Altra Lone Peak 2.0 Review

Altra has been a very fast-moving and innovative company since opening its doors in 2009. Sales have expanded exponentially and their presence is inescapable at trail and ultra races, at least in the Rocky Mountain region. After getting to meet and interview co-founder, Golden Harper, at last year’s Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, I can understand the fervor. This really is a company founded by runners for runners and they’ve found a way to maintain the core integrity, personnel, and mission of their company after selling the brand to a much larger company, all the while producing very high quality shoes.

While previewing the newest line of Altra shoes at OR, I noticed upgrades in manufacturing and construction of the shoes, but, especially, the improved EVA compounds and innovative placement of the StoneGuard (rock plate) in the shoes. The latest data shows that Altra’s sales currently rate them seventh out of the running-specialty manufacturers, and this latest round of road and trail shoes, including the Altra Lone Peak 2.0 ($120), prime the company to move higher up in this list.

Altra Lone Peak 2.0

The Altra Lone Peak 2.0.

Upper

The changes in the quality of material are most evident in the upper of the Lone Peak. We’ve seen the upper evolve from a porous and somewhat stiff material to one of the softest and most durable uppers on the market. Fit has changed to offering a foot-hugging midfoot and locked-in heel. My initial worry with this upper was that it was so soft and roomy it almost provided the illusion of feeling like bedroom slippers. Just as in the first version of the Lone Peak, I found myself reaching for this shoe not only for daily runs, but also to take the kids for a hike and on errands around town. It was hard to imagine how a shoe could be so roomy and accommodating while still offering plenty of support on technical trails. Thankfully, the forward slippage I’d imagined never materialized and the Lone Peak 2.0 is the most comfortable and relaxed-fitting upper on the market that still manages to keep the foot secure on steep downhills.

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 - lateral upper

The Altra Lone Peak 2.0’s lateral upper.

Altra redesigned the toe bumper of the Lone Peak with a lightweight rubber compound welded overlay which reduces weight and still provides plenty of protection. The lacing system is simple yet effective, and there is nary a seam on the entire upper which would irritate even the most fickle foot. On the heel of the shoe, they previously added (in the 1.5) a GaiterTrap, which is a small Velcro flap that alleviates the need to apply a sticky Velcro strip when one decides to train or race with gaiters. I tried this feature out with my Dirty Girl gaiters and it did feel more secure than using aftermarket Velcro to stick onto the shoe.

Despite the dual-density mesh of the Lone Peak 2.0 being very durable, and even feeling a bit thick, the shoe did not feel hot on my feet during long runs in 85-plus-degree Fahrenheit weather. However, this did inhibit the upper from draining efficiently, and after water crossings, I timed that it took the Lone Peak around 30 minutes to lose that squishy, wet feeling.

Midsole

The cushioning of the Lone Peak increased significantly, almost hinting of a ‘maximalist’ running shoe. Altra uses their A-Bound EVA, which is an environmentally friendly midsole material, and they use LOADS of it. I never owned or tried on the Lone Peak 1.5, but when I ran in the original Lone Peak versus the 2.0, the difference was night and day. A-Bound is a softer-durometer EVA which seems to remain uncompressed despite hundreds of hard trail miles. Additionally, Altra designed the 2.0 to have a StoneGuard (in between two layers of midsole) that is longer than traditional rock plates and extends laterally to protect the fifth metatarsal. Traditional design places a rock plate between the midsole and outsole which can cause instability in the shoe whereas the Lone Peak 2.0 allows the A-Bound midsole material to take the brunt of the impact and the StoneGuard protects on the back end. In my opinion, this is the best rock-plate design on the market and it allows the midsole material to shine while providing protection without creating a stiff or unresponsive shoe.

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 - medial upper

The Altra Lone Peak 2.0’s medial upper.

I would describe the cushioning of the Lone Peak 2.0 to almost be Hoka-esque in its protection. A-Bound is softer durometer but not squishy, and it does allow a bit of ground feel. If the original Lone Peak is a “smooth riding 1970s Continental,” as I described it, then the 2.0 features upgraded shocks that seem to float over rough terrain. Comparing the original Lone Peak and the 2.0 midsole is nearly impossible due almost double the cushioning at the same weight.

Outsole

Altra employs a slightly modified TrailClaw outsole which features slightly larger lugging, but overall the same scheme. I’ve read some reviews of this outsole that state that it does not do well on rocky and technical surfaces, but this is a verdict with which I disagree. I found the outsole to be equally effective on hard pack and rocky surfaces, while having a similar shortcoming as most trail shoes in mud. One feature which greatly increases traction is the addition of X-shaped lugs on the medial and lateral exterior of the outsole that extend from the midfoot to the heel. When taking corners in loose rock or dirt, these seemed to grip the trail extremely well.

Altra Lone Peak 2.0 - outsole

Altra Lone Peak 2.0’s outsole.

Overall Impressions

I recently had a number of runners and family members seek out my advice regarding the need for wider toe boxes. While these folks were not avid runners, they were looking for roomier toe boxes after feeling constricted by their traditional-width ASICS and Brooks road shoes. Feet flatten and expand as we get older, and these casual runners were experiencing the same constraints that all of us will feel as we age into our 50s and 60s along with the added bunions, corns, and arthritis which make cramming your foot into a traditionally tapered last a bit painful. I suggested Altra running shoes to all of them and the rave reviews I received were unanimous. The foot-shaped toe box is a design we first saw hinted at in New Balance’s minimalist last, and, frankly, I’m surprised that every brand does not follow suit with more of a foot-shaped last. While not sexy in the conventional sense of shoe design, it simply makes sense.

The Lone Peak 2.0 is a limousine for the feet, offering very plush cushioning with a natural ride and flexibility not typically found in shoes with this much protection. The fit is loose yet secure, plush but adding ground feel, built like a tank. While I initially scoffed at the 11.4-ounce weight, I appreciated the added cushioning and smooth ride on longer trail runs and adventures where speed was not the objective. If I were to have a multi-day through hike or fastpacking trip, stage race, or long-trail attempt on my calendar, the Lone Peak 2.0 would be one of my top picks. I also think the combination of a zero drop along with superior plush cushioning, an upper that allows swelling, and smooth ride make the Lone Peak 2.0 an ideal ultra shoe for the 100-mile distance.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Have you run in the Altra Long Peak 2.0? If so, what are your thoughts on the shoe as compared to Tom’s review?
  • For those who have run in the original Lone Peak and the 1.5, how is the 2.0 different for you?
Tom Caughlan

is iRunFar's Minimalist Gear Editor. Tom’s passion for trail running and specialty running retail experience shine through in all of his highly technical reviews, which do range outside minimalist shoes.

There are 30 comments

  1. rivrrapids

    I agree the Lone Peak 2.0 is the most comfy shoe. The wide toe box is very nice as I've always had to oversize other shoes to accommodate my wider forefoot. Now I can actually fit it to my correct size. The 2.0 definitely feels much more secure than the 1.5. Also I think the toe box is a little higher than the 1.5. I upsized by 1/2 size so my toes weren't getting crushed on the 1.5. The lugs too seem to be a bit more durable than on the 1.5. I noticed wear on them after just about 20-30 miles. The 2.0 has approximately 50 miles on them on have no signs of wear like the 1.5's did. The laces are much more stiff too which helps with a more secure fit. I replaced the 1.5 laces right away because they were way too soft and allowed tons of slop. I was going to wait till next summer to get new Lone Peaks but after reading the rumored updates on the 2.0 I decided to try them and am glad I did!

  2. DogrunnerDavid

    Have a pair of these and basically agree with everything Tom said. My first long run in them was a 40 mile pacing effort at Leadville 100 and it was awesome to have that cush and protection running over rocks at night. I too initially scoffed at the weight but once you get going it's hardly noticed. Later I took out the insoles, which removed just a touch of weight and bulk, and now I like them even better. And yes the foot shaped, wide toe box is a genius design that just makes sense.

  3. jaredvanderhook

    I ran the Superior 100, my first 100 miler in the 2.0s and would agree that they are ideal for this distance. I found them very comfortable and had no feet problems whatsoever. However, I disagree that it has "one of the most durable uppers on the market." After only 170 miles the upper on my 2.0s started tearing on the front outer part of the shoe. Perhaps it's bad luck, but the 1.5s did the exact same thing to me so it seems to me like these still don't have the durability I would come to expect from a shoe that is supposed to be a tank.

    1. chrispyb

      I'm getting tearing on the outer of my 2.0s as well, having just about 200 to 250 miles on them. Might just try and clean them and put a thing layer of shoe goo on?

    2. TomCaughlan

      Jarevanderhook-
      Good to know. I've only got about 100-120 on my Lone Peaks and I tried to get feedback from folks who'd put more mileage in them. I tend to not stress out uppers too much (medium-lower volume foot) so it is good when people like you point out the potential blow out spots. Thanks for replying!

  4. E_C_C

    I ran in the LP2.0 at RunRabbitRun. In my mind this is the perfect ultra shoe. I was plenty wrecked after the race, but had NO foot/ankle/knee issues. None. Not even discomfort. My quads were ruined, but my feet were ready for more the very next day.

    I had previously run in both the LP1.0 and 1.5. When I first put on the 2.0 I was afraid they'd overdone it, it was such an upgrade in the cush department. But the more I run in them, the more I'm convinced they nailed it. I've always referred to the 1.0 an 1.5 as an ideal hiking shoe, perfect for 14ers. The 2.0 takes that 4×4 capability and makes it feel like a running shoe.

    All the upgrades from the 1.5 are spot-on. Upper is well done, toe bumper is much better, outsole is great, midsole is phenomenal, laces are a huge improvement from before. The things that still make it an Altra (zero drop, phat toe box) are things I simply cannot live without. The only imperfections are that you do notice the mass of the shoe (but it's worth it … if you're going 5K fast, wear something else), and the outsole does have grip issues on rock *if it's damp.* That's a function of the rubber compound, where the eternal tradeoffs between wet grip, durability, weight, and cost persist.

    1. TomCaughlan

      @lotsamox
      The stack height was increased from 17 mm to 20 mm from the 1.5 to the 2.0. I don't notice instability partly because the midsole seems to absorb bumps and rocks in the trail. I tend to roll my foot over quite a bit in shoes with stability issues and I haven't had a problem yet in the 2.0s. It feels like you sit down in the shoe a bit.
      Can't believe I didn't cover this in the review ;) Thanks for catching it.

    2. quax1

      Compared to my 1.5s I roll my ankles more often (not sure, if this is the correct English expression, I'm a foreign speaker). Especially on very technical terrain (roots and rocks) and later in my runs when concentration wanes.

      However, I'm a "natural" forefoot runner. I assume midfoot/heelstrikers are less prone to instability issues. Especially downhill (where I forefoot strike as well).

  5. @jvoclv

    Great review and I agree with many, if not most of the positive comments. This is a really comfortable, well cushioned, well protected long distance shoe.

    However, I am finding that the tread is wearing a bit faster than many of my other shoes, but I do run steep and rocky terrain exclusively, so that is a factor, but for the sake of comparison, I am using these on the same terrain as all of my other shoes. I have also found that the extremely padded heel causes some heel lift for me, where I have to really experiement with lacing to minimize this. Additionally, I noticed that when pushing a technical downhill, control diminished a good bit and when wet, can be a little slippery.

    Overall though, I would highly recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a long distance, natural feeling work horse shoe.

  6. mmarti37

    I have 300 miles on the 2.0 and have been very pleased. The wide toe box is SO nice. For the past five years my pinky toe nails have been cracked and I've always had 2 or 3 other black toe nails due to narrow toe boxes which I have always felt were necessary because I'm an aggressive downhill runner and I run all my mileage on trails in Colorado. In the 2.0 I've been surprised at how stable the shoe is even when bombing down steep and rocky trails, and after two months all of my toenails look normal for the first time since I started trail running. I have found the tread wear to be acceptable. The only weaknesses I find in the 2.0, as Tom had mentioned, are that it does not grip well in mud, as should be expected with fairly shallow tread, and the shoe does get water logged in wet conditions and is slow to lose that squishiness.

    I always put over 1000 miles on my shoes, so I appreciate the statements above regarding the tearing on the front outer. I haven't seen that yet, but if I do I think I'll be quick to add some shoe goo because I love these shoes.

    @lotsamox, while this shoe has a fair amount of stack height, the width of the shoe makes it feel very stable to me, more so than my previous shoes, even when moving fast down winding technical trail. I actually think they reduce rollover risk, especially compared to trail shoes that have a heel-to-toe drop.

  7. @coffndrop

    I only had one problem with the 1.5 – I have a low-volume foot, and I just could not tie the shoe tight enough to stop my foot slipping around inside the shoe. When I took the insole out, my foot gripped the rubber bottom, and the problem was solved… – until i did a run at a fairly fast pace on loose gravel, and got the worst blisters I've ever experienced, which gave me a two week lay-off!

    So, my question, does the 2.0 give a more 'locked-in' feeling? A 1.5 with a more snug and secure fit (around the ankle area at least, not the toe-box!) would really be my perfect shoe!

    Answers on a postcard please….

    1. lawsofnature

      My 34 cents: I have low-to-mid-volume feet too, and I couldn't get the laces tight enough to feel secure. For me, the Patagonia Everlong yields the best compromise between toe box width and foot security.

  8. Max

    Does the rear half of the upper still have a bunch of padding and plastic? In the LP1.5 the heel would pack out and become sloppy.

  9. rmsquires

    #2 at RRR100 wore the 11^2 with Superior stoneguard insoles, and I'd like to see some such product for the 50M range of distances, to compete with the Clifton Trail. The Clifton Road is amazing, but has quite a narrow toebox, so there's a niche opening there. The astounding weight/protection ratio of the Clifton makes me leery of buying another brute of a tank shoe (the 2.0 is the same weight as the biggest hokas, correct), and the dust-gathering Olympus in my closet looks like a relic of ancient times; wonder what the next iteration of that will look like

    1. Schlarb1

      Check the Paradigms… 9 oz, maxamilist. I race 50k-100 mile in them. Sounds like a plug for Altra, but no, I love them that much.

      1. rmsquires

        Yes, but I gotta ask if you've torn off those small lugs on the lateral side in those races :) like I did in the one mountain event I tried in them. Thanks for manning the nightshift aidstation at rrr btw, that was a good memory!

        1. Schlarb1

          I haven't had any come off, but yeah, after 350 or so miles they have started to peel back. Cosmetic issue mostly and even though I get them free, I wear them for 500+… can't kick the habit of wearing shoes until they are really done.

  10. quax1

    I owned two pairs of 1.5s. Both of them showed tearing upper meshes after very short times. I use the shoes for "real" trail running. Mud, mountains, dirt!

    After only two (short) runs with my brand new pair of 2.0 the toe bumper and the side logo came off the upper mesh. This does not really impact running but still. Durability and quality is still an issue.

    I still keep buying Altras! Why? Because there is no real alternative. If there was I wouldn't hesitate to switch brands. Two pairs of 1.5 LPs. One pair of Superiors. All of them tearing uppers after very short time. Compared to all my other running shoes that I have in my rotation Altras are the most "vulnerable". Please work on this!

    Regarading reviews: why is durability never an issue? This is an ultrarunning site!

    1. TomCaughlan

      I consider the reader comments a big part of the reviews on irunfar because often you guys will have beaten the tar out of a shoe by the time I get it. So, I'm appreciative that you bring the durability issues up!
      I would love to take the time to put 500+ miles on all of my shoes, but when I'm rotating 4-6 pair to review it just doesn't happen. Typically, I try to get at the very least 100 miles on a shoe prior to a review, on the greatest variety of terrain I can in the mountains. I also try to do some fast and slow running, long slogs, and get the shoes wet a few times.
      Often we receive shoes when they hit the general market, so time is of the essence for a relevant review. I'll do my best in the future to try to put as many miles on these shoes as I can. Keep the durability feedback coming!

  11. @1kzemach

    Tom (or anyone), can you comment on medial stability (or not…)? One of my problems with uniform thick foam as a mild heel striker in shoes like the montrail fluid flex variants, and ESPECIALLY hokas, is they tend to collapse inwards after only 100-150 miles. It's not just me; work an aid station and watch hoka runners leaving: more than half have a horrendous ankle collapse to the inside if they're not truely forefoot strikers.

    I'd like a good cushion to switch into for the final 30-40 miles in a 100 (prefer minimal feel too much to give it up early on), but can't find anything cushy that doesn't collapse to the inside given my footstrike. Montrails and hokas basically die on me before 200 miles.

    1. @GraeVanHooser

      That is the exact reason I went from Hokas to Altras. I have medial forefoot pronation in one foot and my Hoka's would be fully compressed on the inside within 200 miles. If I wore them more, trying to get 3-400 miles out of them, the inside of foot would be falling off the inside edge of the midsole. With the Altra Olympus and Paradym the midsole comes up the inside to form an extra stabilizing layer in the heel cup so there is no need for medial posting on the bottom of the shoes that prevents my foot from naturally collapsing like it is supposed to do. Problem solved.

  12. nevtrik

    I think this shoe could be perfect if 2 things are fixed:
    1. They are really very warm. I expect the shoes created for Wasatch to be hot weather shoes with light upper mesh, but Lone Peak 2.0 is not.
    2. They are awful in mud and on slick rocks. I live in Seattle area and mud is what I run on 10 months/year. This summer when it was dry I thought that I found my perfect shoes with Lone Peak 2.0 (except for the #1), but with the first rain I figured that I cannot hike steep uphills in Altra because my feet are sliding backwards.

    Other than that I love them. I even bought One2 for the road marathon being so impressed with Lone Peak.

    1. revgum

      Regarding the slippage in the mud.. have you found the perfect trail shoe, or are you living with the LP 2.0 and dodging the deepest slick mud or just losing some grip?

      1. nevtrik

        I stopped using LP completely, and I am back to Montrail Fluidflex 2. They don't have an aggressive grip either, but I feel more comfortable in them, probably because of very flexible sole.

  13. JoUltragirl

    I live in Hong Kong and I plan to buy a pair of Altras Lone Peak 2.0 online. But the only Altras I can physically try on for fit and sizing is the Altra Olympus, can someone advise on the sizing, whether the insides fit similar/smaller/larger so that I can order accordingly?
    Thanks!

  14. @Terrysrunning

    I also wore the shoe for the second half of RRR, and I'd worn it a few times before that. I did think it felt too slipper-ish on some downhills, but at that point I wasn't exactly bombing them anyway. But on shorter runs, where I AM bombing the descents, it doesn't feel secure enough. On less technical terrain, they are really comfortable.

  15. @Terrysrunning

    By the end of RRR, I didn't feel like I had enough cushion. So, they are better than some, but definitely not Hoka-esque. My normal ultra shoe is the Montrail Mountain Masochist, and they had far less cushion than that. Keep in mind that RRR took me 34 hours, and I'm 185 lbs, so I abuse that cushion more than most, probably :)
    They are definitely a welcome addition to my quiver, but I wanted to add a counter-point to the opinions above.

  16. Saulius

    Bought a pair and had to return. Did a short 6 mile run. Felt great except on any downhills. These were not huge long steep grades either. My toes kept getting smashed. I returned to the shoe store and wanted to try on a half size larger but they don't come in 13 1/2 size. So put on a size fourteen but the material would push on my toes when foot was in bent position causing discomfort. Just too big. Too bad as I really wanted these to work for me.

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