At the start of 2024, Altra brought to market the next generation of its esteemed trail shoe — the Altra Lone Peak 8 ($140). Often lauded as one of the best trail running and hiking shoes for a select group of avid trail aficionados, it ranks highly as an everyday shoe for individuals seeking underfoot comfort, a touch of grit, and a heightened lower leg strength experience.
The new Altra Lone Peak 8 doesn’t disappoint and returns as steady and reliable as ever. Over its many iterations, the Altra Lone Peak model has proven itself to be a uniquely versatile trail running shoe that shows up with comfort and functionality, topped with a refreshingly soft, pliable, and home-like feel. Even after the Lone Peak’s running days come to end, it readily transitions in to a reliable hiker, yard worker, or an about-the-town shoe. I think it is worth reiterating that even though Altra has recently made waves with significant changes in drop and providing some shoes with slim fit Footshape — perhaps throwing into question Altra’s original mission — the new Lone Peak 8 rides true with overall consistency and constancy.
I think most of us will agree that not a lot has changed from either last year’s Altra Lone Peak 7 — read our Altra Lone Peak 7 review. The upper remains comfortable, the midsole continues to invite the feet inside with underfoot cushion and responsiveness, while the outsole traction performs adequately across a variety of terrain.
Notably, there remains ample room in the toebox and the Lone Peak 8 provides functional flexibility for superb ground feel. It must be stated that if you are new to low-drop or zero-drop running shoes or seldom walk barefoot, it is advised to gradually increase time and mileage in these shoes as they place a high demand on lower leg tendons and muscles. But once you have built the stamina — it is worth the minimalist lifestyle.
The Lone Peak 8 is designed off the Original Footshape last for feet and toes to do their natural thing in a capacious toebox. It rides a zero-drop platform at a claimed 25-millimeter stack height for solid ground feel. Although the claimed weight has increased slightly to 10.7 ounces (303 grams) for a men’s U.S. size 9, it inexplicably runs light. The Lone Peak 8 is true to size and is additionally offered in wide fit.
Based on all of this, it earned “Best Zero-Drop Shoe” in our Best Trail Running Shoes guide.
Altra Lone Peak 8 Upper
The Altra Lone Peak 8’s updates are felt and seen with the design and construction of the upper, albeit subtle and nuanced. Altra designers have upgraded the upper with a new ripstop mesh for augmented durability. They used less upper material in the toebox area, resulting in less creasing, but without sacrificing the ample room provided by a true Original Footshape. The new upper material still provides exceptional breathability, a quick dry, and warmth. I was able to run in a lot of cold rain, mud, and significant snow, and my toes and feet kept cozy and warm. I realize socks make a difference as well, but I was impressed that the mesh was able to protect, drain, and breathe simultaneously.
Interrupted welded overlays extend from the midfoot to the heel on both sides of the shoe. The overlays not only accentuate the look of the shoe, but it gives the midfoot more of a snug and protected fit. The ripstop mesh presents a more appealing appearance with consistent mesh flow on the lateral aspect of the shoe replacing the see-through mesh of the Lone Peak 7, which presented a window to the underlays.
The padding on the heel collar still supports the foot and maintains a soft lockdown even over technical terrain. The lacing tightness is important to how snug both the midfoot and heel feel with the Lone Peak 8. Additionally, the low ride heel fit with the supportive thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel unit provides needed stability on moderately technical terrain and downhill singletrack.
The designers kept what worked from previous models and fine-tuned several of the upper’s attributes. As I noted in our Altra Lone Peak 7 review, the nearly fully gusseted and padded tongue stands guard against unwanted debris while adding a pillow-like feel for the top of the foot. However, in the Lone Peak 8, tongue construction got sharper. There is now a tighter gusset on the lateral aspect, and upon closer inspection and due attention while running, this slight change enhanced a snugger midfoot lockdown and even less room for debris to enter the shoe.
The Lone Peak 8 has longer laces than its predecessor and comes with two additional holes in the stitched rubber reinforcements. I will admit that I am unsure if those are for lacing and extra midfoot lockdown, for weight savings, or simply for aesthetics. Furthermore, the lowest lace holes have extra plastic support at the base of the lacing system, which I appreciated for overall upper integrity.
Other upper modifications include a longer heel pull tab and a longer and wider tongue pull tab that extends half the length of the tongue. I appreciated these subtle changes as I found myself using both of them since they were actually functional. On most shoes, these appendages seem purely aesthetic. There is also a wider Velcro gaiter attachment location on the heel for more staying power.
One of the critiques I had of the Lone Peak 7 was the lack of protection around the big toe and the ability of the shoe to provide suitable security across more rugged terrain. Although, there may be slightly thicker rubber immediately over the big toe, there is less overall toe protection with decreased rubber bumper on both the medial and lateral toebox. This remains a con of the shoe design, but is probably a weight saving decision and one that fits the overall mission of the Lone Peak.
Altra Lone Peak 8 Midsole
The Altra Lone Peak 8 midsole is energetic. It accentuates the running and movement experience with a pliable and responsive feel that provides the wearer with comfort and nimbleness. Combined with the outsole, the Altra EGO foam accentuates a ground feel that many minimalist runners and hikers enjoy while adventuring. The Stoneguard full-length rock plate adds protection and slight stiffness under moderately technical terrain, without sacrificing too much flexibility and turnover speed. The midsole is comfortable and balances swiftness with soft landings.
Some runners may say that Altras break down fast, which may be attributed to midsole foam. But the Altra EGO used in many Altra shoe models in my opinion provides a firm comfort over many miles on both the trails and the pavement. As I mentioned previously, I appreciate how the Lone Peak model can be transitioned into a hiker or an everyday shoe once the running spring and support has slowly lost its steam. I am currently at 80 miles, and believe I can push the Lone Peak 8 to 350 miles or more.
Altra Lone Peak 8 Outsole
Altra has maintained the MaxTrac outsole for the Altra Lone Peak 8. Although the outsole isn’t a Vibram or VJ level rubber — the MaxTrac material, combined with the outsole design, serves the overall purpose of the Lone Peak model well. It provides protection and decent durability for performance on moderate technical terrain, especially in combination with the Stoneguard rock plate. However, the outsole rubber and design also allows the wearer to take this shoe out on the town, backpacking, or in my case, donned for my field work days. It doesn’t need to be overly built-up, aggressive, or tacky.
Over the course of my review miles for the both the Lone Peak 7 and Lone Peak 8, I found that the MaxTrac outsole gripped decently well on most of my runs. Although, I wouldn’t go for a strict road run in the Lone Peak model, the flex and traction allow the road miles to remain light with quick turnover. They performed well in sloppy wet conditions and in snow with some grab.
I did find that snow atop mud proved to be more difficult and more care was needed to keep from slip sliding away, as was the same with really slick rocks in cold, rainy conditions. In sum, the overall grip is suitable, which is abetted by the number of multi-directional chevron lugs. Over the last two Lone Peak iterations, there are more lugs placed at the midfoot for more ground contact and protection while the lugs are sharper and take on more of that claw-like appearance that Altra advertises.
Altra Lone Peak 8 Overall Impressions
The Altra Lone Peak 8 remains top of the list — as our favorite zero-drop shoe in our Best Trail Running Shoes guide — because of its superior versatility, reliability, and overall comfort. It really does inspire that feel-good sigh of relief when you slip them on. They inspire movement.
The new Lone Peak 8’s subtle upper modifications will likely maintain a core group of fans and perhaps bring new trail lovers and functional fitness movers into the fold. It is an all-around decent performer with resilient midsole foam and ground feel. The Lone Peak 8 has both a breathable and protective upper with suitable traction underneath to use as a daily trainer or hiker. I would throw in a runnable 50k, speedwork, plyometric workouts, and everyday life to the list of things this shoe can do.
It is a tremendous relief to know that Altra still designs shoes with a low stack height and zero drop when the trend of most running footwear seems to be stacking on the millimeters, foaming up air and beads for excessive cushion, and hoping to be super — wherein the Lone Peak model, built on functionality and minimalism, is super in its own right.
Call for Comments
- Have you tried the Altra Lone Peak 8? What were your thoughts?
- How does the Lone Peak 8 compare to previous models for you?
- Do you like running in zero drop shoes in general?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a shoe brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
Our Favorite Trail Running Shoes
Check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article to learn about our current favorite trail running shoes!