Chris Townsend reviews the best version of Altra’s Lone Peak shoes – and the best trail shoes he’s ever used.

This review was first published in the September 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.

The 4.0 is the third version of Altra’s Lone Peak shoes I’ve tried, and I think it’s the best yet. The two key features of the design remain the same – the broad toebox and the zero-drop sole – but other components have been improved. Of those key features it’s the toebox that I like most as it allows the toes to spread out. Altra says that by placing your forefoot and heel the same distance above the ground the zero-drop sole ‘naturally aligns body posture and strengthens lower leg muscle’. Maybe, if you’re used to shoes with a much thicker heel than forefoot. I can’t tell any difference. What is good is that unlike other zero-drop shoes I’ve tried, the Lone Peak has excellent cushioning – showing that zero-drop doesn’t have to mean a thin sole. A standard feature of the Lone Peak I haven’t used is the Gaiter Trap, which consists of attachment points at the base of the laces and the rear and either side of the ankle for attaching trail running gaiters, such as those from Altra, that stay in place without need of an underfoot strap.

Now to the changes. Firstly, the tread has been beefed up. It’s still the same sticky rubber but the lugs are deeper and larger. This should make the tread grip even better and last longer. Secondly, the TPU rock plate that sits between the midsole and the insole and protects against stone penetration now has a foot skeleton shape rather than being a plate. This is meant to increase flexibility without affecting protection. I haven’t noticed any difference in use though.

The upper has a new softer mesh that is also more durable. There’s more of it too, with thinner welded TPU overlays rather than stitched synthetic fabric for protection and to give it a shape. This results in an overall softer upper that moulds to the foot more than the stiffer upper of Lone Peak 3.5. It’s also more breathable. To aid the latter the tongue is now perforated. For quicker drying when water gets in there are little mesh drain ports at the base of the toecap.

I’ve found the Lone Peaks very comfortable and supportive, the best trail shoes I’ve ever used in fact. The sizing isn’t exact however. While I took a size 9 in the Lone Peak 2.0 I found this size a little small in the 3.5 so I went for a 9.5 in the 4.0. Comparing them this is the same as the 2.0 size 9 so I think Altra sizes have shrunk a little.