Top

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.


Disclosure. This website is supported mostly through affiliate marketing, whereby for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors, at no cost to the reader. This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support.

,

26 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.

  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

  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.

Leave a Reply