Altra’s Lone Peak 4 Trail Runners are hiking and running shoes with an extra large toe box that lets your feet spread out and relax for more comfort on long hikes or runs. Made with breathable mesh, they drain well, dry quickly, and provide excellent underfoot protection on rocky or root-filled trails. If you’re on the fence about whether to switch to trail runners for hiking and backpacking, these trail running shoes might make a believer out of you.
Specs at a Glance
- Type: Rugged trail running
- Cushioning: moderate
- Heel-to-toe drop: 0 mm
- Stack height: 25 mm
- Midsole: Dual Layer EVA w/ stone guard
- Outsole: Rubber multi-directional lugs
- Upper: Mesh
- Rock plate: Yes
- Weight: 10.2 oz. / 289 g (each/men’s 10.5 US)
It’s been a few years since I reviewed a pair of Altra Trail Runners and I wanted to see how they’ve evolved, since they’ve far and away become the most popular hiking shoes used by backpackers today (See 10 Best Hiking Boots and Trail Shoes.) The Lone Peak 4 has also undergone some major design changes from the Lone Peak 3.5, so it’s been an opportune time to reexamine them. While I still prefer the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor trail runners I’ve been wearing for the past 4 years, I could easily see myself switching to these Lone Peaks, if La Sportiva changes the Raptor design or stops making them. Knowing shoe companies, that’s bound to happen sooner or later.
The most distinctive thing about the Lone Peak 4 and Altra Trail Runners, in general, is the large toe box at the front of the shoe that lets you spread out your toes and wiggle them around. When you walk with these trail runners, it really does feel like you’re walking with bare feet down a wet sand beach.
That barefoot feeling occurs because the Altra Lone Peak 4.0 is what is called a zero-drop shoe. In other words, there’s no height difference between the heel and toe, resulting in a flatter footbed, compared to more sloped one in shoes with a larger heel-to-toe drop. The benefit of a zero drop shoe is a more stable landing platform, better balance, and reduced chance of ankle rolls.
The toe box and exterior of the Lone Peaks is covered with a fine, breathable mesh that drains well when it gets wet, but is fine enough to block sand and grit from entering the shoe. There’s a hard toe kick in front of the toe box for protection with an additional strip of TPU protection surrounding the toes. The outer mesh extends down the sides and around the heel, interspersed with additional lateral protection and support.
The interior is lined with a wicking fabric to move sweat away from socks and feet. The tongue is gusseted forming a sock-like fit. This helps prevent debris from entering the shoes and keeps the padded toe positioned comfortably over the top of the foot. The laces are routed through wide eyelets to help reduce pressure on the top of the foot and help prevent painful irritation from tight lacing.
The Lone Peaks have a surprising amount of EVA mid-sole cushioning for a zero drop shoe, which is particularly noticeable on hard packed trails and those inevitable road walks. It’ll put a little spring in your step and reduce the foot fatigue that results when walking over flat terrain. There’s also a rock plate under the forefoot for additional protection, although more of a necessity for high impact trail running.
Deep, multi-directional lugs provide excellent control on a variety of surfaces from mud, ice, snows, dirt and gravel. The soles also do a better job on wet rock than the Lone Peak 2.5 trail runners, I tested several years ago, although the traction is still not as good as the sticky rubber on La Sportiva Ultra Raptors, which are phenomenal in that respect.
The Lone Peak 4.0 comes with a rear gaiter trap to hold compatible gaiters, like those from Dirty Girl, in place. There’s also a front gaiter hook over the toe box which is quite useful for spring hiking in snowy conditions.
The only part of the Lone Peak 4.0’s that is disappointing are the insoles, which are crappy foam inserts that provide very little anti-pronation or arch support. With the exception of Oboz hiking boots and trail shoes, most trail runners, trail shoes, and hiking boots come with terrible insoles. As someone prone to plantar fascitiis, I always replace the factory insoles of my trail runners and boots with Superfeet Carbon insoles, which are designed for low volume shoes. It’s a hidden cost, but the alternative is debilitating. These third-party insoles fit into the Lone Peak 4.0s without any issues.
Altra’s Lone Peak 4.0 trail running shoes are a great lightweight shoe option for hiking and backpacking, with a roomy front toe box, good cushioning, and good foot protection. If you’re prone to blisters or black toenails with your current hiking footwear, I’d definitely recommend giving these trail runners a shot. Wearing a lightweight and quick drying trail runner can quickly change your attitude about appropriate hiking footwear. Your toes will thank you too.
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