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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51 Comments

  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 .

    areas
    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:

      [email protected]

      or use

      https://www.altrarunning.com/utility/contact-us.html

    • 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. https://www.tecnicasports.com/products/plasma-s-gtx/

    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.

  19. Rob on November 25, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Any update on the Tusher release date? Already November and still no offering yet. Really want to give these a try…and also hope they offer non-flashy earth-tone colors 🙂

    • Andrew Skurka on November 25, 2019 at 11:10 am

      I haven’t heard anything, or asked. At OR in late-January I’ll try to get an update.

  20. chris on December 4, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Jan ’20 release date according to an Altra rep

    • Rob on December 4, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks!

  21. Jon J on December 5, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Any information on the final design/ Color scheme ? By searching the web I’ve discovered a couple of different designs for the Tusher Boot I even seen a low-cut one ; but I don’t think they were put out by the Altra footwear company. Looking forward to “toe-Space” form Altra’s Tusher hiking boot .

    • Jon J on January 4, 2020 at 6:42 pm

      I’ve already ordered mines , from Road Runner sports 12-1/2 green and black- according to UPS I should receive it close of business Monday 1/6/2020A.D. Although I wish they would’ve come out with that gray model; I would have Color dyed it medium to rust brown, and later on get another one because I like gray . ( since I got out the military and law-enforcement ) I stop wearing black footwear . It’s about time someone came up with footwear that’s made for human feet. Foot shaped with no elevated heels it’s what’s happening for the 21st-century 🤓. But I’m glad somebody liked the black ones they’re nice also , if I get a part-time security job I will definitely pick a pair up . Peace and tranquility .

      • Greg on January 8, 2020 at 8:59 am

        Hi Jon, do you have an opinion on tactical gear site botach.com? They’re now selling the men’s black version on sale at a 35% discount, but without free shipping and only up to size 14…

        https://www.botach.com/altra-mens-tushar-black-waterproof-hiking-boots/

        • Brendan on January 21, 2020 at 8:20 am

          Greg, did you purchase from Botach? How was the experience?

          • Greg on January 21, 2020 at 10:07 am

            Brendan, I purchased my black Tushar boots directly from Altra and was hoping to use them for a hike over the weekend.

            Unfortunately, I found them to be too tight in the forefoot and too lose in the heel for my foot shape. So I ended up hiking in my trusty Lone Peaks instead, and will be returning the Tushars to Altra today. I’ll post a more detailed review later here later today.



          • Brendan on January 21, 2020 at 8:42 pm

            Looking forward to your review, Greg. I have a couple pairs of Torins and Lone Peak 3.5. My trusty and super durable Salomon GTX hikers have become too tight in the toe box, perhaps from wearing Altras for a couple years. So am looking for an Altra boot to replace those.



    • Rob on January 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      That’s great news Jon! Looking forward to your firsthand review of the Tusher…

  22. Greg on January 4, 2020 at 3:34 am

    Road Runner Sports now lists the Altra Tushar for sale at $199.95…

    https://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/33789/mens-altra-tushar-boot/

    https://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/33710/womens-altra-tushar-boot/

    I’ve noticed in the past that this site tends to jump the gun on new Altra products, so I’ll wait for direct word from Altra.

    I suppose we could see an official product announcement as soon as next week.

    • Rob on January 21, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      I also received a green pair of Tushers from Altra, and like Greg, found them to be way too tight in the forefoot (even without socks). The heel cup was ok, and the boot itself was sized correctly for my foot length, but unwearable because of the narrow/low-volume forefoot. The tongue on one boot also dug into my ankle consistently when laced and tied with several readjustment attempts made.

      I wear Lone Peak 4 RSM’s daily and am quite familiar and appreciative of a good quality Altra fit. The toe box also seemed somewhat narrower than the LP4. The Tusher itself does present itself as a well engineered, well made boot, and durable in all the right places. Unfortunately, I’ll be sending them back tomorrow.

  23. Greg on January 4, 2020 at 4:15 am

    Enwild.com (a site I’ve never seen before) also now lists the Tushar Boot at $200, but it’s out of stock…

    https://www.enwild.com/altra-running-mens-tushar-mid.html

    Digging behind the scenes on this site I found a photo of a men’s version with a solid black upper, which is exactly what I want. Don’t know if that photo link will work for you, but here it is…

    https://www.enwild.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/519×410/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/a/l/altra-mens-tushar-black.jpg

    I’ve been dreaming of an Altra boot ever since I had my original Lone Peak ones, so I can hardly wait to try out this new boot! 🙂

  24. Jon J on January 21, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    Hey everybody out there I have three pair of the Altra Tushar right now( yes I did say 3 set Altra Tushars ) Andrew knows , anyway they should quickly go back to the drawing board and increase the depth and 4 foot space or either have two models a wide width and the one they have now:) and produce the gray one I seen floating around the Internet and perhaps another earthtone green or brown or granite gray . they fit me just rightOKY- but if they increase the depth and the width I will get those also . I think I am the first one to put mines on the Altra website~ Survey . But my feet is not really that wide , but they have been frostbitten before in my baby toes sensitive both left and right foot . The main future problem I see with the design is the leasing system, on the instep – it looks like it could be easily compromised if someone’s heavy-handed or jerking leasing motion. and also the depth & and 4 foot ,( they fit me good ) but like I said the average person; adult male their foot maybe more girth~ Thicker , ( i’m basing this off my 25+years in the military:) happily retired, during my time frame going on force marches with the marine corpse infantry rifle man , but in the army a military police ( anyways I received a lot of peripheral feedback from fellow soldiers and Marines ) and a lot of us knew the boots were either too tight or too much elevation in the hill for the Weight that we were caring, average combat load 60 pounds. Peace and Tranquility to all my good friends out there.

  25. Greg on January 21, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    I’m an older guy with high-volume forefeet and narrow heels. For day-hiking I mainly wear the Altra Lone Peak Mid in various models. Although they’ve worked very well for me, they do tend to be snug under the stitching where the front of the tongue is attached. Therefore when I’m breaking in a new pair I change the lacing style to skip the first pair of eyelets, and start with a thinner combination of insole and sock. After they gradually loosen up I can usually switch to a thicker sock and/or insole.

    When my new Altra Tushar boots arrived last week I started with the thinner insole/sock combo, and immediately noticed extra tightness compared to my Lone Peaks. Next I changed the lacing style to skip the first pair of eyelets, and that helped marginally. However, due to the heavy-duty construction of these boots I felt like they would never loosen up, and I’d never be able to wear the thicker socks I need for winter hiking. Another problem with the Tushars is that I couldn’t get my heels to lock in solidly like they do with my Lone Peaks.

    In conclusion, I’m returning these Tushar boots to Altra and will stick with my trusty Lone Peaks for now. In the longer run, I’m looking into the possibility of getting custom-made zero-drop boots for winter hiking and snowshoeing.

    For those interested in Tushar boots, I suggest trying them on in a retail store if possible. REI currently has them on pre-order, so perhaps they’ll be stocked in REI stores in the near future.

  26. Rob on February 5, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Andrew, did you get a chance to demo the Tusher now that it’s out? If so, what is your opinion of the fit? Thx.

  27. James on February 12, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Disappointed the grafton won’t come with a mid version. In the PNW it seems pointless to own an approach shoe that can’t also keep snow out or be compatible with strap on crampons. That would be my perfect high altitude cascade traverse shoe.

  28. Jason on February 23, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    I just received mine, I ordered both my regular Altra size (11) and a half size up (11.5) based on comments like Greg’s that suggest it was a bit narrower/lower volume. I find the 11 is exactly the same length as for other manufacturers (merrell, scarpa, etc) but the 11.5 seems a tad shorter (more like an 11.25).

    I agree the boot is lower volume overall than the same size by other manufacturers, for which I am grateful due to my wide-toed low volume flipper feet. I don’t find the toebox or forefoot narrower or lower volume than my Altra superiors or Provision runners – if anything, it’s slightly more spacious. But if you have a wide/high volume foot or plan to wear thicker socks for winter and it might be good to size up. The upper on the 11.5 size up is about 1-2 mm higher than the 11. I prefer the higher toebox volume on the 11.5 when wearing mid-weight merino socks but concerned the extra volume elsewhere might be too much. I’ll probably go with the 11s in the end.

    My narrow heel is well-locked in with the lacing, which I really like, but the tongue could use a little more padding. Otherwise, I find the boot quite comfortable, no uncomfortable spots like some people noticed. The upper fabric is a thick and stiff canvas material but I have no doubt it will soften quickly with wear. I hope it stands up to some abrasion, I do a lot of off-trail hiking.

    I bought the black because I found it on sale, but prefer the green. The colour options so far are disappointing. But that’s typical for Altra. Great fit, awful aesthetics. I think the other commenter Derek hit the nail on the head – sounds like interference by some executive at the company who doesn’t understand good design.

    Personally, I think these boots are impressive. They take the better parts of “heavier” hiking boots (PU midsole, taller upper, more durable upper) and fix the mistakes most manufacturers make (zero-drop, WIDE/squared toe box, no stiff shank). I’ve lost track of how many boots I’ve tried and had to discard due to it causing my Morton’s neuroma to flare up, and how many hikes I’ve passed on because my feet were in pain.

    Looking forward to putting some miles on these!!

  29. Helen on March 3, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I love my LP mids despite their disadvantages – they fall apart fast and, despite the advertising, the RSMs are NOT waterproof, or at least nowhere near as my old scarpas. Having said this, I’ll continue to buy them because they are just so comfortable. I hope the Tushar is more waterproof buty am skeptical if it’s using the exact same system as the LP RSM. I’m also disappointed the Tushars have an instep underneath – the Lone Peaks create a wonderful low impact rolling gait that my podiatrist says is gentle on joints. I’ll wait for an update on the Tushar, or perhaps the LP RSM 5.

  30. TB on April 10, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    I love Altras for the wide toe box and zero drop, have been a game changer for an old hip injury for me and for scores of patients of mine with various hip/knee/low back or foot conditions, BUT they fall apart so quickly it’s a disgrace. I’ve worn through 7 or 8 pair, they barely seem to last 200 miles. Other major problem is the shoes just fold over on any kind of side hill, the soles are IMO too flexible, maybe this is a non issue for people who just stay on flat trails but for those of us that like to be out in no trail land and hills it sucks. Their designs are also super ugly. I’m only using them in town going forward for the hip/low back comfort.
    Also, I really don’t get this obsession everyone has with gore tex boots, maybe I cross too many rivers on my walks, but it makes shoes hot when it’s dry and keeps them from drying quickly after river crossings. You are either wet from sweat or from rain, at least without gore tex your feet are dry when it’s dry out.
    If Altra could make a hiking boot with a little more lateral stability and tougher construction, I’d buy it in whatever hideous color scheme they come up with.

    • Jason on April 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      TB

      That’s exactly what the Altra Tushar boots are – a lot tougher and more stable. And like or hate a waterproof liner, they’re in most boots. It would be good to see more non-liner options, but for many of us it’s perfect for hiking in the wet conditions we do.

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