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Altra Lone Peak 5 - Women's Review

If you seek a wide toe box with lots of underfoot cushioning that can go the distance, look no further
Altra Lone Peak 5 - Women's
Photo: Altra
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Price:  $130 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Lots of cushioning underfoot, zero drop design, wide and spacious toe box
Cons:  Cushioning packs out, poor reputation for durability, zero drop takes training, no arch support
Manufacturer:   Altra
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 7, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 16
  • Foot Protection - 25% 8
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Sensitivity - 15% 7
  • Stability - 15% 8
  • Comfort and Fit - 15% 8
  • Weight - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Altra Lone Peak 5 stands out for its foot-shaped design that's packed with underfoot cushioning and ideal for long trails. The newest update features an enhanced stone guard, more cushioning in the midsole (without adding any weight), and a seemingly more durable upper (yet time will tell). This model has been a favorite of ours for years and is one of the options we choose to sport the most because it's built for comfort. With its zero-drop design, this is best for runners that don't need additional arch support, favoring mid- or forefoot strikers. We've tested this model rigorously, and the newest update proves to be one of the best iterations we've seen in a long time.

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Pros Lots of cushioning underfoot, zero drop design, wide and spacious toe boxLight, very protective, excellent mud shed, superior traction, surprisingly stableLightweight and streamlined, durable elements, very sensitive, precise fit, protective upper, stable on technical terrain, fun color optionsProtective, comfortable, wider toe box, excellent beefy traction for soft surfaces, huge valueSticky traction, protective, rainbow design is fun, great value, all surface capabilities
Cons Cushioning packs out, poor reputation for durability, zero drop takes training, no arch supportNarrow fit, runs small, rigid construction takes time to break-inExpensive, no extra room in the toe box, tongue requires readjustment, zero drop design is best for only someNot ideal for roads, huge sizingLess stable than most, harder midsole is less comfortable, narrower fit
Bottom Line If you seek a wide toe box with lots of underfoot cushioning that can go the distance, look no furtherStable and deliciously sticky, this contender is just a crusher all the way around, built for training runs and long distances alikeOur favorite for its low profile and zero-drop design that feels like an extension of the body, ready to tackle technical terrainA great all-around trail shoe with high value that's superb traction on soft surfacesThis rainbow contender has the ability to tackle all kinds of trail with excellent protection and sticky traction
Rating Categories Altra Lone Peak 5 -... Dynafit Feline SL -... Inov-8 Terraultra G270 Supercross Blast Merrell Antora 2
Foot Protection (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Sensitivity (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Stability (15%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (15%)
8.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
6.0
Weight (10%)
6.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Altra Lone Peak 5 -... Dynafit Feline SL -... Inov-8 Terraultra G270 Supercross Blast Merrell Antora 2
Measured Weight (per shoe, size 9) 9.7 oz 9.8 oz 8.3 oz 10.5 oz 9.6 oz
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm 8 mm 0 mm 10 mm 8.5 mm
Stack Height (Heel, Forefoot) 25 mm, 25 mm Not disclosed 12 mm, 12 mm 29.3 mm, 19.3 mm 28.5 mm, 20 mm
Upper Quick-Dry AirMesh Mesh, continuous nylon Mesh and TPU Continuous ripstop nylon Mesh and TPU
Midsole Altra Ego Feline SL midsole Powerflow Max EVA Foam EVA
Outsole MaxTrac/TrailClaw Sticky Pomoco Outer Graphene Grip Contragrip TD Vibram TC5+ rubber sole
Rock Plate? Yes Not disclosed Not disclosed N/A Yes
Wide Version Available? Yes No No No Yes
Sizes Available 5.5 - 12 5 - 11 5.5 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Lone Peak 5 is a foot-shaped technical trail shoe with a wide splaying toe box, loaded with cushioning underfoot. It utilizes a zero drop design, meaning there is no extra cushioning in the heel relative to the forefoot. This is a renowned shoe in the trail running community for ultra distances. We've worn iterations of this model while traveling across the world, on terrain ranging from rocky hikes in Colorado to trailless tundra in Iceland. The newest update sees a myriad of changes that we appreciate, including the option to choose a regular or wide fit.

What's New with the Altra Lone Peaks 5?


This update has seen several changes, and we're excited about most of them.
  • New streamlined upper and TPU skeleton
  • Updated drainage system
  • Seemingly more durable collar
  • New eyelet location for lacing
  • New midsole material (Altra Ego has replaced Dual Layer EVA)
  • More cushioning underfoot (25mm) without seeming taller
  • Updated stone guard
  • Wide and regular size options
  • Smaller velcro strip on the back
  • One loop pull instead of two on the heel

A comparison of the Altra Lone Peak 5 (left) and the Altra Lone Peak...
A comparison of the Altra Lone Peak 5 (left) and the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 (right). We tested the "regular" version so you will note the toe box looks a tiny bit smaller than the previous iteration, but it is more streamlined and lower profile, with a better fit than ever.
Photo: Amber King

Performance Comparison


We love the wide fit and comfortable midsole of this trail shoe...
We love the wide fit and comfortable midsole of this trail shoe. It's built for long distances with excellent comfort for all-day (and night) adventures.
Photo: Amber King

Foot Protection


Loaded with a stone guard and 25mm of cushioning, the Lone Peak 5 is built to take on mile after mile of hard ground. We've tested it on country roads, soft singletrack, and rocky trails in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. The streamlined upper offers even more protection from sand and small particulates but doesn't have the hardest toe bumper.


We tried this shoe while running over rocky terrain and sandy trails. When testing, we noted if any rocks could be felt underfoot or if our feet could handle miles and miles of terrain without notice. In all these tests, this shoe did very well. In fact, the newest iteration of the Lone Peak sees an enhanced stone guard and thicker cushioning than ever before, making it more protective than it's been in the past while leaving the bulk behind.

This shoe is stacked with underfoot cushioning that offers great...
This shoe is stacked with underfoot cushioning that offers great protection.
Photo: Amber King

A large amount of cushioning in addition to the stone guard is what offers the most protection. This shoe is built for ultra distances on rocky trails, and its performance reflects that. It's now a renowned favorite amongst thru-hikers for its level of cushioning. During our tests, the upper withstood running through sand, only getting into our shoe when kicked up over the collar.

The durable upper wards off particulates and allows you to run...
The durable upper wards off particulates and allows you to run through the sand with ease (just be sure to add a pair of gaiters).
Photo: Amber King

Furthermore, it features a new drainage system at the front of the toe, which allows it to drain decently after crossing creeks. However, when tromping through the Uncompahgre River with this newest iteration, we found this drainage system isn't as effective as the previous version because the drainage is concentrated at the top of the foot. That said, after running through rivers, you can expect it to dry out quickly with water escaping from the porous upper. Overall, this is a well-loved favorite amongst all trail goers due to its extra cushioning underfoot with a comfortable and roomy fit. It's a great option for any trail runner that plans to take on everything from technical and sharp tundra to smooth singletrack.

Traction


The MaxTrac outsole is composed of a soft rubber compound that adheres well to dry rock and does well over many trail conditions. It features multidirectional chevron lugs that grip well to steep and dry trails. It sheds mud (unless it's sticky clay) and does well in most conditions. While the rubber compound isn't as sticky as a Vibram rubber, this is a shoe we've chosen for several scrambling trail missions over fourth and fifth-class terrain.


We've tested versions of the Lone Peak over the last six years, and the traction pattern and rubber have changed and seen some make-overs, but the new outsole isn't much different from the last model. We wore it while running over snowy county roads, dry desert trails, and muddy Spring weather. While it doesn't grip as well as a Vibram or shoes that have really long lugs, it does well over most types of trails. It also works nicely as a cross-over option with a smooth ride on pavement and flatter surfaces.

A look at the Max Trac outsole that offers nice traction. While it...
A look at the Max Trac outsole that offers nice traction. While it doesn't have the sharpest teeth, it does well on most terrain, including the steeps.
Photo: Amber King

Sensitivity


We wore this shoe while hiking and walking daily, in addition to our daily trail run. We ran it mostly over snow-laden county roads and rocky trails in the San Juans of Colorado. This offers more sensitivity than we originally expected, with a low-to-the-ground feel, but balancing the amount of protection perfectly.


When running over sharp rocks and roots, we noted that the additional cushioning made for a little more protection, while surprisingly, not sacrificing sensitivity. We could feel rocks and roots underfoot to position our body appropriately when stepping on each, but the midsole would almost absorb the object, distributing the impact evenly. Thus, you can feel the trail while retaining excellent protection.

While this trail was far rockier in other places, we could feel what...
While this trail was far rockier in other places, we could feel what was underfoot to adjust as needed. This shoe features a nice balance of sensitivity and protection.
Photo: Amber King

Stability


After wearing the Lone Peak for years, the newest iteration offers a similar level of stability as previous models. The upper features a new TPU overlay that fits better in the arch area, with well-placed upper lacing eyelets that allow you to optimize your fit. Additionally, because of the wide, foot-shaped toe spread achieved in the forefoot, you can stabilize your landing position on the forefoot easily. Even though the midsole is well-cushioned (with 25mm of Altra Ego), it's also dense, which still gives a low-to-the-ground feel.


We tested this shoe over snowy slush, mixed with rocks and mud, as well as on trails that varied in steepness around Ouray, Colorado, and Arizona, where steep switchbacks, hills, and rocky singletrack is the norm. When you plant your foot on the ground, we appreciate that the impact is distributed well throughout the forefoot. This shoe also has a midsole that offers a slanted sidewall, with the traction pad being a little wider than the midsole itself. When you step down, the shoe squishes outwards, offering more stability on the trail.

As you can see, the outsole flexes outwards when we push down into...
As you can see, the outsole flexes outwards when we push down into the shoe. On the trail, this offers a nice stable platform with a sloped collar that doesn't roll easily.
Photo: Amber King

The wider platform offers a more stable platform than other shoes with a steeper sidewall. Additionally, the Lone Peak 5 is more flexible than others. Your feet move around more, meaning you can make room for adjustments, and thus, stabilize your position on the trail. Since it has a taller stack height than most, it doesn't get the best points for stability, but for the amount of cushioning, this is one of the more stable trail shoes that we've tested.

Comfort and Fit


If you are a fan of spreading your toes with ample amounts of cushioning underfoot, we can't help but boast about the comfort and fit of this contender. It offers a 0mm drop, meaning that there is no additional cushioning in the heel in comparison to the forefoot. This design is said to promote a more "balanced and healthier" landing for the body. That said, it does take practice, especially if you are a heel striker, to switch to striking the ground with your forefoot instead. This shoe is best for those that like a little cushion underfoot and are, or intend to become, a mid or forefoot striker.


With 25mm of cushioning underfoot, this shoe is intended to protect and provide enough comfort to run everything from short to ultra distances. Not only is this a favorite trail runner for our testers, but it's also our favorite for long backpacking trips and thru-hikes. The cushioning underfoot is responsive and breaks in after just a few miles.

The shape looks just like a foot. The toe box is nice and wide, tapering to the heel. While we have always loved the fit of this shoe, it doesn't lock your foot in as tightly as you'd want for downhill sections on the go. We've noticed that, especially on steep terrain, the heel moves around, and our foot slides to the front of the shoe on the downhills, especially when getting tired and not paying attention to running form.

We like the new eyelet position that is further back on the shoe...
We like the new eyelet position that is further back on the shoe, offering more room to cinch down the laces.
Photo: Amber King

The newest version also has a newly placed eyelet that allows you to adjust the laces better than ever, but we still couldn't get our heels locked in for fit. For longer downhill sections, we would actually stop and tighten the laces before tackling 2,000 feet of descent. While this is a caveat to the design, it's one that can be adjusted. Still, the comfort of this trail runner is well above much of the competition, even if some adjustments could be made to further lock in the foot for the downhill. With all the shoe options in our testers closet, this is the one that gets reached for the most frequently simply because of the wider toe box and magical comfort that's built for long days on the trail.

This shoe features a wider fit with a sloppier heel than most. It...
This shoe features a wider fit with a sloppier heel than most. It has lots of room without much additional support.
Photo: Amber King

If you have never run in a zero drop shoe before, it's very important to note that using them causes more muscular strain on the calves. This takes training in the shoe for short runs, in addition to cross-training to prepare your body for the switch. Before buying, be sure to read up about this to ensure this type of design is what's best for your body.

Weight


This is a decently lightweight shoe, weighing in at just 9.8 oz for a size nine. The materials do a great job at wicking away water and drying quickly. While it's not the lightest option in the bunch, it offers one of the best protection to weight ratios, making it a favorite for longer distances.


Value


We love this shoe, and it's a classic in the ultra running and hiking community for its foot-shaped design and superior comfort. This new version is said to be more durable than previous iterations. We've tested it for about 60 miles at the time of writing this review. Since then, the upper materials and collar still look new, with the cushioning packing out just a bit. All other Altra shoes we have tested seem to get holes or blow out after 200 - 500 miles, depending on the terrain they've been worn on. The performance of this trail runner is excellent when it's in prime shape, but it has a reputation for not lasting very long, which takes away from its value. If you're looking for a cushioned shoe with a zero-drop and foot-shaped design, this is a wonderful choice; just expect that it probably won't last as long as other contenders. That said, we'll report back as we gather more data.

Conclusion


The Altra Lone Peak 5 is a classic trail runner boasting a foot-shaped, zero drop design with a wide forefoot. It offers 25mm of underfoot cushioning designed to take on long technical trails. The new update for version 5 sees a fresh redesign of the stone guard, upper, and midsole that, in our opinion, makes this one of the best models yet. It also comes in a new "wide" size. For any distance, including the ultras, this is one of the most comfortable, built to take on technical and long trails.

Whether you're training for your first mile or your hundredth, this...
Whether you're training for your first mile or your hundredth, this shoe is built for any distance - especially the long haul. Here we start our run up the Perimeter loop in Ouray, Colorado on a training day.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King