Altra Lone Peak 3.0 ReviewSeptember 29, 2016
- Terrific trail feel
- Supportive upper
- Integrated gaiter hooks
- Comfortable fit
- Challenging adjustment period
- Slow foot turnover
- Less stable on descents
The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 is an all-around trail runner that’s suitable for everything from speedy off-road 5K’s through all-day ultramarathons and light hiking. It mates comfortable, supportive uppers to a responsive EVA/Abound midsole and sticky TrailClaw outsole. Although some wear-testers reported that the Lone Peak 3.0 doesn’t feel light or agile, it’s a shoe that’s built for all-day performance and comfort.
The Altra Lone Peak 3.0 retains key features that have made the model one of the most popular trail runners, while updating the uppers and outsole to improve what is already a terrific all-around off-road shoe. Like previous versions, the Lone Peak 3.0 is built on a zero-drop platform with Altra’s wide forefoot. Runners who are used to traditional running shoes on an 8-12mm drop platform will need to slowly introduce the zero-drop Lone Peak 3.0, and the adjustment period can take a couple weeks or more. The new version improves on the Lone Peak 2.0 and 2.5 with a new mesh upper that repels trail dust, more aggressive outsole lugs, fresh toe box overlays, and half-ounce weight savings. The updates come with a striking visual redesign as well, including an abstract mountain range on the lateral side. Our wear-testers praised the Lone Peak 3.0 as lighter, more responsive, and more supportive than previous versions, although some noted that the wide forefoot allowed more movement than they wanted, particularly on long, steep descents.
The Lone Peak 3.0 is built with a 20mm-stack midsole, a soft mesh upper, and Altra’s notorious roomy forefoot. The combination is comfortable right out of the box, without pressure points or hot spots. The sockliner and heel collar are seamless, and the stitched overlays do not protrude through to the interior, so runners should be able to wear thin socks without irritation. Compared to previous versions, one wear-tester noted that “better tread and slightly more cushioning provided a comfortable and responsive shoe.”
The Lone Peak 3.0 is an all-around shoe that sits between the low-profile Superior and the maximalist Olympus in Altra’s trail line. Unsurprisingly, our wear-testers noted that it makes a compromise between speed and comfort. As one wear-tester explained, “although the Lone Peak 3.0 is lighter than previous models, it doesn’t feel like it was made for speed; rather, it feels like it was made for endurance and comfort.”
Security of Fit
Our wear-testers had mixed opinions on the Lone Peak 3.0’s fit, particularly in the toe box. While the wide forefoot allows toes to spread and splay naturally, some felt the extra room was excessive. As one put it, “the extra room provides great comfort, but running downhill creates constant jarring of the toes into the front of the shoe. Painful toes after long descents are not worth the extra comfort on flat sections.” Wear-testers praised the new mesh uppers and heel cup, noting that the Lone Peak 3.0 “does a fantastic job holding your foot down without needing to choke down the laces.”
The Lone Peak 3.0 is an all-around off-road shoe built to handle a range of trail types and conditions, from dry to muddy and steep ascents to rolling singletrack. Our wear-testers appreciated the versatility, although some were concerned with the model’s agility. One described turnover as slow, while another noted that the Lone Peak 3.0 “feels clunky and less smooth than its close cousin, the Altra Superior.” The zero-drop platform encourages an efficient midfoot-striking gait, although runners who use more traditional shoes may need to slowly introduce it.
The midsole, comprised of EVA foam combined with Altra’s proprietary Abound, is accommodating and responsive without being spongy or sluggish. Despite a relatively high 20mm stack height in the front and rear, the Lone Peak 3.0 feels as responsive on the trail as lower-profile models.
The redesigned TrailClaw outsole is versatile across a range of trails and conditions. The Lone Peak 3.0 gripped confidently on climbs and descents, as well as along off-camber trails. They rolled over dusty gravel, smooth singletrack, slick rock, and wet grass. Although the Lone Peak 3.0 has a rockplate and a 20mm thick sole to protect against sharp rocks, it doesn’t sacrifice ground feel.
Jason is a trail runner and ultra-marathoner who lives with his wife and children in the frozen tundra of northeastern Wisconsin.