The Altra Lone Peak 7 ($150) is my new favorite flexible, foot-shaped, supportive, comfortable, durable, nimble, zero-drop, do-everything, trail running shoe.
Over the last two years I have been able to test a variety of outstanding running shoes — for both the trail and road. While there have been a couple of pairs that have certainly captured my stride and increased my heart rate with affection, they have been deemed niche shoes for certain types of running workouts — intervals, hills, long slow distance, racing, technical, wet and slick , or leisurely hiking.
Additionally, some brands and models have altered course just enough as of late that some of my tried-and-true favorites are no longer. It seems like running shoe zeitgeist has gone the way of the moon boot for stack height or trending toward super narrow construction with “extra” maximalist cushion. I was starting to feel slightly disheartened that there wasn’t a trail shoe in my quiver that shot an arrow that could hit all of the targets, subjectively in nature.
But then the Altra Lone Peak 7 was released, and it has subsequently lifted my heart — and my running. There is a reason why the Altra Lone Peak lands on iRunFar’s Best Trail Running Shoes list perennially.
The foundational features of the Altra Lone Peak 7 offer the original and roomiest foot shape for the feet and toes to do their natural thing. It stays thankfully true to the zero drop and 25-millimeter stack height. The midsole offers the Altra EGO foam for underfoot comfort, support, and spring, coupled with a sandwiched StoneGuard rock plate for protection. Where the rubber meets the dirt and rocks, there is a MaxTrac outsole with lug-like “claws” for all-terrain striding.
Although the weight increased from the sixth to the seventh iteration, with the Lone Peak 7 having an actual weight of 10.2 ounces (289 grams) in a US men’s 9, other Lone Peak 7 fans have mentioned how negligible and unconcerned they were with the imperceptible uptick in exchange for nuanced enhancements to the upper and outsole.
The Lone Peak 7 is also true to size, especially for runners more accustomed to footshaped shoes and wider toeboxes. It is additionally offered in a wider fit.
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Altra Lone Peak 7 Upper
Many runners and hikers will want to know what is new in the Altra Lone Peak 7, since every model iteration offers a much-needed upgrade, or sometimes a change just for change sake. The Lone Peak 7’s newly designed upper is seamless and stitchless, providing comfort in knowing that the shoe will stay together through the gambit. A heat-welded overlay extends from the midfoot to the heel. The overlay not only accentuates the look of the shoe, but it gives the midfoot more of a snug and protected fit without taking away from the desired room in the toebox and unconfined feel at the heel. The padding on the heel collar still supports the foot and maintains a soft lockdown even over technical terrain. Additionally, any concerns about lateral slippage experienced in earlier models were nonexistent in the Lone Peak 7 because of the enhanced security in the midfoot.
Interestingly, the drain holes, located on the toe bumper in the previous two models, were subtracted from this year’s Lone Peak 7. However, I still thought the shoes drained well and kept my feet dry during medium to long runs in snow and rain. The first three weeks I ran in the Lone Peak 7, the US West Coast was deluged with nonstop rain, snow, and wind. I was really able to test the breathability and drainage of these shoes in the elements, except the heat. They showed up and performed. Additionally, the engineered mesh upper is soft and comfortable, and again does a great job at keeping debris and weather out of the shoe. The nearly fully gusseted and padded tongue also stands guard to the unwanted while adding a pillow-like feel for the dorsal foot.
The protective toe overlay is one area wherein I feel like there could be a little more material for overall security and for the ability to push the shoe into more rugged and rocky terrain. As we noted in our Best Trail Running Shoes guide, “The upper’s been stripped back a bit, with better breathability, but the reduced toe bumper provides noticeably less toe protection (though it’s more moderate than missing).” Alas, there are always tradeoffs in design and construction. There is a Velcro gaiter attachment on the heel and my only concern is that the Velcro loses its staying power over time especially if used regularly.
Altra Lone Peak 7 Midsole
One reason I appreciate the Altra Lone Peak 7 is because of its midsole construction and the design’s goldilocks approach. Even though there has been a huge shift to maximizing cushion in the industry and runners think that is what they want or need to run longer and farther, they often miss out on some midsole elements that may provide them with ground feel, responsiveness, agility, and protection. In another recent review I wrote, “Responsiveness and more cushion are sometimes at odds with each other. It is a fine balance to ensure that the extra cushion doesn’t absorb stride compression forces without adequate bounce back.” Additionally, there is something to be said for a midsole that can protect, elicit a strength response, and ignite some nimble athleticism into a trail run.
Some may argue with me about the overall weight of the shoe as being a deterrent, but the Altra EGO foam is comfortable and protective enough to not lose its ability to return energy to the runner while maintaining a light overall feel. It balances the fast with the soft and the space to breathe. One reason why I regularly wear the Altra Escalante 3 on the road is because of the firm comfort the Altra EGO provides. To boot, this version’s midsole is staying alive.
Altra Lone Peak 7 Outsole
The outsole of the Altra Lone Peak 7 saw some significant changes both in lug design and lug location, coupled with an upgraded MaxTrac formulation. As per the latter, I am unsure of the exact changes, but other Lone Peak wearers noted that the enhancements have provided better grip and confidence in our Southern Oregon watershed. In my experience, I too felt that the newer MaxTrac outsole gripped decently well since most of my runs were in rain, snow, and icy mixtures. I was initially questioned on this by iRunFar’s editor because of the previous model’s poor performance on wet rocks or in slick conditions — read our Altra Lone Peak 6 review for more on the previous model — but I stand by the Lone Peak 7’s suitable traction.
What may also help with overall grip, is the outsole’s new lug configuration and increased number. There are more lugs placed at the midfoot for more ground contact and protection, while the lugs are sharper and take on more of that claw-like appearance that Altra advertises. The overall outsole design seems conducive to a supinated, shock-absorbing landing with rigid lever-pronated toeoff — a solid biomechanical understanding of the foot.
Altra Lone Peak 7 Overall Impressions
My first experience with a previous model of the Altra Lone Peak was great and memorable, but I felt like the midsole deadened too quickly and that the upper fell apart in key areas. The Altra Lone Peak 7, however, has withstood many miles and tremendous weather. Not surprisingly it is my top choice for any type of run at the moment besides strict pavement runs, and one of the top picks on iRunFar’s Best Trail Running Shoes list.
I wouldn’t hesitate to do speedwork, run long and slow, or navigate snow and ice like I had to this winter. It performed and it keeps performing. The weight was a non-issue for me since the upper and midsole have a degree of lightness to their construction. My gait still felt nimble and agile on both singletrack and dirt roads while my toes had room to breathe and the design itself provides exceptional breathability. The Altra Lone Peak 7 is moderately cushioned but maintains a rewarding ground feel and responsiveness. As it is with most Altras, they are soft, pliable, and functional. This shoes bends.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 will stay in my shoe rotation for all of the things, because it can do all of the things.
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Call for Comments
- Have you tried the Altra Lone Peak 7? What are your thoughts on it?
- Do you think it grips better than previous versions?
- How else would you compare it with previous versions of the Altra Lone Peak?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a shoe brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]