Sunday, January 16, 2022

Altra Lone Peak 6 Multi Tester Review: The Best Lone Peak yet?

Article by Dom Layfield and Canice Harte

Altra Lone Peak 6 ($140)


Introduction


Dom:  The Lone Peak is, arguably, the definitive Altra shoe.   Sitting in the middle of their trail line-up, with 25 mm of stack height, the Lone Peak has more cushion than the Superior (21 mm) and less than the Timp (29 mm).   While Altra have tinkered with different lasts in other models, the Lone Peak has generally remained the most spacious of their trail shoes.  

Dom:  Over time, the Lone Peak has had its ups and downs.  The earliest shoes were clunky, and version 3 was the first iteration that felt secure enough and light enough to race.  Since then, I’ve never really felt that Altra have been able to recreate the success.  3.0 was a great shoe, but had durability issues.  3.5 improved on upper durability, but too much stretch for good foothold.  4.0 performed better but weighed a ton.  4.5 lightened the shoe slightly, but compromised foothold.  5.0 was oversized all around, and felt floppy on the foot.   In the meantime, the competition has become hotter (including from Altra’s other models), and the Lone Peak has felt ‘left behind’. Please read on to see which paths the latest edition took.



Pros:

Canice: Good midfoot hold, wide toe box AKA: “Natural Foot Shape” and a comfortable upper

Dom:  Dramatic weight cut compared to outgoing Lone Peak 5

Dom:  Midfoot hold also improved compared to Lone Peak 5.

Dom:  More protection underfoot means Lone Peak 6 is once again cushioned enough to run long distances.



Cons:

Canice: Midsole durability and lack of spring in the ride of the shoe

Dom: Even though excessive roominess is slightly moderated, LP6 retains Altra’s ‘classic’ last, which may be too spacio or us for many runners.

Dom: The heel, in particular, feels sized for Clydesdale runners.   I would love this shoe if Altra reduced the heel diameter.

0.5 oz /14g difference in weight between the two pairs of US10 is notable


Tester Profiles

Dom 49, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  In 2019, his only notable finish was at the multi-day Dragon’s Back race in the UK.  All 2020 plans were wrecked by Covid and California forest fires.  In 2022 he inching  his way back to racing


Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons.


Stats

Official Altra Weight  US men’s 10.5 : men’s 10.6 oz / 300g

  Samples:  US men’s 10  10.7 oz / 304 g  (Canice)  US men’s 10  10.2 oz / 290 g  (Dom)

Both scales calibrated and accurate.





Stack Height: men’s heel 25mm/ forefoot 25mm :: women’s  heel mm / mm forefoot

$140. Available now including also in 2E wide including at our partner Running Warehouse here 


First Impressions and Fit

Canice: I have run in every version of the Lone Peak since the LP 1.5 and the shoe really has come a long way over time.  I found the midfoot hold of the LP 6 to be much better than previous versions and the upper itself is much more advanced in construction techniques.


Canice: The length is true to size and the “Natural Toe Box” feels great on foot. 


Dom:  The first thing that I noticed was the more modern and stripped-down upper.  The lighter upper of the LP6 results in a useful weight reduction compared to the outgoing LP5.  (Drop in US M10 was 26 g per shoe, almost exactly an ounce lighter)


Dom:  On the foot, I also noticed a plusher feel than LP5.  I had to check the stats to see if Altra had increased the stack height.  They haven’t, but the LP6 sole is slightly stiffer, which provides better rock protection, and also helps the shoe feel more stable.


Upper


Canice: What really stands out to me is that my foot is held in place much better than the previous iterations and this means I can now enjoy the extra room up front as opposed to my foot sliding forward and bashing my toes on technical descents. The fit used to feel a bit sloppy but now I feel secure and confident when side sloping and going for my downhill PR.


Canice: Altra has done a great job combining the use of welded overlays with stitched components. They have found a great balance in construction techniques that keep the shoe light and techniques that should make the shoe more durable. The upper itself feels light and flexible.


Canice: The welded design and construction of the eyelets at the bottom of the shoe seen in blue allow it to be soft and flexible and it has an unobtrusive feeling that is very comfortable.



 

Lone Peak 6 on the left / Lone Peak 5 on the right.Note that the gaiter ring on the Lone Peak 5 has been removed on the Lone Peak 6.


Canice: Altra has maintained their gaiter trap on the heel. This is a feature that works well but I find it unnecessary, and though it does not weigh much on its own, I would gladly drop it to save a little weight. For that matter I could ditch the heel loop too. The Lone Peak is exceptionally easy to get in and out of and I have never used the heel loop in any of the various generations of Lone Peaks. Yes, I am a weight weenie :)


Canice: Altra has done a great job striking a balance between durability and flexibility in the toe box. I found there is enough protection to take the sting out of a root and/or rock strike (not that I have ever tripped over a tiny root in the trail ;) yet remain flexible enough that my toes do not feel the protective layers like you often do with a harder rubber toe box.


Canice: In this photo you can see the welded construction and where Altra has added stitching to increase durability. They have struck a great balance here.


Lone Peak 5. Of note the use of additional stitching from the Lone Peak 6 and the use of heavier overlays on the Lone Peak 5.


Dom:  As Canice lays out in detail above, Altra have done a great job in updating the upper of the Lone Peak, and trimming a ton (about an ounce per shoe) of excess weight.   This is very welcome news, as I’ve long complained about the weight of the Lone Peak.  If you’re using the LP as a hiking shoe (for which it is mysteriously popular) or a training shoe, then weight might be a minor concern – secondary to durability.  But as a race shoe, the LP has sadly not been competitive in years.


Dom:  Altra makes great running shoes, but they are generally better training shoes than race shoes.  Altra never seem to have paid much attention to weight, and their generously sized toe box has traded off foot retention for comfort and toe splay.   Altra’s sponsored athletes must look enviously at competing brands that provide more cushion at lighter weight, and shoes that are designed for racing.   Consequently, I was delighted and impressed that Altra finally put the Lone Peak on a long-overdue diet.


Graph above shows how Lone Peak weight has changed over the years.  Version 6 is the lightest yet.


Dom:  My only real complaint regarding the LP6 upper is that the heel retention is still sloppy.  I have narrow heels and so am particularly aware of this.  But even so, the heel felt as if it had been constructed around a last from the next size up.   On steep, rocky descents I could feel my heel sliding around in the shoe.  I would note that I do not experience this sensation in the Altra Superior or Timp, so the problem appears to be specific to the Lone Peak.  This is particularly annoying as one of the highlights of this latest release of the Lone Peak is that the shoe is also available in a “wide” variant, which would seem the obvious way to accommodate the stouter feet of heavier runners, allowing the “regular” width version to stay slim in the heel.



Midsole

Canice: It’s amazing how much the midsole has evolved over the years and for the better. I found the midsole to be functional and enjoyable to run on. I like that the EGO Midsole has great ground feel and plenty of cushion. My ding here is I believe it’s time for another update. What I would like to see now is more spring or pop, and though this is a “Ride” comment in this case it’s the midsole material that is driving this.


Canice: I found the midsole to feel flat faster than I expected. Once again kind of a ride comment but I would like to see more durability in this area of the shoe. Don’t get me wrong, I will gladly keep running my Lone Peak 6’s and they have plenty of life left in them, it’s just an observation I experienced and worth noting.


Dom:  Interestingly, I don’t fully agree with Canice here.  Midsole springiness is not generally something I look for in a trail shoe, and although I’ve enjoyed it in specific cases (Skechers Razor TRL, for example), springiness is primarily a “road shoe” trait that has more relevance to lighter shoes targeted at smooth terrain, and less at the ‘heavy duty’ end of the market.   In any case, I personally have no beef with the Ego midsole used in the Lone Peak 6.


Dom:  On the contrary, I felt that the LP6 midsole was a notable upgrade over the too-soft stack in the LP5.  Whereas the LP5 felt floppy and underprotected, the LP6 has a tad more stiffness that improves both protection and stability.  Although this ought, in theory, to decrease ground feel, I didn’t personally notice the loss.  I’m not clear whether Altra changed the durometer of the midsole rubber, tweaked the rock plate, thickened the outsole base, or made other construction revisions.  Whatever they did, it is a significant improvement.


Comparing new Lone Peak 6 (yellow, left) against outgoing Lone Peak 5 (gray, right)


Outsole

Canice: The outsole has good traction on dry technical terrain like we have here in Park City, UT. It suffers a bit in wet sloppy stuff but in general works well.



Dom:   On close inspection of the LP5 and LP6, I couldn’t discern any change at all to the outsole.  This is a solid, tried-and-tested design that performs well across a range of surfaces.  However, on wet rock, the grip of the MaxTrac rubber is disappointing.  Wet traction is definitely not quite as good as leading outsole rubbers like Vibram MegaGrip.


Ride


Canice: The aspect of the Lone Peak 6 ride I like the most is the ground feel. Altra has done a great job with the stack height as this gives you plenty of cushion for long runs yet allows you to feel the ground as you navigate the trails. I found the ride to feel good on mellow trails to tight technical trails.


Canice: As mentioned before I would like to feel a bit more pop or spring under foot but this is subjective and each person will have their own opinion. For me, if Altra can improve this, I think the Lone Peak would set a new standard for distance trail running shoes. 


Dom:  For me, the Lone Peak 5 was a disappointment.  Some shoes grow on you over time, but the LP5 did the opposite.  I took my pair as my sole running shoe on a two-week vacation over the summer, and found them unengaging on road (not surprisingly, for a trail shoe), but less forgivably, so floppy and oversized that they felt unstable and unsafe on steep and technical terrain.  


Dom:  I’m thrilled to report that the LP6 is a big improvement.  The excessive roominess of the LP5 is slightly moderated;  the midfoot hold is improved;  the floppiness of the sole is improved;  the amount of protection is increased; all without regression in any area.  All of these small changes add up to a much better shoe.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Canice: The Lone Peak 6 is a nicely improved iteration of a now classic distance trail running shoe. The upper and mid foot hold are the stand out stars of the LP6 and the midsole and outsole get the job done.

Canice: 9.4 / 10


RIDE

FIT

VALUE

STYLE

Traction

Rock Protection

Overall Score

Percentage of Total

30%

30%

10%

5%

15%

10%


Score

9

10

9.5

9

9

9.5

9.4



Dom:  Over the years, many of the Lone Peak updates have not offered much benefit over previous versions.  Often it has been a case of two steps forward, two steps back.  I’m happy to say that the Lone Peak 6 is a compelling upgrade over the version 5.   The shoe is significantly lighter (lighter than any Lone Peak to-date), fits better, is more protective, more stable, and has improved foot retention.  


Dom:  That said, the usual caveats remain: this is a wide shoe that prioritizes toe comfort over foot hold.  The ‘classic’ Altra last is not to everyone’s taste.  Similarly it is also a zero drop shoe, which can be a jarring transition if your foot is not used to it.


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Lone Peak 5 (RTR Review)

Dom and Canice:  Exhaustively discussed above.  But to summarize, LP6 is lighter, more protective, and has better foot hold.   From my perspective, there’s not much to debate: the LP6 is a clearly better shoe.   It’s also now available in a wide (even wider) variant.   This is the best Lone Peak to date.


Altra Superior 5 (RTR Review)

Dom and Canice:  With 21 mm of stack, versus the 25 mm of the Lone Peak, the Superior is softer and has better ground feel, but provides less protection.  The Superior is also based on a slightly different last, which is a little snugger on the foot than the Lone Peak.


Inov-8 Terraultra G 270 (RTR Review)

Dom:  Against the outgoing LP5, this would have been a joke of a comparison.  But now that Altra have slashed the weight of the shoe, the Lone Peak 6 comes within striking distance.  Both shoes are zero drop.  Compared to the Inov-8 TUG270, the Altra is a few grams heavier, but offers more protection, and a wider toe box.  The Inov-8 has better grip and a narrower, more conventional fit that locks the foot better, but doesn’t allow much toe splay.


Comparing wet grip of Altra LP6 (left) to Topo Terraventure 3 (right)


Topo Terraventure 3 (RTR Review)

Dom:  To my mind, the Terraventure is the obvious competitor to the Lone Peak.  They are both wide-fitting in the forefoot; the Topo is low-drop, and similar stack height (25/22 mm vs 25 mm for LP).   Compared to the outgoing Lone Peak 5, I felt the competition wasn’t even close: the Terraventure was a clear winner in almost every way.   Now that the Lone Peak has gone on a diet, it’s a close race.  LP6 is lighter (290 g vs 319 g for US M10) and offers a slightly plusher ride.  Rock protection is similar.  Terraventure wins on grip (particularly on wet rock) and has much better heel security.

The Lone Peak 6 is available now including at our partners below

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'


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2 comments:

Moths said...

Why doesn’t Dom give a score out of 10 ?

Graham W said...

Those vents round the toe box of the LP 6 look like they will get snagged and ripped by vegetation and thorny shrubs and the protection will just peel away.

Would be great to know if they last more than a couple of months on a daily 5k forest run.