8.1 / 10
Value for Money 1.5
As someone on the upper end of the shoe sizes, I’m usually a size 14US, I eagerly await anything that will fit given that many manufacturers only cater for the masses and not for those of us with clown feet. As a manuafacturer Altra continues to release new versions of existing models as well as bringing new models onto a rapidly growing range of shoes coming onto the Australian market. More importantly the retailers bring the larger sizes into Australia. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to try out the updated version of my much loved Altra Lone Peak 3.0, the Lone Peak 3.5, and now having done over 200km in a variety of conditions its time for a full review.
Like most shoe manufactures Altra has features that it is known for and across the range they produce zero drop shoes that have a foot shaped toe box. What this means is that this shoe is very close to being barefoot in that your toes aren’t cramped and the well padded foot bed doesn’t lean your forward, but instead provides a strange being the first time you wear them as you just feel more upright. Having fallen in love with the Altra Lone Peak 3.0’s I had high expectations of this updated version. So how did I go?
As usual lets start with the negatives. For some reason Altra decided to increase the padding at the rear of the shoe. I’m guessing that some people must have complained on this but personally I didn’t really think that this wasn’t necessary. In fact for me it created a very obvious negative as I have now gone up a size from size 14(US) to size 15(US). This extra padding is obvious when you put the two versions together. I struggled enough as it was to get size 14’s so it was no surprise that the retailer had to do a special order of size 15’s from the manufacturer in the USA, grrrrrr. For me this was the only real negative.
The three obvious changes are hard to pick unless you again sit the older and newer versions side by side. These changes include a slightly different mesh which help to minimise the fine powered dust that used to get into the older models but even with this change it still remains breathable. They have small slots, either side of the toe box to allow water to drain if you have been walking through wet environments. And last but not least there are now only 6 rows of eyelets rather than 7 on the older model. Less eyelets potentially means less adjustment but this wasn’t something that I noticed in practice.
I initially purchased a pair of size 14’s expecting them to be identical sizing to the previous model and while I will end up using them they don’t work for me on hills as my feet are permanently up again the front of the shoe. If you do order online choose a company that has a good return policy just in case and try them on around the house as the sizing runs little small.
What has remained the same with this newer model is that they are a supremely comfortable shoe. While zero drop shoes aren’t for everyone I do love them. My feet are wide at the front an narrow at the back so the natural shape of these shoes fits me like a glove. A good guide for me is that in testing these on 20km of bitumen and concrete paths this shoe always performs well. Traction on the soles hasn’t changed and as such they grip will on powdery slopes as well as wet conditions.
Now these shoes are a trailer runner and as such 1000km distance is about what you will get out of these before the sole wears thin. Having said that you will have a supremely comfortable shoe over that time. As a hiker who uses trail runners for a majority of his hikes these shoes are a great option. They came very close to being my shoe of choice for my 1000km bibbulmun Track hike and it was really only the need to order two more pairs from the USA that ultimately put me off choosing them over the Merrell FST’s that’s I ultimately went with.
If you like the zero drop concept, have broad feet, and are into trail runners then these are a great option.
Altra Lone Peak 3.5 mens trail runner
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Front view of the Altra Lone Peak 3.5(left) vs the Altar Lone Peak 3.0(right). The main differences are the drain holes in the newer model and a slight difference in the shape of the protective toe guard
Altra Lone Peak 3.5(left) vs Altra Lone Peak 3.0(right). The mesh on the newer model breathes well but is better at keeping fine dust out of the inside of the shoe
Top and bottom view on Lone Peak 3.5
These shoes come with a ‘Gaiter Trap’ which is a fancy name for a velcro tab designed to suit the Altra Gaiters and will also work with the Dirty Girl Gaiters as well. The gaiters are only designs to keep ‘stuff’ out of your shoes which is a godsend in sandy or burr ridden environments
Shoe insert. These shoes are zero drop so if you do replace the insert ensure that you don’t alter this feature by adding the wrong insert
Altra Lone Peak 3.5(left) vs Altra Lone Peak 3.0(right). Notice the much plusher padding at the rear of the shoe on the Altra Lone Peak 3.5(left). This additional padding will push you up a shoe size from the Altra Lone Peak 3.0
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by the reviewer