Sunday, September 04, 2016

Review Altra Running Lone Peak 3.0: A Fine Update Yet With Room for More Improvements

Article by Jeff Valliere and Sam Winebaum

The Altra Running Lone Peak 3.0 is a relatively light weight, zero drop, moderately aggressively lugged trail runner. Its upper is considerably more reinforced, on a different slightly narrower last and is snugger in the Foot Shaped box than its predecessor, the Lone Peak 2.5. It is also available in Low and Mid height with a Neoshell breathable moisture resistant upper.

Stats per Running Warehouse
Weight: 10.4 oz/295 grams (Men's size 9), 9.4 oz/267 grams (Women's 8)
Stack Height: 20mm (Heel), 20mm (Forefoot)
Price $120. Available now.

Jeff: I had tested the Altra Lone Peak 2.0 two years ago and while I found it to be a comfortable shoe with good cushion, protection, plush padding and all day comfort, the fit was a bit off for me.  With an excessively wide toe box, ‘skateboard shoe’ heel and a less than snug midfoot hold, the 2.0 was a bit dicey on technical trails, especially descents.  Add some moisture and they could be downright scary. Learning of the updates to the 3.0, I was optimistic that the Lone Peak 3.0 would be a huge improvement.
Sam: I ran in both the Lone Peak 2.5 and its Neoshell cousin. While I found the Neoshell upper nicely supportive, I found the front of the 2.5 way to slipper like and unstructured for most trails.
The 3.0 clearly has a new last, still Foot Shaped, but more trail support worthy so I to was optimistic.

Upper and Fit


Jeff:  I was immediately taken aback by how short the 3.0 looked in my normal size 10.  When I put my foot in, my toes were right up against the front of the shoe and I wondered if a 10.5 might have been a better choice. Not wanting to bother Altra, I went on a quest, calling/visiting local Altra dealers trying to find a 10.5, where I eventually found a pair at a nearby running store.  The 10.5 was for sure a more appropriate length, but the bump in size had my feet swimming a bit.  I could have gone either way I think, but would just be trading one problem for another, so ultimately opted to stick with the 10.  Aside from the shortness of the shoe, fit otherwise felt much improved, a slightly more narrow toe box (while still being adequately roomy in classic Altra fashion), a more precise midfoot fit and a more narrow heel with better hold.

Sam: I found the forefoot and mid foot fit superb, a vast improvement over the Lone Peak 2.5. I fit true to size and had no issues with shortness Jeff found but did find noticeable inconsistencies in fit when I tried different pairs of the same size on.

The front of the shoe is clearly not as wide as the Lone Peak 2.5 as it is based on a completely different last. The upper has multiple well placed overlays which the 2.5 almost completely lacked. These changes definitely helps the foot hold up front. The addition of a metal loop for gaiter attachment to go with the heel Gaiter Trap is an excellent addition.

Performance:  
Jeff: My first run in these was uncharacteristically level, on smooth dirt for 4 or so miles, where I was very aware of my toes rubbing the front of the shoe.  Though this did not cause any blisters or true discomfort, I was focused on it and questioned whether or not I should continue testing, but figured I would give them another try, on my usual steep and technical mountain routes.  I worried that steep descents would really jam my toes, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was never particularly problematic.  Over time, I think the upper stretched a bit, or at least became a bit more compliant and I got used to it more and more each day.

Heel hold is excellent, but I was surprised to find that on technical downhills, even at moderate to slower speeds, my feet were slopping around some inside the shoe.  I figured that I just may not have tightened the laces enough, or they had loosened a bit, but that was not the case.  I stopped to snug them up even more, which helped slightly, but the pressure on the top of my foot was too much, so I had to stop again to relieve some pressure.

I quickly learned that I would be better off sticking to smoother trails with a lesser gradient, at least on the descents and after doing so, came to have a newfound appreciation for the Lone Peak 3.0.

Sam: I concur with Jeff's performance comments. I loved the easy trail ride of these shoes. While everything in the front of the shoe back to the end of the laces is impeccable with great hold, rock protection from the Stone Guard  embedded between the  midsole and outsole  and very decent climbing agility,  at the back of the shoe I had some issues...


The heel collar and achilles tab are low and relatively unpadded and thus more mobile, I think contributing to a feeling of instability for me at the rear of shoe.  I concurrently ran the superb road Altra's Torin 2.5 (review here) on the same moderately easy Utah trails,and there was no comparison in overall trail stability. Torin the road shoe wins hands down for stability and with an even more supportive upper particularly in the area of the last lace holes. Understand that the Torin's traction, while excellent due to the very wide on the ground platform,  is not for the rough stuff.
Looking closely at the rear of the shoe the differences in heel collar and achilles tab height  are evident as is the more substantial rear strap on the Torin and its overall more substantial collar padding all the way to the first couple lace holes.


Sam: Again comparing to the Torin 2.5 I had far more of a sense that the Lone Peak was zero drop than the Torin, feeling more "flat footed" and awkward on the flats in particular. I was told the durometer (midsole firmness) is the same. I note more of a rear rocker on the Torin and Altra told us the Torin is more evenly balanced in weight than Lone Peak from heel to toe with a variable thickness Abound layer to achieve that. Could the lower stack of the Lone Peak and the lack of a rear rocker in the Lone Peak also contribute to the sensation of "missing the heel"?  Not sure but much prefer the Torin ride on any terrain.

Jeff: Cushion and protection are very good and though not particularly responsive, the 3.0 feels reasonably quick, light, agile and have a notably smooth transition.  At times, I would have liked a bit more cushion in the heel (but then it would not be an Altra zero drop) to take the edge off harder landings and soften heel strike when moving fast on rock and hardpack.

With a fairly deep and aggressive lug pattern, traction is very good on most surfaces, steep dirt, rock, off trail, etc….  I did not get to run in mud or snow, but assume that with the ample lugs, they would work well.  My usage of the 3.0 in the wet was very limited, but noted that wet traction has improved over previous versions and is average to slightly above average.

Construction:
Jeff: The Lone Peak 3.0 is a well constructed, quality shoe that I expect great longevity out of.  After my first run, I noticed a bit of wear in the forefoot lugs, but, did not progress at an excessive rate thereafter.  The upper has very little mesh and is primarily comprised of protective overlays and rands (increasing durability) though is surprisingly well ventilated.  I ran on days in the mid 90’s and my feet were not overly warm.

The heel counter is flexible, yet sturdy and protective, without too much extra padding (as was the case with the 2.0).  The toe bumper is ample and wraps generously over the toe of the shoe, yet is quite flexible, I would not want to stub a rock.

Recommendations:
Jeff: Though this shoe can handle just about any terrain, I found that it really shined on moderate to smoother singletrack.  Though it has enough protection for rocky trails and all mountain use, I found that foothold was a bit too loose for me to quickly and confidently bomb technical downhills, especially when hopping rock to rock.  I attribute some of that to my foot not particularly matching up perfectly with this shoe, so would recommend this for those with a bit of a shorter, wider, higher volume foot.  If you are used to zero drop, this shoe would be great for any distance, from short runs to ultras, as they certainly have all day cushion, comfort and protection.
Sam: Again I concur with Jeff. The Lone Peak 3.0, due to the somewhat unstable rear of the shoe, will be for more moderate smooth trails, for hiking and where I can't run the Torin due to traction requirements. For Altra zero drop fans, the Lone Peak 3.0 should offer improved durability and a more trail worthy upper than its predecessors so big improvements.

Jeff's Score 4.5 out of 5
-0.3 for awkward fit
-0.2 for foot hold
Sam's Score 4.6 out of 5
-0.2 for heel area stability
-0.2 for comparatively high sense of the zero drop and a"missing heel", compared to Torin 2.5

The Lone Peak 3.0 was provided at no charge to Road Trail Run. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'. 
Photo Credit: Jeff Valliere and Sam Winebaum

Shop Altra Running at Running Warehouse
Men's here
Women's here
Use Road Trail Run Coupon Code: RTR10 for 10% off!

Also available directly from Altra here

3 comments:

Dom Layfield said...

I received a prototype pair of Altra LP3's in May 2016, and liked them enough that having only worn them to walk around the house, I took a chance and raced in them for the Quicksilver 100k. These are the first Altras I've ever worn that I've liked enough to race in. The previous LP 2.5 was a nice training shoe, but the fit was too loose for racing. My prototype pair had some durability issues (upper started to tear at the toe crease); hopefully these have been resolved in the production version. I purchased a second pair which I wore at the Angeles Crest 100-miler.

I have a fairly narrow heel, but despite this, have not noticed any of the heel looseness that Sam complained about.

However, I did encounter some negatives:
-The insole comes loose very easily, and slides around the shoe when wet. I encountered this problem when I was dousing myself regularly with water to stay cool. The problem was remedied easily enough by gluing the insole down.
-The upper is less breathable than previous (2.5) version. This means less dust ingress, but also means that the shoe can feel a little hot and doesn't dry out so fast when wet.
-Perhaps related to the previous item, I found that these shoes seem to get smelly. You need to take extra care to dry them out.

sam winebaum said...

Thanks for your comment Dom! Dom took that second pair of LP to 2nd overall at Angeles Crest!

Anonymous said...

Watch the review below around 4.00 on durability and its not very good at all! He talks about the midsole wearing down too soon. So disappointed about this issue for this shoe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epxdrw9uvxs

Here is another review on 2.5
http://andrewskurka.com/2016/altra-lone-peak-2-5-review-long-term/