When my first pair of Lone Peaks arrived, I took them out for one test run and immediately put them aside. They were too wide and too heavy. I was running a lot in my original Minimus Trail 10s (with some long runs in my Peregrine 2s), and the Lone Peaks just couldn’t compare. I wanted “minimal”, and I didn’t want to go back to a bulkier shoe. I had put in the time, developed the foot strength, worked on my form, and loved the lower drop, closer to the ground feel of minimal trail running shoes. And then I got hurt. And Terence made me put away my Minimus.
So I thought to myself… I can’t run in a shoe that has a really thin midsole/outsole, but I won’t run in a shoe with a traditional 12 mm heel-to-toe-drop... I need something that will allow me to run with “barefoot” mechanics and good form, but that is going to protect the plantar muscle in my left foot...I want something that is going to let me feel some of the trail, but not all of it. Enter the Lone Peak.
My next run with my Lone Peaks went a lot like my first. The shoes felt heavy. They felt too wide. I felt clumsy in them. I kept running in them though and a funny thing happened…I really started to like them. Then I started upping my weekly mileage to train for my first ultra marathon and I was putting 35-45 miles a week in my Lone Peaks, and I loved them. So how did it happen? First, they are not a “minimal” shoe as my size 14s weigh over 10 ounces, so I shouldn’t have expected them to compete with the weight of my Minimus 10s. I was comparing apples to oranges. Second, I started to realize that my feet were splaying out in my Lone Peaks the same way they did in my Vibram FiveFingers, and as a result my stability and balance was improving. I never thought of my Minimus or Peregrines as tight, but they did hold my forefoot very securely. Third, and last, their zero drop construction let me run with the midfoot strike that I prefer.
By May my original pair was cooked so I picked up a pair of the ”new” Lone Peak 1.5s. Why the odd number (instead of version 2)? I don’t know, but I like it. It may have something to do with Altra only improving the upper, leaving the midsole and outsole untouched. Either way, I like the new version as much as the original. They have the same 23 mm outsole/midsole, the same ABOUND (cushion) and STONEGUARD (protection) components, and now they look A LOT better. The new upper does feel a bit roomier than the first, especially in the forefoot, but it’s still not “too” roomy for my somewhat narrow feet. The fit is secure through the heel and midfoot, with a wide, spacious toe box thanks to their natural foot-shaped design. Since I wear size 14 shoes, I didn’t need Altra to make them red (because most of my shoes already look like clown shoes), but I do get a lot of questions about them so well done Altra. They even added a covered Velcro patch on the back of the heel for those who run with gaiters.
Overall, I agree with Runners World (Fall 2013 Editors Choice) and give the Lone Peak 1.5s an “A” and a permanent spot in my trunk. They have the heaviest lugs of anything I own so they always get the nod when the weather is foul or I know I will be putting in a lot of hill work. I like to think of them as my long "cruise" shoe. I’m back to running in my Minimus as well but I save those for warm-ups, cool downs, or short training runs. The benefit of spending some time barefoot or in a really minimal shoe has been proven (blog post coming soon!), so I won’t give those up. But I can assure you that my mileage winner for 2013 was the Altra Lone Peak.
Last thought: they are vegan friendly…if that’s a thing with you…
Upper: 9/10 – Still a little clunky, but MUCH better than v1
Cushion: 8/10 – great! Not it’s forte, but there’s enough for a lot of miles
Traction: 10/10 – Burly and ready for everything you can throw at it