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Preview: Altra Tusher || Hiking boot with zero drop & foot shape

My coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 starts with Altra, which has developed a cult-like following among hikers and runners for its zero drop shoes, wide lasts, and gender-specific fits.

Altra revealed three new shoes at the show: the Tusher, Grafton, and Wahweap. They will be available in July 2019. Availability is uncertain at this time.

Teaser: Altra Lone Peak 4.5 or 5.0

Before previewing Altra’s new models, I would like to tease the next-generation Lone Peak.

Historically, the Lone Peak has been updated every six months, but going forward it will be on an 18-month cycle. If you love or hate the Lone Peak 4.0 (my preview), you’ll be stuck with it until Spring 2020, when we’ll finally see a Lone Peak 4.5 or 5.0.

Preview: Altra Tusher Hiking Boot

The Altra Tusher will be released in July 2019. It is a conventional hiking boot but with Altra’s famed zero drop and wide foot-shaped last.

The Altra Lone Peak is said to be the single most popular shoe on long-distance trails like the Pacific Crest, Appalachian, and Continental Divide Trails. Clearly, there’s demand for zero drop and wide lasts among hikers.

But does this demand run deeper than backpackers who are willing to hike in running shoes, and to backpackers who prefer to wear traditional hiking or backpacking boots? With the Tusher, Altra will find out.

This hiking boot will retail for $200 (or maybe $180), have a 27-mm stack height, and weigh 19.8 oz (or a bit less, for men’s size 9). It will only be available in a “waterproof” version.

Aggressive carbon rubber outsole

The Tusher retains the features that put Altra on the map:

  • Zero drop between heel and forefoot,
  • A wide (“Foot Shape”) last, and
  • Gender-specific builds.

But otherwise the Tusher has the looks and features of a conventional hiking boot:

  • Upper exterior made of 1000-denier ballistic nylon and rubberized overlays;
  • Seam-sealed waterproof/breathable eVent bootie;
  • Compression-resistant polyurethane midsole (not EVA); and,
  • Aggressive carbon rubber outsole.

The Tusher is built on Altra’s HFS last, which is higher-volume than the Standard last used in the Lone Peak. However, the Tusher’s eVent bootie and stiff upper materials should negate some of this extra volume, keeping the fit reasonably secure.

The Tusher is compatible with traditional and Dirty Girl-style gaiters. The outsole has an artificial instep, and the upper is equipped with Altra’s popular GaiterTrap.

Production will begin in a few months, but the Tusher remains a work in progress. Altra hopes to increase its midsole flexibility (which is atypically stiff for an Altra shoe) and to scale down its overbuilt toe cap. Wear-testing also needs to be completed, though to me the timeline seems too tight to address any fundamental issues that are discovered.

The Tusher has a traditionally constructed waterproof upper: an eVent bootie surrounded by more durable 1000d nylon and rubberized overlays.

Preview: Altra Grafton

The Grafton looks like an approach shoe, with its Vibram circle outsole, rugged toe cap, long lacing system, and minimally padded suede upper. But Altra described it only as an “all-purpose outdoor shoe with approach qualities and characteristics.” Its relatively wide last (specifically, the XC last, which is one of Altra’s narrowest) will not provide the lateral stability and edging performance of a true approach shoe.

The Altra Grafton, new for July 2019, has the looks of an approach shoe but is more of an outdoor generalist.

Preview: Altra Wahweap

Among the three new models, the Wahweap is the most well suited for everyday casual wear. It has a simple lined upper made of 75 percent hemp and 25 percent nylon, a big rubber toecap and heel, and a low-profile outsole that is laterally scored to increase flexibility.

The Altra Wahweap, new for July 2019, suitable for everyday casual use.

Questions about the Tusher, Grafton, or Wahweap? Leave a comment.

Posted in , , on November 11, 2018
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  1. Kyle Umland on November 11, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    On a different note concerning the high route tent you designed I have heard a new version is coming out in 2019. Have heard it is smaller & lighter my question is do you have an idea on specs? I might want to get the original with more space & weight if it is too scaled down.
    Thanks for all your efforts!

  2. Alexander Cayanni on November 12, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    What is an approach shoe?

    • PS on November 13, 2018 at 9:22 am

      A hybrid between true trail shoes and hiking boots.

      • Doug on January 29, 2019 at 3:17 pm

        Sorry thats incorrect, its for climbers who have a challenging “approach” to the cliff they intend to climb. They can also be useful for a cliff that has a ‘walkoff’ or easy way down. In that instance the shoe should generally have pull tabs that could be clipped to a harness which these do not. Some easy roped climbs can also be done in approach shoes, but generally the shoe would need an edge, or stiff treadless area near the big toe, which this shoe does not appear to have. Due to those lack of features I doubt any serious climbers would use these for approaches, but they look like good shoes for rock scrambles. They also look good to use for just general cool looking shoes!

    • Paul S on November 13, 2018 at 10:50 am

      A hybrid climbing/hiking shoe.

  3. Jon J on November 23, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Is there any chance this boot well actually come in wide Whith I understand that Altra trademarks are foot shape and 0- drop ; (which is a good thing ) , But there are actually people they have wide feet also. I have over 20 pair of Altra footwear about seven pair of lone peaks, 4 sets of paradigm + i’m looking forward to this new boot more than likely I will purchase three pair. I am retired military and I have also done law- enforcement work – history now:) ,I do volunteer work in Greenhouses / ecosystem – sustainment of vertical garden~container gardening in Metropolitan .

    now someone not crazy about a lot of Black footwear ( Earth tone colors including gray= Granite , Brown and green / Green combination lime green-olive Queen ; ox-blood Dark brown , lihgt gray Plus+ more + anatomically shaped food, especially big toe room to be straight out , and space for The forefoot : basically oblique-anatomically shape human forme.

  4. Beth on November 28, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Are there pictures of the women’s version?? 🙂

    • Andrew Skurka on November 28, 2018 at 2:38 pm

      I took a few but used just one boot for all the published shots. The women’s version has identical aesthetics, but a different earth tone colorway.

  5. Eugene on February 6, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    I’m looking for this exact shoe. I will be doing a back country hunting trip and will need good boots. Problem is I’ve been living in zero drop/barefoot shoes for the last 8 years. I’ve tried on about 20 pairs of boots so far and the Lone Peak 4.0 (mid) has been my favorite but I know the mid height will not be enough support for the very rocky and steep terrain. Is there any way I could be a product tester for these?

  6. faye janni on March 12, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    i love hiking in desert, and there are lots of pokey things, and with my lone-peak hiking boots, those things go into my foot…not good, I need a ALTRA leather-ish type boot, please

  7. Dano on March 26, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    they need to make a safety toed version for light construction, it would sell

  8. Mike R on April 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

    The boot looks good, looks likes its aimed for cold weather, have the lone peak 3 neoshell and its terrible on icy paths. Hope this is better.

  9. Karen on April 28, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    I’d love a low cut version of the hiking boot but would buy the mid/high cut. I’m desperate for a wide toe hiking boot suitable for off trail.

  10. Bob on May 11, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    Man, I wish they’d release these products looking like they do on this site. This is what I’ve been waiting for from Altra. I want a nice, casual, minimal, low-key design. I’ll buy every single one of these shoes shown on this page if this is how they actually look. Unfortunately, just before they launch, Altra tends to hand off their products to a 5 year old with a box of crayons who then proceeds to draw all over every surface like a schizophrenic on acid. Altra has the most HIDEOUS looking designs on the market. Their design team is clueless, juvenile and bad at what they do. I would purchase Altra shoes all the time if they only looked decent. Instead they make them look like 80’s Trapper Keepers. And I don’t mean in a cool, retro way. They make them look like the last Trapper Keeper on the shelf after a month long Back to School sale. The Trapper Keeper nobody wants. I really hope Altra releases these products with this minimal look, but unfortunately, these look like prototypes and haven’t yet been exposed to their blind, armless product designer that paints each shoe with his tongue.

    • Monique on June 6, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      So good to feel I am not alone on this!
      Your wording = mine, especially the schizophrenic on acid, left behind in those horrible eighties.

  11. Karen on May 12, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I just talked to the owner of my local outdoor store and she said they are scheduled in August of this year now. She has the on order but she did say its not unusual for products to not get to production even this late. I’m hoping they deliver.

    I agree they can muck up the look of the shoes but I don’t care because they are the only shoe that is roomy enough for my forefoot.

    • Derek on May 13, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Altra should care. They could have a much larger part of the market if they’d only release some sensible designs that are less geared towards adolescents

      Altra shoes have been lifesavers for me. I developed a Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot from wearing regular shoes for so long. I have been in a world of pain since then (for years). With Altras, I can wear toe spreaders and my toes can splay out properly, which reduces stress on the nerve. It has helped me immensely. I have friends that have neuromas as well, some with multiple neuromas in each foot.

      The fact is, everyone should be wearing Altras. They are a revolution in healthy footwear. The problem is, I have shown my friends my shoes and the first response I get is, “Hmmmm. Yeah, those aren’t really my style.” People write them off immediately. They think they are so hideous they won’t even try them. My own wife won’t even consider them.

      Altra has no idea how successful their company could be if they’d just divorce themselves from their current style. I work in advertising and design, and I have to say, their designs reek of an upper level CEO meddling with their products. I’ve seen this a million times in the business. The person calling the shots is not trained in art or design, has a poor comprehension of patterns, composition, lines and color palettes, and yet they feel compelled to drive the creative direction of the design team. In design school, I would use Altra shoes as a way to illustrate extremely poor product design.

      But Altra will never get the message unless people actually speak up and request some more sensible looks. You have to email the company and let them know that you want more sensible, practical designs.


      [email protected]

      or use

    • Zac on September 13, 2019 at 12:17 am

      So the Grafton for light bouldering not feasible? Can’t find a decent wide climbing shoes. If not any recommendations?

  12. Jon J on May 12, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    Hey everybody ( I agree I hope they come out with earthtone & neutral colors ) it may be also nice if they actually made those boots in Wide- withs , I know they supposed to be foot shaped , but they can make some wide foot shapes especially in the 4-Foot~area . Any word on the Tusher Boot: Final color schemes for men . What are the color schemes for that approach shoes ( human foot shaped and no elevation in the hills ) it’s what’s happening for the 21st-century 🙁 pointed toes and elevated heels came from the dark ages 🙂 happy Mother’s DayS ~Y’all .

  13. Barry on June 25, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    I also am excited to see the hiking boot. I’ve been going through shoe hell trying to find a boot that offers both good traction, some cushion against rocky areas, sturdy ankle support and a “Lone Peak 4.0” type toe box. So far nothing out there fills the bill. I hope these are in stores by August as I have backpacking trips planned and I’ve been praying for a boot like this.

  14. Joachim on July 18, 2019 at 5:20 am

    I wished Altra would design a barefoot shoe with foot shaped toe box.

  15. Rob on August 16, 2019 at 4:15 am

    Is the Tusher still scheduled for public release in August 2019? Haven’t seen them yet on their site or any dealers…

  16. Karen on August 16, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I talked to the local outdoor shop again. They haven’t heard much but are now thinking spring. Keep in mind, nothing is certain. I went with the high top peak one in the meantime. Not great for hiking IMO but they double as running shoes.

  17. Ellery on August 26, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Cool. I imagine these will sell lots.

    But… Ugh I hate to be pessimistic. If Altra can build a shoe that doesn’t explode after mile 1 – like the last two pairs of Lone Peak 4s I bought, then I’m sold!

    As it is, they are going to have to work hard to earn my trust back as a customer – with plenty of 5 star reviews where the shoes lasted more than a couple Sunday morning light duty trail runs; to speak nothing of backpacking in them.

    It’s a shame other trail shoe companies that value durability still design them like an iron maiden for your feet.

  18. Karen on August 26, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Not sure this applies to guys as much as women but I bought a pair of men’s technica plasma gtx. By buying mens I get a wider shoe. Normally this isn’t so great because they are too wide in the heel. However these shoes have a custom heat fit process on the back 1/2 of the shoe so in theory you get a custom fit.

    They are definitely stiffer like a hiking boot should be. Too soon to say if this will work. I’ll look at the altra’s if they ever come out.

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