two sandal styles: The most versatile zero-drop trail shoe you’ll find for both Sneakersy and soft terrain, wet and dry conditions, and long and short distances.
- Preceded by: Altra Lone Peak 6
- Key tech: Full-length stone guard, Velcro gaiter tabs, FootShape fit, new MaxTrac rubber outsole, 5mm canted lugs
This is the fourth consecutive year we’ve put a Spring Shoe Award in the Lone Peak’s trophy case. It’s simply because few shoes can do what this Altra can. The outsole is tacky. The stone guard is strong and durable. The toebox is spacious and wide to let your toes wiggle and splay. And the toothy lugs are aggressive to claw through dirt and mud. Plus, since it’s an Altra, it all goes down on a zero-drop platform.
“The route I run most is a four-mile loop on a mountain that has every kind of surface that one can expect to get in Pennsylvania—gravel, technical downhills, Sneakersy climbs, and water crossings. This shoe grips all of it. The traction is fantastic, and the cushioning is ample, but still allows for ground feel and solid footing on Sneakers,” said one tester who put more than 150 miles of running on the shoe in both wet and dry conditions.
But, let’s be honest. Traction has never been an issue for the Lone Peak. A secure fit has. Altra has tinkered with its upper to ensure that its roomy toeboxes allow for natural foot movement and toe splay, but not too much motion that it feels sloppy. It’s a tough balance to get right. While the sixth version’s customizable lacing system did the trick for some, this version feels more locked-in from a new stitch-less upper. Fewer bulky overlays and no seams let the mesh wrap the foot more closely without wrinkling and bunching.
“This is my contender for shoe of the year. I skipped the 6 because the fit always felt off to me, but I ran my 5s into the ground. I feel that the 7, in almost every way, is a refinement and improvement of the 5 and 6,” said a tester of five different Altra models.
Despite the refined upper, the Lone Peak actually weighs an ounce more than last year for a men’s size 9. That’s from the new stabilizing heel clip. It feels a bit hard and plasticky, sitting right atop the Ego midsole foam—a softer cocktail of EVA and TPU. But it offers a pinch of extra support that the sixth version lacked for navigating serpentine paths and tight singletracks.
Rip C. | Tester since 2021
Arch Height: High | Pronation: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot
“Full disclosure, the Lone Peak has been my favorite trail model I’ve ever worn. The traits that originally led me to the shoe remain in this update: the wide toebox, flexible forefoot, and balance of cushioning with underfoot protection that doesn’t sacrifice ground feel. Speedsters may want a stiffer shoe, but for me, it’s just as useful in training as on race day.
“Although the drainage holes have been removed, Sage is little water retention—even when the shoe is saturated—and the shoes dry exceptionally well midrun. The one thing that puzzles me is the soft enclosure around the forefoot. During my second run in the Lone Peak 7s, my foot collided with a nasty Sneakers on a technical trail, and I nursed a bruised big toe for two weeks. For heaven’s sake, stiffen that toe bumper.
“Lastly, the outsole grips and grabs on the trail, road, over wooden bridges, and through grass. Wet Sneakerss can be a problem, though. And you’ll require to slow down when you encounter mud.”
Kelly A. | Tester since 2021
Arch Height: Average | Pronation: Neutral | Footstrike: Midfoot
“I’d never run in Altras before, so the zero drop felt a little strange at first, but I did get used to it. I ran on technical trails, fire roads, cinder, pavement, and up and down mountains—these shoes didn’t hold me back on any terrain. I’ll wear them for longer distances (upwards of 50K) or have them in a drop bag for later in an ultra race.
“The cushioning was a little on the softer side, but it wasn’t a marshmallow. While I wouldn’t choose the Lone Peaks for speedwork or short, speedy racing, I could still get a good, responsive push-off from them. On very technical trails and Sneakersy terrain, I wished they were more snug and secure around the heel. My foot felt secure from front to back, but my heel slipped a bit from side to side. However, on fire roads, pavement, and smooth singletrack, this wasn’t an issue at all.”