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Altra LP Alpine - Women's
|Price||$148.17 at Amazon|
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|$109.95 at Amazon|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at Amazon|
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|$61.22 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Feather-light, unique roomy tox box shape, responsive footbed, highly breathable||Great traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-priced||Excellent cushioning, roomy toe box, great traction, stable, supportive||Spacious toe box, great traction, waterproof, durable, stable||Waterproof, lightweight, very supportive|
|Cons||No arch support or torsional rigidity, limited cushioning, no waterproofing||Bulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyelet||Hard footbed, a little heavy||Heavy, hard footbed, not the most breathable||Not super breathable, durability concerns with the soft rubber soles|
|Bottom Line||A comfy, lightweight, casual day hiker that offers limited support but makes a great option for everyday about-town walkers||Supportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experience||The perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive base||A burly, reliable trail partner with a wide base and sticky traction for when trips run long, and durability, stability, and waterproofing are important||Looking like a trail runner and performing like a hiking beast, this shoe is waterproof, lightweight, and supportive enough for multi-day adventures|
|Rating Categories||Altra LP Alpine - W...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...||Oboz Sawtooth X Low...||Keen Targhee III Low||Adidas Terrex Swift...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Altra LP Alpine - W...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...||Oboz Sawtooth X Low...||Keen Targhee III Low||Adidas Terrex Swift...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.2 lbs (size 10)||1.8 lbs (size 10)||2.0 lbs (size 10)||2.1 lbs (size 10)||1.5 lbs (size 7)|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular|
|Upper||Hemp canvas with suede overlays||Leather, mesh||Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh||Oiled nubuck leather, mesh||High-abrasion resistant synthetic mesh|
|Midsole||Altra EGO with BLOOM foam||EVA||Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA||Dual density EVA||EVA|
|Lining||Nylon||Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane||B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane||KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane||Gore-Tex|
|Outsole||DuraTread rubber||Vibram TC5+ rubber||True Tread rubber||KEEN All-Terrain Rubber||Continental|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Altra LP Aline is the comfy, casually good-looking walking shoe you grab when you're headed to the trail with the dog and plan to go straight to happy hour after because you know you don't require substantial support or protection in between.
A signature FootShape design and trail casual good looks are a big part of the appeal of the LP Alpine. All but the most narrow foot shape should find its unconventional athletic shape fits well straight out of the box. There is plenty of space in the forefoot for toes to splay naturally, while the footbed narrows to a reasonably structured heel cup at the back. And while the soft, flexible hemp upper with suede overlays has minimal padding, it is easily secured around the foot using the flat, well-positioned lacing system and extra runner's loop eyelets located up top near the ankle.
A foam midsole and sturdy large-lugged outsole are laid out to create a balanced platform underfoot, positioning the heel and forefoot on the same level (with no arch nor lateral supports to note). The result is a sufficiently soft and supportive base to match the demands of average everyday outdoor activities, with enough style points to transition easily into indoor locations. But, in the face of anything more rugged than a lunchtime dog walk or a casual park hike on groomed terrain, you may find yourself wishing for a shoe with a little bit more structure and cushioning. Our lead tester loved this Altra for any quick trips around the neighborhood paths, but she found it a poor choice on legitimate day hikes requiring substantial time on her feet in mixed terrain.
What makes the LP Alpine particularly unique is its foot-first design, specifically meant to accommodate and support the foot's shape and movements in its natural form. What does that mean in reality? A toe box featuring plenty of space for the toes to splay without the possibility of pinching or pressure from the forefoot enclosure. It also means a balanced platform that aligns the heel and foot at equal distances from the ground to encourage better alignment and form in movement. This is what is called a "zero-drop" shoe.
This also means a minimally supportive foam midsole and no significant arch or lateral support in the structure. The shoe squeezes and bends easily underhand, offering increased responsiveness underfoot (which those who move fast and light will appreciate) but also introducing far more opportunities to experience foot fatigue or to roll the ankle in response to shifts in terrain. Because of that, whenever plans included several miles through mixed terrain, we inevitably changed shoes into something with a sturdier, more supportive foundation and upgraded cushioning.
The signature DuraTread outsole on the Alpine is made of dense rubber with large lugs in a mixed arrow pattern across the base. It's meant to offer a solid grip on both tame and technical terrain. What we found in practice was an average hold in loose dirt and on uneven or rocky trails and not a lot of confidence when the going got steep or the trail turned slick. For average outings without particularly challenging ups and downs, we had no problem. But anything more, we felt too insecure to move at any speed.
The Altra LP Alpine are among the lightest hikers in our entire test suite. At 1.2 pounds for a size 10 US, they are practically featherlight and a wonderful option to just toss in a bag for casual outings bouncing between trails, picnics, and activities in town. However, this lightweight appeal comes at a cost, as the LP Alpine lacks many of the qualities and features that make other hikers a better choice for more strenuous trail activity.
Since the Alpine is not advertised as a waterproof shoe, and it is constructed out of a hemp canvas material with suede overlays, it was no surprise to discover the shoe was not prepared to handle moisture. On the trail, it was reasonably water resistant. We tackled a few wet fields, logs, and stream crossings, and in no instance did we notice any moisture inside the shoe.
Our controlled bucket test (during which we submerged each shoe in 3 inches of water) is another story. Under these conditions, the LP Alpine began taking on water within mere seconds, absorbing it quickly through the canvas upper directly and soaking our sock and foot immediately on the inside. In this case, it didn't matter if the water came in through the ankle opening, as everything inside was already soaked. If water protection is what you are after, this will not be the right shoe for the job.
While testers like the look of the Altra LP Alpine and see its potential as an everyday shoe for lifestyles that bridge outdoor and city time, it isn't a shoe we'd promote as a great option for harder days on the trail. In addition to lacking basic structural supports for comfort and stability, the shoe also lacks the strength of materials to give us confidence in its ability to tolerate average trail abuse in the long term. Its soft, hemp canvas upper is reinforced with double-stitched suede overlays, and we saw no sign of flaws or compromises in that topside construction or around the outsole seams, or any other connective joints. But the softness and pliability of all materials left us wondering how well the shoe could withstand days of aggressive activities.
Should You Buy the Altra LP Alpine?
There's no question the LP Alpine is a comfortable shoe. Whether it will serve well as a go-to supportive hiker for all manner of adventures is another question. It was not the right mix of support and performance we prefer for substantial trail adventures, but it is an excellent option for all-about-town fun, including dog walks, lunchtime strolls, and happy hours. If you want a good-looking, super lightweight, versatile city hiker, this could be a great choice. But for the same mid-range price, there are other options with stronger feature sets.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
Does a lightweight, city chic hiker appeal to you, but you know you need more stability and support out of the gate? Consider the Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX as it weighs only a few ounces more but boasts a much broader range of features (including waterproofing) and still comes with city-appropriate style. If your budget stretches further, another great option with excellent structural supports and waterproofing is the La Sportiva Spire GTX. Or if weight is still a primary concern and you don't need a waterproof shoe, the Merrell Siren 3 has plenty of stability, support, and traction.
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