Altra Lone Peak 4.0
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87% say it's true to size.
Overview of this review
Right out of the box, the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 was a great shoe for the trails in Tennessee. The outsole grip was good, but not great in mud and on slippery rocks. The new upper on the 4.0 is more breathable.
Also, drainage holes have been added in key places of the upper to allow for quick drying after creek crossings. I’ve had other trail shoes that got really heavy from water absorption and stuck on mud, but this is not an issue with these shoes.
Lone Peaks have removable insoles and are very easy to clean after those very muddy trail runs. The upper material dries out very quickly.
For those of you with wide feet, you will absolutely love the foot shape toe box and extra room in the forefoot area. The Altra signature foot shape of the shoe provides a very comfortable ride to those who would benefit from extra volume.
If you have smaller feet, you may find all the extra volume in the shoe to feel sloppy when landing. The lacing system can contribute to this sloppy feeling as well due to the difficulty in getting a good lockdown on the midfoot.
The tongue seems to be less padded than previous versions, but it is far from being flat.
The upper materials seem lighter and more breathable than previous versions. There is an overall reduction in the thick padding around the heel collar as well. Despite these reductions, the outsole material is heavier, causing a weight increase over the previous iteration.
The TrailClaw shape and lug pattern on the outsole have been changed. I find it to be a slight improvement when running in wet conditions. I did not have as much trouble slipping in mud or across the top of damp limestone rocks.
The midsole seems to be thinning out the more miles I put on them. I do not know if I am just settling into the shoe or if this is going to be a continuing trend.
This thinning seems very premature considering I’ve only put 150 miles on them so far. It did not happen all at once, which leads me to believe it could possibly continue and become a major issue.
The Lone Peak 4.0 also has a 4-point gaiter trap system on the upper. I do not have the 4-point gaiters. But, the 2-point gaiters I purchased for my Superior 4.0s fit perfectly.
Debris from the trail does not get in through the top of the shoe when they are secured snuggly around the ankles. I would recommend them for anyone running long in sloppy trail conditions.
It does take some time to adjust to Altra’s zero drop platform. Not having that typical drop from heel to toe can put some extra tension on your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Once acclimated, the Balanced Cushioning platform can be very comfortable and beneficial.
I have done multiple training runs in these shoes and completed a 100k race. During the race, I did not change shoes or my socks.
I got my feet wet several times going through creek crossings but felt the shoe and sock combo was working for me, so I did not change. After the race, I did not have any blisters.
This shoe is far from perfect, but at this time, I would definitely consider the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 as a shoe that I would buy again. I have some reservations about the durability of the upper material as well as the flattening out of the midsole, but neither is giving me any major issues.
The changes made to the 4.0 are working out very well for me so far. I have four different trail shoes in my rotation, and I definitely consider the Lone Peaks to be my “go-to” shoe.
By all accounts, I have a wide foot. It is something I’ve known for years. Sitting in my local REI and perplexed by how the measuring foot thingy worked, the associate comes over and slides the parts around my foot and proclaims: “You are a true wide.”
And there you have it, folks: I have Fred Flintstone Feet.
So, you would have thought that Altras would be a gift from the heavens for me, right? Manna falling from the sky? Well, not quite.
If you’ve spent any considerable time hanging out with trail runners, you’ll often find yourself in a sea of Altras. Given the die-hard adoption of this brand, I figured I must be missing something good.
So, I coughed up the full-price of $120 for a pair of Lone Peak 4s. The size seemed right (not too much space at the top). They were super comfy walking around the store and felt unbelievably light (ladies: 8.5 oz, men's: 10.2 oz). I was sold!
The thing with Altras is that they are zero drop—all models. Generally speaking, I’m not that cool with zero drop shoes, but I figured I could always add a lift under the insole as do quite a few of my Altra-wearing friends.
I took them for a 4-mile spin on the local Marian Bear trails. They felt fast and plush! It was like I was running around in Cadillacs.
But, I did notice on that shorter jaunt that my foot did not feel secure and would shift around laterally while taking quick turns and steps over more technical spots.
Given my calves and shins found that zero drop experience to be a little taxing, I dropped about 6mm of foam lifts I bought off Amazon under the insoles. I found nothing was lost on the fit and security of my heel by doing this.
So, if heel security is a fear of yours, fear not! No heel slippage with these shoes—even with lifts.
Some of the other features in this shoe that are top-notch
- Gaiter Support: In my opinion, it’s the best in the market and supports different types of gaiter attachment.
- Grippy McGripperson outsole
The lugs are prominent but not stiff, and they don’t seem to wear that quickly. I have a super high cadence (very short legs = 190+ steps per minute at my marathon pace).
So, I wear my outsole faster than my taller counterparts. At 50 miles, I see almost no wear, which is rare for me. Traction is excellent on the sand, hard-packed dirt, soft dirt, rock, and asphalt.
- Super plush and springy for the weight
- Great flexibility through the forefoot—not at all stiff
- Protective rock plate without losing much ground-feel.
- Material is breathable without letting in lots of dirt and sand
- I dig the look and colors.
Things that drive me bananas about this shoe
- Even with a standard double knot, the laces come untied. They are also really long with no laces garage in the tongue.
- Sloppiness on anything remotely technical and/or narrow/rutted
- Even with my aforementioned wide foot, I can’t tighten them enough to feel like my foot is secure. I have pulled the laces as tight as they can go so I’m at a loss what more I can do (and a smaller size would have been too short in length so that would not fix it).
What I have found with these shoes over the last two months is while they have nearly all the features and qualities I want in a trail shoe, they do not work for even moderately technical trails. They are far too sloppy.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a 16 miler in these shoes out in a slightly rocky stretch of Cuyamaca State Park.
At one point, as I was navigating a few rocks and ruts, my foot slid sideways in the shoe, I lost my balance and kicked the inside of my ankle, yelped in pain, and then nearly landed in a bush.
As far as I can see, if I’m running on a non-technical wider dirt road or super well-groomed trails, this shoe will be fine. But, that is a rare thing here in Southern California, never mind it’s a whole lot less fun.
Likely, I will hit 200-250 miles in these shoes doing easy 7-milers in them, call it good, and retire them.
It’s too bad they missed the mark with fit because everything else is fantastic. But, without a sound, secure fit, what’s the point?
Before getting into the review, it’s worth mentioning a very cliche story that most runners go through at some point!
I read "Born To Run" and was inspired. I wanted to try a more ‘natural’ running shoe. I didn’t want to go barefoot and thought about making the transition slowly starting with the brand Altra.
Altra is known for using a wide toe box and high flexibility to engage the foot better—I was sold!
I have a number of issues with the Altra Lone Peak 4's upper. One is that there are not enough eyelets for the laces that would help to lock the foot in. Moreover, the laces are far too long.
There are also too many overlays. I have always been a fan of more simple uppers.
There are definite durability concerns. The front of the shoe came apart so quickly that Altra swiftly sent me a new pair.
The heel and early parts of the midfoot were dialled down nicely. However, the front third of the foot was all over the place.
I would blame it down to my narrow foot, but given the rest of the shoe is fine, I don’t think this is the issue. On smooth terrain, the problem was less exaggerated.
However, as soon as you take it on the trails, it’s not an enjoyable experience. My foot would slide everywhere, and I had little confidence at high speeds.
On a more positive note, despite the wide toe box, there was never any bunching of material even when you tighten the laces heavily.
The material also worked well in wet conditions, being quite ‘hydrophobic’ but oddly is not being particularly breathable (I was running in Costa Rica, which probably didn’t help).
The midsole was something I can get behind. Bouncy, soft yet responsive, not thick and very flexible. What more could you want?
This is the first (and last to date) Altra I have used and was impressed with the midsole. If the shoe was based purely on midsole and outsole, this would be very close to scoring a 10/10.
It has a lively ride with seemingly good energy return that just makes you want to go fast. It never felt harsh.
I also never felt the need for more cushioning, even after a two-day hike up Costa Rica’s largest mountain.
Of course, following Altra’s mantra, the shoe is very flexible. And despite having a history of pronation, this was not a problem and engaged my foot nicely.
The low drop was very welcomed, fast on flat terrain and great for training. Not much else to mention here, it’s a good midsole that works well.
The outsole was one of the standout features of the Lone Peak. A very mixed lug pattern meant it was able to handle variable terrain well. They also seemed to hold up well.
On road, the areas that would wear fastest have wider, less aggressive lugs. These are surrounded by lugs that only come into play when the going gets tough.
On top of this, the lugs are conformed into a foot shape pattern, meaning they don’t aggravate the foot on smoother terrain, riding similar to a road shoe.
The Good: This is perhaps the best outsole I have ever come across. Meanwhile, the midsole is also something truly special.
The Bad: The fit. Unless your forefoot is hugely bigger than the rest of the foot and you can fill the toe box out properly, this is sloppier than Oliver Twist’s second helping.
Hopefully, this image shows the beginning of the issue I had with my first pair of Lone Peak’s with the grey pair being the replacement—a really exciting colour, I know.
Updates to Altra Lone Peak 4.0
- Altra running shoes are known for the zero-drop platforms and technology-laden builds. They are also recognized for the capacity to welcome the natural shape and motion of the foot. One might say that such characteristics are only applicable to their road options, but they’re also present in their trail running line. The Lone Peak 4.0 is an example of an off-road runner that’s meant to permit the natural biomechanical capabilities of the foot without sacrificing protection, comfort and outstanding traversal.
- The upper unit of this product utilizes Quick-Dry Air Mesh. It is supported by stitched-on overlays that also serve as trappings for securing the foot in place. The tongue unit has a webbed surface that aims to cinch against the foot and avert sideward slipping. There are drainage ports at the bottom to remove water from the interior chamber (if water exposure is part of the run).
- Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and A-Bound™ serve as the primary cushioning system of the Altra Lone Peak 4.0. These elements work together to ensure reactive and resilient support while on the trails. The MaxTrac™ rubber outsole and the StoneGuard™ film are the technologies that handle the rocks and other debris that litter the unpredictable outdoor terrains.
The outsole unit of the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 is made up of the MaxTrac™ technology, a compound that is durable and able to withstand the damaging nature of the surfaces. This layer is also constructed to provide surface adherence, a property that is highly essential when traversing uneven topography.
Curved gripping lugs form the TrailClaw™ configuration. These prominent nodes act like hooks that clamp onto the ground, thus delivering heightened grip. The opposite-facing layout enables foot-to-ground control during upward and downward traversals.
The trail rudder is fundamentally an extended outsole structure. The extra length permits additional surface control, especially when handling descents.
The A-Bound™ technology is a full-length topsole that’s designed to provide robust cushioning to the underfoot of the wearer. The material itself is made using environmentally friendly materials to reduce material wastage and buildup of plastics.
Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) is an industry-standard compound that’s used for many running shoes. This piece acts as the midsole foundation, supporting the top layer and the foot at the same time. It doesn’t sag quickly or lose structure after each run.
The StoneGuard™ technology is a sheet of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that is sandwiched between the midsole and outsole. The job of this layer is to protect the foot from the abrasive elements on the trails. It’s robust but flexible enough to follow the natural movement capacity of the foot as it bends and gears itself for each step.
Additional cushioning is provided by the 5-mm contour footbed. This extra piece can be removed or replaced with a custom orthotic insert if the wearer chooses it.
The upper unit of the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 is made up of the Quick-Dry Air Mesh. This fabric offers breathability and security without luring in trail debris. Ventilation holes are present in this material, but they’re not prominent. The Quick-Dry distinction means that it’s made to stave off water absorption and retention.
The Heel Claw construction involves the curved collar design that’s supposed to clamp the back of the foot and keep it in place. The padding that graces the shoe’s rear also helps when it comes to preventing accidental shoe removals and in-shoe wobbling.
The stitched-on overlays of the Lone Peak 4.0 are meant to shield the mesh from scratches and potential cuts. They’re also intended to help the traditional lacing system when it comes to adjusting the tightness or looseness of the fit.
The 4-Point Gaiter Trap is comprised of several overlays on the upper unit that are made to be anchors for separately-purchased gaiter attachments. The four spots that welcome the hooks of the gaiters ensure optimal coverage, thereby protecting the foot from the elements.