This post may contain affiliate links.

Altra Lone Peak 7 Trail Running Shoe Review

Altra Lone Peak 7 Trail Runner Review

The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a zero-drop trail running shoe that’s good for hiking and running across a wide range of conditions. It’s a moderately cushioned shoe with a very wide toe box so your toes can splay out and relax. The effect feels like you’re walking in bare feet with an enhanced degree of trail feel. A 25 mm stack height makes the Lone Peak 7 a fairly stable shoe and helps prevent ankle rolling. The shoes have grippy 5 mm multi-directional lugs with a rock plate and a rubber toe kick for protection, with well-draining mesh uppers that prevent sand and trail grit from entering and eating your socks.

RELATED: 10 Best Hiking Shoes and Trail Runners

Specs at a Glance

  • Gender: Men’s (Women’s also available)
  • Weight: 9.2 oz (women’s), 11 oz (men’s)
  • Heel Drop: 0 mm
  • Heel Stack Height: 25 oz mm
  • Forefoot Stack Height: 25 mm
  • Midsole: Proprietary Foam
  • Outsole: Proprietary Outsole w/ 5 mm Lugs
  • Rock Plate: Yes
  • Gaiter Trap: Yes
  • Width: Regular & Wide
  • Weight (pair): 1 lb 6 oz

Trail Feel

The Lone Peak 7 is a lightly cushioned trail runner with a moderate stack height
The Lone Peak 7 is a moderately cushioned trail runner with a moderate stack height

The Altra Lone Peak 7 is a moderately cushioned trail running shoe that can be used for hiking, backpacking, and trail running. The shoe’s signature feature is an oversized toe box which lets your toes splay out as if you were walking barefoot through sand. This is very different from most modern shoes, including trail runners, which still have narrow toe boxes that restrict toe movement, putting more pressure on the balls of your feet and metatarsals, and can result in longer-term conditions like Morton’s Neuroma, which manifests itself as a tingling or burning sensation in your toes. I suffer from Morton’s, and a shoe with a huge toe box like the Lone Peak helps eliminate my symptoms.

The Lone Peak is also a zero-drop trail running shoe meaning that the heel and the toes are level and an equal distance from the ground. The idea is that this allows for a more natural and more stable foot strike, mimicking the motion of barefoot steps, resulting in a more natural and efficient stride. It also means that impacts can be spread out across the entire surface of the foot.

The built-in gaiter trap makes it very easy to use with Dirty Girl Gaiters.
The built-in gaiter trap makes it very easy to use with Dirty Girl Gaiters.

One of my favorite features on the Lone Peak is the gaiter trap, located on the back of the heel of the shoe. It’s a piece of velcro that makes it very simple to wear a Dirty Girl Gaiter and removes the need to glue a strip of velcro there for that purpose. It also stays affixed permanently, whereas the homegrown velcro patches I have to glue on other trail runners fall off relatively quickly.

The Lone Peak 7 is noticeably wider in the heel and below the toe box than the previous model, even in a regular width size. This can be a little disconcerting if you like a snug fit. This doesn’t bother me that much and there are plenty of lace holes on the shoe to tighten the fit. If you prefer a narrower fit, particularly in the heel, the Altra Superior is a better choice.

The toe box is so wide that the upper creases where your toes end.
The toe box is so wide that an upper crease forms where your toes end.

What I do find a little disconcerting is the crease that forms over the toe box because the toe box is too wide over my baby toes. You might appreciate this extra width more if you have bunions or very long toes, but the unoccupied space makes the toe-off a little sloppy on uphill climbs and when scrambling across rocky terrain. It can also create a potential wear point in the upper, where the mesh abrades itself and breaks down.

Stability

The Lone Peak is very stable, in part because it’s a zero-drop shoe where your forefoot and heel are at the same height. With its 25 mm stack height, which is pretty average for a trail runner, it’s less prone to ankle rolling because you’re pretty close to the ground. That and the enhanced proprioception you get from walking with spayed toes make it much easier to sense changing trail conditions and terrain so you can adapt your stride accordingly.

The Lone Peak 7 is quite wide even in a size regular width.
The Lone Peak 7 is quite wide even in a size regular width.

Protection

As a trail runner, it is important to have a shoe that is going to protect the bottoms of your feet from what lies underfoot, but also have a breathable upper that allows your feet to ventilate while also keeping out particulates of mud, sand, and grit that will wreak havoc on your socks.

The Lone Peak 7 does both. The finely pored breathable mesh of the upper does a good job of keeping your feet cool while preventing coarse sand and grit from entering the shoe. Drainage is also excellent for those times, especially in spring, when you can’t avoid giant mud pits or high stream crossings. This is a big deal since many trail runners with large-pored mesh uppers fail miserably on this dimension, especially in sandy desert terrain.

There is an off center toe kick in front of the big toe for protection.
There is an off-center toe kick in front of the big toe for protection.

The Lone Peak 7 has a rock plate (Altra calls it a Stone Guard), which is a must-have for hiking on more technical rocky trails. It’s embedded between the outsole and the midsole of the shoe for underfoot protection and helps protect the soles of your feet from being bruised by any of the sharp rocks and stones that you may walk over.

There’s also a well-padded rubber toe kick in front of the toes, slightly off-center and positioned in front of the big toe, although I wish it extended further down the sides of the toe box for more protection. While there is a soft rubber rand that runs along the outside of the toe box, it doesn’t cushion impacts as much as protect the mesh upper from abrasion.

The largest lugs are positioned under the metatarsals and called mud claws.
The largest lugs are positioned under the metatarsals and called “claws.”

Traction

The Lone Peak 7 has multi-directional 5 mm lugs, that provide a good grip on trails and rock. The key to their success is how soft the rubber is. This soft rubber is key to providing traction, particularly on wet surfaces, similar to the softer rubber used in snow and all-weather car tires.

The Lone Peaks lugs are deliberately arranged on the bottom of the sole and sized and oriented for different functions. For example, the lugs under the metatarsals at the ball of the foot are the largest and designed to provide traction when running or climbing on steep terrain. The lugs toward the rear of the shoe are oriented in the opposite direction to enhance braking and widely spaced to enhance drainage, while there are reinforced areas under the big toe and on the outside of the heel to make the sole last longer.

The tongue is gusseted to help prevent trail debris from entering
The tongue is gusseted to help prevent trail debris from entering

Interspersed in and among the lugs are drain holes to shed water if the shoes get soaked, for example, in a stream crossing. The drains are fed by circular holes cut into the footbed, below the insoles that come with the shoe. It’s rare to find such an aggressive and comprehensive drainage system on a trail runner, but an important feature that sets the Lone Peak 7 apart from most trail shoes.

Recommendation

Altra Lone Peak 7 Trail Runners are a good choice if you are someone who is looking for a trail shoe that provides a lot of ground feel, a moderate degree of protection, and a moderate cushion. They have a large toe box that lets your toes splay out and relax with aggressive lugs underfoot that are positioned and oriented to provide enhanced traction and braking. This new version runs wide and even a bit long, even in a size regular, so you might even want to downsize if you’re between sizes. If you want a narrower fit we recommend that you try the Altra Superior 5 trail runner instead.

While zero-drop shoes like the Lone Peak do promote a more “natural” stride like that of walking barefoot, they put a lot more stress on your lower legs and feet than shoes where the heels are higher than the toes. You’re best off transitioning to the Lone Peaks or other zero-drop shoes over a period of 4-6 weeks to stretch and strengthen your feet and calves before running off to hike in them on a long-distance thru-hike or a high-mileage day hike.

Disclosure: The author owns these shoes.

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We only make money if you purchase a product through our affiliate links. Help us continue to test and write unsponsored and independent gear reviews, beginner FAQs, and free hiking guides.

24 comments

  1. Thanks for the thorough review!

  2. How durable are the Altra Lone Peaks? I’m very happy with how much mileage I get out of the LaSportiva Ultra Raptors. I would think that how grippy the sole is would be directly correlated with how quickly the tread wears out, but perhaps that’s not the case.

    Thanks!

    • I can’t speak to the 7’s but I’m on pace to probably get about 250 miles out of my 5’s (White Mountain hiking) – which is consistent with the mileage I had gotten out of 2 pairs of Altra Timp’s. My stride tends to wear down the outside of the tread more than the inside. If I wore down more evenly maybe another 50-75 miles.

    • Ive noticed that many hikers are pointing out lately that the newer models have been falling apart, some with only a few weeks wear on them. I personally own the Olympus which fell great on non technical trails but every pair I’ve had the front toe bumper starts to peel back after a few weeks sometimes causing the front of the shoe catching rocks when I hike. On more technical rocky trails my feet seem to move around more in them. I have much better luck with LaSportivas, The Akyra was my go to shoe but they have discontinued making them unfortunately. Sportiva makes the grippiest soles I,ve ever worn. I wear the Ultra Raptor now but they feel a bit non forgiving unlike the Akyra. Going to try the Topos next. This being said my feet are a bit narrow and everyones feet are like fingerprints……

  3. Great review Phillip. I’ve been looking at these for a while, since they have both great breathability, sole protection, and a wide toe box that are crucial to my selection. It’s good to hear that you concur,Cheers!

  4. How is the grip on wet rocks with these? I found the previous models to be a little insufficient in this area so I usually go for the olympus or a Topo with a grippier vibram sole.

  5. I hiked in the 5’s last summer and loved them, but alas they started falling apart after about 150 miles of NH & ADK hiking. I tried on these 7’s at REI and thought the toe box was noticeably narrower than previous models. Did not love the fit. The highly pliable heel cup that made them feel like slippers was also now much stiffer. Just food for thought for other readers, everyone’s foot is different. I decided to try the new Topo Pursuits. Looking forward to seeing how they hold up mileage wise and also how the Vibram Megagrip performs.

    • I have been eyeing the Pursuits as well. If the lone peaks went vibram, I would be happy. I currently use Olympus, but they aren’t very rugged. Let us know how they work out!

  6. they look narrower than the last two pairs I bought. I think they are 4’s or 4.5’s. I hate when companies change their shoe lasts. If I find a pair I like, I should probably buy 3 or 4 pair of them. The nubbies on my sole are about worn off.

  7. Very well timed reviews. Just a few days ago I was in an REI trying to decide between the Altra Lone Peak 7, Hoka Hoka Speedgoat 5 and Topo Athletic Pursuit. I had a very early version of the Altra (2?) that I was happy with until I sprained an ankle in them, and I have a mid height goretex Speedgoat. I wanted something with good grip and comfortable with a dense but easy to dry upper. I think Altra has the best upper from that point of view but I decided to try the Topo with their Vibram Megagrip sole.
    I’ll update here how they behave down the road.

  8. I love my 5’s but the toe guard started to separate from the shoe probably the very first time I wore them. I hope they have corrected that.

    • I’m on my 3rd pair of Altra’s. Every single pair started to “separate” somewhere on the shoe but only for the first couple of millimeters and then it would stay like that for the rest of the life of the shoe. Almost like the adhesive they used doesn’t cover all the way up to the edge of the pieces they’re bonding.

      YMMV.

  9. I would say zero drop shoes do require a transition period to strengthen your calves. I can take quite a while to build up. At that point the stride is more natural and for me made all my excitant knee pain go away. I would never go back to high heeled athletic shoes.

  10. That’s a great review!
    About the drainage holes in the sole: I can’t seem to find them mentioned anywhere else, and there are no visible design cues on the exterior. Is it possible to add a picture of them?

    • Martin – if you zoom in on the photo of the soles, you’ll see slits in the black areas. Those are the drainage ports.

      • Alright, that’s subtle! Do you feel that they do the trick?
        (One would think that small holes in a soft midsole would compress and not let that much out)

        • I walk through stream a lot. They do help drain residual water but they don’t help that much really.

      • Strange. Here’s what Altra had to say when I asked them: ”The Lone Peak 7 does not feature drainage holes through the sole, unlike the previous version, Lone Peak 6. However, rest assured that the shoe is designed to effectively drain water without the need for these specific drainage holes.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve *