The Ultra Experience

Here's to the adventures of my life which are usually ultra marathon trail running or fly fishing but may include other trips, experiences, thoughts, opinions, or pretty much whatever I want. As co-founder of Altra Footwear my life and adventures seemingly revolve more around developing and promoting the best footwear in the world...and I love it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Altra Lone Peak- A view from the inside

As co-founder of Altra and being heavily involved in the development process, a review of my own shoe is more or less irrelevant. However after spending the last 2 years creating and testing The Lone Peak, below are my thoughts:This shoe was built to run the Wasatch 100. We wanted a light flexible and nimble shoe that was tough enough and protective enough to handle any terrain. I believe we nailed this on the head. Having raced Wasatch 100 in 2010 in our first prototype along with Battle of Big Springs, Katcina Mosa 100k, Antelope Island 100k, Kahtoola Snowshoe Marathon, Diablo 50k, as well as hundreds of other miles including pacing duties at Squaw Peak 50, 40 miles of Hardrock 100, and 40 more at Wasatch 2011, I've taken this shoe through the nastiest stuff ultra running can dish out. Here's why its the best:

1st- Zero Drop. This encourages better running technique, particularly when fatigued. It also creates better balance and less rolled ankles. As soon as you elevate the heel, it puts you in an unnatural position and destabilizes the ankle due to the downward plantarflexion of the foot. Zero Drop is amazing. We are the originators of the term Zero Drop and have been proponents of this concept well before we even started Altra. Its the future of running shoes.
2nd- Fully Cushioned Sandwiched StoneGuard. When people think of Zero Drop, they tend to think of minimalism. The Lone Peak however has the forefoot stack height and cushion of a Brooks Cascadia. We just don't have the unnecessary elevated heel. Now....the brilliant concept of the sandwiched StoneGuard! We use a double layered midsole. IF a shoe has a rock plate, it is always located against the outsole. This protects the foot from rocks but pivots the foot increasing the instability and rolled ankles. Our rock plate is cleverly sandwiched between our two layered midsole. So the rocks can deflect into the shoe before hitting the full-length StoneGuard. It also has 3 slits in forefoot for increased flexibility. Hard to describe but very effective over uneven terrain!
3rd- Foot Shaped Toebox. By widening the toebox your toes can spread out, relax, stabilize, attenuate shock, reduce black toenails, and generally perform better then jamming them in a narrow tapered toebox. This is particularly effective when you begin to fatigue. As your feet swell, they can do so comfortably and perform better late in a race. Its incredible at mile 85! Others vs Altra

4th- Traction/Outsole.
Its simple yet effective. Uphill traction, downhill traction, strongest canted lugs are directly under the metatarsals for balance & propulsion, and the lungs are far enough apart to shed mud easily. Also has the trail rudder. A throw back nod to the original trail shoes, this question prone feature was made for the Plunge and Dive. Steep nasty terrain and the trail rudder keeps you upright instead of back on your butt. Also effective in keeping mud from spraying up your leg as well as glissading.
5th- Respect the Sport. The Lone Peak is durable. I put over 800 miles on my first pair. Its a silhouette of the name sake mountain in the Wasatch. Built for and by ultramarathon runners it can handle any terrain yet its still light and flexible enough for an easy 6 mile run.

Sounds like a sales pitch, but I honestly believe we created the best trail shoe ever. Its the closest thing to the perfect trail shoe for the Wasatch mountains or any other trail that is uneven nasty and tough. I'm in love....

Check out out website or call your local retailer to snag a pair.


jun said...

Great review. As a non-founder or employee of the company I can confirm everything you've written. While I don't have 800 miles on my first pair I have put mine through the respective meat grinder and they continue to perform phenomenally. Thanks to you guys, for making my favorite shoe ever.

Erik said...

Ist pair are two weeks old, and their longest outing is only an hour, but I'm loving them so far. The only other time my toes are this comfortable are in flip flops. Can't wait to see how they hold up over the next 800 miles!!

Hone said...

I need to try these sometime. I heard you were in my neck of the woods a little while ago at Future Track in Westlake Village. That is 5 miles from my house. Let me know next time you are out this way. Bummer

Also I just put in for Squaw Peak 50. Hopefully I will see you in June!

Ed said...

Now I am pumped. Ordered mine yesterday and can't wait to get them on my feet.

MattRoberts said...

Great review! Interested in a pair of these myself. A question I have is, as I run both on and off road, but can only really buy one pair of shoes, how do you think these will go running on the road? Other reviews seem to think they go ok but you have a 'creators perspective'.
Hope you can let me know.

David said...

I love the Instincts and so I was one of the first to purchase the Lone Peak when it came out last Fall.

I really enjoyed the shoes and even used them for a R2R2R crossing on Thanksgiving - they were perfect and served me well!

Unfortunately, I will say I have not experienced the longevity that others are reporting. Mine have >150 miles on them and the foam in the right heel has compressed awkwardly; at an angle that tips my right knee inward.

I've retired this pair of Lone Peaks, and am considering purchasing another pair. I love the fit and feel, but I worry about my bank account if I get the same results with the next set.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I just ordered a pair of the Lone Peaks and am pretty excited. Out of curiousity, what backpacking trip length/load weight would you personally consider the max that you would use the Lone Peaks for? What shoe(s) do you typically backpack in for longer trips with heavier loads? I am also in the market for new pair of supportive mid-height or full-height boots and was wondering what your take is. Naturally, I'd prefer if they were zero-drop and as light as possible! Thanks