Chris Townsend tries the latest version of the best trail shoes he’s ever worn
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is the latest version of a lightweight trail running shoe that has become very popular with long-distance hikers and has been a favourite of mine since I first tried a pair back in 2016.
The Altra Lone Peak trail shoe now comes in two widths, original and wide. I’ve been testing the latter, which is only available in a men’s fit. Comparing it with the three previous versions I’ve tested the 7 Wide is a tiny bit wider at the toes and rather more at the heel. This is fine for me in my normal size. With two of the previous models I had to go up half a size as they were a little narrow.
Two features of the Lone Peak haven’t changed – the wide toe box, which allows your feet to spread, and the zero drop, which means there’s no difference in the midsole height between toe and heel. I find both features excellent. The zero drop, which Altra calls Balanced Cushioning, can take a little getting used to the first you try it though.
The midsole has a height of 25mm and is made from a double-layer proprietary compound called EGO, which Altra says gives “a responsive yet soft feel for increased energy return”. The outsole is also made from a proprietary material, called MaxTrac. This has a deep tread.
The foam insoles are much like those found in most boots and shoes – soft and flimsy. They probably won’t last long. For multi-day walks I’d replace them with more supportive ones.
The uppers are mesh with protective overlays. The construction is seamless with the only stitching being at the top of the lacing. The tongue and heel are well-padded for comfort. There’s a firm internal heel cup that is further stiffened by a strip of hard plastic running round the outside. The heel cup holds the foot in place well. At the toe a tiny hard bumper gives a little protection against rocks but there could be more stiffening here, as there is in previous models.
The shoes also have a Velcro tab at the back for holding down a gaiter. I’ve never used this as I don’t wear gaiters with trail shoes.
Having worn the Lone Peak 7s for several walks, including across the Cairngorm Plateau to Ben Macdui, I’ve found them just as comfortable as previous models. I just love the wide toe box! Being able to spread my toes fully makes a big difference. The shoes are very soft and flexible and I feel in touch with the ground when wearing them. At the same time the sole is protective and the grip and cushioning are good.
The shoes are very breathable, which is great in hot weather. They’re not waterproof in the slightest of course but they do dry quickly.
As I said about the previous three versions of the Lone Peak model I’ve tested these are the best trail shoes I’ve ever used. I think they’re ideal for three-season hillwalking and backpacking.
BEST BUY: This product has been awarded our ‘Best Buy’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it to be one of the best items of its kind available.