For footwear on the trail, Altra’s Lone Peak shoe is by far the number one choice among ultralight backpackers. It provides what all hikers really want - for a shoe to be lightweight, durable, and comfortable. The Lone Peak’s claim to fame is it’s zero drop platform (meaning that your heal and forefoot are the same distance from the ground rather then your heal sitting up higher) which promotes better form, is low-impact on your feet and alleviates strain on your lower back. This shoe is also known for its wide toe box that allows your toes to naturally splay out instead of being crammed inside like most shoes. This helps with stability and preventing blisters. The Altra Lone Peak 4.0 is the latest version of this shoe. It features many new updates over the older model to improve on an already stellar trail shoe.
Price and Versions
The Lone Peak 4.0 shoe is similar in price to other premium trail runners like the Brooks Cascadia 13. It comes in many different renditions including a waterproof shoe, but this article will focus on the most popular low mesh version. Click the links provided to find the latest price on the Altra Lone Peak 4.0.
Design Features and Updates
Altra updated their MaxTrac rubber compound to be more grippy and more durable than previous versions.
The Trail Claw (shoe’s tread), as Altra calls it, has changed with new angular lugs positioned strategically to provide improved traction.
The Midsole doesn’t have many changes to it. It still has a stack height of 25mm. It’s made out of the same dual-layer EVA/A-bound foam to reduce ground impact and to give you a spring in your step.
The one thing that has been redesigned on the midsole is the StoneGuard rock plate that sits between the A-bound and EVA layers. The Lone Peak 3.5 used just a plain insert before but now the Lone Peak 4.0 has an insert that resembles the skeletal structure of a foot. This change offers more flexibility in the shoe, but comparable protection as before from sharp rocks and roots on the trail.
This is where most of the changes have occurred to the shoe. The mesh is now a completely new material. It’s a single-layer ripstop mesh that’s more durable and breathable.
Altra added better drainage to the Lone Peak 4.0, which is nice when your shoes are submerged under water when crossing streams. Instead of having four small drainage holes, like in the older model, it has two large ones at the front toe cap and draining mesh in the heel.
To prevent movement they slightly narrowed the midfoot and heel. They also added a V-shaped exterior overlay at the midfoot connecting the laces to the sole for added foot control and stability.
The 4-point GaiterTrap has carried over from the 3.5’s to the 4.0’s with no changes to it. This system secures the gaiter to your shoe and helps keep debris from getting inside.
Comfort and Fit
The Lone Peak 4.0 is a very comfortable shoe. The midsole foam feels very cushy to your foot, but yet it’s still firm enough to be responsive on challenging terrain where there’s a lot of rocks and uneven ground. The wide toe box, I find, allows your toes to spread out and not rub so much on the sides of the shoe where you can easily get blisters.
The shoe also adds comfort in the way of a StoneGuard rock plate like the earlier versions which is an absolute necessity when it comes to backpacking shoes. When you step on sharp rocks or branches your feet are protected.
The overall fit is a lot more snug than the previous version. I found that with the 3.5’s my feet would move around quite a bit. But, with the 4.0’s it seems they made some adjustments to the midfoot and heel area to keep this from happening. Another problem they fixed is with sizing issues. When you bought Altra Lone Peaks before they would always run small and so you would have to go up one size and it still wasn’t always a guarantee the shoe would fit you right. But now, thankfully the 4.0’s actually fit true to size.
Earlier versions of the Lone Peak shoe struggled with good traction, but much of that has changed with the redesigned outsole. You can definitely feel the shoe grip the trail a lot better. I went to Virginia on a hike up to the Dragon’s Tooth overlook and it rained that morning making all the rocks very slippery. But despite the wet conditions, I was impressed in how the shoe handled the slick surfaces. It seems no matter what you put in front of the shoe, whether its dirt, mud, or wet rocks, the Lone Peak 4.0 will grip right through it.
When backpacking you need a shoe that breaths. If not, your sweaty or wet feet can cause blisters to form. The Lone Peak 3.5 shoe did breath, but the 4.0’s improved on it even further. This is due to the updated single layer ripstop mesh. As soon as you put these shoes on you can feel the extra ventilation. In these shoes, I hiked in hot and humid weather and my feet only mildly perspired.
The other aspect of breathability to consider is when your shoe gets wet from rain or crossing streams. If you ever hiked in West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness you know how important this is. In that region they get a ton of rain and so there are marshy areas everywhere; not to mention many stream crossings. With the new mesh, plus the bigger drainage ports in the front and added drainage and ventilation in the heel area the Lone Peak 4.0 shoe is able to thrive in such environments. I already have completely soaked my shoe’s and they dried exceptionally quick.
I originally thought the Lone Peak 3.5 shoe was built like a tank, but how wrong I was. The Lone Peak 4.0 is by far more durable. What contributes to this is the tread being made from a hard rubber that won’t wear down as quickly. Also, the shoe is reinforced with double stitching in areas that are prone to damage. The mesh is a material that’s highly resistant to tears or holes developing in it from rocks and branches. I haven’t put nearly enough miles on these shoes to know how long they will actually last, but they have the potential to hold up past 400 miles which should make any backpacker happy.
Lone Peak 4.0 Pros
Lone Peak 4.0 Cons
When the insole is wet it slides around
Pricey, but that’s expected since it’s a premium shoe
Wish there were more color options to choose from
Altra just keeps improving on the quality of the Lone Peak shoe year after year. You will be hard pressed to find a better shoe for backpacking. To me, it’s a near perfect design and I would highly recommend anyone from a casual weekend backpacker all the way to someone considering thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail to try out the new Altra Lone Peak 4.0’s.
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