Lightweight running shoes ideal for backpacking.
This review is part of our New Brands Gear Guide.
By Chris Townsend
Altra began as a running shoe company in Utah nine years ago, making shoes to “encourage low impact running technique and prevent injury.” Having worked out that thick raised heels and lower forefeet weren’t ideal for running, Altra’s founder began modifying shoes to have the same thickness at the heel and forefoot, a design he called Zero Drop. Then, after two years’ development, Altra launched its own models, the first cushioned Zero Drop shoes. The shoes also had a wide footbox to allow the toes to spread naturally.
The shoes soon became popular with runners and some off-road models were then taken up by long-distance hikers. While still primarily a running shoe brand, Altra now offers mid-height models for walkers and models with Polartec NeoShell waterproof linings. The Lone Peak range, with mesh and NeoShell low and mid height models, is the one of most interest to walkers. These have outsoles with excellent grip and gaiter attachment points.
Tested: Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Mesh
£120 / 622g (pair)
Altra arrived in the UK a few years ago and I was keen to try their shoes, having read praise from US hikers. Two years ago I wore the Lone Peak 2.0 on the TGO Challenge and found them comfortable with good grip. The wide toebox felt wonderful. I was impressed enough to say they were now my first choice for long-distance walks. Altra updates designs regularly and there have been two models since. I tried the latest one, the Lone Peak 3.5 Mesh, last year and thought them even better due to improved durability.