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Preview: Altra Lone Peak 4.0 || More durable upper & new stickier outsole

The next-generation Altra Lone Peak 4.0, which will be available in August 2018. If the Lone Peak 3.0 or 3.5 worked for you, the 4.0 will probably, too.

At the Altra booth I found the Lone Peak 4.0, the next-generation of this popular trail running and thru-hiking shoe. It will be available in August 2018, and in four versions:

  • Low Mesh ($120, 10.2 oz for M’s, 8.7 oz for W’s)
  • Mid Mesh ($130, 12.3 oz for M’s, 10.3 oz for W’s)
  • Low RSM ($150, 10.9 oz for M’s, 9.9 oz for W’s)
  • Mid RSM ($160, 12.9 oz for M’s, 11.3 oz for W’s)

RSM stands for “rain, snow, and mud.” More commonly, these shoes are described as “waterproof,” which is a mischaracterization but is what it is. The RSM models will use eVent fabric, not Polartec Neoshell like the 3.0 waterproof version.

For almost an hour I spoke with the founder of Altra, Golden Harper, about the differences between the four 4.0 versions and also between earlier generations of the Lone Peak. Golden struck me as such a nice a guy that I might never say anything remotely negative about his company or products again.

Hesitant updates

The Lone Peak has been hugely successful for Altra. It’s the best-selling trail shoe in the run speciality market, the best-selling non-Salomon trail shoe in the outdoor non-speciality market, and now the most popular shoe on the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, having surpassed the Brooks Cascadia.

Altra knows of changes that should be made to the Lone Peak, but it is careful in doing so. Some so-called improvements could cause a rebellion by the shoe’s fan base.

Overall, the changes made to the four-generation Lone Peak are probably less significant and fundamental than past generational updates. If you liked the Lone Peak 3.0 or Lone Peak 3.5, you will probably also like the Lone Peak 4.0, and odds are that you’ll probably like it more.


Outsole

The biggest change to the Lone Peak 4.0 is the outsole. Altra considered using Vibram MegaGrip, but to save cost it ultimately chose a proprietary style, branded as Maxtrac. Even so, the raw expense of the outsole is still about twice that of the outsole on the 3.0 and 3.5.

The new rubber compound is grippier and more durable. The lugs are more aggressive and less prone to being sheared off by sharp rocks, and constitute a greater volume of rubber.

The all-new outsole is made of more durable and better gripping rubber, and it has more lug volume.

Midsole

Less wholesale changes were made to the midsole. The last, 25-mm stack height, and foam firmness (or “durometer,” in shoe geek speak) are unchanged.

The tapering of the midsole thickness from the ball of the foot to the toes is now more aggressive. This results in more rocker and a quicker toe-off.

The TPU StoneGuard rock plate is no longer just a plain insert, but replicates the bone structure in the foot, i.e. long, independent metatarsals. The rock plate sits atop the midsole, under the foam insole. The new design should offer comparable underfoot protection, but with more flexibility.

Upper

Altra has struggled with the durability of the upper in the Lone Peak, especially the 2.5 and 3.0. With the 4.0, they sought out a mesh that appears almost identical to that used in the Salomon Speedcross, which is a proven material. I was told it has more stretch and is less boardy, however.

A V-shaped overlay surrounds both sides of the midfoot, which should improve lateral and fore/aft control. Harper believes the 4.0 will fit more securely than any previous generation of the Lone Peak.

Lateral side. Notice the V-shaped overlay that will help to secure the midfoot. According to Harper, the 4.0 should be the most secure Lone Peak ever.

Medial side.

The upper has been optimized for ventilation and water drainage. The moderately padded tongue is perforated. The toebox is made of single-layer mesh, not the customary double-layer. And the toe cap has two drain ports, to reduce the pooling of water inside the shoe after submersion.

The toe cap has drain ports on each side to allow water out of the shoe after submersion.

Gaiters

The Lone Peak retains the GaiterTrap and lace loop, which work with Altra’s gaiters and some other varieties, notably Dirty Girl. Two additional anchor points were added, however, to achieve downward tension on each side of the gaiter without using in-step strap.

Two additional anchor points were added to Altra’s gaiter attachment system. These additional side anchors prevent the need for an in-step strap, while still providing downward tension.

Fit

As previously mentioned, the 4.0 shares the same last (or foot shape) as the 3.0 and 3.5. The toebox is a little bit more open, but the midfoot and heel are slightly narrower. Generally speaking, if the 3.0 and 3.5 fit you well, the 4.0 will fit well, too.

The heel counter is back-less, which should make the 4.0 friendlier to odd-shaped feet and to those with chronic Achilles problems. Unlike with a normal heel counter, the very rear of the shoe is not stiffened with plastic.

Version differences

Besides the cuff height, the low and mid versions have a few other differences. Altra expects the mid to be more popular among hikers and backpackers, so the changes are aimed at this application.

1. The outsole on the mid uses more carbon-based rubber, which will make it more durable but less grippy.

2. The mid heel is more reinforced, providing additional stability for heavier loads and perhaps more rugged terrain.

3. The midsole is “a little bit firmer,” according to Harper, enough to be noticeable. This should make the midsole more resilient, too, instead of feeling “thin” after just a few hundred miles.

With the RSM versions, several changes will help make them more weather-resistant. The drain ports in the toe cap were eliminated, for example, and the GaiterTrap was redesigned to create a better seal.

Have questions about the 4.0? Leave a comment.


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42 Responses to Preview: Altra Lone Peak 4.0 || More durable upper & new stickier outsole

  1. Lukas January 27, 2018 at 1:31 am #

    Do they have the same aggressive pronation sole support on the inside?

    • Andrew Skurka January 27, 2018 at 10:21 am #

      Uncertain.

  2. Jason January 27, 2018 at 6:24 am #

    Andrew-

    I closely follow your shoe reviews, as we have very similar low-volume feets. I found the Lone Peak 3.0s very nearly great, but as you noted previously folks with our morphology really had to crank down the laces. Still, the toe box allowed me to wear a 12, even though I’m a true 12.5.

    Above you noted the midfoot was slightly more snug than previous models. Hoping you could expand on that a bit. I’m assuming it’s not Salomon/Salewa-snug, but did you still need to tighten the heck out of them?

    Thanks!
    -Jason

    • Andrew Skurka January 27, 2018 at 10:19 am #

      The sample sizes are size men’s 9, so there’s no way that I can squeeze my foot into shoes at the tradeshow.

      Harper did not elaborate on how much snugger the mid-foot will be. Definitely not Salomon/Sportiva snug. That change would alienate the fans.

  3. dgray January 27, 2018 at 8:03 am #

    The changes to the mid designed to be more hiker oriented sound very interesting to me, but unfortunately I’m not that interested in a mid. Too bad those options don’t also come on the low model. Perhaps it would be worth a risk to give the mid mesh a try. Did you get a look at the new mid? Does it look about the same height as the current Neoshell mid?

    • Andrew Skurka January 27, 2018 at 10:16 am #

      The design of the mid cuff appeared similar if not identical to the 3.0. If it’s not the same, it’s probably just tweaked, but not like 2 inches taller of anything.

    • Hal March 26, 2018 at 8:29 am #

      I agree with your statement, dgray. I wonder if Altra is aware that those wearing the Altra Lone Peak for backpacking and especially for long trail thru hikes, are typically not wearing the mid size. In fact, I would bet very few are. The greatest majority, I believe, are looking for the lightest non-water proof shoes they can find. Yes, non-waterproof because the waterproof shoes tend to only make your feet sweat more and also cause the shoe to take longer to dry out when they do get wet, which is an inevitability, no matter what kind of shoe it is. They like the (regular non-waterproof) Lone Peak for that reason and because it has a wide toe box, the built in gator trap/loop, and is extremely comfortable on the feet. Beyond that, a more durable upper, a tougher longer lasting out sole, and a stiffer mid sole, in my opinion, would also be pluses for the lightweight regular Lone Peak … as long as it doesn’t increase the weight of the shoe.

  4. Edward January 27, 2018 at 9:43 am #

    Sounds great but they still don’t make wide sizes it appears.

    • Andrew Skurka January 27, 2018 at 10:15 am #

      No, no wide sizing yet. I’m sure they’ve looked at it, but I’m assuming that the demand does not warrant it yet.

      I think I heard at the Salomon booth that the X-Ulra would be available in wide soon.

      • Steve A February 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm #

        I had a pair of the Salomon X Ultra 2 Low GTX but found the outsole to be completely useless on surfaces that were any bit wet. Did Salomon happen to mention a change to their outsole to make them usable?

        As such, I’m interested in the RSM Mid version as shoulder season shoes. I have the King MT for non-RSM need days and love them almost as much as my retired v1 Trail Glove.

        • Andrew Skurka February 6, 2018 at 8:38 am #

          I did not ask about the X Ultra, and Salomon didn’t even mention it. That leads me to think that at best it’s been updated a little bit for 2018. Wholesale changes are unlikely.

  5. Steve January 27, 2018 at 10:01 am #

    Altra shoes have saved my life, figuratively speaking. I have been a runner for almost 40 years. Years ago I developed a neuroma in my right foot that became so painful after only 2 or 3 miles that I could only run about 4 miles before the pain just shut me down. Hiking boots were like torture devices on my feet. I was an avid Adidas user at the time. So I tried Nike and walked a mile in the shoes and had to take them off and walk home barefoot because they caused such intense pain. Then I saw Altra and gave them a try. What a godsend! Altra shoes allowed me to go back to running and backpacking. I have owned several pairs of Altras now and always interested in their new offerings. I think a market they are leaving untapped is the tactical combat boot market. I’m also in law enforcement and would to see them break into that segment. I can not speak highly enough of Altra shoes.

  6. John January 27, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

    These look like good improvements overall. I’ve hoped Altra would go with the Vibram megagrip soles on the next version…hopefully this Maxtrac is comparable. I understand the costing decision, but personally would pay a bit more for sole longevity. I look forward to giving these a try. I wish they were coming out sooner, as I need a new pair. Looks like I’ll have to go grab a pair or 3.5s.

  7. Randy January 27, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

    I just hope they’ve moved to a sturdier thread for the stitching so they’ll last more than a couple of months on rocky trails. I love the megagrip on the King MTs. Any idea how this compares to their new MaxTrac?

  8. Nathan January 27, 2018 at 3:46 pm #

    Any word on strengthening the rubber toe cap part of the sole so it doesn’t come detached? Super glue fixes it, but I wish i didn’t have to.

  9. Wyoming January 27, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    Andrew

    I have worn out multiple pairs of Lone Peaks and also Altra’s Olympus model. I am hiking several thousand miles a year all in the west – PCT, AZT, Grand Canyon and the AZ desert. Here is my take on these shoes.

    Lone Peak I feel is quite a bit overrated in performance and believe that its popularity is skewed by its low weight. I have found that on really rocky terrain the shoe just does not have enough cushioning to keep your foot from getting bruised and have witnessed a lot of folks with damaged feet who were wearing them. On a scale of 1-10 I would say its cushioning is about a 3. I have wide feet and like the toe box, but one must accept that the shoe has low lateral stability. If you are walking on loose side slopes it is a bit tenuous. The soles on the older models do not wear well and I have never gotten more than 500 miles out of a pair and the inside of the heel by then was totally disintegrated – the heel normally starts falling apart at about 200 miles.

    Olympus at 1 oz more per shoe has MUCH greater performance (and is my main shoe currently). It has much better foot protection than the Lone Peak (say a 5 on the 1-10 scale) which is sufficient that I am not getting foot bruising even with daily 20+ mile days on the rocky trails in AZ. The inside of the heels, unfortunately, still fall apart at about 200 miles and the wide toe box still has stability issues. The wear does not seem to be much different and a max at 500 miles with a totally shot shoe.

    I have had to use Shoe Goo to reglue the toes of over half the Altra’s I have owned and some at mileage below 50 miles.

    While it takes a bit of time to adapt ones body to the zero drop of the Altra’s (it is easy to cause a tendon issue until one gets stretched out) the zero drop seems to work ok. But I must admit that I cannot discern any performance benefits to the zero drop as compared to standard shoe designs.

    Altra shoes due to their tendency to wear out quickly are very expensive on a per mile basis.

    Your description of the new models is very interesting and I would query on the following.

    With the harder sole and modified rock plate how would you assess the change in foot protection and estimated change in total miles one could expect out of the shoe?

    Would you anticipate that the inner heel of these shoes will now last significantly longer time than their earlier models?

    Do you find zero drop shoes have any meaningful advantages?

    If you were to pick between the Lone Peak 4.0 and the Salomon Odyssey Pro, which you recently reviewed, which would you choose? (the Odyssey Pro was going to be my next shoe experiment and now I am torn between that and the new Lone Peak)

    Thanks

    • Scott Verwolf February 28, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

      Yes. I think they’re a great shoe but as trails wear them out fast .

      • Scott Verwolf February 28, 2018 at 6:23 pm #

        Arizona trails wear them out fast ….

    • Sreekanth May 14, 2018 at 10:35 pm #

      I haven’t used the Altras, but am a regular zero drop user for both daily commuting and for running.

      My observations with zero drop is that it significantly decreases the stress on the knee. The feet, calf and other parts of the leg take the pressure, and get stronger over time (there is a couple of muscles near my shin that didn’t seem to exist before I used zero drop. Now that I have been using zero drop for about 3+ years, when I wear a normal shoe (I have found it tough to get zero drop formal shoes), I can immediately sense the difference in the pressure on the knee.

  10. Alan January 27, 2018 at 5:12 pm #

    Nice review Andrew!

    • Andrew Skurka January 27, 2018 at 7:56 pm #

      Come on, you know better than that. It’s not a review, just a preview.

  11. Michael Quartuccio January 27, 2018 at 7:52 pm #

    Do you have it in a 15EE?

  12. Dara L. OhUiginn January 29, 2018 at 8:24 pm #

    Thanks Andrew. I am on my 4th pair of LPs and generally happy. Have done multiple long hikes in Canada. Japan, Scotland and Ireland with good results across the varying terrain and wet situations. My BIG COMPLAINT is that the insoles last only about 300-400 Kms. and are then pretty useless. Altura does not offer replacements so you need to get an aftermarket insole for sure which is a pain. When I brought this to the attention of Altra they were generally disinterested. So I like my LPs but they are an expensive option given the poor insole durability. Maybe the 4.0 will be better. Off I go to do the Scotland TGO and CWT in my 3.5s! I hope the comments are helpful.

    • John K February 11, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

      I’ve had great luck with CurrexSole. I needed a bit more arch support and the CurrexSole fills the wide toe box of the LP’s pretty well. While providing arch support, it is also soft in the forefoot and doesn’t add a bunch of lift in the heel.

  13. Joe January 30, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

    Good info, Andrew.

    Just to be a PITA, I will say that I’m on my 3rd pair of LP 3.0s (2 standard, and 1 Neoshell Mid for cold/snow/wet), and have been pleased with them, except for outsole durability.

    Altras have been a Godsend to me. I have a wide forefoot, but not a wide heel. Most “wides” are sloppy in the back end for me, but the Altras fit perfectly.

    I guess I’m easy on uppers, ’cause the outsoles are slick when the upper is still like-new. 4-500 miles. I run on rocky trails and slickrock, though.

    Today I ordered 2 pairs of Superior 3.0s from REI for $65 a pair.

    The nice lady at Altra (they have really knowledgeable, helpful people on the phones), said I would likely get more sole life with the Superior, and I don’t need a lot of cushion.

    I’m not poor, but I am frugal. Reckon I’ll let others pay for the latest, and continue to pay 50-60% of retail for last year’s models.

    Y’all buy the 4.0s this year, and I’ll buy them next year for ~half-price.

  14. Peter February 2, 2018 at 2:56 pm #

    How breathable is the nylon ripstop upper? Can you see light passing through it?

    • Andrew Skurka February 2, 2018 at 6:10 pm #

      It’s a tightly woven nylon, not as air permeable as mesh. I don’t own a pair of breathable Speedcross, which is the best comparison, but I don’t think you can see through it.

      So you should expect the 4.0 to be warmer and dry less quickly than earlier versions, but at the same time it will be more resistant to dirt and sand, and of course more durable. So overall maybe a wash.

      • Peter February 3, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

        I miss the breathability of Lone Peak 1.0. Running shoes are becoming less and less breatheable. Knit uppers, bootie construction in Salomon, Isofit system in Saucony….

  15. Joe February 3, 2018 at 11:42 am #

    To Steve:

    They do offer a 3.0 Neoshell Mid in black. All black. Laces, soles, not a spot of color on them.

    I have a pair, and like them. They have a “sturdier” feel, due to both the higher cuff and the Neoshell, I think.

    I prefer the low-tops for running, but these have more of a boot feel.

    Seems to me they might work for LE applications.

  16. Jim coates March 21, 2018 at 8:15 am #

    It’s good to see they are slowly improving the shoe. My problem is sizing. The 11.5 is too big for me to run in. I actually tripped over after catching the front on a tree root for the first time in my life, on my first run off road in them. If I use the next size down my toe touches the end of the shoe, can’t run I. Them either. Love the concept, and they are great every day walking around in shoes but I just can’t get them
    To work for me. I had a Mortons neuroma removed last year and really wanted these things to work.

    • Andrew Skurka March 21, 2018 at 8:22 am #

      Know the feeling like you’re between sizes. The key for me was going with size that felt slightly too small when new. But they quickly packed out, within a run or two, and nkw fit me as I would expect.

  17. Dave Lockyer March 23, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

    Having been a fan of the Lone Peak I’ve been trying other comparable brands (like Topo) as the outsole just isn’t up to the kind of mud we get here in the UK. I was also hoping they would opt for a vibram outsole but the maxtrac one looks interesting. Would be interested in whether you think this would be a good fit for UTMB and if not what would your shoe of choice be for that?

    • Andrew Skurka March 25, 2018 at 9:56 am #

      Let me preface by first saying that shoes are very personal. So I can only tell you what works for me, and possibly might work for those with similarly shaped feet.

      Personally, I would NEVER use the Altra Lone Peak for UTMB. My foot swims in them, fore/after and laterally. But I’m certain that some runners wore them last year, and no doubt some of them LOVED them in that race.

      I shared my UTMB shoe debate in this post, https://andrewskurka.com/2017/utmb-shoes-hoka-speedgoat-2-salomon-sense-ultra/. Ultimately I went with the SG2, although in hindsight I wonder if I should have gone with the Salomon. The SG2 is possibly over-forgiving, like running on mush.

  18. Dave Lockyer March 25, 2018 at 12:51 pm #

    I’ve recently only begun trying out Hokas to try and alleviate a PF issue so just getting a feel for them after wearing Altras for a few years. Haven’t tried the SG yet but may give them a go. I’m also keen to try the Mafate speed 2. I’ve finally got a place at UTMB after 3 years of losing out in the ballot so want to try and get things as right as possible! Thanks for posting the training interviews with David. They’re certainly helping me shape my approach to UTMB…

  19. Rusty April 8, 2018 at 10:00 pm #

    Stoked for the 4.0! Have had all previous versions and a few Superior’s as well and absolutely love the Altra footwear brand, they just work so well with my feet!! Just wish they were coming out sooner, would’ve liked to use them for races this spring/summer, that blue color scheme is one of the sharpest yet

  20. messy May 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm #

    I used to love 3.0, but I was disappointed with the weight of 3.5.
    4.0, I hope it will be lighter than 3.5.

  21. Jan Shim May 12, 2018 at 3:16 am #

    My first Altra shoes are the Superior 2.0 which I debut at a 50KM trail marathon, right out of the box. 15 hours later, I finished the race with no fatigue or blisters to report. My second pair of Altra the Lone Peak 3.5 and again I did the same, race another 50KM right out of the box and that too I suffered no issues and the medium cushion was very comfortable throughout the 14 hours.

    The one issue I have that many others have reported — notorious sizing inconsistency. I’m looking to get the Lone Peak 4.0 and I was wondering if you answer a simple question that Altra themselves got wrong the last time I checked with their reps in USA and Asia.

    Did the LP 4.0 feel the same size as the 3.5? This is important because there are no Altra stockists where I am located (in Asia) and I can only get my shoes through an online store.

  22. Brooke Pudar May 18, 2018 at 10:16 am #

    I’m considering switching over to trail runners for this summer’s JMT hike. Currently testing out La Sportiva Bushidos and love the stability but they seem a little hard on the heel. What are the key differences between these and the Lone Peaks?

    • Andrew Skurka May 18, 2018 at 10:43 am #

      The Bushido and Lone Peak are vastly different shoes, nearly on opposite ends of the trail running spectrum. The Bushido fit narrow and small-volume, are low to the ground, and have minimal cushioning. The Lone Peak are sized very generously, sit 50 percent higher, and are amply cushioned.

      I think the Bushido makes a great “high route” shoe, but I don’t think it’s a great trail shoe — it’s just not cushioned enough. A better option from La Sportiva would be the Ultra Raptor, Akasha, or Akyra.

      A lot of thru-hikers swear by the Lone Peak, but I found them too slopping for trails. If you can even fit in the Bushido, my bet is that you’ll feel similarly — it’s best for people with side and high-volume feet.

      • Brooke Pudar May 18, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

        Thanks for this advice; definitely looking to avoid sloppy since I’m used to the very stable Oboz Sawtooths.

      • Dara Ohuiginn May 21, 2018 at 12:53 pm #

        I am on my fourth pair of Lone Peaks. My current 3.5 are what I am wearing now on the Scottish TGO hike. When new they are great but the insoles flatten out at about 250kms. I also have noted the soles are almost done at about 300kms! So they really are expensive costing almost 50cents per kilometre. The sole is also beginning to delaminates as well and I have another hundred Kms to go. Going to retry Saucony ISO2. Perhaps the LP4 will be improved but they did nothing to improve the insoles despite my previous pleas. Sad given how nice they are when new.

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