Altra may not be a very well-known brand, but their Lone Peak 7 trail running shoe has gained a formidable reputation as a comfortable and light weight option for hiking.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Roomy toe box – great for wider feet
- Excellent traction
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Less durable than some
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is marketed as a trail running shoe and if this is your thing, it’s a great choice, especially so if you’ve got wider feet. However, this shoe has also built up a solid reputation as a comfortable and light weight hiking shoe. It’s not as rigid or perhaps as durable as some others in this round up, but, for hiking on less technical terrain, and in less extreme weather, these shoes make a lot of sense.
Compare to Similar Products
- Danner Womens Trail 2650
- The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack
- Keen Nxis EVO Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe
- Main review guide: 20 Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Analysis and Test Results
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a stylish, very lightweight shoe aimed squarely at trail runners. The shoe has a distinctly shaped wide toe box, making it perfect for those with wider feet who might feel that other shoes pinch around their toes. Whilst these shoes are perfect for their intended use of trail running, they’ve also gained a reputation as a great choice for lightweight hiking. These shoes would not be suitable for more intense technical terrain, mountaineering or extremely cold weather but for many applications, they make perfect sense. These are stylish shoes and thanks to their comfort, they could easily also serve as a pair of day-to-day shoes.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 features Altra’s own sole – which they call the ‘MaxTrac’ – with a deep and fairly aggressive thread pattern. These shoes have an excellent reputation for providing good grip and a sure footing – that’s definitely a strong point for trail runners and also very useful if you’re intending to use these for hiking. The sole material is also slightly soft, which will help improve traction on wet rocks. Remember, though, that no shoe will provide perfect grip in all conditions and anything icy or surfaces with mud or wet vegetation can thwart even the most grippy sole!
The Altra Lone Peak 7 makes extensive use of breathable mesh in its upper section – meaning the shoes are well ventilated. The mesh is very finely woven and this will help minimize ingress from sand and grit. This is useful as we’ve experienced scenarios when hiking in the desert where sand has gotten into the mesh of our shoes and noticeably weighed them down (plus once sand is in the interior of your shoe, it’s very tricky to get it all out again).
The Altra Lone Peak 7 are shoes so they don’t offer any direct ankle support like a boot does. However, how important this is, really is a personal choice. Some will certainly prefer the extra ankle support offered by a pair of boots whereas others will value the increased freedom of movement shoes offer. For those who are trail running or doing fast, lightweight hiking – and that’s exactly what these shoes are designed for – the preference for increased mobility is likely preferential.
These shoes come with a very subtly shaped in-sole that offers fairly minimal arch support. This ‘neutral’ option is in line with the other products featured in our round-up and will probably suit most people just fine. However, if you feel that you would benefit from extra arch support, then an aftermarket insole with more pronounced support is a great and affordable way to add just this. A simple modification like this can greatly improve the comfort of footwear for certain people, so bear it in mind if this is an area that cause you problems.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is offered in sizes from US 5.5/UK 3.5/EU 36 to US 12/UK 10/EU 44.5. We think it’s great to see these shoes offered in this wider than normal range of sizes. However, in terms of fit, the real stand-out feature of these shoes is the wide front section – Altra calls this a ‘Footshape’ toe box and claim it allows the wearer’s toes to relax more and spread out naturally. This feature is quite evident in the shoe’s design and those with wider feet will certainly appreciate this, though if you have narrower feet, you may think the front feels unnecessarily roomy.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a fully synthetic shoes, making use of fine-woven mesh with rubberized section on the upper. Synthetic materials are replacing more traditional shoemaking materials like leather and canvas on lightweight shoes as these materials offer lighter weight, improved breathability and water resistance and have proven to be equally durable.
These are thoroughly modern looking shoes with distinct design and styling elements. Altra offer the Lone Peak 7 in eight different color ways, including some vivid and distinctive options. The wide toe box certainly gives these shoes a more distinct look – especially when viewed from the top, but we don’t’ find this objectionable. The styling may not be to everyone’s taste – especially if you prefer more traditionally styled footwear – but we like it and we think the design uses the contrasting finishes of the different materials used to good effect. We think these shoes look good enough that they could easily serve as a stylish pair of day-to-day trainers, even if you never set foot on the trail.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is built as a very lightweight shoe, so it figures that they don’t feel like they would be as durable as some of the more sturdy (and heavy!) hiking shoes and boots we’ve assessed. That said, we certainly don’t’ think these shoes feel flimsy or poorly made and it’s also clear that Altra have been mindful of durability in the design and material choices in these shoes: The mesh that makes up most of the upper section of these shoes features a square ripstop pattern and rubberized sections, for instance. These two elements will help minimize any damage from scratches or punctures on the trail.
Weight – or lack of it – is one area where the Altra Lone Peak 7 really stands out. With a claimed weight of 635g/1lb 4.5oz, these are the lightest shoes in our round up. That makes perfect sense for a pair or trail runners and helps make these shoes a very attractive option for those looking for footwear for lightweight hiking.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 comes with a set of fairly generic removable insoles. These will suit most people just fine, we think. However, if you want to tailor the fit of your shoes, then swapping out the insoles for one of the many relatively inexpensive and widely available aftermarket options could be a great option. Aftermarket insoles will let you add extra cushioning or arch support to the footbed and are even a great way to fine-tune the fit of your shoes if you find yourself between sizes.
No shoes are completely without a breaking in period, but the Altra Lone Peak 7 come pretty close, being very comfortable straight from the box. We’d still always advise wearing any new footwear on a few shorter walks before committing to a longer hike.
The Altra Lone Peak 7s use regular laces. Laces may not seem like the most exciting subject, but they are actually a very versatile way of securing your shoes and allow plenty of options for fine-tuning the fit and comfort of your shoes by adjusting the tension in different areas. These Altra shoes feature some additional lace holes nearest the toes and adjusting the tension her e- or even bypassing them entirely could be a great way to fine-tune the fit around the ball of the foot. You can also consider changing the lacing pattern you use to further adjust the comfort of your shoes. Our guide gives more information on this.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 features a hardened rubber section around the toes and the sole extends up at the very tip of the shoes to provide some further protection. This is very far from the reinforcement you’d find on dedicated mountaineering boots, but it’s on par with the other lightweight trail shoes we’ve assessed. The toe protection these shoes offer will take the edge of any impacts caused by tripping on the trail, but you’ll still be able to give your toes a nasty knock if you trip hard enough.
Hiking Shoes v Hiking Boots
The choice of hiking shoes versus boots is very personal. For more demanding technical terrain, we’d still recommend sturdy boots, but for more general hiking or walking, shoes can make perfect sense too – especially so if you value freedom of movement in your feet and low weight. These Altra shoes tick all the right boxes in this regard and are a great choice for those are looking for lightweight footwear for hiking.
The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a great example of a seemingly specialized product that’s found a wider appeal. These are marketed as trail running shoes, but they’ve become a popular choice for those looking for lightweight hiking shoes. The shaped toe box and reputation for comfort makes these Lone Peak 7 shoes an even more attractive option for those with wider feet. These shoes won’t be suitable for every type of hiking, but for many, we’re sure they would fit the bill most of the time and we think they are well worth considering.
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