Altra Lone Peak 6 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Like many classic trail runners that have been around for years — particularly in the minimalist category — the Altra Lone Peak lineup has a cult-like following. Fans of the Altra Lone Peak 5 will be happy to learn that the Lone Peak 6 improves upon the previous platform without reinventing the wheel. The newest iteration maintains the same fit with a last that favors wide feet, a zero-drop profile, and the same MaxTrac outsole with canted lugs in their patented TrailClaw design. The only upgrades to the Lone Peak 6 are subtle: a slight adjustment in the lacing pattern helps this shoe close around more narrow feet, and a redesign of the upper shaves a few grams and helps improve durability (slightly.)
It's best to think about the Lone Peak 6 as a beefed-up version of a minimalist shoe. Designers incorporate 25mm of Altra's Alter EGO foam into the midsole of this zero-drop model. This type of stack height is pretty standard for trail runners these days. But unlike other top trail running shoes that have a heel-to-toe drop, this amount of foam does not taper, providing ample protection across your foot. This proprietary foam starts lively and springy, but even after a few dozen miles, we've noticed some collapse in the support of the midsole.
While the questionable lifetime of these shoes is unfortunate, the StoneGuard ensures that they will remain protective even as they begin to break down. The upper looks like ripstop nylon but is actually a tightly woven mesh that is highly effective for keeping out sand and pebbles and even resists the puncture of sharp rocks and branches. The upper of the Lone Peak 6 receives an upgrade, replacing the thick polyurethane pads with a thinner, stronger TPU film covering more of the upper for reinforced protection.
Altra has been at the forefront of zero-drop shoes for many years now, and they have several proprietary designs that help them lead the pack. Like its predecessors, the Lone Peak 6 employs the TrailClaw lug design. The lugs in the front of the shoe are canted and spread out in an attempt to highlight the natural grip and pressure of your metatarsals.
As long as your foot fills this shoe, this specialized lug design generates a responsive type of traction that adjusts with your natural gait and the trail conditions underfoot. The TrailClaw design is effective through soft loam and mud, and the soft rubber of the MaxTrac outsole is sticky enough to climb rock slabs. Although the widely spaced lugs are particularly adept at shedding water, they regularly slip on hardpack or sandy surfaces. This shoe often gave us pause before attempting to tackle short, scrambly sections of trail at full speed.
As a zero-drop runner, it can be argued that the Lone Peak 6 blurs the lines between a trail running shoe and a minimalist shoe. Relative to the rest of the shoes in our lineup, these shoes are soft, flexible, and offer a level of ground feel not found in many trail-specific shoes.
The lack of flexional and torsional rigidity allows these shoes to mirror the natural flex of your foot, which absorbs and rebounds energy with every step. While we can feel changes in technical terrain with a certain definition, the 25mm midsole and rock plate keep your foot protected from rocks and roots. Since this shoe doesn't taper with a heel-to-toe drop, it is less sensitive in the toes than other models we tested.
One of the defining features of this shoe is its fit: it has a distinctly wide last that tapers to one of the widest toe boxes of any shoe on the market. If you have the foot shape or toe splay to fill out this shoe, you will feel stable running on the wide, flat platform of the Lone Peak 6. But if you don't have a wide foot, you will likely slip and slide around in this shoe, regardless of how tight you crank down on the laces.
Like stability, comfort in the Lone Peak 6 is a bit subjective and almost entirely contingent on the shape — notably the width — of your foot. The soft EGO foam and ultralight mesh uppers will feel very comfortable standing and walking around the shoe shop, regardless of your foot shape. But for those with more narrow feet, problems will quickly arise once you hit the trail. The new lace pattern helps pull more pressure over your instep, but even this redesign won't help narrow feet from moving around and causing blisters.
The Lone Peak 6 is a prime example of a minimalist trail runner: a zero-drop option with an extra-wide toe box and a flexible structure alongside a supportive 25mm midsole that helps moderate impact. While we're willing to sacrifice some level of comfort to build our foot strength, these shoes flat out don't provide the padding or support most folks need to tackle long trail runs. Instead, this lightweight trail shoe is excellent for shorter training runs.
The updated Lone Peak 6 manages to shave a few ounces off the previous model by replacing thicker polyurethane reinforcements with a lighter, more durable TPU film. This shoe now tips the scales at just under 20 ounces per pair, an impressive feat considering the thickness of the midsole. The quick-dry mesh lives up to its name and purpose — quickly draining and drying after running through a puddle — which keeps these shoes feeling lightweight on your feet regardless of trail conditions.
Should You Buy the Altra Lone Peak 6?
For some folks, the Lone Peak 6 is the ideal shoe. It is not designed for those with narrow feet, nor are its minimalist characteristics designed for pushing long runs. But this sensitive yet supportive zero-drop runner is a comfortable daily driver for those who would rather stick to shorter-distance trail runs. With an oversized last and ample toe box, those with wide feet may find a savior in this shoe among a field of notoriously tight-fitting trail runners.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
The Altra Lone Peak 6 has a longtime cult following for a good reason. Altra shoes balance the sensitivity and weight of a minimalist shoe with the comfort and protection of a trail runner. The comparable Altra Superior 5, which narrowly edged out this shoe as our top choice for a zero-drop model, is worth considering. If you like the sensitivity of these shoes but are looking for a bit more protection and traction, check out the award-winning Salomon S/Lab Ultra 3.
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