Altra Lone Peak 5 Review

A review of the Altra Lone Peak 5 trail running shoes. “The Altra Lone Peak 5 is the best all-around trail shoe that Altra has ever created.”

By Tom Caughlan on April 22, 2021 | 14 comments

The Altra Lone Peak 5 ($130) is the next iteration in the Lone Peak lineage, a go-to, iconic, trail running, and ultrarunning shoe that’s now become a favorite in the thru-hiking world as well. Many choose this shoe for good reason; the Lone Peak has always had a very comfortable upper, dependable cushioning and rock plate, and what some of us would describe as a glorious toebox. At the start line of any trail race, there is always a large portion of runners wearing the latest model, which thankfully for them, hasn’t changed a lot since the Lone Peak’s inception.

I will say that the last few models have felt mostly the same, which is usually a good thing. While I loved the 4.0 and 4.5, I started to gravitate toward other shoes in my stable as the Lone Peak’s cushioning started to flatten out after about 50 to 100 miles in different models, creating an almost concave feeling. I didn’t mind putting them out to pasture too much as the Lone Peaks always are my hanging-out, camping, yard-work shoe of choice.

It seems that Altra finally granted my request from my October 2018 Lone Peak 4 review. In this review, I begged the question as to why Altra chose to continue using their A-Bound midsole foam rather than switching over to the more resilient AltraEGO midsole foam found in models like the Escalante. Personally, I think putting the AltraEGO midsole into the Lone Peak 5 has created the best Lone Peak model yet.

We’ve named the Altra Lone Peak 5 one of the best trail running shoes! See our Best New Trail Shoes of Spring-Summer 2021 for more recent trail running shoe releases.

Shop the Men's Altra Lone Peak 5Shop the Women's Altra Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5

The Altra Lone Peak 5. All photos: iRunFar

Altra Lone Peak 5 Upper

The Altra Lone Peak 5 upper has a dialed-in fit that will accommodate folks who love wide toeboxes and a locked-in heel and midfoot that keep the foot in place on steep terrain. The Lone Peak 4 had drainage issues and turned into a sponge in wet conditions, whereas I felt the Lone Peak 4.5’s upper almost felt tough and brittle after it got saturated with sweat and dust. The Lone Peak 5 is a great balance of effective drainage due to laser-cut holes around the toebox and rand, and breathable and soft mesh windows in all the right places.

The heel cup is malleable which works well in this zero-drop shoe, and the heel collar and gusseted tongue work very well together and I never felt the need to readjust. The Lone Peak 5 is compatible with Altra’s gaiter trap which works phenomenally, though I haven’t used gaiters on this model. Really, there’s nothing to complain about with the Lone Peak 5 upper.

Altra Lone Peak 5 lateral view

The Altra Lone Peak 5 lateral view.

Altra Lone Peak 5 Midsole

It’s in the midsole of the Altra Lone Peak 5 where the company has made some intelligent design changes while continuing to maintain the overall feel and heritage of the Lone Peak. Let’s examine stack heights and corresponding weights of the last three iterations in this handy chart:

Model Lone Peak 4 Lone Peak 4.5 Lone Peak 5
Stack Height (zero drop) 25mm 21mm 28mm
Weight (men’s US size 9) 10.7 oz 10.6 oz 10.4 oz

So, what Altra has managed to do is create a lighter Lone Peak with a higher stack height and a much more resilient and protective AltraEGO foam. The ride is more nimble and responsive than past versions of the Lone Peaks, and it’s hard to tell if it’s the StoneGuard or the increased midsole height which is providing more protection on technical terrain.

Altra Lone Peak 5 medial view

The Altra Lone Peak 5 medial view.

Altra Lone Peak 5 Outsole

Altra continues to use their tried-and-true MaxTrac outsole, and the Altra Lone Peak 5 has lugs placed under the metatarsals for better traction, which they call TrailClaw. Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference, as this shoe has traction like a lot of all-around trail running shoes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the outsole on wet rocks or roots, but for dry and rocky conditions the traction was fine.

The trail rudder continues to exist, hanging off the back of the shoe, taunting me. Although it continues to diminish in size I have trouble believing that this feature does anything other than aid weight to the outsole. Maybe Altra has done extensive research and development on this feature, but after cutting it off of several Altras I haven’t noticed a difference. Give us the research Altra!

Altra Lone Peak 5 outsole

The Altra Lone Peak 5 outsole.

Altra Lone Peak 5 Overall Impressions

I think the Altra Lone Peak 5 is the best all-around trail shoe that Altra has ever created. I’ll even go so far as to say that I like it more than my beloved Timp 2! The combination of dialing in the upper even more than it had been, combined with the AltraEGO midsole foam makes for a winner. If my past experience with this midsole in other Altra models is a predictive indicator, then runners won’t have any problem getting a full 500 miles out of the Lone Peak 5. With a 2021 welcoming back some semblance of racing and group runs, I’m sure that we’ll see this model heavily represented.

Shop the Men's Altra Lone Peak 5Shop the Women's Altra Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5 Other Versions

For those looking for a wide sizes, rejoice! The Lone Peak 5 comes in a wide version. And if you’re looking for water resistance and extra warmth, you might be interested in the waterproof version of the Lone Peak 5.

Call for Comments

  • Are you running in the Altra Lone Peak 5? If so, share your thoughts about the shoe overall.
  • Have you also run in past editions of the Lone Peak? What do you think of the updates made to this version, especially the new midsole foam?

[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]

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Altra Lone Peak 5 top view

The Altra Lone Peak 5 top view.

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.