What better way to introduce the Altra Lone Peak 7 than by saying it’s currently the best-selling trail shoe in America?
The balanced cushioning and unique foot-shaped last make a unique model for off-road running shoes.
Previously, zero drop shoes have been of a minimal type of design.
Altra maintains the zero drop with their balanced approach but not at the sacrifice of cushioning, enabling runners to experience the balanced (zero-drop) feel without compromising on comfort.
Altra Lone Peak 7 – First Impression
If you’ve not tried Altra before or even seen them close up, the first thing you’ll notice is the rather unusual ‘foot-shaped’ last.
This wider, rounded shape to the forefoot is designed not just to accommodate those with wider feet, but to allow your feet to spread or splay naturally as you push off.
Allowing the toes to spread under impact creates not just a more natural feel but helps stabilize the foot and in turn tends to give a more confident footing, particularly on the trails.
The shoe also feels very plush, this might be a trail shoe, but there’s plenty of padding around the heel and upper and tongue, and it makes for a very welcoming fit.
Altra’s balance cushioning approach means the foot sits evenly within the shoe and on the ground.
There’s no heel-to-toe stack height difference, just 25mm of cushioning in this model for the full length of the shoe.
Altra Lone Peak 7 – The Tech:
The foot-shaped toe box allows your feet to spread out easily and help the foot stabilize itself on uneven ground.
It looks a little strange and feels roomy the first time you put the shoes on, but once running you forget about the extra space, and it feels like a refreshing change from your other shoes!
The brand’s balanced cushioning approach places the foot an equal distance above the ground both in the heel and the forefoot.
In the case of the Altra Lone Peak 7, that’s 25 mm of stack height for the length of the shoe.
The balanced cushioning helps encourage a more considered foot strike and, particularly on the trails, means the foot tends to strike more towards the midfoot, meaning a little less impact on landing.
Altra uses their ALTRA EGO, dual-nature midsole material in the Lone Peak.
While it’s just 25 mm in depth, which is more than enough for the trails, it just sounds very little compared to the ever-increasing stack heights we’re becoming used to.
The cushioning is ample for the trail and has a nice balance between soft cushioning and a reasonably responsive ride.
The MaxTrac outsole offers a pretty aggressive pattern with the studs measuring around 4mm in depth.
Altra Lone Peak 7 – Road Test:
Living very close to the trails, I have plenty of off-road options almost right from my doorstep.
Most of these routes cover a wide variety of surfaces including unsurfaced roads, gravel paths, dirt tracks, grass, forest paths, and the occasional muddy stretch.
I’m not a regular user of low or zero-drop type shoes, except perhaps for some of the latest carbon-plated road race shoes.
Of course, having been running for over 40 years many shoes would have fallen into this category in the 1980s and 90s, but nowadays caution over my aging Achilles takes priority!
That said, when racing I do have a more mid-to-forefoot strike, and when jogging slowly as well as when running on the trails I’m naturally a little more cautious and tend to run with a plantar-flexed foot, striking the ground towards the front of the foot.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 makes running on the various trails feel very natural.
The balanced cushioning encourages a midfoot strike and doesn’t feel unusual at all. I didn’t think about the zero drop at all.
Fit and feel is great, much more like a road shoe, with plenty of plush padding around the foot and a soft, flexible ride to the shoe.
The level of cushioning is lower than my usual shoes but again, on the varying trail surfaces it wasn’t an issue as the ground takes some of the impact.
Traction is also very good. The lugs measure around 4-to-5 mm in depth so while not the deepest, their shape seems to ‘bite’ the loose gravel and dirt very well giving me a confident footing.
Altra Lone Peak 7 – Conclusion:
It’s a very comfortable shoe straight from the off. The wider foot-shaped toe box offers a refreshing feel and sensation which you quickly get used to.
The overall ride of the shoe, while not for everyone, is perfect for its intended use. This is after all a trail shoe aimed at those runners seeking a low or zero drop or, as Altra says, a balanced ride.
If you’ve not tried this type of shoe before but are keen to experience the zero-drop running sensation then I’d say a trail shoe is the perfect start.
The more cautious or considered foot plant when running on the trails lends itself perfectly to this type of shoe, and the adjustment from higher drop shoes is less noticeable.
The shoe fits very well and the use of durable materials combined with soft, welcoming padding makes for a great fit.
Traction is great on light trails; gravel paths and dirt tracks and that balanced ride helps when negotiating particularly technical terrain, allowing the foot to adapt to contours or varying conditions easily.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a good option both as a trail shoe and for those wanting to try this zero-drop type of ride for the first time.