lone Peak 5 Shoes worth? There’s stuff in here that we can’t begin to cover in words.
Circumstances of Review
I’ve taken the Lone Peak 5s on some local trail runs and hikes to get a feel for how they perform on a variety of terrain. Luckily, I live in Salt Lake City where this is no shortage of ice, mud, and powdery snow to contend with on the trails. This shoe has excelled transitioning from road to icy trail, offering comfort yet traction on various terrains.
Key Specs | Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail-Running Shoes
Design: Low-rise, zero drop trail running and hiking shoe for comfort and speed on varied terrain
Features: MaxTrac™ outsole for traction, Altra EGO™ midsole for comfort and responsiveness, FootShape™ design features wide toe box and zero drop to mimic natural stride, GAITERTRAP™ for Altra’s gaiters to secure to the shoe without a strap (sold separately)
Weight: 11.1 oz (men’s 9) / 9.2 oz (women’s 8)
Type: Trail runner, low-rise hiking shoe
Stack Height Heel: 25mm
Stack Height Toe: 25mm
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
Outsole: full rubber MaxTrac™ and TRAILCLAW™ system
Overview of the Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail-Running Shoes
Altra shoes are specifically designed to mimic our foot’s natural stride. Every pair they make feature a foot-shaped toe box, balanced cushioning with zero heel to toe drop, and female shoes with specific anatomical differences highlighted. If you’ve used Altra shoes before, you know firsthand the all-day comfort benefits of wearing this type of shoe. However, this iteration of the Lone Peak offers all of this previous technology in combination with a fully revamped midsole. The AltraEgo foam midsole is a 2016 technology taken from their popular running shoe (the Escalantes).
This new midsole follows the trend of lightweight hiking shoes now focusing on high energy return. In sum, you can go for longer, faster. The lugs on the full rubber outsole are slightly toned down, so it can more easily transition to road or flat terrain. However, traction is not sacrificed. The shoes also feature a tightly stitched mesh upper that does an excellent job of keeping out fine sand or snow. The fit is a bit wide naturally and a zero drop shoe does take some getting used to initially.
Other Model Options
The Lone Peak shoe also has a mid-rise version for both men and women. The mid rise models feature similar updates; we recommend those only for extreme weather conditions.
- Lighter weight. Though these aren’t the lightest hiking and trail running shoes around, they are still fairly breezy. This new model shaves an ounce off the Lone Peak 4.5s. Previously, I only used my Lone Peaks for backpacking and hiking because I felt they were too heavy to run efficiently. Now, I am extremely excited to take these shoes out for everything, and they have proved to feel light enough for speedy trail running.
- Wide toe box. I am a fan of the wide toe box. I never noticed how crunched up my toes were until I started spreading them out with my natural stride, and other shoes now sometimes feel too tight in the toe area. Also, there is plenty of room in the shoes to accommodate for swollen feet, which easily happens at elevation or on long days.
- Zero drop. Zero drop shoes encourage the wearer to use their natural stride, where your heel will not strike the ground before your toe due to construction of the shoe. This strengthens your stride and reduces the impact of each strike, thus protecting your joints overall. We’ve found zero drop shoes to be much easier on our bodies for long backpacking, hiking, or trail running trips. However, be mindful that your first pair of zero drop shoes may take a bit of an adjustment period.
- Updated midsole for added comfort. The added Altra EGO™ midsole is what takes these shoes to a whole new level for me. Out of the box, I noticed the additional comfort. This makes the shoes very versatile, because they’re soft enough for road running, yet responsive enough for tricky trails. Furthermore, the upgraded midsole feels comfortable even on long days.
- Suitable for all conditions. Some trail running shoes feel like stilts on the road. The Altra Lone Peaks have low-profile lugs, so transitioning from a trail to road run feels extremely comfortable. This is great for backpacking or thru-hiking trips where a bit of road walking may be required. On the other hand, their TrailClaw™ and MaxTrac™ outsole design makes this shoe their grippiest to date. Not many shoes are suitable for road running, predictable trails, and tricky scrambling alike. The Lone Peak 5 does it all well.
- Gaiter connection system. The hook on the mesh upper of the shoe connects to Altra’s proprietary trail gaiters without a strap. The gaiters are sold separately, but it’s a cool feature for summer trips with excessive dirt, dust, sand, pebbles, and debris.
- Moderate stack height. I don’t like feeling elevated off the ground, especially when I’m trying to move quickly. The lower stack height on these shoes is a feature of previous Lone Peak models, and one I’m glad they didn’t change. They’re not quite low enough to be considered minimalist (or close to it), but the 5mm between these and a shoe like the Hoka Challenger ATRs (30mm stack height) is noticeable.
- A bit wide. While we love the wide toe box which allows room for swelling and natural toe movement, the rest of the shoe feels a bit too wide. This makes for an insecure feeling in certain terrain, like side-hilling or extremely steep downhills. Especially with the shoe updates that make this new model fit a bit looser, your feet do not feel locked into place.
- Less stability than similar models. For runners or hikers who are prone to feeling “wobbly” or unsteady, you may want a shoe with a bit more support. Because of the wide fit and soft midsole, this shoe gives you an incredible amount of freedom but lacks a secure, “locked in” feeling.
- Grip is not good enough for slippery terrain. These shoes are not grippy enough to handle extremely steep icy/snowy terrain without extra traction. Certain shoes, like the La Sportiva Bushidos are designed specifically for challenging runs in any conditions. I am able to run and hike on flat and somewhat steep terrain with ice and snow, but as soon as it gets extremely steep I pull out my spikes to accompany the Lone Peak 5s. Or, I do an awkward short-stride shuffle until I find level ground.
- Cited durability issues. We have not had these shoes long enough to get an accurate picture of how long they will last. However, durability has been an issue for previous Lone Peak models. Namely, the rubber outsole detaches from the mesh upper well before the midsole or tread are worn through. On this new model, the rubber outsole and toe bumper are now connected and both stitched to the outsole, so hopefully this problem will be eliminated but it is still too early to tell.
- High mileage backpacking trips. The all-day comfort of the Lone Peaks makes them perfect for backpacking trips where you’re crushing miles day after day. Also, the high energy return foam midsole could save you precious time.
- Long day-hikes. For the same reasons as above, these shoes are our new go-to for long days on our feet.
- Trail running in mixed terrain. The low-profile but high traction lugs on the rubber outsole of these shoes make them transition from road to trail and even off trail without missing a beat.
Compared to the Competition
Similar models for hiking, trail running, and backpacking
Altra was one of the first to bring the craze of lightweight and low drop shoes from trail running to backpacking. The updates to their most popular Lone Peak shoes show how attune the brand is with the times, being one of the first brands to offer high energy return foam in their classic, and reasonably priced, models.
HOKA Challenger ATR 6 Review | Great All-Purpose Trail Shoe
Weight: 9.6 ounces (Men’s 9) | 8.8 ounces (Women’s 8)
Stack Height Heel/Toe: 30mm / 25mm (Men’s)
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5mm
What We Like: Comfortable, versatile shoe with extreme durability
The Hoka One One Challengers are our picks for top hiking and backpacking shoes. The Challengers are a lightweight, versatile shoe that gives the wearer an incredible amount of stability and out of the box comfort. Their 5 mm drop is a happy medium, which suits both hikers used to zero or high drop shoes. Though they don’t feature the same wide toe box as the Altra Lone Peaks, the slightly snugger fit provides more stability and confidence in foot placement. Furthermore, this model comes in wide, if you truly need extra room.
PROS Wider fit and less aggressive outsole is more comfortable for longer periods of time, and will likely be more than enough for the most commonly encountered terrain. These shoes dry fast, and the rubber grip on the forefoot and under the heel provides good traction on most terrain. These shoes are lighter weight than others with comparable cushion, and are incredibly breathable.
CONS The lack of rubber under the middle of the foot can be a detractor when the trail gets steep or slick, and the more moderate outsole wears out more quickly than other, more aggressive trail shoes.
BEST FOR: Athletes who don’t fit into extremely narrow shoes, but want a more snug fit. Hiking, backpacking, and trail running on a variety of trails, with big miles as the objective. Ultralight backpacking
Weight: 10.4 ounces (Men’s 9)
Stack Height Heel/Toe: unavailable
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
What We Like: On’s proprietary energy return tech — CloudTec outsole plate (Speedboard) returns energy like a springboard + Hellion Superfoam midsoles — make for very efficient trail shoe. But without sacrificing, trail feel, traction and comfort. New quick-release lace loosener for forefoot comfort at the end of a long day.
PROS: All-day comfort no matter which terrain you take these shoes on. Proprietary technology combines speed and comfort, putting your feet on a “springboard.” Extremely versatile, can be used for long hikes/backpacking trips, or running quickly on tricky trail. Very lightweight for the amount of support in the shoe. “Just right fit,” not too narrow or wide, comfortable out of the box. Fully gusseted tongue stays in place and stops debris from entering the shoe. Shoe laces can be released / loosened without fully taking the shoes off to relieve swollen feet at the end of a day
CONS: This shoe and technology is brand-new, we do not have an accurate picture of how it will perform. More expensive than other competitive model. Firm Helion Superfoam may feel too stiff for some
BEST FOR: Users who are looking for all-day comfort without sacrificing weight. Traveling on and off trail, these shoes will perform on a variety of surfaces. Moving quickly and confidently on a variety of surfaces
Altra Olympus 4
Weight: 11.6 ounces (Men’s 9)
Stack Height Heel/Toe: 33mm / 33mm (Men’s)
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
What We Like: An off-trail and cushiony upgrade from the classic Lone Peaks for traveling through varied terrain. Though the price tag may cause some to balk, the versatility of the Altra Olympus suits hikers, backpackers, and trail runners with a variety of plans. These shoes feature significantly more cushion and stability than the Lone Peaks, while still holding true to Altra’s zero drop and wide toe box design. Because of this extra reinforcement, these are excellent shoes for those who prefer extra cushion, but still want to move quickly.
PROS: Vibram outsole makes this better for off-trail travel than other Altra models. Combination of high stack height with zero drop makes this shoe cushiony, while still stable. Extremely comfortable for long days on the trail. Can handle a heavier pack than other, ultralight shoes.
CONS: Significantly more expensive than similar shoes. Wide fit may cause the feeling of less support for some users. Only suited for athletes who are used to (or looking to ease into) a zero drop shoe.
Conclusion | Altra Lone Peak 5 Trail-Running Shoes
We recommend Altra’s latest iteration of their most popular trail shoe for anyone who is comfortable with a zero drop and has serious hiking, backpacking, or trail running plans for this upcoming year. We do also advise that you may want to size down by a half-size, because updates on this shoe make the fit ever-so-slightly more loose than previous models. However, these additions make the new Lone Peak 5s more comfortable on long days than the older versions. The AltraEgo high energy return foam midsole brings this shoe to a whole different class, and we expect to see many thru-hikers and trail runners selecting this for this big 2021 endeavors.
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