|Rating:||8.6 / 10|
|Comfort||1.7 / 2|
|Durability||1.7 / 2|
|Support Stability||1.7 / 2|
|Weight||1.8 / 2|
|Value for Money||1.7 / 2|
Over the years I’ve tried a range of footwear for my outdoor adventures and as someone with size 15 US (and wide) feet I have always struggled to find readily available options. Given that males with size 12 and above feet only account for 2% of the population, its understandable that footwear manufacturers limit this option and if they do, its only in small runs so you have to be quick.
I am very familiar with Altra’s low-cut trail shoes having worn a rang of different models but I’ve never tested out the mid-cut boots given I couldn’t source them in my size even from the US. Earlier this year I got hold of a pair of Altra mid-cut boots for testing. After trying out the current Altra Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoe I went straight into testing this mid boot which gave me a good opportunity for a direct comparison. At the time of this review I have worn these mid boots for just over 240 km in a variety of conditions including one eight day period where I wore them over a distance of 124 km.
Before I discuss the specifics, what’s so special about the Lone Peak range? For many years this shoe has been the dominant model on the US long distance trails so Altra must be doing something right.
Altra Lone Peaks are a zero drop shoe which means that from your heal to your toes, the foot bed is level unlike most shoes that are higher at the heel. This zero drop feature makes you lean back ever so slightly which is noticeable the first time you wear them. Zero drop won’t suit everyone; in fact many people struggle to wear these hikers because of this feature. The main issue is that zero drop shoes typically have minimal arch supported so if you spend all day in dress shoes with a decent drop, this can be a bit of a shock. The other main feature of the Lone Peak range is the the wide squarish toe box which suits those of us with a broad forefoot. Unlike many wide fitting shoes, Lone Peak is narrow in the rear half of the shoe.
So how does this mid boot versions of this extremely popular running shoe stack up as a stand alone hiking option as well as in comparison to the low cut trail runner?
The fit of this shoe is very much identical to the low-cut trail runner being narrowish at the rear of the shoe and having the wide toe box at the front allows your toes room to move and breathe. The sizing is very accurate and without fail this is a true size 15 US.
However, this footwear does vary compared to the low-cut trail runner in a number of ways. First and foremost this its a mid-boot meaning that the top comes up over the ankle and provides additional support that many people are looking for. Its not a rigid boot like many heavier grade options but you can feel the support that it provides. One thing I hadn’t considered with this footwear is that the usual ‘gaiter trap’ system (for use with Lycra gaiters) on many of the Altra trail shoes, is absent because the additional height around the ankle means that you typically won’t get grass, sticks and small pebbles in your shoes. I also found the support, comfort and durability of this footwear to be identical to the low-cut version. I was also happy with how they performed on bitumen and concrete as well as on management road and trail.
In addition, the material on this boot is different to the low-cut model being slightly sturdier in construction as it uses a heavier grade material but which doesn’t breathe as well as the low-cut version. This feature is both an advantage and a disadvantage because it means that if you wade through creeks the boot will dry slower but in contrast the boot will keep you warmer in the cold weather.
The toe guard has a sturdier feel and while I have never had an issue with toe protection on any Altra model this toe guard is very sturdy. Weight wise this mid boot is heavier, but not by much and my size 15’s weigh in at 846 grams which is only an additional 116 grams over the low-cut option for the same sizing.
Durability on the Altra Lone Peak 6 mid boot is excellent and and while I haven’t worn these into the ground I would expect them to last around the 800-1000 km mark. After putting over 240 km on them they aren’t showing and signs of wear and tear on either the sole or the upper.
Now for the negatives. First and foremost availability of larger sizes is a real issue so I grabbed a pair as soon as they were available on the Australian market. I also would have preferred a wider range of colour options but that’s just something I have to put up with from most companies in my sizing. Another negative is that just like the low-cut version, the mid boot isn’t the best performer in wet muddy conditions which requires better traction. In itself this isn’t an issue but you do need to tread just that bit more carefully when waking on muddy slopes.
Specific to the mid boots there were some additional issues I found that most people may not care about. The first day I wore them was on a 20 km training hike on management road. This was a hike that I do most weeks and I found that the additional material around the ankles felt like it was slowing me down because it was restricting my movement. Or at least it felt that way and surprisingly enough I ended up doing the fastest time I had ever done on this route so it may have been just a psychological issue. In addition, I found that the additional material around the ankle and the heavier grade material all over, means my feet were hotter than usual. I don’t get cold feet so from my perspective it meant I needed to wear a slightly thinner sock otherwise my feet would continue to sweat and raise the risk of blistering. As I publish this review the hike I did only a matter of hours ago and in sub zero temperatures, meant that I upped my sock thickness but my feet didn’t sweat
So how did I find them? In comparison to the low-cut Altra Lone Peak 6 Trail Runner they perform the same with the exception of the increased ankle protection and warmer feel. After using this mid boot version I do like them but in all honesty I still prefer a low-cut option. If I’m looking for a boot then its because I’m heading into snow or a trail where a twisted ankle may be an issue (talus) so I want a more solid/rigid boot and will choose from one of my two Scarpa options Scarpa ZG Trek GLX or my Scarpa SL Activ but with that comes substantial weight increase and more physical exertion.
Many hikers love the idea of a lighter weight mid boot that provides additional ankle protection and warmth. If you are after a zero drop option then this mid boot from Altra is a great choice. One thing to note is that this mid boot also comes in a waterproof version which would suit those wet snowy days to a tee.
While I love these mid boots my preference is still for a low-cut hiking shoe and at the time of this review my footwear of choice is the Altra Lone Peak 6 Trail Running shoe.
You can purchase the Altra Lone Peak 6 Men’s Mid Boot at Wildfire Sports
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AUD $249.90 RRP
Altra Lone Peak 6 Men’s Mid Boot in Khaki colour showing outside side view
Altra Lone Peak 6 Men’s Mid Boot in Dusty Olive colour – outside side view
Altra Lone Peak Men’s Lone Peak Hiker Mid Boot showing inside side view
Altra Lone Peak 6 Men’s Mid Boots front and rear view – this picture was taken after 240+ km of use
Altra Lone Peak 6 Men’s Mid Boots close up of sole. This pattern and the material used in construction of the sole provides a very durable and grippy shoe except in muddy conditions
Altra Lone Peak 6 Men’s Mid Boots sole after 240 km
Altra Lone Peak Mid Boot showing insert and view inside as well as lacing
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker