These shoes are well-loved by zero-drop enthusiasts, and more than a few PCT hikers, the Altra Lone Peak 5 carries on the tradition of previous versions, offering a wide fitting, stable platform with a good balance of protection and sensitivity. However, our testers who don't have wide feet found them uncomfortable, as they slid around inside these shoes, causing blisters and a feeling of instability. The Lone Peaks are worth trying on before you buy if you have the opportunity, and if they fit, they are decent trail shoes and a good entry into zero drop style running shoes.
Altra Lone Peak 5 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Well-cushioned, breathable, sensitive
Cons: Too wide for many runners
Our Analysis and Test Results
Armed with "Trailclaw," "Foot Shape," "Gaitortrap," and a host of other trademarked design features, the Altra Lone Peak 5 promises the best iteration of the classic zero-drop running shoe yet. Fans of previous versions will likely warm to number 5, and folks who weren't into the wide-fitting sloppiness of older versions aren't likely to like this one either.
The Lone Peak puts 25mm of Altra's Alter Ego foam between your feet and the ground. In combination with the zero drop design, this base provides a pretty solid platform. The front toe bumper adds a little extra material to shield your piggies from rock strikes, but it's relatively minimal, so you'll need to take care on rocky terrain. The upper is a breathable, tight-woven mesh that keeps out particulates and easily resists sharp branches. These shoes have connection points to attach gaiters (known as the Gaitortrap) on the tongue and heel if you want an added level of protection on top.
Altra calls their lug design "Trailclaw." They attempt to align the lugs in the front with the metatarsals to create responsive traction under your forefoot. This design is quite effective on loose dirt and mud, digging in right where we wanted, especially while running uphill. On rock, this shoe felt very slippery and paled in comparison to more aggressive shoes like the Salomon Speedcross 5. Often, softer rubber grips smooth rock relatively well, but this shoe's Maxtrac rubber doesn't feel very grippy, and we thought twice before tackling short, scrambly sections of trail at full speed.
Despite the ample cushion, these shoes bend and flex enough to remain sensitive. We can feel the intricacies of uneven, technical terrain while still feeling protected from impacts and sharp rocks and sticks. Like previous versions, the Lone Peak 5 does an excellent job balancing underfoot protection and sensitivity.
If this shoe fits, you probably have a wide forefoot, and you will feel stable. Folks with feet of average or narrow width may feel very unstable. Our narrow-footed testers felt that they slipped around too much for comfort, and while cranking down the laces and wearing cushioned socks alleviated this somewhat, they still didn't feel as stable as a shoe that fits correctly. Altra says the Lone Peak has a medium arch, and it is sufficient enough that even our testers with high arches felt it preventing their toes from slamming into the front of the shoe when running downhill.
Again if they fit, these shoes are very comfortable. Even if they don't fit that well, they still feel very comfortable when standing or walking around. The combination of a cushioned midsole and the factory insoles feels remarkably soft underfoot. Altra is all about the foot-splay, and the forefoot of the Lone Peak 5 has loads of room for expansion. But, if they are too wide for your foot, they won't feel comfortable to run in at all, as the torsional forces experienced by your feet while running will have these shoes moving and rubbing in multiple problem areas, including the Achilles.
These shoes are decently light at 21 ounces per pair for a size 9.5, considering their support and feature set. They don't feel heavy on foot at all unless you happen to be running through wet, sticky clay, which added a few pounds in our experience, but that's not the shoe's fault.
Should You Buy the Altra Lone Peak 5?
Our testers are divided over their opinions of the Altra Lone Peak 5, but it has plenty of cult followers for a reason. This popular shoe provides an ample amount of space for swelling and splaying in the forefoot as the miles rack up, keeping the midfoot and heel relatively stable for those it fits. If you're new to zero-drop and want a comfy trail shoe, the Lone Peak 5 is worth slipping into and checking out.
What Other Trail Running Shoes Should You Consider?
These shoes have a reasonable price for a trail runner, and fans of the shoe will appreciate that it hasn't gone up from previous versions. However, we do not recommend this to everyone because it doesn't perform as well as some other shoes in our review. Instead, its sister product, the Altra Superior 5, scored higher overall and is less expensive. If you want a zero-drop shoe that will better accommodate narrow feet, we recommend the Inov-8 Terraultra G 270.
— Matt Bento
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