Store Manager and experienced runner Dom has a blast in the newest version of Altra’s all time classic Lone Peak

Altra is a new brand to Taunton Leisure and as we dip our toe into the trail running market it’s an exciting addition to our portfolio. Altra has just celebrated 10 years in the running shoe market, making them relative newbies in this sector whilst offering something quite unique.

Altra was founded on the principle of more ‘natural’ running. They wanted to make shoes that did not interfere with the way we run. What they came up with is a shoe that is shaped like a foot and does not put you on slant; meaning the heel of the shoe is the same height as the forefoot of the shoe. This is generally known as the drop, and running shoes will generally vary from 2mm to 12mm however most Altra shoes have a 0mm drop.

Natural foot shape promotes natural running

The natural foot shape or as Altra call it, their “Original last “means the shoe does not constrict your toes, allowing them splay fully. This creates a more stable landing platform and encourages proper alignment of toes (particularly your big toe) allowing for greater propulsion and reduced risk of injury. The zero drop gives you a level surface leading to better posture and [again] better running form with a reduced risk of injury.

I have been running in natural footwear for nearly 8 years and it has certainly helped with injury reduction, once I passed the adjustment period. Going from an 4mm drop to 0mm can cause its own problems to begin with. The extra extension of the Achilles can leave you a little sorer than you are used too and cause injury if you are not sensible about the transition period.

Plenty of Cushioning and a 0 Drop

That said Altra have a good amount of cushioning which really helps ‘cushion’ the blow of the change and really speeds things along. I tested the Lone Peak after a running hiatus and had no issues with calf strain, unlike my usual footwear which take a couple of weeks to ease back into.

Having tested the lone peak 7 and lone peak 8 over the last 4 months I found them both to be fairly cushioned and flexible, with a reasonable amount of ground feel due to the 25mm stack height which is fairly low. They also have a lightweight stone guard in the midsole which minimises the impact from sharp pointy stones to a degree.

Sole unit offers plenty of Grip

The MAXTRAC™ outsole certainly inspired confidence on wet surfaces and has so far proven very durable. I have used the Lone Peak on road as well as trail and found the lugs are wearing exceptionally well for a compound that is designed to be “sticky”, usually meaning soft. Though not waterproof the seamless, and stitch-less, uppers have a high degree of water resistance.

The new Lone peak 8 gets a revised upper with a more durable fabric and TPU overlays used.  30-40 minutes in moderate rain, on pavement, and my feet stayed dry. However hiking in North Wales I stepped in some puddles which went above the sole and the bottom of my foot got wet very quickly. This however, is a desirable trait in a trail shoe as it demonstrates its ability to also drain water once it gets inside the shoe, and my foot did not stay wet for long. The Lone Peak 7 and 8 have a Velcro tab on the heel counter to help secure Altras own trail gaiters, reducing the risk of water and debris getting inside the shoe. Version 8 also has an updated lacing system allowing for greater adjustment across the instep (top of the foot).

The FOOTSHAPE™ toe box offers stable landing and the heel is stabilised by guide-rails (Altra invented the guide rail technology for those familiar with Brooks running shoes) which reduce pronation/supination at the heel. Fit is true to size, no need to go up or down from your current running shoe size. Ensure you have about 1cm (or a finger width) of space at the end of the shoe and don’t worry if they feel too wide; your toes are supposed to have that room to splay and swell. The Lone Peak is an excellent door-to-trail shoe with performance values equal to the Saucony Peregrine or Brooks Cascadia, cushioned enough for some seriously long miles and a sole capable of taking you over any terrain confidently.

No excuses; “Run, friend. Run!”