|The Lone Peak (photos from Altra)|
Just this week, Altra Running began shipping their new trail model, the Lone Peak. It has been a long-awaited release with teaser photos and online discussions taking place about this product for over a year.
From what I understand, the Lone Peak is very similar to the Altra Instinct, a shoe I have a lot of positive experience with this summer (review HERE). Trademark zero-drop stance, a wide, foot-shaped last with a roomy toebox, two insole options, and a cushioned ride.
In addition to these features common with the Instinct, the Altra Lone Peak has a few trail-specific features including:
- a modified, beefier, protective toe bumper
- multi-directional lugs for uphill and downhill traction
- a "trail rudder" tail that sort of hangs off the back of the sole
- a stone guard protective plate sandwiched into the midsole
- quick drain and dry mesh upper
|A wide forefoot and foot-shaped last from Altra|
Merrell Trail Gloves are my favorite shoe to run trails in, hands down, but some days and over longer distances I still need a bit more protection. That is where my trusty Saucony Peregrines have come in handy. I wore these for the Grand Island Trail Marathon, Stumpjump 50k, and for hundreds of training miles. I have very few negative things to say about the Sauconys, but one of those few is the upper fit. I am never 100% sure I have these shoes well locked-down. They usually need a tightening after an hour or so...maybe grippier laces would help. The toebox, while sufficient, is just not as comfortable or roomy as I would prefer (try them yourself, these are attributes specific to me). Not to mention that the Peregrine has a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, which I am obviously OK with given the miles I've put in, but would rather see gone. The Peregrine is one cool-looking shoe, though, with a fantastic tread and many positive features. I'll do a review on that shoe soon in advance of the new Peregrine 2 due out early 2012.
|A rugged outsole and integrated rock plate|
The Altra Lone Peak is heavier than the Merrell Trail Glove, and about the same as the Saucony Peregrine. However, with a level platform, cushioning somewhere between the Saucony (which has a lot) and Merrell (which has essentially none), and a roomy, anatomical last. my guess is that these could become an go-to all conditions trail shoe for short and fast runs all the way up to 50k and beyond for me. The thin midsole and low ride height should offer great on-trail stability, while the cushioning and insole options should provide relief from very aggressive trails and long days on my feet.
Time will tell. I understand that I may have a test pair coming from Altra, so as soon as I get some miles under them I will be back with a full-blown review and in-hand photos. I suspect they could be a great winter natural running shoe, with enough room for warm socks, enough tread for snowy trails, so they should get a good workout in Michigan in the next few months.